Kids Advocate for Biking to be State Exercise

I suppose somebody could make a case for bowling.

But, no. If there’s going to be an officially designated state exercise it should be bicycling, of course. And if some Wisconsin school kids get their way this might actually happen.

Jackie Pollman’s fifth grade class at Cooper School on Milwaukee’s south side has been lobbying to make cycling the official state exercise joining other official symbols like the Robin and the Sugar Maple.

Ms. Pollman’s class has been studying how our government works and they decided to learn about it firsthand by working on their own bill. It might not be surprising that they chose bikes to champion. The kids took part in our Safe Routes to School Bike Driver’s Ed class a year ago. And Cooper School has been a leader in promoting cycling. The school was in our first group of Safe Routes schools way back in 2004, the school’s bike racks are full on nice days, and the school hosts walk or bike to school days in the fall and spring.

The kids asked their State Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) to draft the bill. Then they helped get cosponsors including several Democrats but also Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) to make it a bipartisan bill. Now, they’re trying to get a public hearing on the bill before time runs out when the legislature goes home in the next few weeks.

The bill, Senate Bill 600, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations & Consumer Protection chaired by Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville).

You can help the kids and Wisconsin biking by contacting Sen. Stroebel and asking him to give SB-600, designating bicycling as the official state exercise, a public hearing. His email is Sen.Stroebel@legis.wisconsin.gov. Or you can call 608-266-7513.

Be prepared to tell him why you think this is important and your name as well as full address.

There’s ample reason to elevate cycling to this lofty perch. After all, biking is a $1.5 billion business in Wisconsin and it provides 14,000 jobs. We’re home to big names in the industry like Trek, Saris, Planet Bike, Borah Teamwear, Madrax and Pacific Cycle not to mention a bunch of cool smaller companies like Fyxation.

Wisconsin has won the National Bike Challenge for two years running and last year we had more communities enter or move up on the Bicycle Friendly Communities list than any other state.

So, even if Ms. Pollman’s fifth graders don’t get their bill to the governor this session, the very fact that a bunch of school kids might get the chance to appear before their elected representatives and make a case for the benefits of cycling for themselves, their families, the state’s economy and our environment would be fantastic.

Let’s hope they are given that opportunity.

 

UPDATE: 2/3/16 Great work everyone! We have a hearing! This Thursday February 4th at 10am in room 201 at the Capitol!

 

Students and Families in Milwaukee celebrate a Bike to School Day event.

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

5 thoughts on “Kids Advocate for Biking to be State Exercise

  1. Here’s what I sent…
    Dear Senator Strobel,
    I read with great interest the proposed bill (SB-600) designating bicycling as the state of Wisconsin’s official exercise. As an avid cyclist, I would encourage your support of this great idea. My belief is that Wisconsin is emerging as a national leader in promoting cycling culture. I think the benefits to the state’s population are significant! By promoting cycling we improve the health of residents, reduce pollution, and have less negative impact on our infrastructures. I firmly believe that cycling also improves the mental attitude of those enjoying this activity, therefore making Wisconsin an even more friendly state!
    Thank you for your consideration.
    Joel Kempfer, Wauwatosa, WI

  2. These are some of my fourth graders working with Jackie Pollman at Cooper. They just found out that they are testifying in front of the hearing committee on Thursday, February 4 at 10:00 am! They are so excited! Maybe this bill will actually go through!

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