The US arm of car manufacturer Volkswagen and Colorado-based bicycle advocacy group Bikes Belong have announced a two-year partnership aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles, improving the environment, and building bicycle-friendly communities.
The initiative, announced yesterday at the Washington Auto Show, will see Volkswagen of America provide vehicles and funding for three of Bikes Belong’s key initiatives – Peopleforbikes.org, Safe Routes to School National Partnership (SRTSNP) and Bicycling Design Best Practices.
While specific to the US, Volkswagen’s backing of Bikes Belong sits under with the Germany-based carmaker’s global Think Blue initiative, an umbrella for all of its efforts in the environmental sphere, including encouraging eco-friendly ways of getting about.
One of the first signs of the co-operation comes in the VW logo appearing at the end of the following People for Bikes promotional spot, with the voiceover highlighting some of the benefits of taking to two wheels – although given the Birmingham story we posted earlier today, hoping that “road rage will turn into laughter” does sadly seem a bit like wishful thinking to us. www.peopleforbikes.org/
The spot encourages individuals to sign up to the People for Bikes petition, launched in March 2010, which currently has getting on for half a million signatories with hopes that figure can be doubled by the end of 2012.
“Volkswagen’s commitment to environmental sustainability extends beyond our fuel-efficient vehicles and company practices,” commented Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America.
“We are extremely proud to be partnering with Bikes Belong to encourage biking and ensure that people of all ages can safely share the road, saving fuel and reducing pollution and traffic congestion.”
Bikes Belong vice president Bruno Maier said: “We are thrilled to have a strong partner in Volkswagen, an innovative, forward-thinking automotive company that shares our commitment to sustainable mobility.
“We are looking forward to this joint venture to help create safer roads for all people and help raise awareness of bicycling as a viable, eco-friendly mode of transportation.”
As Bike Portland points out, the news comes in the same month that Bikes Belong recruited its first ever full-time Director of Government Relations, Ivette Rivera Hayes, who previously spent two decades as Executive Director of Legislative Affairs at the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.