Editor’s Note: The Keep the US Moving blog is a collaboration between the National Motorists Association and the Keep the US Moving (KUSM).
Advocacy has never been an easy road, especially if you’re working on motorists’ rights. Many motorists are oblivious to what’s going on with streets that they drive every day until suddenly they can no longer reasonably drive any longer. Motorists assume that streets will be like they always have been or that someone else will advocate for them. To keep streets moving, though, motorists’ rights advocates need to step up because there is no one else.
Remember, all traffic is local, and it takes folks that live or commute in an area to make a case for motorists. Yep, I’m talking about you!
Anti-car and Big Bike factions are vocal and ever-present in pushing their agenda. The battle for streets is real, and the other side is spending cash that a nonprofit like the National Motorists Association and Keep the US Moving does not have since we are both nonpartisan and grassroots. We rely on volunteers to step forward to say, “That ain’t right, and I want to do something about it!”
Nearly all the mobility companies such as Uber and Lyft have joined a coalition to push their agenda and 10 Shared Mobility Principles. The coalition’s stated goal is to get us out of our cars to help, of course, their bottom line as a company.
So much so, the biggest rideshare and delivery companies are fighting tooth and nail to keep their drivers as contractors and not employees as indicated under a California state law commonly known as AB5, enacted January 1st, 2020.
Uber and Lyft sued to have the law changed, which did not entirely run in their favor, while at the same time, they spearheaded a monumental effort to get an initiative on the November 3rd ballot to rollback AB5. They paid canvassers $4 per signature for the petition and quickly received one million signatures, which got the initiative on the ballot earlier this year. Since then, the campaign has hired 10 PR firms to make sure the repeal of AB5 passes.
By the end of August, Uber, and Lyft, along with three other companies, have put $111 million into promoting this ballot measure. The campaign supports 20 Facebook pages, ten websites, nine Twitter accounts, five YouTube channels, and two Instagram accounts. This CNET article outlines the particulars and the harassment they are hurling on AB5 supporters.
Arthur Miller, attorney, cofounder of the website/podcast NY Truckstop, and cofounder of KeepNYCMoving, recently said in an email that the NY e-bike companies spend $150,000 each month on lobbyists to make sure that electric mopeds and e-scooters are legalized without requiring licenses, registrations, or even insurance. Revel Scooters had to leave town this summer after three scooter riders died. But if motorists or truckers talk about their own safety in trying to drive with mobility devices like scooters, we are oftentimes shouted down and called killers ourselves. The safety discussion is shut down because, according to Vision Zero dictates, the vehicle driver is at fault no matter what.
We have not even touched how much money is spent to promote local road diets, which helps both developers and construction companies.
Many of the national advocates for Keep the US Moving started out fighting road diets and traffic calming in their town, city, or even local highway. All they’ve ever had was hard work, and usually their own cash to try to make a difference.
Here are a couple of comments these advocates made recently about why they do what they do:
California author, lawyer-activist, and cofounder of KeeptheUSMoving, Chris LeGras:
I got involved because road diets are ruining my city. I got involved because I saw one too many emergency vehicles trapped on an absurdly and dangerously redesigned street. I got involved because at a moment in history when technology is about to deliver previously unimagined ways of getting around, a tiny handful of activists – and the corporate interests for whom they are useful idiots – are trying to push us back into the 18th century.
Business Owner, cofounder of Keep the US Moving, founder of Keep Waverly (Iowa) Moving, and now a Waverly City Council member, Matthew Schneider:
I got involved because our communities are under attack. Our communities are under an ideological attack. Unfortunately, this has a host of economic and social consequences that are not intended. We need to bring some decency and common sense back to the discussion and to the way we are operating our governments.
A Michigan NMA member:
Mobility is very important to me because it’s basic to our freedom of choice. When we can move freely, we have the maximum choice of how to support ourselves, associate with our families and friends, have fun, and live every part of our lives. Anything that slows traffic or raises the cost of travel reduces freedom and opportunity. I’m willing to work to keep us mobile.
Recently, Streetsblog USA posted the most outrageous op-ed yet: Why Most Pedestrian Infrastructure is Really for Drivers. This is pure propaganda, and all motorists should be concerned and warned. The Anti-Car and Big Bike factions pump out content that is outrageous so that when they make their real plea or ask, it sounds more reasonable.
Fighting the Anti-Car and Big Bike factions will not be easy and straightforward, but motorists must take a stand!
For additional reading, check out these links:
- All Traffic is Local: A Look at Force-Fed Road Diets
- 10 Reasons to Fight against Road Diets in your Community
- Vision Zero Invasion of the Car Itself
- Do Vision Zero Programs equal more Traffic Accidents?: NMA E-Newsletter #559
- Level of Service: Measuring Traffic Congestion
Keep the US Moving and National Motorists Association Resources:
If you are fighting a road diet or traffic calming in your community, contact us:
For additional information, subscribe to the NMA’s Driving News Daily Top 6 Headlines, a five times per week email.