Congress’ Best Bike Advocate to Retire

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By Charles Pekow — At the end of the current term, Congress will be losing its most ardent advocate for bicycling. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) announced he will not seek reelection. First elected in 1996, Blumenauer was known for commuting to work by bike and he founded the Congressional Bike Caucus, which now includes more than 130 members from 40 states.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer is a strong proponent of bicycling in the House of Representatives. Photo from blumenauer.house.gov

He was largely responsible for the Bicycle Commuter Act, which passed in 2008 giving tax incentives to bike to work. The law was repealed in 2017 and Blumenauer has been fighting ever since to reinstate it in some form. In the current Congress, he introduced legislation to allow cyclists to get part of the pre-tax benefit that drivers can get for parking at work.

Blumenauer’s home city of Portland constructed a bicycle pedestrian bridge over I-84 named after the representative, which opened in 2022.

Blumenauer pushed many other bicycle bills ranging from Safe Routes to School to tax credits for ebikes. Before being elected to Congress, he founded Portland’s Bicycle Program.

[Editor’s Note: See our interview with the congressperson here: https://www.cyclingwest.com/advocacy/interview-with-rep-earl-blumenauer-d-or-chair-of-the-congressional-bicycle-caucus/]

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