The US Congressman's Energy Bill amendment which will "spur bike use", featured on on 1st August, was yesterday given the Presidential seal of approval as Dubya signed off the $14.5 billion bill which incorporates a small but significant $6.25m for a 'Conserve by Bike' programme.

Biker Bush green-lights pro-bicycle legislation

The 1724-page ‘national energy plan’ has had a stormy, four year progress in the US, with claims from environmentalists that President Bush was gifting cash subsidies to private energy companies. The Bush family’s wealth stems from the oil business.

The plan promises to reduce US dependence on foreign sources of oil and encourage energy efficiency and conservation.

Billions of dollars in tax subsidies will be pumped into energy companies.

"This bill is not going to solve our energy challenges overnight," said Bush yesterday.

"Most of the serious problems, such as high gasoline costs and rising dependence on foreign oil, have developed over decades. It’s going to take years of focused effort to alleviate those problems.

"What this energy bill does is it recognizes that we need more affordable and reliable sources of energy in order to make sure the economy continues to grow."

And bicycling – President Bush’s favourite outdoor exercise – is to play a small part in the plan.

This was secured by pro-bicycling Earl Blumenauer, the democrat Congressman from Oregon, who lodged an amendment to the Energy Bill calling for a ‘Conserve By Bike’ provision.

Conserve By Bike will be a programme run by the US Department of Transportation and will see the creation of ten pilot projects across the US designed to conserve energy resources by providing education and marketing tools to convert car trips to bike trips.

"Bicycling is one of the cleanest, healthiest, most efficient and environmentally friendly modes of transportation that exist today," Blumenauer said in support of his amendment.

"Bicycling, as an alternative to automobile travel, can be an important element of a comprehensive energy conservation strategy."

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