It really means a lot that my little idea has reached so many people, and that so many of you like it. I am humbled. The power and possibility of the Internet never ceases to amaze me, and I can’t wait to see how far this will go.
So here’s the story:
My plan for the cards is to have a version in every state and every major biking city, along with a localized version of the Bike Safe Boston website that the cards will refer people to. This plan has two goals:
1. I want to build a nationwide network of experienced bike lawyers to whom I can refer anyone who calls the number on my card after getting into an accident. Too many people in the biking community have no way of knowing whether a lawyer is any good or not, so they end up going with the first one who finds their police report and sends them a letter. I hope to vet and establish relationships with qualified attorneys in other states that not only specialize in bike law, but are also cyclists themselves. This requirement isn’t just about credibility; knowing what it’s like to ride in traffic is enormously important for an attorney handling a bike accident case. It allows us to better understand and describe an accident, as well as the unique challenges that a cyclist encounters on the road.
2. The second goal is twofold: I want to use the cards and websites to educate cyclists about the laws in their own states so that they can ride confidently and safely with traffic. Additionally, I want to let people know about the laws that other states have passed to protect bikers, and how those laws came to be. My hope is that by educating people about what the laws are, as well as what they could be, I can create a situation where regular cyclists themselves can be inspired to become bike advocates in their communities. The sites would provide links to local advocacy groups, as well as news and information on how to get involved with efforts to pass new legislation. We can all benefit from better bike laws; it’s just a matter of knowing that they exist.
In order to achieve these goals, I have to have a version of my cards in just about every state. To do that, I need to enlist the help of local bike shops, coffee shops, bookstores, and other local businesses. The thing is, I’m happy to pay for the design work and do the legal research for other states’ cards, but the printing and distribution is just more than I can afford. I’m a very small operation (it’s just me and Tim!), and nearly all of my income goes into building my practice here in Boston.
Fortunately, I’m not looking for very much. The printer that I deal with will print, fold, and ship 1000 cards on their best heavy stock for around $200*. It’s not a one-way street, either: the front of each card will read “printed courtesy of” the name or website of the business or organization that paid to have them made. I will also do a glowing write-up on my website for each new out-of-state distributor.
As of right now, Tim is working on the New York City card and the California version has been designed and is ready to print. In order for me to start work on other states, I need at least one person in each state to pledge to print a run of them. I’m not asking for any money (you’ll deal directly with the printer for that), I’m just looking for your promise.
I know this may not have been what you had in mind when you emailed me. Believe me, if I could afford it, I’d print all 50 versions myself and mail them out to you today. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the resources. But I bet that each one of you probably knows a place in your town that could spare a couple hundred bucks for a unique bit of advertising like this. If you do, please send them a link to this post. If they decide they’re interested, the new designs could be ready for the printer within a week.
So there you have it: a truly local grass roots effort to create a revolution in bike advocacy, and provide access to qualified bike accident specialists across the country. If you want to get involved, you already know where to find me.
*UPDATE: I’m happy to announce that since writing this post we’ve started working with a new printer that can produce the cards for a fraction of the cost I originally quoted. Now, before shipping, the cost of printing 5,000 cards is only $130! Hooray!