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League of Michigan Bicyclists petitioners to Amtrak: Let us bring bikes aboard!

A grassroots drive to convince Amtrak to accommodate bicycles on passenger trains has generated thousands of online petition signatures and excitement among rail advocates.

The League of Michigan Bicyclists engineered the petition drive. Currently, Michigan Amtrak services do not allow bicycles to be on board or checked as luggage.

The petition asks Amtrak to implement recommendations in the Michigan State Rail Plan published by the Michigan Department of Transportation. That plan calls for allowing bikes on trains by retrofitting passenger rail cars to accommodate bicycles on all Michigan service routes. It also calls for establishing a date when roll-on bicycle accommodations will be available, updating the reservation system to allow on board bicycle accommodations, and further collaboration with the Michigan cycling community to promote the new accommodations.

Amtrak has indicated it intends to accept bikes on all Michigan routes. The League of Michigan Bicyclists is pushing the company to move assertively in order to capitalize on eco-tourism. Michigan “…is home to a number of bicycle tours in or near Michigan communities serviced by Amtrak,” the League wrote on its website. “By adding bike facilities on Amtrak trains, many Michigan communities could benefit from increased tourism spending, particularly from vacationing Chicago residents.”

Amtrak services that run out of Chicago, which use the same cars as Michigan services, already accommodate bicycles. At press time, the Bike on Train Petition had more than 2,200 signatures, nearing the League’s goal of 2,500.

Find out more at the League’s website, www.lmb.org.

—By Alexis Ringman, MEC
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