June 7, 2011

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Washington Watch

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AAA Watch
AAA Northern California Tries to Cut Bicycle Safety Bill Off at the Pass

Things Have Come to a Pretty Pass on CA Senate Bill 910

As it was approved by the California Senate's Transportation and Housing Committee on May 3, Senate Bill 910 would require motorists to provide bicyclists with at least three feet of space when passing from behind or to slow to within 15 mph of a bicyclist's speed if a three foot gap could not be met or maintained.

If enacted, the bill would also legalize the practice by motorists of crossing a double yellow line to safely pass a bicyclist when the opposite side of the road is clear.

Well, AAA Northern California must have heard AAA Mid-Atlantic's cry for support for defending the roads for motorists in the alleged " war" that bicyclists are waging against them, because the automobile club officially opposes the bill as it was drafted and has spoken against it.

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In The News
Better World Club: Don't Bike to Work Without It

"Busy Bike Week!"

by A Girl and Her Bike

"Ok, so I got my laptop, my keys, my wallet... What else should I bring? ...Bike supplies (a multi-tool, mini-pump and/or air cartridges, spare tube, patch kit, super glue, small knife, small screw driver, and your Better World Club card)..."

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Member Alert
Don't Let This Summer Pass You by Without Getting Out to Enjoy America's Natural Splendor!

Better World Club Still Sells National Park Passes

Okay. So we're over the "pass" thing now (but only because we ran out of usable idioms.) Really, though, when's the last time you went to visit Old Faithful? Or spooked your kids by making them ride one of those mules that hugs the outside edge of the trail as it follows your guide in and out of the Grand Canyon? Ever been to the Everglades, or Redwood National Park, or Yosemite, or Crater Lake, or Death Valley (you get the idea).

Well, Old Faithful is still around, and the Grand Canyon is only getting deeper. This summer, get out there and see them! What? You don't have a National Park Pass? Better World Club can help: just log in to the member section of our website and click the "Park Pass" tab at the left of your profile page to place your order. We aren't allowed to offer the passes at a discount, but will throw in a free carbon offset for each pass you purchase. Don't let another summer pass you by!

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Top Story
The Results Are In!

BWC President Mitch Rofsky Is the World's Sexiest Man!

No. You're Right. He Isn't. Clooney and Pitt Are Relieved.

The Results of Our Member Survey Showed that You're Too Smart to Fall for That

Over the past few months, we've asked our members to complete our first ever member survey. Thanks to everyone who responded! We know that we've kept you waiting, but the results of the survey are finally in.

Easy questions first: 100% of respondents are aware that Better World Club provides roadside assistance.

Unfortunately, most of our members still don't seem to know about our insurance. Only 47% of respondents were aware that we offer auto insurance (with a free carbon offset), and only 22% knew that we offer home insurance as well. Well, we're telling you again. Interested? Get a quote!

Interestingly, our survey also asked respondents about their interest in "green" auto insurance, and the percentage of people who would purchase a green insurance product with a higher premium was nearly as high as that for those people who would only purchase the product if it were priced lower than their current premiums. Check future editions of Kicking Asphalt for more on this.

We'd tell you that you could start doing more by telling your friends about Better World Club, but apparently most of you already do. A whopping 70% of members surveyed have recommended Better World Club in the past, and another 28% have considered it or might now consider it in the future. That must mean that everyone is familiar with our referral program, right?

Just in case: for every new member that an existing member refers, the existing member will receive a 25% discount on his or her renewal (up to one free membership per membership year). Maybe that's enough to convince the last 2% to get in on the action?

Hundreds of respondents indicated that they were willing to spend time to "help" the club. Thanks!

Get this: 57% of respondents reported that they had been to graduate school. Apparently graduate students like questions.

And we knew our members cared about the environment, we just wanted to know how much. Of the members who responded to our survey, 73% either already spend time and money to live as green a lifestyle as possible or do many green things now and would like to do more. Why not start with displaying one of our window clings? Nearly half of you said you wanted them, and we've since delivered (see below).

Thanks again to everyone who participated! We think you'll like the future even better. (Of course, we won't know until we do another survey.)

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Read Last Issue's Top Story:

- That Kerry/Edwards Sticker is a Little Outdated, Don't You Think? (BWC Introduces its New Window Clings)

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Alternatives Federal Credit Union

The Choice for a More Economically Just Community in the Area of Ithaca, New York

Alternatives Federal Credit Union is a Community Development Financial Institution, dedicated to building wealth and creating economic opportunity for underserved people and communities. It was originally chartered to serve small businesses that weren't able to get expansion capital from the established banking system. Alternatives now also services individuals, offering a full range of banking services to anyone who lives in Ithaca, NY, Tompkins County, or the adjacent counties (Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Seneca, Schuyler and Tioga).

Joining is easy: A one time $20 membership fee and a minimum $5 deposit in a savings account makes you a member of the Alternatives Fund, the credit union's "field of membership," and in the Alternatives Federal Credit Union itself.

Better World Club is proud to now offer a 10% discount on Better World Club membership to members of Alternatives.

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Looking for coverage for your company's or organization's fleet? Contact us!

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Washington Watch
16 Republican Senators Want to Abolish the EPA

Should We Ignite the Cuyahoga River in Protest?

Sixteen Senators -- all Republicans -- are co-sponsoring legislation to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (by merging it with the Department of Energy).

Their action is consistent with those of business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that are protesting "overregulation."

Overregulation? While recognizing that many regulations are poorly designed or enforced, a case might be made that many major U.S. corporations are underregulated.

In fact, well designed government regulations often foster innovation within a dynamic marketplace (e.g. the development of more fuel efficient cars), while also protecting small companies and individuals.

Unfortunately, silly or contradictory regulations get the press' attention while successful regulations are ignored. Useless regulations should certainly be corrected, but without undermining the very idea of economic regulation itself.

If businesses acknowledge what we know -- that the marketplace is essential but not perfect -- then it follows that regulation is necessary. And the evidence for that is all around us -- both when regulation works and when it doesn't.

The examples of success are so numerous that we can only list a few representative examples here...

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TravelCool Website of the Month
Stand Up for Main Street...at a Star Studded Event in L.A.

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Public Citizen with an All-Star Comedy Benefit

Since its founding four decades ago, Public Citizen has earned a reputation as the countervailing force to corporate power.

Why? Because Public Citizen focuses on hard-hitting advocacy strategies in the nation's capital (and had some help from Better World Club President Mitch Rofsky back in the seventies).

But on June 12, Public Citizen will be traveling far outside of Washington DC to Los Angeles, where a cadre of progressive comedians are getting together to celebrate the organization's 40th anniversary.

All proceeds from Stand Up for Main Street will benefit Public Citizen.

If you'll be in Los Angeles on June 12 -- or if your friends or family will be there -- click here to get tickets now!

Then again, what a great excuse to go to L.A. -- and to talk about Mitch behind his back with his old colleagues. Book your trip now using our spiffy multi-purpose booking engine.

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Be sure to take a peek at our ' Bodacious Page of Travel Links and Resources.' Our travel links page sports a crazy HUGE number of links, so if you're planning some travel this is a great resource.

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?
Report: Nissan Leaf sales to hit 10,000-12,000 in U.S. by end of 2011

by Eric Loveday, Autoblog

According to Al Castignetti, Nissan's vice-president of sales, 2011 U.S. sales of the Nissan Leaf will be somewhere around the 10,000- to 12,000-unit range. Of course, this jives with what we've heard before, but considering that most Japanese automakers have slashed production due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami, it's a relief to have confirmation that Leaf production hasn't been noticeably altered.

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Saudi prince calls for lower oil prices

from CNN Wire

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal said Sunday that he wants oil prices to drop so that the United States and Europe don't accelerate efforts to wean themselves off his country's supply.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on "CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS," the grandson of the founding king of modern Saudi Arabia said the oil price should be somewhere between $70 and $80 a barrel, rather than the current level of over $100 a barrel.

"We don't want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price of oil goes, the more they have incentives to go and find alternatives," said Talal, who is listed by Forbes as the 26th richest man in the world.
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The grand tour: How bike tourism helps local economies

by Elly Blue, Grist.org

Bike-friendly cities, off-road paths, and scenic country roads where cyclists can spin along in comfort aren't just good for the people who live in those places. They also attract tourists. And tourists mean money for the local economy.

Tourism is one of the U.S.'s largest industries and biggest employers, creating millions of jobs and bringing in hundreds of billions of dollars each year (not to mention the tax benefits).

Bicycle touring has long had an honored place in the tourism economy and culture. This doesn't go unrecognized: In Wisconsin, bike tourism is estimated to contribute $1.5 billion to the state's economy every year.

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