This is the final installment of the National Bike Summit Recap. We highlighted a tiny fraction of the organizations and people that attended this year’s event. Again, the role that these organizations play in bicycle and pedestrian safety is extremely important. So go support your local bicycle advocacy group; become a member, volunteer, go to an education class, attend and support hosted events.
Our last Q&A is with Jamie from The City of Fort Collins FC Bike Program. Jamie hosted a sessions called “Bicycle Friendly Driver” a successful education class that she hopes to share to the masses. The “Bicycle Friendly Driver” class teaches what is legal or illegal with photo reference, it teaches and emphasizes little things that can be done to prevent injuring a pedestrian or cyclist; open your car door with your right hand (makes you look over your shoulder), slow down and pass with care, what are the passing laws, etc. This is a program that Jamie and her colleagues have taken to the Fort Collins transportation service and has taught all the drivers how to be a “Bicycle Friendly Driver”, they have taken this to trucking companies, sanitation companies and more. Everyone who passes receives a sticker for their vehicle, and a certificate to show off. I’m sure we’ll hear more on this program’s success in the coming years.
Bike Summit Attendee: Jamie Gaskill-Fox
Organization: The City of Fort Collins FC Bikes Program
Tell me why did you attended the National Bike Summit? I attended the Summit because I was invited by the League to do a session on the Bicycle Friendly Program that we developed and have been implementing in Fort Collins since December 2015.
What are some easy ways for people to get involved and support an organization like yours? 1) Ride your bike and do so in a safe and lawful manner. Be the example – the more of us who are positive examples on a daily basis, the safer we will all be and the more support we will have in the long run. 2) Vote to support sustainable transportation. Our programs won’t exist without the support of voters. 3) Volunteer with our organization – we’re always looking for more awesome Ambassadors. Ambassadors help educate others about safe cycling and encourage others to ride. Plus, Ambassadors help reinforce the positive cycling community.
Why should people support organizations like yours? The work that we do makes roadways safer and easier to travel for ALL people. Our programming also helps meet much larger strategic goals such as climate action goals and reducing traffic congestion.
What was your #1 takeaway from the Summit? Even though there are great things happening across the country in regards to making our communities better for bicycling, we are at a critical time when we need to reflect on what we want the future to look like for people who ride bikes and to make it happen.. We need to find new ways to reach people through each of the 5 (now 6) Es. and engage them in a way that spurs them into action. Change is good – just as long as we grab it by the handlebars and steer it the way we need to go to make a better biking nation.
As urban cycling continues to grow dramatically in popularity, Brompton, the iconic folding bike manufacturer, is launching a new and improved version of their two wheeled scavenger hunt. With events planned in five major cities across the U.S., each event will test cyclists to the max on their local knowledge, teamwork and creativity.
Available to everyone on a bike, no matter the age or experience of cycling, the Urban Bike Challenge is a bicycle scavenger hunt run via a unique mobile app. Participating in teams of two to four cyclists, the challenge will be won by the team that scores the most points. Points are awarded through the app in a variety of ways, including visiting locations, completing tasks and solving clues at locations.
“With more than 1.6 million cyclists in New York City alone, urban cycling has rapidly become a mainstream activity in U.S. cities. For Brompton, we’ve always been about celebrating everyday cycling, and the Urban Bike Challenge is a great way for both experienced cyclists and those new to urban cycling to have fun and explore their city,” said Katharine Horsman, General Manager, North America at Brompton Bicycle. “So, whether you’re an everyday commuter or a weekend recreational rider, we encourage you to sign up for a fun day of riding in the city.”
The Urban Bike Challenge series is presented by Brompton and sponsored by Ortlieb and costs $20 per entry. The series will run across the U.S. with events in:
- San Francisco – Sunday, April 16th, 2017 – in partnership with local shop Huckleberry Bicycles and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
- Los Angeles – Sunday, April 30th, 2017 – in partnership with downtown shop Just Ride LA, the LA Bicycle Coalition, CicLAvia and Metro Bike
- New York – Sunday, July 9th, 2017 – in partnership with NYC shop NYCe Wheels and advocacy group Transportation Alternatives
To sign up, please visit here for San Francisco and here for Los Angeles. Sign up for New York will be available in June. Additional partners and locations, including Chicago and Washington, D.C., will be announced in coming months.
“Cycling in the city can have the reputation of not being a lot of fun,” said Zack Stender, owner of Huckleberry Bicycles. “But this challenge shows off the fun factor of urban cycling, allowing people to check out areas of the city often inaccessible to other forms of transport while enjoying a day out riding with friends.”Tweet Print
For the National Bike Summit Recap, we are highlighting some of the amazing organizations and people that attended this year’s event. The role that these organizations play in bicycle and pedestrian safety is extremely important. Go here to read the Part 1 Recap.
Bike Summit Attendee: Julie Mallis
Organization: Bike PGH, Pittsburgh, PA
Tell me why did you attended the National Bike Summit? I wanted to meet with other youth bike educators and LCI’s (League Cycling Instructor), connect with other women in the industry, discuss and challenge the equity of the work we all do, lobby our state senators for people-centric safer streets and to bike around DC! Being around a lot of bike advocates is empowering and fun!
What are some easy ways for people to get involved and support an organization like yours? Thanks for asking! It’s easy, you can: 1: Donate or become a member. You can become a monthly sustainer or contribute annually, 2: Get your business involved with supporting bicycling, 3: Volunteer at our big events like OpenStreetsPGH or parking bikes at the bike valets.
Why should people support organizations like yours? We are a membership-based organization and we need the support and participation of the community to keep up the work! Our organizational focus is on advocacy, community, and education. We work for policy change and transformation of our urban core by inspiring and advocating within communities to achieve bikeable/walkable streets. As we work together for safer streets, we also host large community events like OpenStreets that reimagine how a street could be used. We provide accessible education programs and printed resources for youth and adults to learn online or on-the-saddle bike safety and tips. There are a number of ways in which someone can support or participate in this work!
What was your #1 takeaway from the Summit? Youth are the future of bicycling and we must centralize their voices and experiences in advocating for safer streets. The Engaging Youth in Advocacy and Education was my favorite session. It was hosted by young people from Philly’s Cadence Cycling and Neighborhood Bike Works, Arlington’s Phoenix Bikes and DC’s Gearing Up. Everything the youth had to say was on-point, inspiring and direct. “Just because I’m a youth, doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about” – Theo of @GearinUpDC
Look forward to one more National Bike Summit attendee posts !
The National Bike Summit is a yearly advocacy event held by The League of American Cyclists. The point of this event is to gather bicycle advocates to coordinate and extend their voices to Capitol Hill and be able to attend sessions to give organizations the tools they need to make a difference within their community and beyond. The hope is to work together to advance the cycling movement as a united front.
Advocacy is not exciting to everyone. There is a lot of legislation talk, accessing state funding, bond money, fund raising, rumble strip and chip seal discussions, lobbying, non-lobbying, federal advocacy and much more. There are times when my eyes glaze over a little and I just want to run into any battle, sword in the air ready to strike. Action first, talk later, me angry, me use fist… you get it. My point is it takes a very dedicated and patient individual to stand up and fight for cycling/pedestrian infrastructure and safety.
Almost every state attended The Bike Summit. Some states had multiple people to march on the hill and make the case for infrastructure funding to their State Senators and Representatives. Some states had only one representative and sadly, some states were not in attendance at all.
Listen, I’m not going to stand up here on this website soap-box and shake my finger at anyone or anything for my concern of lack of attendance. That’s not going to help. Instead I want to share with you the people I met, why they attended, how easy it is for you to get involved and hope that they can encourage you to go out and contribute to your local bicycle advocacy club (or start one!).
Bike Summit Attendee: Kyle Lawrence
Organization: Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, Harrisonburg, VA
Tell me why did you attended the National Bike Summit? I have attended the summit for the past 7 years and think it is important to travel to Washington DC and to the halls of Congress. For us, it is part of a comprehensive strategy to connect with our local, state, and national representatives
What are some easy ways for people to get involved and support an organization like yours? Our organization is membership centered and the easiest way to get involved is to join or come meet us at one of our events or rides to learn about how bicycles can improve our community. We aim to grow the number of smiles and high-fives in our entire community. Like every bike/walk organization, our work touches on a number of aspects involving transportation and land-use planning, education, encouragement and more. Joining any organization is usually step one. Whether you join or not, you should come out to a trail work day, go on a group bike ride, or grab food and drink with us at our monthly social. Above all, you can bring your ideas and energy to our efforts. All groups want and need is new inspiration, high energy and diverse interests. An honest desire to have fun and improve the community are always welcomed with open arms.
Why should people support organizations like yours? Bicycling and walking are mere tools to build stronger and happier communities. We all walk at some point and likely it could be easier and more comfortable. Our organization aims to do the same with bicycle riding. Whether you decide to bike or not, we aim to make it easier and more comfortable to navigate the spaces between the buildings. We believe safer and more comfortable cities grow more smiles, break down barriers, and make our communities happier and friendlier places to live, work, and play. The bicycle just happens to be a nice way to make it all happen. If you believe in strong, friendly communities, you’ll believe in our work.
Keep your eye out for Part 2—more stories from all over the United States of advocacy groups and state organizations looking to grow cycling safety!Tweet Print
Between February 7-14th, Portland Design Works (PDW) will be donating 100% of its sales to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
As PDW states, “The bicycle is a simple tool—a couple of circles and triangles that enable self propulsion. But those of us that ride them know that they’re more powerful than their design suggests. We know that the bicycle can power revolutions—those in our legs, in our hearts and minds and in our communities. We’ve witnessed their positive impact in the past and are hopeful for the change they will bring to our future. Bicycles are machines of freedom.
The American Civil Liberties Union is also a machine of freedom, a non-partisan organization that works to protect and defend the rights and liberties which have been guaranteed to us in our country’s Constitution. In support of the important work the ACLU is doing we’re donating 100% of our sales to the ACLU for the next week—Tuesday, February 7th thru Tuesday, February 14th.”
PDW co-founder Erik Olson says, “Normally our charitable contributions are aimed at efforts to get more people out there riding bikes, but these aren’t normal times. We have to do what we can to ensure, like we recited in grade school, ‘liberty and justice for all.”
What can you do? Just buy something from PDW, and they’ll donate that money to the ACLU. It’s a win-win. Or, you can choose to donate directly to the ACLU Foundation.
We all know and understand the vast benefits that cycling can instill upon our personal fitness, communities and environment. In an effort bolster and expand cycling’s positive influence on society and the environment, The League of American Bicyclists has recently expanded its Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFB) program. Comprised of nearly 1300 businesses in 49 states, the BSB program works with businesses ranging from local mom-and-pop companies to Fortune 500 corporations to, “[recognize] their efforts to encourage a more welcoming atmosphere for bicycling employees, customers, and the community.”
In announcing forty two new and renewing business in the BFB program, League Executive Director Alex Doty praises the efforts of business that actively appreciate the importance of relevance of cycling. “As these businesses make bicycling a safe and convenient option for transportation and recreation they play a vital role in transforming our nation into a safer, healthier and more sustainable place to live and work.”
Business can be awarded four levels (bronze, sliver, gold and platinum) of recognition, depending on their commitment to the promotion of cycling for employees, customers and community. Businesses of any shape and size are welcome to participate. Examples of companies in the BSB include:
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Memphis, TN
A new Silver-level member of the BSB, St. Jude offers a Bike to Work Day, group rides and a bike share program. Lindsey Swann, Wellness Program Manager explains, “St. Jude values its bicycle-friendly initiatives as important to employee recruitment and retention. It encourages healthy living; mental and physical wellness; employee morale; stress-relief and productivity.”
University of Minnesota
By subsidizing bike share membership, offering financial incentives for cycling commuters and cycling support services on-campus, the University of Minnesota is a returning Platinum-level member of the BSB. According to Steve Sanders, Alternative Transportation Manager, “Employees who bicycle are valued, and our team activities have increased camaraderie and cohesion in multiple units of the University. The University is a better place because of our support for all aspects of bicycling.”
If you’re curious to find (and support!) local businesses in your area that are cycling-friendly, the League of American Bicyclists has created a really cool interactive map to help you identify those companies. Click here to check it out.Tweet Print
Courtesy of the League of American Bicyclists
Today, the League of American Bicyclists has awarded 100 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses [pdf] in 31 states and Washington, D.C.
With this announcement, the program has grown to include 1,050 visionary local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies [pdf] from across the country that are changing the script on what it means to provide a top-notch experience and atmosphere for employees and customers alike. There are now BFBs in 47 states and DC. Rotating Mass Media, parent company of Bicycle Times and our sister magazine, Dirt Rag, is proud to be a Gold Level BFB since 2013.
The new Platinum-level BFBs certified this year are Sonos Inc. of Santa Barbara, California, Partners for Active Living from Spartanburg, South Carolina, Quality Bicycle Products West from Ogden, Utah, and Trek Travel from Madison, Wisconsin.
“The business community’s investment in bicycling is playing a central role in making the country a safer, happier, and more sustainable place to live and work,” said Amelia Neptune, League Bicycle Friendly Business Program Manager. “We applaud this new round of businesses for leading the charge in creating a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”
Bicycle Friendly Businesses encourage a more bicycle-friendly atmosphere for employees and customers alike. BFBs attract and retain energized, alert and productive employees, while decreasing healthcare costs.
The Architect of the Capitol, which employs 2,300 staff and oversees the maintenance and operation of all congressional buildings and land throughout Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., received a Bronze award this round.
The government agency, among other advancements, has been working collaboratively with the Congressional Bike Caucus to share information throughout the Capitol campus, and has helped to restart the Federal Interagency Bike Working Group as a means to share best practices within the federal community.
“We are so pleased to make the U.S. Capitol campus a more welcoming place for biking commuters and the visiting public,” said Architect of the Capitol, Stephen T. Ayers. “It is rewarding to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Business and to know that we have a passionate group of employees who implemented a cohesive program to achieve this recognition.”
Hewlett Packard has about 1,900 employees at its Fort Collins, Colorado, location. The new Bronze-level awardee hosts lunch-and-learn seminars on site, focusing on bicycling tips, such as winter riding, basic rules of the road and more.
“HP takes great pride in supporting community wellness and environmental protection,” Hewlett Packard in Fort Collins said in a statement. “We are proud to be part of the movement to make bicycling fun and safe for everyone.”
To apply or learn more about the BFB program, visit bikeleague.org/businesses.Tweet Print
His name is Mark Angeles.
He was 22.
Mark’s name shouldn’t be worth a mention in Bicycle Times, not because he wasn’t worthy of recognition—in fact he was recognized as one of the most distinguished students in his class at Reed College—but because he should be just another happy cyclist celebrating his graduation last week and the onset of summer.
Instead Mark is yet another cyclist killed by a driver in broad daylight. He has become something no cyclist wants to be: a statistic.
In what has been a particularly disheartening month for cyclists here in Portland, Mark was killed May 27 by a tow truck driver turning left in front of him, the third such “left hook” in the past few weeks.
On May 10, Alistair Corkett, a bike shop employee and budding racer had his leg severed when he was hit by a driver turning in front of him, and on May 22 David Garcia received a critical head injury when a driver turned left in front of him.
In a twisted turn of irony, Mark’s death came less than 24 hours after the mayor of Portland, Charlie Hales, hosted a Twitter “town hall” to answer questions about bicycle safety and infrastructure in the most “bike friendly” city in America, a title that has come into some well-deserved criticism in the past few months.
On its face the city seems to be at least trying to stem the bloodshed. It has adopted the Vision Zero project, an international effort to create road networks with zero fatalities or serious injuries. It was created in Sweden in 1997 and became popularized after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio embraced it in 2014.
The Vision Zero program is simple: “No loss of life is acceptable.” At least that is a universal truth that we can all agree on, right?
Mayor de Blasio’s steadfast dedication to safe streets in New York has been vilified by the local transit union, who has made it more than clear that they are unhappy that city bus drivers have been prosecuted for hitting and killing pedestrians. Since last year Six bus drivers have been arrested for violating a right-of-way law, but the Transit Workers Union Local 100 says they should be exempt from the law that makes it a crime to fail to yield and strike pedestrians or cyclists who are rightfully crossing a street with a signal.
“Bus operators should not be held accountable,” TWU 100 President John Samuelsen told CBS New York. Five of the six incidents that warrant arrest under this “unfair” law resulted in a pedestrian death. Talk about unfair.
Now never mind that the very existence of such a law seems outrageously unnecessary—how can it be that hitting a pedestrian who has the right of way isn’t already a crime?!—the union believes bus schedules are more important than safety, and has gone so far as to file a class action lawsuit against the mayor and city to revoke it.
While that nonsense works its way through the system, some folks are taking a stand against it. A couple here in Portland have decided to fight fire with fire by forming a political action committee to take an active role in fighting what they describe as “traffic violence apologists.” Instead of working within the system, Chris Anderson and Amy Subach say they will use any means available to expose and even replace politicians and other public figures that they believe are making streets unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians.
The self-appointed Vision Zero PAC will work nationally to challenge legislation, expose hypocrisy and debunk victim blaming. On its website it has a form that allows users to “nominate a future loser,” and it is offering a $200 reward for a photo of any New York City council members who oppose Vision Zero texting or talking on the phone while driving, which both violate New York state law.
So where does that leave us? Will cities embrace safety measures to allow its citizens to move about without the risk of loss of life? Hopefully. Will cars continue to hit and kill cyclists and pedestrians? Absolutely. Is there anything you or I can do about it? I don’t know.
I’m not afraid to admit that I feel unsafe nearly every time I ride a bike. It’s rare that I can make it from A to B without a car brushing past me too closely or even worse, deliberately swerving, honking, or harrassing me in some way. I hardly ever ride road bikes recreationally any more because of it, and even transportation riding has become less enjoyable. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way.
Within 24 hours of Mark’s death a ghost bike had been placed at the intersection where he died with a growing collection of flowers, photos and handwritten notes. I went to visit it yesterday and left feeling heartbroken and terrified. Not a quarter mile away I stopped at a four-way stop—much to the dismay of the men in a truck going the opposite way who had waited, assuming I would run the stop sign. After they waved me through I waved back and their reply succinctly summed up the attitude that is leading to injury and death.
“YOU’RE STILL AN ASSHOLE.”Tweet Print
For a lot of kids growing up in poverty, the world they know is only what’s directly in front of them. Pittsburgh attorney Mark Rubenstein was seeing young adults make the same mistakes and commit the same crimes as their parents and grandparents. He knew that if he could only expose them to the wider world it would give them a greater perspective on what they could achieve in life.
In 2006 he founded Pittsburgh Youth Leadership, a non-profit that would take at-risk kids from the city on all-expense-paid bicycle tours. Along the way the teens have learned invaluable leadership skills, perseverance, teamwork and how to challenge the world around them.
Since then the group has racked up more than 137,000 miles through 44 states. This summer the organization is planning a 3,000-mile journey from Oregon to New Jersey and filming a documentary of the trip. The film they hope to create a long the way, Conquering the Cycle, will hopefully inspire more teens to challenge themselves and reach for their dreams.
If you’re inspired by how far they’ve come, you can make a donation to Pittsburgh Youth Leadership on its website.Tweet Print
Photos courtesy of the North Natomas Transportation Management Association.
Donate a bike to a child and they will love to ride it, but teach a child how to build and maintain a bike and they will become a cyclist forever. That’s the mission behind the 50 Bikes For 50 Kids program, founded in Alaska and now in California. The annual event matches 50 local youths with teams of volunteers to assemble a bicycle for each child on the team. The volunteers aren’t bike shop owners or mechanics, rather they are local citizens who are often mechanical novices. Prior to the event, they meet with trained mechanics who show them the basics and then check their work for safety after the bicycle is complete. As it’s being built, the volunteers pass along this newfound knowledge to the kids who get hands-on lessons in mechanical skills, teamwork and cooperation. To participate, the kids are nominated by local youth organizations based on their trustworthiness, responsibility and other qualities.
The event began in Anchorage, Alaska, where it matched 251 kids with bikes. The extra was a student who wasn’t selected but heard about the event and attended anyway. The volunteers were so impressed with his enthusiasm they purchased a bike for him to work on. For the past three years the workshop has been held in Sacramento, California. There 647 volunteers have donated 2,391 hours of their time. Each year the event improves, with a new skills course added to the 2015 event held on January 15. Once their bikes were completed, students could learn basic bike safety with some on-bike practice.
The funding for the event has evolved over the years but the intent has stayed the same: an opportunity for organizations and businesses to help make cycling a part of a child’s future. A total of 48 organizations, businesses and individuals donated in some way to the 2015 event. The Specialized Community Grant Program and the Natomas Bike Shop subsidized the bicycles so sponsorships could be “sold” for $250. The bikes were actually valued at more than $400, and included were donated helmets and bike locks.
To learn more, visit the 50 Bikes for 50 Kids website.Tweet Print
In February 2011, a man who grew impatient waiting for a passing Critical Mass ride in Porto Alegre, Brazil, sped his car into the crowd of cyclists, injuring more than 30 people, several of them severely. It was even captured in a (graphic) video. A year later, cycling advocacy leaders from around the world gathered in Porto Alegre to memorialize the anniversary of the attack and push forward an agenda to create safer streets for all users in all cities.
After a one-year hiatus, the third Foro Mundial de la Bicicleta (World Bicycle Forum) will be held in Medellín, Columbia, from February 26 to March 1. Attendance and participation is open to anyone. The theme for 2015 is “Ciudades para Todos – Cities for All,” an agenda that goes beyond just bicycling and includes safe, sustainable mobility for citizens of all the world’s cities. By creating a unified voice to lobby against the motorized transportation networks given favorable treatment, the Forum hopes to inspired local, regional and national authorities to reimagine how people get from A to B.
Scheduled to appear are a who’s-who of international cycling advocates, including Lotte Bech of the Danish Cycling Embassy; Enrique Penalosa, the former mayor of Bogota, Columbia; and Janette Sadik-Khan, the former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.Tweet Print
Each year at the National Bike Summit the Alliance for Biking and Walking announces its winners for the Alliance Advocacy Awards, a way to recognize exceptional groups and individuals who lead in advancing active transportation in North America.
The Alliance received 210 nominations for the 2014 awards, and the final winners were chosen by a panel of past award winners, leaders in the industry and Alliance staff. The People’s Choice Award winner was, of course, chosen by a vote.Tweet Print