ADVOCACY: National Bike Summit Reflections

Three NYBC staff members traveled to Washington DC this past week to attend the National Bike Summit, produced by the League of American Bicyclists (#NBR17). Pictured to the left representing New York are NYBC’s Tom Polk, NYBC’s Ken Crandall, Dr Scott MacRae (Rochester Cycling Alliance), Joe DePalma (Suffolk Bicycling Riders Association) and NYBC’s Maura Gannon. Since we all went to different seminars, here are the reflections of the three staff members:

KEN CRANDALL:

I have to say I was blown away with the experience. There’s nothing like spending four days surrounded by bicycles and people that love them just as much as I do.

I had the good fortune to meet a great many people, including LAB’s new Education Director, Alison Dewey. I look forward to seeing how Alison grows and develops the League Cycling Instructor program. With the new coach training coming up in Colorado, I’m excited to see what is in store.

My biggest takeaway from the summit was the presentation on the Fort Collins, Colorado “Bicycle Friendly Driver” program by Jamie Gaskill-Fox. This innovative program educates drivers on the “best and safest ways to share the road with people on bicycles.” The classes focus on the following points:

  • Why sharing the road is the safest alternative for both motorists and bicyclists
  • What’s legal and what’s not legal, for both motorists and bicyclists
  • Common crashes and how to avoid them
  • Why bicyclists “take the lane” and what motorists should do in response
  • How to navigate bicycle related infrastructure such as: sharrows, bike boxes, and green lanes.

I will be adapting this exciting program to New York State and offering it for use to all our LCI’s and bike educators to help spread the word that motorists and bicyclists all fare best when we respect each other on our roads.

TOM POLK:

For me, as a new member of NYBC, going to a conference where everyone wanted to positively advance bike safety education and discuss best practices for the bike movement, I felt very honored to have represented NYBC and NYS at the Summit.

  • Preview of the Bicycle Friendly Benchmarking Report Online – In the past, the Benchmarking Report compiled by the Alliance For Biking and Walking and the League of American Bicyclists was available as a hard copy or download; starting next month it will be on a searchable website that will allow activists and policy wonks to select state and city biking and walking data to make their case for safer infrastructure.  We’ll keep you posted when it goes live!
  • The Specialized Foundation presented on their grant program for middle school students, “Ride for Focus.” This is a grant opportunity for middle schools to bring bike education to their students.  Apply here.  Applications are due March 24, 2017, so check it out now!

MAURA GANNON:

I took a different path at the summit, meeting and networking with people that NYBC is doing business with and some that we are cultivating.  Stay tuned to upcoming newsletters as we announce new funding initiatives and collaborative partners being added to the NYBC community.

While at the summit, I did go to a great workshop put on by Melissa Balmer, owner of Pedal Love, a social media, communications and networking firm from CA. She updated our group on the new and emerging social media trends while asking us to develop our own story for our organization and tell it to our members, donors and friends. The workshop was very hands on, but, more importantly, was designed for every attendee to develop their own “storytelling” style for their organization. Great stuff!!