National Bike Summit 2016: #bikeLA meets #bikeDC

Fresh off the excitement and gorgeous weather in our nation’s capital, LACBC sent a 5-person delegation to represent at the League of American Bicyclists' 2016 National Bike Summit & Women’s Forum.

We sent in the A-Team starting with our Executive Director Tamika Butler, Planning and Policy Director Eric Bruins, Policy Coordinator Hyeran Lee, Membership Manager Ishraq Ali, and Santa Monica Spoke Director and LACBC Board Member Cynthia Rose!

Between two days of panels, a day on the Hill lobbying and a new season of House of Cards, our team covered the Summit by tweeting, speaking on panels, and lobbying at the Capitol!

Some highlights included:

Mobility Plan wins Campaign of the Year
Cynthia, Hyeran and Eric at Lobby Day
 Winning Campaign of the year Lobby Day on the Hill
  • LACBC winning Campaign of the Year for the Mobility Plan 2035 from the Alliance for Biking & Walking! In her remarks Tamika reminded us that as a bicycle organization it is ok to talk about broader social justice issues in order to make an impact.
  • Cynthia Rose’s Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award for the fantastic work she has been doing with education and bike share through LACBC's local chapter, Santa Monica Spoke!
  • A glimpse of what’s possible in other cities through an awesome ride through DC showcasing the integration of bike share, bike infrastructure, and data collection. 
Arlington Bike ride

Riding our Capital Bikes

 Finishing a 10 mile ride

The running theme of the Summit for LACBC was equity and inclusion. The League shared stats that were very telling: a whopping 75% of all attendees were white, and slightly more than half identified as male. For members of the LACBC delegation, there was a definite feeling that the League needs to diversify their leadership and increase support for local equity work. If our work at LACBC makes one thing clear, it's that biking is a tool to address larger social justice issues: transit accessibility, law enforcement in communities of color, affordability, and engaging underrepresented communities.

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How did we fare in an environment that was the exact culture we seek to transform? Easy, we started building and opening up conversations with other advocates! Tamika’s remarks in her panels and on Twitter set up for great conversation with leaders and organizations across the nation.

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LACBC was certainly not alone in thinking about biking in context of access, law enforcement and affordability. Organizations from New York to Philadelphia to Portland to Atlanta demonstrated how biking is used to engage people of color, youth, and non-English speaking communities.

Here are some highlights from our team:

Tamika Butler: It was great to connect with folks in the same field from all over the country (and even Canada). We got a ton of ideas for how to energize and expand our work. However, it continues to be clear that the movement on a national level is not keeping up with the local growth around diversity and equity that we're seeing at the local level.

Eric Bruins: It was an honor to have our team recognized for all of our local work. Over the past year, LACBC hasn't shied away from tough questions about who we are and what kind of movement we're trying to build in Los Angeles County. With multi-year funding stability guaranteed by last year's transportation bill, there's now a great opportunity for the national organizations to take a step back from reactive campaign mode and work on building a more intentional and inclusive movement that tackles equity issues head-on. I'm hoping LACBC can continue to lead by example with our work locally and continue to build strong partnerships with aligned organizations.

Hyeran Lee: As a first timer, it was really exciting to learn how the national level advocacy affects our work on the ground and to have experienced how the #lobbyday actually works. My highlight was when we got the Winning Campaign Award of the Year for Mobility Plan 2035! I think what the award really means is an encouragement from the Alliance for Biking & Walking to keep the momentum going in LA County!

Ishraq Ali: It was encouraging that the League acknowledged the disparity in representation of bike advocates in the organization and nationwide. By meeting and talking to advocates from all over, I was excited that others fully understand biking as a means to address broader social justice issues. I’m excited about the momentum gained through our campaign award and hope we can set a precedent for other organizations to follow.

Cynthia Rose: I look forward to the League’s National Bike summit every year. It is always a wonderful space to connect and share best practices and lessons learned with our friends from around the country and beyond. This year was particularly special with the recognition we received—me individually and LACBC as an organization—not forgetting all the incredible nominations! With funding stable because of last year's transportation bill, the Summit was smaller but nonetheless an invigorating National Bike Summit to inspire and take us through to next year.


That's it from HQ. Check out our Storify post for pics and tweets!




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