A victory for bike educators and advocates: Bike New York’s President/CEO Ken Podziba shares an exciting announcement in a letter to the organization’s supporters.
It’s an honor to have been appointed Chairman of the League of American Bicyclists. Over the next two years, I look forward to working closely with the board of directors and Bill Nesper, the League’s Executive Director, to champion initiatives that promote stronger cycling infrastructure and education from the local to the national scope.
My introduction to the League came shortly after I began working with Bike New York, when I attended the National Bike Summit in 2010. Watching as bike advocates from all over the country were drawn to gather by a shared vision of safer streets, I was struck by the movement-building power that springs to life in environments that promote an open exchange of ideas. I met so many interesting people and was greeted with so much passion and energy that I immediately knew I had to get involved.
Advocating for a more bicycle-friendly America is deeply rooted in the League’s history: Members of the organization have been at the fore of the fight since 1880. Progress has not come in a straight line over the past 140 years–in some eras, it was hard to pinpoint whether the movement was progressing at all. Thankfully, it’s easy to identify the many areas of growth cultivated within America’s cycling network in the modern era, but every step forward illuminates the huge challenges we have yet to overcome. The national spike in bicyclists being killed by motor vehicle drivers is something deeply felt here in New York; despite a well-organized contingent of riders successfully pushing for the construction of protected bike lanes over the past decade, 28 bicyclists have been killed on New York City streets so far this year.
This trend will only change with an urgent and sweeping effort to instate actionable plans for every community across America to designate their streets as safe zones for all people. We need to see a shift toward federal funding directly encouraging cities and towns to adopt Complete Streets and Vision Zero programs. In this period of critical transformation, I believe that bike organizations nationwide will find the League’s established toolkits an invaluable resource–not only its great educational curriculum for bicyclists, but also its materials made to inform motorists about how they can better coexist with bicyclists. Across cities and borders, we must continue to test new ideas, share success stories, and raise a united movement to channel our collective outrage into a demand for greater accountability that cannot be ignored.
In the face of such challenges, the voices from our community couldn’t be more valuable. I welcome members of the Bike New York family to share their suggestions and input, so feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re on the road toward a more bike-friendly city, country, and future, and I’m calling on you to come along for the ride.