Photo courtesy of momentummag's Instagram
Pin 2014 National Bike SummitFionnuala Quinn's, of Alta Planning & Design, modified Summit pin.
Even a plane cancellation and a snow storm could not keep me away from this year’s National Bike Summit, held in Washington, DC, from March 4-6, 2014, and hosted by the League of American Bicyclists.
Sadly, I missed the Women’s Bicycling Forum and the opening reception. However, I arrived just in time to attend the League’s VIP reception for sponsors and supporters and catch the tail end of the Alliance for Biking & Walking Advocacy Awards reception.
My favorite part of the National Bike Summit was not the seminars, nor was it particularly the keynote speakers, but rather it was the cumulative experience and interactions that occurred when you put 700+ movers and shakers in a room together. Magic happens. People meet, reconnect, and find great inspiration and motivation through sharing their stories and experiences with each other.
All that and hundreds of cyclists getting dressed up and lobbying on Capitol Hill for better bike infrastructure and more funding to make streets safer, more accessible, and much more enjoyable for everyone.
There was a notable lack of bicycle industry leaders at this year’s Summit, including the absence of IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association). But what was lacking from the industry was far exceeded by enthusiastic advocates. And for many, the buzz on the street was that this was the best Summit yet.
Equity took center stage at this year’s Summit. Not only was one of the main conversations around the seminar "Why Equity, Why Now," but Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx spoke to the importance of making the business case for bikes in creating more equality in the development of bicycle infrastructure.
Secretary Foxx gave a welcoming speech at lunch on Tuesday, March 5, and thanked advocates for not having to jump on the table and talk as his predecessor Ray LaHood did at the closing reception of the previous Summit.
Foxx acknowledged that roads must be safe and easy for all modes of transportation and that bicycling infrastructure is far behind where it should be.
Foxx, a bicycle rider himself, pointed out that many people in low economic situations use their bikes to get to work, and by improving infrastructure, we can greatly improve access to jobs and in turn boost the economy and grow the middle class.
What We’d Like to See Next Year
Women keynote speakers were noticeably absent from the Summit. This could be achieved by integrating the Women’s Forum into the Bike Summit as a whole. I'd also appreciate a lot less snow.