Last Saturday, I had the privilege of attending the Women Bike, Women Lead Summit at the California Endowment in Downtown Los Angeles. The summit included workshops and activities aimed at building the capacity of women interested in using their skills, networks and bikes as a way to create change in their communities. The summit was part of the Women Bike, Women Lead series, which was funded by a grant from Women Bike, an initiative of the League of American Bicyclists.
The summit included three panels focusing on different issues for women in the bicycle community: Community Health and Equality, Local Policy and Planning, and Media and Marketing. The summit also included smaller group activities where we discussed different issues facing women cyclists and possible solutions to those issues.
The panel on Community Health and Equality featured Vanessa Great of Cyclists Inciting Change Thru Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.), Tamika Butler of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), and Rio Contreras of Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM). The panel discussed issues regarding how equality, the built environment, political, and social factors affect health. This included issues such as incorporating bicycling for community members of all ability levels and expanding bike infrastructure as it relates to gentrification.
The second panel about Local Policy and Planning consisted of Avital Shavit of Metro and Rubina Ghazarian of the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). The panelist provided updates to the latest efforts in active transportation policy throughout Los Angeles, including discussion on multimodal transportation methods and policy to increase safety for bicyclists.
Melissa Balmer of the California Bicycle Coalition, Women on Bikes California and the PedalLove.Org initiative and Kellie Morris of the Pedal Love Podcast and the Carson Bicycle Coalition teamed up for the Media and Marketing panel. Melissa and Kellie provided the summit with insight on how we can use social media, mindful mobility and personal stories to strengthen the relationship between cyclists and the community, including making an impact on the way the community views bicycles and the people who ride them.
I’m so glad I was able to attend this summit. I went into it with some issues in mind that I would like to see improved for cyclists in my community. I now feel more inspired to share what I learned and do what I can to make things better for all of us on the road. Thanks to all the panelists for sharing your passion and insight, and to Daniella Alcedo and Maria Sipin who organized the summit.