Thank you to everybody who joined SVBC and Stanford Hospital & Clinics for our Third Annual Silicon Valley Bike Summit! At 146 attendees, this was our most well-attended Summit yet. We're so lucky to have a a co-host and community partners who share our vision, an army of skilled volunteers, and an amazing group of elected officials, agency staff, law enforcement, ride leaders, and business insiders who are willing to put themselves in the spotlight to talk about bike safety, what's lacking, and what can be done.
The day began with an welcome address from Dr. David Spain of Stanford Hospital & Clinics, who explained that the Trauma Center there is one of the few businesses that really isn't looking for repeat business, hence the hospital's interest in cyclist safety.
Then we were treated to an inspiring presentation by Mia Birk, the visionary former bicycle coordinator who helped put Portland on every cyclist's vacation list. Mia spoke about the challenges that Portland – like every city – faced when it decided to promote bikes more widely. She spoke about the need for political support, the importance of persistence, and value in advertising and celebrating successes, rather than just quietly painting bike lanes overnight.
Following Mia's talk, our panel of local experts and innovators took the stage for a group discussion that covered a wide range of topics relating to bike safety. Menlo Park Councilmember Kirsten Keith led the panelists through a series of questions that touched on ticketing cyclists, educating motorists, offering bike traffic school, creative approaches to behavioral change, and bike infrastructure on both the state and local levels. Next, the audience was invited to question the panelists. And they did – on everything from stolen bikes, to running stop signs, to bridging the cyclist-equestrian divide. Sitting in the spotlight might not have been everybody's idea of a fun afternoon, and we sincerely thank the panel for their time and their thoughtful discussion:
- Derek Chan, Social Media, Online Content & Outreach Manager, California Department of Motor Vehicles
- Alyssa Berman, Director of Brand Marketing, Strava
- Hans Larsen, Director, Department of Transportation, City of San José
- Commissioner James Madden, Traffic Trial Commissioner, Santa Clara County Superior Court
- Captain Mike Maskarich, California Highway Patrol
- Lee Taubeneck, Deputy District Director, Transportation Planning and Local Assistance, California State Department of Transportation
- Chris Waugh, Senior Lead, Health and Wellness Practice, IDEO
We finished the day with a local example of a city that is currently turning around its transportation priorities. Charlie Gandy, former Mobility Coordinator for the City of Long Beach, talked about how that city's leaders used their charisma to set what once seemed like an audacious goal, to become the “the most bicycle friendly city in America.” Though the beachside town was anything but bike friendly when the city council first made that claim, a few years of hard work and cooperation have brought about a biking renaissance in Long Beach. New infrastructure, a robust Safe Routes to School program, and a “Share our Streets” campaign have gotten people out of their cars and embracing active transportation. Along one corridor, a new cycletrack and sidewalk improvements have led to a 300% boost in bike trips, 15% more pedestrians, bike/car crashes are down 80%, and car/car crashes are down 50%. Those last two safety statistics are likely due to the fact that the street redesign had the effect of dropping car speeds by 5 miles per hour. That's quite an improvement in public health and safety for the cost of a few measly mph!
It was an inspirational day, and we look forward to working with our partners at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, both counties, the cities we serve, and the businesses who know that keeping bike riders safe means a healthy, happy workforce. Now, go get involved in your own town and you might enjoy the next Californian bike renaissance!