October 2017 - BICYCLING
NYS Bike Summit a Success
By Dave Kraus
On September 15, cycling advocates from all over New York State enjoyed a long-awaited opportunity to gather in person in Albany to discuss cycling related issues and forge stronger relationships in support of their common goals at the first NYS Bike Summit, sponsored by the New York Bicycling Coalition.
Over 200 cycling supporters met and shared a day packed with workshops, panel discussions, and social events related to cycling advocacy and access around the state. Attendees included advocates, planners, engineers, tourism agencies, community bike shops and numerous bicycle clubs and government, including city, town, county, regional and state officials.
“We’ve been planning this event for well over a year, and we’re thrilled by the success of this first New York Bike Summit,” said Paul Winkeller, Executive Director of NYBC. “We had representation from every corner of the state, and only a few years ago it would have been unheard of to have state agencies at a bike summit. At this event we had six – notably the Dept. of Motor Vehicles and Dept. of Transportation. It’s a very encouraging sign of the tremendous interest in partnering with advocates for more and safer bicycling for all New Yorkers.”
Paul added that cyclists of all kinds in NYS will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the successful summit that will help ensure more effective efforts to improve cycling infrastructure, safety, and equal access around the state.
The summit offered a wide variety of sessions on topics including bike sharing programs and cycling mass transit, equal access, the use of cycling in public health, cycling safety, and building a stronger advocacy movement. There was also a special session on the future of the state’s trail system, especially the 750-mile Empire State Trail announced by Governor Cuomo in January.
A special session at the summit also honored three community bike shops as recipients of bicycling development grants from the Vamos Fund: Albany Bike Rescue, Gobike Buffalo, and Recycle Ithaca’s Bikes. The grant is named for Ivan Vamos (Athlete Profile, June 2017), founder and board member emeritus for NYBC, who found freedom through bicycling after fleeing persecution in World War II. Community bike shops are grassroots efforts to enable disadvantaged New Yorkers to obtain a bicycle and learn to maintain it through low- and no-fee workshops and facilities.
Paul said the next step for the organization will be to expand on the success of the event and build for the future. “We are looking at survey responses from our attendees and putting together a plan to continue the momentum we’ve established with this first summit. We will be publishing our key findings and next steps in the coming weeks.”
Want to get involved? The New York Bicycling Coalition provides a voice for all bicyclists throughout the state, whether you ride on- or off-road, or use a bicycle for daily transportation, recreation, fitness or racing. Visit nybc.net or contact them at email@example.com.