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The 2015 CalBike Summit's theme of Equity aims to include everyone interested in active transportation. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

This year the California Bicycle Coalition's Bike Summit will take place in San Diego in late October. The 2015 summit, an opportunity for advocates throughout the state to gather, share information, and learn from each other, will focus on the theme of Equity.

Executive Director Dave Snyder pointed out that equity is becoming a focus in California, especially in the legislature, where climate change legislation increasingly includes requirements to consider fairness across income groups and locations.

“Bicycling is one solution to addressing inequities, and the more that legislators and the people who elect them understand this, the more success we’ll have in making all our communities healthier, safer, and more prosperous,” said Snyder.

The summit will feature three days of learning sessions and networking events, starting on Sunday, October 25. Stephan Vance, who is a planner at SANDAG and on the board of directors for the California Bicycle Coalition, is enthusiastic about the event.

“It's a chance to bring together all of the advocacy organizations around the state to share information and learn from each other,” he said. “It also includes a professional engineering and planning component. Our advocates are very savvy about these topics, and can share information about what cities are doing around the state to help meet our goals. It's the convening of a high powered advocacy group with the addition of a professional bike planning and engineering conference.”

Or, as Snyder put it, “it’s our state’s version of three national events, combining the professional quality of the national ProWalk ProBike Conference with the political savvy of the National Bike Summit and the advocacy expertise of the Alliance [for Biking & Walking]'s Leadership Retreat.”

Session topics will include better bikeways, open streets events, and best practices in political advocacy, communications, economic development, education, enforcement, and encouragement. “All of these topics can be looked at through an equity lens,” said Snyder.

CalBike is will offer a number of free and reduced-price scholarships to help bring in grassroots and community activists who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend. “We want to make sure there's an opportunity to learn from people who may not identify as bicyclists but are interested in community health and other issues where active transportation plays an important role,” said Vance.

“We need to move beyond attending to the interests of just those of us who are focused on bike issues, and include people who just want good ways to get around their communities. We want to bring awareness of street safety and health impacts of active transportation to those groups, and learn from them,” said Vance.

And, said Snyder, that can strengthen the bike advocacy movement. “We are strongest if we do our job organizing around the equity impacts of bicycling,” he said.

"That means all of us, whether we're most interested in the environment, in equity, or even making money; we all need to be on the same page.”

The summit will also include opportunities to have fun, including a party in the Silo in Maker's Quarter, an emerging part of downtown within San Diego's Innovation, Design, Education, and Art—or IDEA— district. There will also be bike tours of local bike facilities, with a chance to ride around San Diego Bay on separated bike paths.

“And we can probably guarantee good weather,” said Vance.

2015 California Bicycle Summit
October 25-28 in San Diego
Registration is open now, with an early bird rate before June 30.

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