For Immediate Release September 8, 2016
From: Melissa Balmer - Founder/Director Pedal Love.org Cell 562.221.9672 Email: Melissa@PedalLove.org
Re: The New Pedal Love Culture & Lifestyle Council Celebrates the Joy and Opportunity of Bicycling for Women
Los Angeles, CA -A group of 18 thought leaders, women passionate about creating safer, more active, more sustainably vibrant and equitable streets, have come together to strategize on humanizing and normalizing bicycling for women and their families in the face of the tremendous cost of our current car-centric, speed-focused culture. The timely group began forming this past spring, prior to last week’s U.S. Department of Transportation call to action for advocacy groups, tech firms and the concerned public to help analyze and share ideas on reducing the number of car crashes in the U.S. -- an alert issued in response to the dramatic increase of 7.2% more people dying in traffic-related crashes in 2015 over 2014.
Launched this week,“The Pedal Love Culture & Lifestyle Council” celebrates how bicycling is revolutionizing the personal health and well-being, financial wellness, and community spirit of women and their families across the U.S. The eighteen-month project consisting of leadership development, storytelling platform, and a traditional and social media outreach campaign focuses on measurably increasing the sharing and media coverage of positive, compelling stories about women and bicycling. The project gives center stage to casual bicycling as a happy activity and joyful form of transportation -- an activity that nearly anyone can participate in, whether they’re 3 years old or 93 years young.
"This council touches on something that is important, humanizing the face of bicycling through storytelling. I ride my bike almost every day, as a commuter and with my family, and I appreciate this council for reminding us that the bicyclists we see on the road are our neighbors, friends, and community members, people we want to keep safe.” said the Honorable T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, Vice Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “I bike because it is convenient and fun, but I never forget that it also must be safe. If we work together, we can help ensure that biking is safe and welcoming for everyone who wants to use this form of transportation."
The Pedal Love Council consists of women recognized nationally as leaders in bicycling, from advocates to policy experts, from entrepreneurs to change agents. All are culture shifters with proven track records of accomplishment in bicycling and beyond and the talent to effectively communicate the opportunities the bike provides as a vehicle for optimism, happiness, and well-being in the lives of women and their families today. The current group of 18 “spokeswomen” will expand as the project advances, and will also include an extended network of contacts for women of all ages, races and backgrounds across the country who’ve discovered the joy and opportunity of biking. All women/trans women who love riding their bikes will be invited to join the conversation and share their stories, showcasing the diversity of women who ride.
The project seeks to normalize and humanize bicycling in the U.S. through storytelling with:
Personal stories of women and their families who have transformed their lives by bike. Stories will be shared of women and their families whose physical, financial, and mental health and well-being have been radically improved through bicycling. While the sport of cycling will be included, the focus will be on the huge opportunity for growth in bicycling by the casual everyday or occasional rider, who has often been overlooked in marketing and outreach efforts by the bike industry. Follow and share your own stories with these hashtags on Twitter and Instagram: #PedalLove, #MindfulMobility, #SelfPowered, #Women4MindfulMobility and #WomenBike.
Asking the U.S. to re-think how we take short trips. Private vehicles like cars, pick-up trucks, and SUVs account for 60 percent of trips of a mile or less. Why not bicycle? The Pedal Love Council will offer tips on how to make short trips by bike easy, with expertise from women who live car-free and car-light lifestyles.
Emphasizing human life over cars and speed. How many members of your family are you willing to sacrifice to become a crash statistic? If your answer is zero, then the Vision Zero Network campaign is achievable. The car is a wonderful tool but a terrible master, and improving street conditions for people biking and walking in every neighborhood also improves conditions for people who are driving. Follow this conversation on Twitter and Instagram with: #VisionZero #CrashNotAccident
Highlighting the need for a transportation justice lens to be applied in developing bike connections and making streets safe for all. Women in particular hold lower-wage jobs in the economy, making transportation costs critical in household budgets and biking potentially a sensible choice. At the same time they can feel unsafe on streets where harassment occurs or where physical infrastructure does not provide a sense of security. Further, lower-income neighborhoods are often the last to receive investments in bike connections, and law enforcement efforts can disproportionately affect communities of color. Addressing issues of equity and social justice in bike planning meets the needs of women in particular, while making bicycling more accessible and welcoming for all kinds of riders. follow this conversation with: #MoveEquity #Bikes4All.
Recognizing the bike is a sustainable tool for dealing with traffic, CO2 emissions, neighborhood connectivity and economic vibrancy. Cities across the country that build safe, high-quality, networked bicycle infrastructure see an exponential increase in bicycling and related business activity. At the same time bicycles support local business growth, Smart Growth America notes that the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014 recommended modal shifts from driving to walking, bicycling, and transit as a key mitigation strategy. Yet the transportation infrastructure in the United States has not been designed and constructed to invite an increase in pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. The Pedal Love Council will add its voice to advocacy efforts across the country asking policy-makers to increase investments in proven bicycle infrastructure on the city, state and national levels. When this type of infrastructure is built, local economies and clean air benefit.
Releasing the Pedal Love Council “action kit” in March of 2017. This kit will be for the media and policy makers to highlight the need, opportunities, and facts about how the bike improves the lives of women and their families on both the micro and macro levels.
The 18 founding members of the Pedal Love Culture & Lifestyle Council (complete biographies available at pedallove.org/meet-the-pedal-love-culture-lifestyle-council/):
Emilie Bahr - AICP, Urban planner and author of “Urban Revolutions: A Woman's Guide to Two-Wheeled Transportation,” New Orleans LA @EmilieBahr
Maria Contreras Tebbutt - Founder/Director the Bike Campaign & Bike Garage of Woodland CA, Davis CA (Certified Bicycle Instructor by the League of American Bicyclists)
Monica Garrison - Founder/Director Black Girls Do Bike, Growing a Community of Women/Girls of Color Who Share a Passion for Cycling With 55+ Chapters Across the U.S. + Antigua, Pittsburgh PA @blackgrlsdobike
Kit Keller - Policy Director Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, former City Council member and Police and Fire Commission President, Cedarburg WI @apbp
Andrea Learned - Sustainability Thought Leadership Strategist, Seattle WA @AndreaLearned
Renee Yvonne Moore - Founder Bicycling & the City, Community Coordinator Washington Area Bicycle Associates, Temple Hills MD @girlonbluebike (Certified Bicycle Instructor by the League of American Bicyclists)
Kellie Morris - Founder/Director Bikeucation - Long Beach CA (Certified Bicycle Instructor by the League of American Bicyclists)
Begun originally as a California-focused organization, Pedal Love expanded across the U.S. in 2016. We cultivate and promote a culture supportive of bicycling and healthy transportation options for the U.S. using storytelling, creative collaborations, leadership trainings, webinars, mentorships and proactive social and traditional media outreach, positioning women as leaders creating active, mindful mobility for all. We work to catalyze this culture through creative storytelling from both thought leaders and real people to engage hearts and minds and create healthier, happier, kinder behavior. Learn more at PedalLove.org.