Sunday, February 13, 2011

Women On Bikes: An Indicator Species: Celebratory Edition

January's South Dakota Bike Summit was remarkable for many reasons - but for me, one reason needs a little more mention - and today's just the right day.

Women. On bikes. Well, it was January so the few bikes that were there were very Pierre based. Follow me anyway...

First there's coalition VP Jessica - without whom there would have been no summit.

Friday night's social-ness was hosted by Amy, the other woman on the coalition board.

Of the three keynotes there was Ann Freiwald: Alta Planning & Design, Heather Brutz: Transportation for America and Ginny Sullivan: from Adventure Cycling.

Coincidence? Not fully. Planned? Not overtly. Good? Absolutely.

(Check out Ginny's review of our "Small But Mighty" summit on the Adventure Cycling blog.)


Today. Sabbath. I'm getting some reading done and found my way to Esquire Magazine's profile of Janet Sadik-Kahn - New York City's Traffic Commissioner.

Curiously Janet was mentioned at our bike summit by a keynote - but only as whatshername in New York. Meet Janet Sadik-Kahn as she recreates public space in New York City - if it can happen there it can happen anywhere...

"In the most elementary terms, Sadik-Khan has plucked the city from under the chassis of the automobile and distributed it, Robin Hood — like, to runners and cyclists and mothers with strollers and large men with small dogs."

"Go find Sadik-Khan pedaling her Specialized Globe bike from her home in the West Village to her office downtown. Tell her you know, dammit, that traffic in midtown is worse. She will smile and say, Listen. If vehicles are going more slowly, then that's safer for everyone! She will say that vehicle-related injuries are down a tremendous 63 percent."

"Like Bible-thumpers and vegans, she has a million different figures memorized cold. She has them organized into trees. If you go this way, she will cut you off with this branch of reasoning. Head in that direction and she has a unique countering set of facts. Either way, it trickles down to the same end result. You have your tardy-to-work card, but she has just saved a few hundred lives. One argument is the clear winner, and it doesn't drive a Honda."

"But to anyone with a clear enough scent of human ambition, this is about more than New York. At the intersection of visionary and engineer you'll find the personal aspiration that is, often, what drives change like this. New York is a testing zone; Sadik-Khan is using it to show the world — the president — what the world city of the future could look like. "If you can do it here," she says with a smile, "you can do it anywhere."


I'm off to find and read the new Rapid City Pedestrian & Bike Plan.


Snakebite said...

I'd see any of the women rider's names on the {cough} Almanzo {cough} 100 roster {cough, cough}. Just sayin'.....

The Old Bag said...

Excellent news.