This article first appeared in Streetsblog California.

The California Bicycle Coalition’s biannual Bike Summit is fast approaching, and organizers have released the schedule of events. Some details are still being finalized, including the timing of local bike tours, but the summit will include plenary and breakout sessions, workshops, bike tours, and of course several parties.

As it will take place in San Diego, expect to hear about the work being done in that region to make biking and walking and transit safer and more comfortable for all. This includes opening remarks from leaders of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Bike SD, Circulate SD, and the City of San Diego. A lunchtime plenary session on Friday will also feature several San Diego bike groups hyping the fun and vibrant bike culture that is rising up in the area, facilitated by the nearly 400 miles of bikeways the region has added in the last decade plus. The panel will celebrate the diversity and artistry of these cycling groups, who also create powerful graphic design components as part of their outreach (including the lead image for this post).

The opening plenary session, on Thursday morning, will feature a conversation with Jeanie Ward-Waller, Director of Transportation Advocacy at Fearless Advocacy and until recently Deputy Director for Planning and Modal Programs at Caltrans – that is, until she was fired for asking pesky questions about using road repair funds to widen a highway. Ward-Waller has a lot of admiration for her co-workers at Caltrans, many of whom are trying to do the right things, and she has some ideas about how advocates can help bring about change at the agency. In a conversation with CalBike Executive Director Kendra Ramsey, she will also review the role of the California Transportation Commission and discuss ways its oversight role can be improved and how people can get more involved in its decision-making process.

Topics for some of the summit sessions include successful examples of active transportation advocacy in California (Santa Monica, San Diego, Redding) and elsewhere (Tijuana, the Netherlands, Finland). Other sessions will discuss autonomous vehicles and pedestrian and bicycle safety, designing complete streets for both buses and bikes, slow streets, bike-share, questions around insurance, and finding funding for projects.

One panel will present findings from CalBike’s Complete Streets survey and its analysis of public records to get a handle on Caltrans progress on complete streets.

Summit speakers include leaders at bicycle coalitions, pedestrian advocates, planning agencies, and consultants, all deeply involved in finding ways to make active transportation safer and more welcoming for Californians.

The summit will wrap up with a rapid-fire PechaKucha session, in which presenters will discuss a topic at lightning speed. These short slide shows will include:

  • a look behind the scenes at Deathride – Tour of the California Alps in 2023 and its impact on the local community
  • how city engineers can be a major barrier to getting bicycle and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and what can be done about it
  • a roundup of research on the demographics of bike riders and how infrastructure works – or not – to address these gaps
  • low-cost people-powered bike lane sweepers

There’s still time to register for the summit, which will take place April 18 and 19.

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