Looking Back and Looking Forward: National Bike Summit 2016

Looking Back and Looking Forward: National Bike Summit 2016

Cyclist on road in bike lane
By Mike Basarich, Manager of Cycling Infrastructure

Over the last decade Saris has been an active participant in the National Bike Summit in Washington DC. We've been a sponsor, session presenter, lobbyist, and tour guide. The Summit, organized by the League of American Cyclists, is where our advocacy efforts and bike parking infrastructure products comingle with the bicycle coordinators, city officials, advocates, and planners from across the country.

The Saris Parking information area at The 2016 National Bike Summit
The Saris Parking information area at The 2016 National Bike Summit.

This year's get-together, my fourth, was less "activist" than previous years, and more forward looking. In the recent past, the Summit was a galvanizing moment for all concerned about cycling to channel their frustrations at the lack of or elimination of federal transportation funding at those on Capitol Hill and in the administration. But with the passage of the FAST Act (Fixing America's Surface Transportation) by Congress this past December, the emphasis of the Summit itself has shifted from funding appropriation to implementation of policies and programs that reflect new areas of advocacy emphasis: equity, safety, and encouragement.

One of these new movements highlighted at this year's Summit is Vision Zero. Gaining in popularity across the globe, Vision Zero is a multifaceted approach to eliminating traffic fatalities or serious injuries. It's a collaborative approach between municipal departments, officials, and planners, with a singular goal of making their communities safer for everyone. From engineering separated bike lanes, to reviewing historically dangerous intersections, to better understanding of the role transportation plays in under-served neighborhoods, it's a holistic approach that doesn't prioritize one mode over the other, but places safety first. I believe this movement is one of the most positive and encouraging advocacy developments in the last decade, and I'm excited to see where it goes and how Saris may be able to support it through new infrastructure and bike parking products.

NPR building

Bicycle Parking sign

Another welcome addition to the Summit programming was several bike tours being led by League staff. One of tours included a visit to the employee bike parking area at National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters. What made it especially satisfying was that this best-in-class facility featured Saris bike parking racks: our Saris Stack racks. With over 75 spots utilizing our lift-assisted two-tiered racks, plus shower, locker facilities and key-card street-side access, NPR has prioritized bike parking. Combined with Washington DC's emphasis on improving bicycle commuting through adding protected bike lanes, a built-out bike share program, and secure bicycle parking in new residential developments and at Metro stations, NPR's bicycle-parking facility is heavily used and appreciated by an increasing commuter workforce (including one Ari Shapiro).

Inside NPR's bicycle parking facilities
Inside NPR's bicycle parking facilities, featuring our Stack bike rack.

Finally, the Bike Summit is a celebration of all the great people, programs, and achievements across the US. Saris has the privilege and honor of sponsoring the National 5th Grade Poster Contest. The contest gives students the opportunity of about the numerous benefits of the bicycle and encourage them to embrace and promote these benefits in their local communities. Hopefully we are also creating a lifelong love affair with the bike that will produce the next generation of advocates and future National Bike Summit attendees. Congrats to our 2015 winner Caleb Piehl, from Cambridge Massachusetts, for being a deserving recipient.

Mike alongside the 5th Grade National Poster Contest Winner, Caleb
Mike alongside the 5th Grade National Poster Contest Winner, Caleb, at The Summit's Awards Dinner.