Since 2009, the Alliance for Biking & Walking has held the Advocacy Awards to recognize excellence in the bicycle and pedestrian movement. The annual Alliance Advocacy Awards are held in conjunction with the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit.
Awards are given in the following categories to recognize work done in the last calendar year:
Advocate of the Year
This award goes to an individual leader of a bicycling and/or walking advocacy organization who has shown tireless commitment to promoting bicycling and walking in his/her state/community. This person goes above and beyond the call of duty to transform his/her state/community into a great place for biking and walking. His or her time, knowledge, creativity, and commitment are the highest standard of excellence exemplifying a role model for peers.
The 2016 Advocate of the Year is Fernando Martinez, formerly of BikeTexas.
Fernando Martinez has been a tireless advocate to expand and improve bicycling in the Lone Star State — and beyond — for more than three decades. Martinez first joined the staff of BikeTexas in 2005 as a Safe Routes to School Outreach Coordinator in Amarillo, Texas, in the first and largest SRTS pilot program in the country. He subsequently worked as a Mobility Coordinator and Program Manager and, most recently, Martinez played a central role in advancing bicycling in Brownsville, Texas, a community with some of the nation’s highest rates of poverty and poor health outcomes. But Martinez is more than a trusted expert in policy, infrastructure and programming — he is a spirited leader who inspires and galvanizes everyone around him.
Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award
This award commemorates Susie Stephens, one of the Alliance’s founders and an enduring inspiration for many members of the bicycle and pedestrian movement. The honor goes to an individual who carries on Susie’s passion for advocating for bicycling as a fun and economical means of transportation, as well as creating a safe biking and walking environment for all.
In 2016, Cynthia Rose won the Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award.
Cynthia Rose, the founder of Santa Monica Spoke, is also known to many in the Los Angeles area as “Purple” (her favorite color) — but her vibrance spans the spectrum of bicycle advocacy. She played a key role in helping launch the first public bike share program in Los Angeles County: Breeze Bike Share, and pioneered the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Local Chapter program. She is an educator, an advocate and a rider leader, but even her actions are outdone by her joyful enthusiasm. Her bright smile and infectious attitude have invited countless new riders into the movement by making bicycling welcoming and fun. As her nominator summed up: “Cynthia truly is an inspiration.”
Advocacy Organization of the Year
This award goes to a bicycling and/or walking advocacy organization who, in the past year, made significant progress. Their leaders have worked tirelessly together to grow and strengthen their organization and fulfill their mission. The proof of their efforts is in the growth of their capacity and programs and the victories they have achieved for biking and walking in their state/community.
The 2016 Advocacy Organization of the Year is Living Streets Alliance (Tucson).
“Every once in awhile, you meet a group of people that make magic through the work they do. Living Streets Alliance in Tucson is just that.” Many of the nominations for LSA echoed that sentiment, praising the stellar efforts of an organization that is small but mighty — and making a big difference for biking and walking access for everyone in their community. In addition to launching a massively successful Cyclovia Tucson, an Open Streets initiative, on a shoestring budget, LSA has won protected infrastructure for bicyclists and mobilized a coalition of more than 40 organizations for a bond measure to improve pedestrian safety. And that’s in addition to a wealth of creative programming: From Walktober and Bike Fest events to Neighborhood Walkability Assessments, from expanding Safe Routes to School to supporting Bike Friendly Businesses, LSA is a true model for an authentically multimodal community organization.
Winning Campaign of the Year
This award goes to an organization for a winning campaign, in the last year, which has had the biggest impact on walking and biking. Their victory will dramatically increase active transportation in their state/ community or will dramatically shift the way that walking and biking are considered.
In 2016, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition won Winning Campaign of the Year for Mobility Plan 2035.
With 300 miles of protected bike lanes, the adoption of Vision Zero and a central commitment to safety, the Mobility Plan 2035 passed by the Los Angeles City Council in 2015 marked a major transformation for big city transportation. Behind the scenes, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition helped to lead that charge with a thoughtful, strategic and multi-year campaign to increase access and safety for all. Their inside-outside game, rallied the public and LACBC members to engage with their policymakers, brought new partners to table and authentically considered the need of all road users, from bicyclists to bus riders. Read much more about their effort here.
In partnership with the League of American Bicyclists, this Award recognizes a person, program, campaign, or organization that has worked to elevate the walking and biking movement to be more equitable and inclusive through authentic and meaningful engagement with people or communities. This can include programs such as Women Bike, activities that engage youth or people of color, or other methods of engaging persons or groups under-represented in bicycling and walking organizations and/or transportation decisionmaking.
In 2016, Community Cycling Center (Portland) won the Catalyst Award.
Long before equity was embraced as a priority for many in the bike movement, the Community Cycling Center in Portland has been leading the way in advancing truly inclusive advocacy. From catalyzing (sometimes difficult) conversations on the national stage to investigating its own operations through an equity lens, the Center has charted new territory in the bike-walk movement and inspired others to join them in the pressing need to reevaluate how we engage with community and define our leadership. For instance, its work with Andando en Bicicletas en Cully (“Riding Bikes in Cully”) — a Spanish-speaking group in a low-income housing development — has shown how advocacy organizations can work with and be led by community to build a movement that recognizes the expertise and value of all residents.
This is the inaugural year of the Catalyst Award.
Past Advocacy Awards Categories
In past years, the Alliance has awarded Innovation Awards, Best Practices Awards, Lifetime Achievement Awards, Business Advocate of the Year and Bicycling Magazine People’s Choice Award.
- The nominations process is open to the public and generally takes place in January of each year.
- Anyone can make up to ten nominations — limit two nominations per person, per award category.
- Many nominations are received for the Advocacy Awards. In 2014, over 80 people were nominated for Advocate of the Year. Alliance staff members sort through all submissions to select the final nominees.
- Depending on the award category, criteria for final nominee status may include overall demonstrated value to the biking & walking advocacy movement, breadth of organizational focus, or Alliance membership status.
Final nominees in each Award category are considered by a panel of judges from throughout the biking & walking movement. A winner is chosen based on the averages of all judges’ scores. The 2014 Advocacy Awards judges panel included past recipients of Alliance Advocacy Awards, members of the media, leaders from national biking and walking advocacy organizations, and Alliance staff members.
Source: Alliance for Biking & Walking