Building partnerships one bike ride at a time
As we begin the 10th year of the Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training (CPBST) program, we reflect on the partnerships we’ve built with over 80 communities; communities who have inspired and challenged us through the years to transform the CPBST program into a more playful and personal exploration of walking and biking. Our premise has always been that community residents are the true experts of their communities and need to be given the opportunity and greater authority to co-create within their communities. Many of the changes to the program coming this 2018-2019 cycle clearly reflect this learning and growth.
Looking back on the 2018 trainings, one of our favorite moments was hosting our first on-bike assessment in the City of Arvin in Kern County. We worked with Bike Arvin, who host numerous walking and biking safety programs for youth, to design a 3-mile bike assessment route, around Haven Drive Middle School and Smothermon Park. The three Bike Arvin staff and a few youth set off on a bike route they’ve ridden many times, this time with the specific purpose of bringing back their observations of the road to share with the rest of the workshop participants. When they returned to the rest of the group, they shared their observations and personal reflections about where they would like to see improvements prioritized, including wanting to take more field trips to ride in other cities, especially the beach!
Lucky for us, the Arvin training coincided with Bike Arvin’s weekly Friday night bike rides. We joined Arvin youth on a street, dirt road, and highway bike ride through the City and even watched the youth ride through a huge dirt agricultural ditch once used to capture water run off. Riding with the youth at their own pace, and on their own routes, without being overly focused on where the infrastructure falls short, gave us a small glimpse at how they navigate the uniqueness and complexities of riding in a rural city. Most importantly, it clearly humanized a field that can too often be overly technical, and that doesn’t instinctively look to youth for ideas and solutions for the streets they walk and ride on. This process of being in awe of young kids ripping through the dirt ditch on their bikes, a DIY steering wheel handlebars, how sore our forearms could get from gripping our handlebars too tightly on a particularly bumpy dirt path, was the impetus for hosting more on-bike assessments at future CPBST sites and making the process of co-creating active transportation plans with community a lot more fun and meaningful, and specifically anchored in personal experiences.
We are truly excited for the next set of 12 trainings to take place in 2019! We look forward to hearing and sharing more personal stories of walking and biking adventures and to integrating a more balanced approach to acquiring all the necessary data to help communities achieve their active transportation plans. If you are interested in learning more about our program or bringing the CPBST to your neighborhood, please contact Miha Tomuta at email@example.com or 714-742-0741. For Spanish speaking communities, please contact Wendy Ortiz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 714-742-2295.