Bike Easy Awards
Bike Easy Members and community partners gathered December 13th to recognize Bike Easy Award winners.
Every December Bike Easy hosts its Annual Membership Party. It’s a time to review needed bylaw changes, reflect on accomplishments from the year, and honor those who have gone above and beyond. Bike Easy is beyond happy to recognize the following people and entities.
The Bike Easy Award – Blue Bikes New Orleans
Bike Easy has advocated for bike share in New Orleans for nearly a decade, and we are thrilled to present The 2017 Bike Easy Award to the bike share system that has just launched – Blue Bikes New Orleans! Bike share is an important addition to public transportation, and we envision a system that helps residents get around, improves health and safety, and adds to quality-of-life by increasing mobility options. Bike Easy especially commends the reduced fare option that makes Blue Bikes accessible to low-wealth residents.
Blue Bikes New Orleans is a joint project of the City of New Orleans, Social Bicycles, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. To truly honor Blue Bikes it requires recognition of the teamwork that went into making New Orleans bike share a reality. In a slight departure from tradition, Blue Bikes New Orleans is the award winner, and we’ll be presenting an award certificate to each of the organizations involved.
Community Partner Award – American Heart Association
The American Heart Association works to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. With an incredible scope and range of work, Bike Easy is thrilled that the American Heart Association has developed a focus on making walking and biking more accessible choices for all people to improve health and health equity. The local affiliate of the American Heart Association is deeply involved with the New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Complete Streets Coalitions, and the American Heart Association Voices for Healthy Kids program, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, generously funds Bike Easy’s work to bring streets built to share to Greater New Orleans.
Peter Duffy Bennett Policy Advocate Award – Tara Tolford, University of New Orleans Transportation Institute
For years, Tara has been a fierce and unapologetic advocate for better mobility for the people of Greater New Orleans, whether walking, biking, or taking transit. From her work managing the Sustainable Transportation Action Committee to the on-going Bicycle and Pedestrian counts, Tara’s years of hard work are paying off. In 2017, it seemed like she has been anywhere and everywhere these conversations were happening – Chair of the New Orleans City Council Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee; member of both the New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Complete Streets Coalitions; member of the Walk / Bike / Places Local Host Committee; expert trainer for Bike Easy’s Complete Streets Ambassadors Program; technical advisor to Bike Easy; member of the RTA Riders Advisory Committee; and probably many things we don’t even know about!
It’s overwhelmingly clear that Tara has already had an enormous impact on improving our region, and when you know her, you also know just how much farther she intends to go. Her ongoing dedication to better walking, biking, and transit (among many other important causes) is an inspiration to us all.
Volunteer of the Year Award – Allene La Spina
Allene is always there when Bike Easy asks, and she’s always smiling and bringing joy to the work. As an active member of the social ride scene, Allene helps connect Bike Easy to the efforts of the larger bike community. She also puts in many hours with Bike Easy. Whether its shifts at Bike Valet, using her skills as a graphic designer or helping set up at events, everyone at Bike Easy is grateful for Allene’s contributions to the many projects she supports. Allene is also a trained League Cycling Instructor who spreads the message of improved bike safety wherever she goes. Thanks for all your help, Allene!