Every year, Bike Easy honors a handful of individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond in supporting the organization and the larger movement for safe and accessible mobility options. This year at our Annual Membership Meeting and Party, we were thrilled to bestow the Bike Easy Award, a Volunteer of the Year Award, two Peter Duffy Bennett Advocate of the Year Awards, and a Community Partner Award.
BIKE EASY AWARD
The Bike Easy Award is our marquis honor, and it is given to recognize an individual or organization who has made a tremendous contribution to the work of making bicycling easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans. The 2019 Bike Easy Award winner is Jennifer Ruley, Senior Project Manager at the Department of Public Works for the City of New Orleans. Jennifer has worked to improve bicycling in New Orleans for over 15 years, and 2019 was a banner year for her achievements – Jennifer lead the process of creating the Moving New Orleans Bikeway Blueprint for the City of New Orleans, she has been quietly working hard to manage design and construction of the rapid bikeway network expansion, and she participates and leads in all things biking (i.e. the Bike Easy Challenge) at City Hall. We’re excited about the progress we’ll see in the coming year, and much of that is thanks to Jennifer’s tireless, and often invisible to the public, efforts. Congratulations!
PETER DUFFY BENNETT ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR
This award is presented to an individual or organization who displayed advocacy leadership – in policy and politics – to ensure that decision-makers are doing what is needed to ensure everyone has safe and accessible transportation options. This year, we have decided to recognize two people who have vocally and effectively pushed for better bikeways and policies despite overwhelming personal impacts – both of the honorees were injured in the Esplanade Mardi Gras crash and lost dear friends. Both Nellie Catzen and Sophie Harris Vorhoff have drawn on that personal experience to speak up publicly and powerfully in support of a connected and protected bikeway network. It’s incredibly impressive. Sophie and Nellie have been long-time collaborators in their professional roles at Friends of Lafitte Greenway, but this award goes to them as individuals who have faced incredible adversity with courage and grace and used their voice to improve the lives of others, even as their own have been deeply and irrevocably impacted. With love and gratitude, everyone at Bike Easy is honored to work with them.
COMMUNITY PARTNER AWARD
The Community Partner Award goes to an organization that has provided significant support and partnership to Bike Easy. We have worked for years with this year’s award winner, and they continue to increase their commitment to better biking while serving some of our region’s most vulnerable people. Odyssey House Louisiana, which provides health care and addiction treatment services, has sponsored the Bicycle Second Line, partnered with Bike Easy on the Blue Bikes for All program to distribute reduced fare bike share passes, contracted with us for Bike Valet at their annual Bike & Brunch fundraiser, and are developing plans for further incorporating biking and bike repair into their client programming!
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD
As the name suggests, the Volunteer of the Year Award goes to someone who donates a significant amount of their time to furthering the mission of Bike Easy. This year’s award goes to John Caulkins, for the many hours dedicated to Bike Valet, other Bike Easy programs, and the many other great organizations where he volunteers!