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2016 Advocacy Award Winners

The League of American Bicyclists was honored to work with the Alliance for Biking & Walking to present Advocacy Awards at the 2016 National Bike Summit & Women’s Forum. This is the first time that the Advocacy Awards were presented at the National Bike Summit in the seven years that the Alliance has been recognizing excellence in the bicycle and pedestrian movement. To learn about the people and organizations awarded by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, please see this post on their blog


Awards are given in the following categories to recognize work done in the last calendar year:

Bicycle Professional of the Year

This award is for a professional staff person at a public agency who makes a difference for the bicycling community in their everyday work. The goal of this award is to recognize a professional staff person who makes substantial contributions to the safety and comfort of bicyclists. This award is about recognizing current leaders as well as future leaders who serve as models for other professional staff.

The 2016 Advocate of the Year is Kathy Durham from the City of Palo Alto, California.


Kathy Durham began as the City of Palo Alto’s Safe Routes to School coordinator in 2005, and her role in local efforts to improve bicycle safety through education and encouraging walking and biking to school had begun as a PTA volunteer more than a decade earlier. In the last decade, Kathy has deepened the partnership between the City of Palo Alto, the local school district and PTA volunteers to deliver quality pedestrian and bicycle safety education to over 4,500 students and their parents in grades K-6 each year.  

Kathy has been instrumental in promoting events and programs to encourage more middle and high school students to bike to school all year, with spectacular results: the share of middle school students bicycling increased from 35% to 50% between 2005 and 2015, and at among high school students, it exploded from 17% to 43%!  Her mantra of more people biking more places complements an ambitious set of engineering improvements being implemented in Palo Alto to reduce barriers to bicycling for people who are interested in bicycling but concerned about safety. Palo Alto is a Gold Bicycle Friendly Community with over 9% of commuters using a bicycle as their primary form of transportation.

Bicycle Club of the Year

This award is for a bicycle club that has provided an excellent experience for its members and for people who are new to the sport of bicycling. This award recognizes clubs that do an exceptional job at integrating advocacy into club activities or supporting advocacy organizations while creating exceptional events for new and experienced bicyclists. This award is about recognizing clubs that are inclusive, welcoming, and committed to growing bicycling.

In 2016, the Memphis Hightailers from Tennessee won the Bicycle Club of the Year award.

 Memphis Hightailers

The Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club has grown its membership to over 1,500 cyclists, and offers organized rides almost every day of the week throughout the year. Beyond providing these many opportunities for great rides, they are also an advocate for their community — holding various events throughout the year to support local non-profit organizations. With three major public rides, and six member-only rides, the Hightailers raise funds for groups as varied as food pantries, to cancer clinics and even a youth fishing rodeo!

Memphis Hightailers with Gail Spann

The Memphis Hightailers are committed to educating everyone who is interested in bicycling. They currently have more than 13 League Cycling Instructors as members of their club and are working to double that number in order to increase educational programs to local non-profit organizations, businesses and schools. They work with local bike shops to hold monthly and weekly bike maintenance clinics and Hightailers nights where bike shops demonstrate products and give discounts on bike gear to build a partnership with the bike shops and cyclists.

Gail and Jim Spann Educator of the Year

The Gail and Jim Spann Educator of the Year Award is given to a League Cycling Instructor (LCI) who exemplifies the Smart Cycling program’s dedication to teaching bicycle safety to people of all ages and abilities, improving their bike skills and building confidence.

In 2016 this award was given to two deserving awardees – Nedra Deadwyler from Civil Bikes in Atlanta, Georgia, and Preston Tyree from Austin, Texas.

 Educator of the Year

Nedra Deadwyler has used her LCI training in creative ways to attract new bicyclists. Nedra founded Civil Bikes in Atlanta, Georgia, to provide tours of Atlanta neighborhoods that show buildings, art, farms and parks that engage both the history of civil rights and that of Atlanta. Through her Belles on Bikes education program she hosts group rides for women.  Nedra recently became the Safety Education Programs Manager for Georgia Bikes!, supporting  statewide efforts to increase bicycling and building the public’s knowledge of safe bicycling practices in Georgia.

Preston Tyree is a former Director of Education for the League of American Bicyclists and is currently helping the League transition from Traffic Skills 101 to a new Smart Cycling curriculum. As a retired former League employee Preston has continued to be an invaluable force for promoting bicyclist education and safe bicycling practices. He is a LCI coach and has stepped up to keep LCI trainings running while the League has been without an Education Director.

While he is based in central Texas, his work to promote safer bicycling is felt throughout the country.

Legislator of the Year

In 2016, the Legislator of the Year award goes to Senator Ben Cardin from the state of Maryland.

Senator Cardin

Senator Ben Cardin has represented the citizens of Maryland since 2007. As a Senator he has strongly supported bicycling, earning a leadership award from the League of American Bicyclists along with 12 other legislators in 2012. His support for bicycling in America, and Maryland, was recently preserved when the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Trail was dedicated as the “Ben Cardin Recreational Trail.” The Legislator of the Year Award recognizes his ongoing support for bicycling and the critical role that he played in preserving and increasing federal funding for bicycling in the recently passed FAST Act.

Catalyst Award

In partnership with the Alliance for Biking & Walking, 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 and 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 decision-making.

In 2016, Community Cycling Center (Portland, Oregon) won the Catalyst Award.

Community Cycling Center

Long before equity was embraced as a priority for many in the bike movement, the Community Cycling Center in Portland had 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 re-evaluate 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.