Non-profit bicycle advocacy program Women on Bikes SoCal graduated the first group of all-female bicycle-safety instructors from the “League Cycling Instructor” (LCI) program of the League of American Bicyclists last month.
Of the nine women who graduated from the three-day program in Bixby Knolls, four are from Long Beach, including Bernadette McKeever, a professional photographer and Long Beach Cyclists member, Elizabeth Williams, a bicycle advocate and principal of Cali Bike Tours, Jessica Alexander, a Frank Orth and Associates fisheries biologist field manager and a Long Beach Cyclists member, and Krista Leaders, a bicycle advocate and Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association project manager.
The idea for the bicycle-safety class came about when Women on Bikes SoCal Program Director Melissa Balmer realized there weren’t any highly trained women actively teaching bicycle-safety classes in Long Beach.
Since the League of American Bicyclists LCI program, considered “the most well respected bicycle safety instructor program in the country,” is expensive to attend, Balmer realized that potential attendees needed to be offered scholarships to attract “the most diverse and talented group of women,” according to a prepared statement from Women on Bike SoCal.
Women on Bikes SoCal was able to host this class with the support of Bikeable Communities, the California Bicycle Coalition, the League of American Bicyclists’ Women Bike initiative, Building Healthy Communities Long Beach, Bike Long Beach, private donations, and special events.
The LCI scholarship was the first step in Women on Bikes SoCal’s goal to help make no cost/low cost and time efficient bicycle safety classes available throughout Long Beach, with a focus on underserved parts of the city.
In return for their scholarships, these new bicycle-safety instructors will be collaborating with Women on Bikes SoCal to host Bike Long Beach’s new “Street Savvy” adult bicycle-safety classes.
Developed by internationally known bike advocate Charlie Gandy, “Street Savvy” is a short and completely “hands-on” bike-safety program. Through support of Bike Long Beach and LA Metro, these classes will be made available at no cost to Long Beach residents six times during December 2012 and January 2013.
Women on Bikes SoCal is currently connecting with local area non-profits, health organizations and businesses interested in helping to sponsor and expand the availability of “Street Savvy” classes in 2013. Those interested in attending a “Street Savvy” class should send an email to email@example.com.