Bike San Diego won this year’s Advocacy Organization of the Year award from the Alliance for Biking and Walking at the National Bike Summit earlier this month in Washington, D.C. Pretty good for an all-volunteer-run organization that has only been around for a little over a year.
During that year, however, BikeSD shifted from being an influential blog by founder Samantha Ollinger to an active representative of bicycle riders in local planning efforts and politics.
“It hasn’t really sunk in that we won,” said Ollinger of winning the award. “It’s an incredible honor. National recognition is very gratifying, and having that tangible acknowledgment is a huge deal. Our volunteers work hard, I work hard, our board works incredibly hard. And we’re all volunteers.”
In addition to her day job as an accountant, she is on the planning board for her neighborhood, works with city agencies and local organizations on planning efforts including the San Diego Bicycle Plan, and just applied to be on the police Citizens’ Review Board.
“My social life is all about BikeSD,” she said. “If you want to have drinks with me, we’re going to talk bike policy.”
Last year the group’s focus was largely on advocacy efforts, targeting city officials and local organizations to make sure the concerns of bicyclists were taken into account. One of the organization’s big achievements was convincing planners that car Level of Service (LOS) was not an appropriate measure for bike infrastructure proposed in the new San Diego Bike Plan.