2023 James L. Oberstar Excellence in Bicycle Advocacy Awards
The James L. Oberstar Excellence in Bicycle Advocacy Awards were presented in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, February 28, 2023. The award, named after the late representative James L. Oberstar, cycling's greatest supporter in congressional history, recognizes individuals who exemplify excellence in bicycling advocacy and the advancement of bike infrastructure. John Burke, President of Trek Bicycle, and Jenn Dice, President of PeopleForBikes presented the 2023 James L. Oberstar Excellence in Bicycle Advocacy Awards to Sam Balto (Portland, Oregon), Alan Kalin (Danville, California), Kevin Adams (Verde Valley, Arizona), Laura Dierenfield (Austin, Texas) and Scott Bricker (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).
(Alan Kalin, Jenn Dice, Bob Burns, John Burke, Kevin Adams, Sam Balto, and Scott Bricker)
“These award recipients each have demonstrated real success on the ground,” said Trek President John Burke. “They have each made their communities a much better place for cycling and demonstrated the importance of advocates at the local level. Advocates like our awardees make a difference — Jim Oberstar knew that, and we are proud to recognize their achievements as an inspiration to local advocates everywhere.”
2023 Award Recipient:
Alan Kalin (Danville, CA) President Mount Diablo Cyclists, Chair Danville Bicycle Advisory Commission
From his days as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia to his decades as a high school teacher and military officer in the U.S. Army, Alan Kalin has fostered a love of helping others and uniting people to enact positive change. After more than a decade of advocacy and determination to prevent collisions and save lives on Mount Diablo State Park roads, Kalin successfully lobbied the State to dedicate funds to install 45 bike turnouts on Mount Diablo in 2022. By creating dedicated space for bicyclists pedaling uphill, these bike turnouts help prevent drivers from making unsafe passes that result in collisions, saving countless lives. In recognition of his leadership, Kalin was recently inducted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame.
Press release from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission:
DANVILLE, CA - Bay Area Bike to Wherever Days (BTWD) organizers have named the winners of the 2023 Bike Champion of the Year (BCOY) awards. Given to individuals for inspiring bicycling in their Bay Area communities, this award recognizes riders in the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties for their commitment to cycling as the primary mode of transport.
Alan Kalin has been named the 2023 Contra Costa County Bike Champion of the Year for his work to reduce cyclist/car collisions on Mt. Diablo. (Metropolitan Transportation Commission)
The Contra Costa County winner is Alan Kalin. Kalin’s passion for cycling isn’t just about the ride. “My story is one of dogged determination to prevent collisions and save lives on the roads of Mount Diablo,” says Alan.
A Danville resident and Bay Area native, he started riding Mount Diablo three days a week in 2010 after he retired. He grew alarmed by the ambulances and medivac helicopters that were too often seen transporting cyclists off the mountain. Seeing that little was being done to prevent bike vs. car collisions, he set to work. Alan started by first establishing the Mount Diablo Cyclists and analyzing hundreds of traffic reports.
Using the data and his own experiences on the mountain, he recognized that the accidents were largely occurring on or near blind curves. Picturing an old county road with car turnouts, Alan envisioned a solution that would separate cyclists from the cars with bike turnouts. He became a driving force behind the now 45 turnouts that give bicyclists safe harbor as they ride the 11-mile Summit Road on Mount Diablo. With its resulting 80% reduction in collisions, the first-of-its kind project has become a model for biking safety across the nation.
But he isn’t done yet. Alan continues his advocacy and fundraising efforts to finish Phase II of the Bike Turnout Project in honor of friend and fellow cyclist Joe Shami who was killed in a collision in 2021. This phase will add the final 43 turnouts called for in the safety plan. He’s also working to redesign the Lafayette roundabout that was the site of his friend’s death and is involved in numerous projects as the Chairman of the Bike Danville Bicycle Advisory Commission.
“Cycling is about the people you meet and the journey,” Alan says. He loves that every ride is different, and that he is part of an ever-growing community of cyclists in Contra Costa County that take care of each other. He still loves riding today as much as he did when he was a kid, remembering fondly that back then “Mount Diablo felt like just a big hill,” and a train still ran on the Iron Horse Trail.
In 2022, with the appointment of Clinton Elsholz, Acting Diablo Ranch Superintendent; a New Era of Partnership and Collaboration finally arrived on Mount Diablo. Special Thanks to Clint and April Marson for All their Amazing Advice and Support to Improve the Safety of Cyclists on the Roads of Mount Diablo State Park!
Join Us: Oct 15, 2022, to Celebrate 45 Bike Turnouts on Mount Diablo
- Welcome & Introductions – April Marson, Administrative Chief, Diablo Range District, California State Parks
- Project History – Monte Rowan, District Maintenance Chief, Diablo Range District, California State Parks
- Working with the Community - Alan Kalin, COL, US Army (Ret.) President, Mount Diablo Cyclists and Chairman, Danville Bicycle Advisory Commission
- Elected Representatives - State Senator Steve Glazer, 7th Senate District, and Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan 16th Assembly District
- Group Photo Opportunity to follow the 30-minute event.
UPDATE: (9/14/22): We conducted a GPS Latitude/Longitude survey and confirmed 45 Bike Turnouts NOT 48 on Mount Diablo. The discrepancy between 48 and 45 is because California State Parks added asphalt to a few existing Bike Turnouts and counted them twice. South Gate Road = 17, North Gate Road = 16 and Summit Road = 12. Mount Diablo has installed 28 new and 17 old bike turnouts.
Please join us at Curry Point, MDSP, to celebrate this significant safety improvement at 11 AM on October 15, 2022. Ride your bike! The short ceremony, featuring dedicated cyclists, elected officials, and MDSP staff, is a media event to recognize and celebrate the completion of the new bike turnouts. Please come and show your support for these safety improvements for cyclists and motorists in the park. Plan to stay for the group photo after the ceremony.
Curry Point is approximately 3.5 miles up South Gate Road. There will be two public parking areas for cars (see map below) where a Park Shuttle Van will pick up participants every 10 min. Bike parking for cyclists and Special Guests will be at Curry Point. Arrive early! Special Thanks to TREK Bicycle for providing a Repair Van with two bike mechanics, and bike racks, and Valley Spokesmen Bicycle club for providing water. Special Thanks to California State Parks for providing logical support, setup, and traffic control.
45 Bike Turnouts UPDATE: (9/14/22): We conducted a GPS Latitude/Longitude survey and confirmed 45 Bike Turnouts NOT 48 on Mount…
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