This is the fourth full week of Black History Month celebrating the contribution that black people have made and continue to make to create a better, more inclusive and well run transport system, as well as contributions towards active travel and air pollution.
This week we are also celebrating some of our members who are continuing to work hard to encourage active, safe and responsible travel.
Carla Lowe, Road Safety Officer, Westminster City Council
How did you get into sustainable travel? My role as an Assistant Youth Worker in a school was made redundant in 2008 and then I was redeployed into the role as an Assistant School Travel Plan Advisor and then a Safety Education Officer soon after in the London Borough of Newham Council due to my skillset. I stayed there for 5 years before I moved onto Westminster City Council in 2013 in my current role as Road Safety Officer which I’ve been in for nearly 8 years.
What was your journey/inspiration? I wanted to impart knowledge to people and that started in the pedagogy system which saw me supporting and teaching SEND pupils from nursery up until adult learners and this has now transferred into road safety and active travel.
How would you like to see the industry evolve/change in the future? Start to recruit more from the BAME community as we are underrepresented in the industry but the hardest to reach group to take up active travel modes such as cycling.
How would you encourage more black people and those under-represented in active travel to get involved/take part? Start to join groups in your local area or form informal groups with similar interests. Always contact your local council as they will run schemes that are available for all.
Ann-Marie Smith, founder Girls Gotta Ride club – Ann-Marie has over 25 years of cycling experience and has brought her cycling enthusiasm to the work she does with the African Caribbean Achievement Project (ACAP) in central Bradford. Starting their own club ‘Girls Gotta Ride’, Ann-Marie has enthused a wide group of women and girls locally, targeting mainly black women but not exclusively, and helping them to get more active.
Earlyna Edwards, Bike Instructor
How did you get into sustainable travel? I just fell in love with cycling, once I started, I couldn’t stop.
What was your journey/inspiration? I taught myself and through observation I wanted to get better and better, however, since becoming a bike instructor I have learnt how to cycle more safely and more confidently.
How would you like to see the industry evolve/change in the future? I would like to see more West Indian/ African cyclist. I would like them to see the joys of cycling and the importance of it for their health and holistic well-being.
How would you encourage more black people and those under-represented in active travel to get involved/take part? I would explain its great exercise and it is a skill, once you learn it you will see there is so much value in it. Developing both physical and mental health. It also gives you opportunities to see London in ways you would never see.
Courtney Williams founded The Brown Bike Girl, a cycling advocacy consultancy encouraging ridership within BAME communities. The Brown Bike Girl partners with local government, non-profits and institutions to increase bicycling access and adoption within communities of color, and bicycling education for all. Through initiative planning and facilitation, training, and creative collaboration.
Denise Adolphe, Modeshift Board Member (Pictured)
How did you get into sustainable travel? I went for an interview at a local authority in 2012 for the role of Communications and Consultation Manager, which is my background. 25% of the job was managing the smarter travel programme and team. I got the job and I’ve been there ever since. However, I am currently on secondment as a business manager working in Highways and Parking.
What was your journey/inspiration? I did a degree in Media and Communications in the 90s and then spent 18 years working in the field of communications and consultation before moving into sustainable travel. All of our projects, events, activities and campaigns rely on ensuring that our key audiences know how to get involved and that we are doing something that is beneficial to them, so they actually want to get involved.
How would you like to see the industry evolve/change in the future? I would like to see much more diversity in staff across the country and in those who get involved in projects, events, activities and campaigns.
How would you encourage more black people and those under-represented in active travel to get involved/take part? I always try to lead by example. This is partly why I recently agreed to take part in a film for TfL about cycling to school with my children. If I can do it, anyone can.