Board Candidate: Dr. Rayburn Lewis
Over my 33 years as physician, and 40+ years as a serious cyclist, I have come to appreciate the club’s strong advocacy for the design, building, operating, and policing of safe bicycle byways. Helmet campaigns, safe cycling courses, driver awareness initiatives, lighting and clothing improvements, new laws and regulations, and many other safety initiatives, will keep cyclists on the road, and not in the emergency room of my hospital.
Recently, the club has actively worked to improve cycling access to non-traditional communities and communities of color. For over 20 years, the King County Urban 4H program afforded Southeast Seattle youths the opportunity to practice leadership development, teamwork, and get to the great outdoors. I am proud to have been a 4H leader during that time, helping to organize and lead young men and women on the cycling portion of the outdoor program at Franklin High School. Coach Slye and an ethnically and racially diverse cadre of teachers, coaches and volunteers led mountaineering and cycling programs for 8 months of the year. Major Taylor Project is a wonderful, if indirect, legacy of that effort. There are other groups already cycling, such as the Soul Sistas, a group of African American Women who have exercised and competed in triathlons, and ridden several STPs. With all the emphasis and news on the negative effects of obesity and inactivity on health, promoting the club’s interest in engaging new communities is “just what the doctor ordered”.
The business community and the club have not been in agreement on a number of issues. Efforts by the organized cycling community to improve and extend trails, establish bike lanes, and manage auto and truck traffic have at times been interpreted as anti business. It is unfortunate that we are in a time in history when compromise, collaboration, and consensus building are derided as signs of weakness and indecision, and not considered legitimate tools of progress in a pluralistic society. In my current experience as the executive director of the Ballard campus of Swedish, I have had the opportunity to interact with the business community on many levels. We have several owners and proprietors on our medical center advisory council. Most businesses recognize the growing preference of cycling for commuters, shoppers, as well as recreation. It is my goal, with the board and executive staff, to encourage prospective engagement with retail, manufacturing, and service industries as much as we already work with government, regional transportation, and educational facilities. Enhancing the perceived value of cycling to business, and improving the image of business to cycling are desirable outcomes. Safety and the growth of cycling as a major transportation mode are dependent on both sides pursuing win-win solutions, not win-lose.
Rayburn Lewis MD
Executive Director and Vice President for Medical Affairs