During Melody's time as Executive Director:
Mississippi moved 16 spots from #47 to #31 as a nationally recognized Bicycle Friendly State.
Bike Walk Mississippi launched the first “Bike Walk Summit,” a bi-annaul statewide conference bringing together hundreds of allies from all sectors including elected officials, transportation and health professionals, law enforcement officers and community advocates from across the state to discuss best practices and share success stories to create a better place for pedestrians and bicyclists in MS.
Bike Walk Mississippi began a leader in its work with Mayor's taking new leadership in bicycle and pedestrian issues - working with them to send letters of support to Congress and obtaining a favorable amendment in favor of increased local funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the national Transportation Bill, hosting statewide roundtable discussions for elected officials on bicycle infrastructure and its effect on economic development and gaining the 3rd highest participation in the nation with 17 Mayors signing a public pledge in the USDOT's “Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets”.
From 2012-2017, Bike Walk Mississippi partnered with the MDOT's Safe Routes to Schools program to launch a statewide initiative focusing on the issues of low-income communities, which resulted in the launch of Mississippi’s first community bike shop and the creation of a statewide Safe Routes to School Toolkit to assist parents, school administrators and organizations with low-cost solutions to increase the number of children walking and biking to school in Mississippi.
Bike Walk Mississippi launched “Wear Yellow Day” in 2011 with over 2,000 participants statewide bringing increased attention to bicycle safety concerns across Mississippi. In 2016, Bike Walk launched its “Change Lanes to Pass” campaign which includes Public Service Announcement videos, free bicycle safety information downloads and a statewide incident reporting system for any bicyclists who experience harassment or incidents on the road.
Bike Walk Mississippi has successfully worked with Communities, Universities and Business in MS to increase their Bicycle Friendly ranking and partnered with like-minded organizations to push forward walkability, place-making and open streets events across the state and has represented you as a leader at the National Bike Summit and National Walking Summit in D.C., working with Congress on your behalf to increase the focus to use biking and walking as tool for economic development, health, accessibility and safety in Mississippi.
Bike Walk Mississippi was named as the national Advocacy Organization of the Year by the Alliance for Biking and Walking in 2013. Moody-Thortis was named as an “Innovator using bikes to change the world” by Bicycling Magazine and as an “Equity Leader” by the League of American Bicyclists. She has taught workshops, trainings and has been a featured speaker for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy across the state, including serving as the keynote speaker at the Louisiana Bike Summit and as a speaker at TEDxJackson where she spoke on “Bicycles as a tool for Community Development.”
Bike Walk Mississippi announces Leadership Transition
This September, Bike Walk Mississippi is turning a page to a new chapter.
Melody Moody Thortis, who has served as Executive Director since 2010 will be leaving her post as Director and officially transitioning to a new role as Administrator/Team Leader as Bike Walk Mississippi embarks on a new and exciting model to engage our members and supporters more fully.
As your statewide advocacy voice for bicycle and pedestrian issues across Mississippi for the past 24 years, we are always looking at new ways that we can collaborate with our supporters, partners and allies to truly "move the needle" forward to build a bike-able, walkable and more livable Mississippi. In a statement issued by Moody-Thortis, she stated “My passion has always been working with individuals and communities, particularly those with limited resources to help them find low-cost and effective solutions to make their communities a better place to live. I am extremely proud of the work that Bike Walk Mississippi has been able to accomplish over the past seven years and I am positive that as the organization enters its 25th year in 2018, it will continue to be a driving force in using the bicycle as a tool for bettering communities across the state. I would like to give special thanks to all of our financial supporters, our wonderful volunteers, partnering organizations and allies across the state - I hope each of you will continue to work together to support the innovative work that Bike Walk Mississippi is doing in our state.” Melody’s work has allowed us to make huge strides in our mission to advocate for a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly Mississippi and we are overjoyed she has agreed to stick around in a different role to help us keep the wheels moving forward- but, most of all, we are excited to tell you about the new and exciting ways that Bike Walk Mississippi is growing and how you can be involved!
We would also like to say a special thank you to our national, statewide and regional partners who continue to support our work including but not limited to: The League of American Bicyclists, Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, America Walks, The Alliance for Biking and Walking, Adventure Cycling, People for Bikes and the National Parks Service and well as statewide and regional partners including the Mississippi Departments of Transportation and Health, Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, Gulf Coast Regional Planning Commission, the Hattiesburg MPO, Natchez Trace Parkways and the Mississippi Municipal League as well as bike shops, riding clubs, Mayors, advocates and city officials from cities and towns across the state. As we approach our 25th anniversary in 2018 as Mississippi’s statewide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, we hope you will ALL become a part of our efforts and as always, your tax-deductible donations to this work means that we can continue to lead the way to make Mississippi a better place for everyone who walks, runs or rides a bicycle!
- Bike Walk Mississippi Board of Directors
Statewide Advisory Committee:
Bike Walk Mississippi is putting together a statewide pool of advisors from our allies, partners and supporter base and allows you a chance to share your expertise and passions for bicycle and pedestrian centric issues across the state. Throughout 2017, we will select applicants from all regions of the state to serve on a Taskforce committee based on specific identified areas of interest or expertise. Each Taskforce committee will work with representatives of Bike Walk Mississippi to put together and recommend a set of goal and outcomes which will be submitted to Bike Walk Mississippi’s Board of Directors for approval. Bike Walk Mississippi will then work with each committee to create an action plan and measurable outcomes from each focus area. While members of the Advisory Committee will primarily serve on at least one topic-centric Taskforce, others such as government employees, elected officials and emeritus board members will serve on the committee as a whole, advising or contributing as needed.
INTERESTED? APPLY NOW TO JOIN THE BIKE WALK STATEWIDE ADVISORY COMMITTEE!
Regional Action Teams:
Our brand new Regional Action Teams are a new way for Bike Walk Mississippi and our Statewide Advisory Committee to quickly disseminate needed information, resources and tools and to assist local advocates to quickly take action for bicycle and pedestrian related issues. Action Teams will be divided using the boundaries of Mississippi’s 4 Congressional Districts and each team will receive trainings on advocacy and targeting local decision makers. Action Team members will help to inform Bike Walk Mississippi (and each other) regarding local issues and will select team members to attend local bicycle and pedestrian centric meetings. Representatives from each major bike club, walking/running group and active transportation advocacy group in the state is encouraged. Action Teams participants will receive electronic updates regarding issues and meetings in each region and will be invited to participate in regional networking events, trainings, webinars and forums throughout the year. Each Team will work through a Team Captain who will work with Bike Walk Mississippi and its allies to set each team’s regional goals and outcomes. Each Team Captain will be responsible for local recruitment, disseminating statewide information, resources and toolkits to each region, scheduling “show-me” events with elected officials and providing regular progress reports to Bike Walk Mississippi.