The Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) provides the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and other City bodies valuable information about biking SF, guiding them towards effective and safe action regarding our streets. We caught up with one of the BAC’s most recent appointees Melyssa Mendoza to chat about her vision for safer, more inclusive streets in San Francisco.
An SF resident since 2004 and a daily commuter by bike since 2008, Melyssa sees first-hand the need for strong bicycle advocacy.
“I feel very passionate about the bicycle as a viable transportation option,” said Melyssa. “I hope that my work on the BAC will get even more people to ride bikes.”
Melyssa has consistently incorporated her passions into her work, with an extensive background in law, nonprofits, women’s rights and, now, biking.
“When I realized that riding a bike greatly increased my mood, I thought, why shouldn’t it help the moods of other people as well?” said Melyssa. “From my experience, bikes have greatly improved my mental and physical health. I’m convinced bikes can do the same for others, as well as added benefits of being more environmentally friendly than other modes of transportation.”
The BAC has a commitment to representing all voices, and Melyssa’s hands-on approach and capacity for addressing varying concerns for biking in the city provides a dynamic perspective on how to view biking in the city.
“I’ve worked at a couple of bike builds in the Bayview put on by the SF Bicycle Coalition. Those clinics align with my personal beliefs that bicycling is for everyone and can be a viable transportation option for healthier communities,” Melyssa said.
With the cost of living rising higher in the Bay Area, transportation ranks as the second highest expense after housing. For Melyssa, the bicycle can be a valuable tool in making this city more affordable for everyone.
“I have heard from some communities who think that building bike lanes means gentrification, and I would hope that they see that their communities ride bikes, as well, and deserve to have safer places to ride,” Melyssa said. “I hope that the BAC will reach out to those communities and build a better relationship with them to demonstrate that safer infrastructure is not the enemy.”
For Melyssa, her background in women’s rights and law continue to inform everything that she does, preparing her to continue advocating for safer, more inclusive streets.
“I plan on speaking for my district, which includes diverse neighborhoods from the Inner Sunset to Lower Haight to Western Addition to Hayes Valley. I try to put myself in their shoes, if I was someone living on Eddy and Post, what would I like to see to improve my neighborhood?” Melyssa said. “And if I don’t know offhand, then we need to go ask.”
SF Bicycle Coalition member Melyssa Mendoza is one shining example of how our members are helping shape the future of our city to be safer and more inclusive. If you share this vision, please join us by becoming a member today.