APBP’s Susie Stephens Scholarship Fund honors the memory of beloved transportation activist Susie Stephens, remembered for her joyful enthusiasm and her passionate commitment to making bicycling and walking safe and convenient transportation choices. Susie's spirit and optimism touched everyone who knew her. The Susie Stephens Scholarship Fund honors her life by awarding scholarships to APBP members to attend APBP’s Professional Development Seminar (PDS) in odd-numbered years.
Susie died in 2002, just a few weeks before her 37th birthday, when she was hit by a bus while legally crossing a downtown street in St. Louis. She was in St. Louis working as a consultant for the National Center for Bicycling and Walking to help run a conference on transportation choices--a sad irony.
Susie helped to found and was a managing director of the Thunderhead Alliance (now the Alliance for Biking and Walking). She also served as Executive Director of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and head of the Northwest Bicycle Federation. Susie was instrumental in pushing the Washington State legislature to pass the Cooper Jones Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Act in 1998, which became the foundation for other laws, policies and programs that promote bicycle and pedestrian safety and education in Washington State.
Susie’s joyful enthusiasm is on full display in this video of her address to a plenary session at the 1998 Pro Walk Pro Bike conference in Santa Barbara:
Susie grew up mostly in Spokane, Washington, and attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. At the time of her death, she lived in Winthrop, a small mountain biking town on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. After Susie’s death her mother, Nancy MacKerrow, began The Susie Forest, a project that honors Susie’s activism and commitment to creating livable communities by planting urban trees. A Susie Tree was planted near the Gateway Arch in St. Louis in 2011.
APBP established the Susie Stephens Scholarship Fund to honor Susie’s memory by supporting our members' attendance at the Professional Development Seminar, APBP’s biennial conference that trains the next generation of active transportation professionals and advocates. Click here to donate to the fund.