A SLO resident came up with the winning license plate design in a statewide competition

The California license plate image promoting bicycling designed by SLO resident Spencer Parsons in a contest hosted by the California Bicycle Coalition.
The California license plate image promoting bicycling designed by SLO resident Spencer Parsons in a contest hosted by the California Bicycle Coalition.

A San Luis Obispo resident is the winner of a statewide license plate design contest promoting bicycle awareness.

Spencer Parsons’ design depicts a silhouette of a bicycle with several spokes, positioned on green grass, and a red star and red bar reflective of the California flag, with the message “Healthy California.”

The competition was hosted by the nonprofit California Bicycle Coalition and called for designs that encouraged bicycle riding with the theme “Bike for a Healthy California.”

“What I hoped was a very recognizable logo to almost anyone, (to) sneak in a bike reference and still leave open space for visibility,” Parsons told Cycle California! Magazine in its November-December 2018 edition, noting the image had to fit into a 2-inch by 3-inch space.

The Coalition held the contest in collaboration with the state Department of Public Health (CDPH).

The license plate still must be approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and 7,500 plates must be pre-ordered before the state begins production and distributes them, said Dave Snyder, executive director of the state Bicycle Coalition.

Snyder said he expects the DMV to approve the plate within the next month or two, and then the pre-ordering can begin on the California Bicycle Coalition’s website at www.calbike.org/license_plate/.

Proceeds from much of the future revenue of the plates will go to grants for programs that help educate and advocate for biking and ridership, including promotion of safe pathways for biking, Snyder said.

“We think this will eventually generate about $1 million for the state each year that will go to programs that will help educate and advocate for biking and ridership,” Snyder said.

The focus areas of grants will promote “increasing physical activity to prevent chronic disease, advocating for pedestrian and biking friendly street design, education of cyclists and drivers of automobiles, safe routs to school programs and efforts to collaborate with law enforcement,” according to the Coalition’s website.

“This is a draft design,” Snyder said in an email. “It’s what the staff at DPH have sent to their Director for approval. The DMV has yet to approve the plate.”

Parsons’ design was selected after about 3,000 people voted on their top pick among five finalists, Snyder said.

Parsons, who works at the SLO Trader Joe’s, told Cycle California! Magazine that he heard about the contest through a friend, and that he and his wife create graphics and signage for weddings, businesses and private events.

In deciding to enter the contest, Parsons said, “complete freedom on design? No pressure or supervision? Why not give it a try?”

Trail Peek founders Zach and Dane Petersen take you on a mountain bike ride down Cerro Alto, on Highway 41 between Morro Bay and Atascadero. It's one of the highest points in San Luis Obispo County.

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