This Yes! Magazine article highlights a myriad of cycling education organizations that are working to make sure access to biking is equitable and inclusive. These include volunteer organizations teaching refugees how to bike in Germany and Los Angeles, and efforts in New York to get more low-income and people of color riding. Bicycle education in historically marginalized communities can help people overcome fear while also addressing local problems, such as pollution and racial injustice.
Research conducted by PeopleForBikes found that those in low-income communities are more likely to use a bike to get to work or run errands. And more would if they felt safer—improving roads, sidewalks and bike infrastructure in underserved neighborhoods is an important part of transportation justice. A different PeopleForBikes study on Barriers to Biking shows how bicycling remains completely out of reach for many minority Americans due to physical, but also systemic, social and cultural barriers. Change requires authentic community engagement and strong partnerships with organizations already on the ground.
When you think of the people riding in your own communities, is it mostly white men in spandex? Casual riders, women and families? People of color? A mix of riders that fully reflects a community is a good indicator of a safe, convenient and attractive network. When cities claim that they’re the “Best for Biking,” it’s important to ask: Best for whom? Building bicycling communities that are inclusive of all riders will lead to more advocates as well as safer, healthier, more sustainable communities.
Questions? We have answers.