Bicycling and equity: Heed the call, expand the movement - Page 2

Street Fight covers the National Bike Summit and its outreach to women and minorities

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx addresses the National Bike Summit.
Jason Henderson

Advocates from New York City chimed in that it was time for a "minority bicycle coalition" to advocate for women, minorities, and immigrant bicycle delivery workers. They pointed out that New York's new and much-vaunted bike infrastructure has mainly spread in more affluent, white parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, while Queens is overlooked. A speaker from the NAACP put obesity and public health at the center of the civil rights agenda and remarked on how the bike lifestyle should be brought to African American neighborhoods.

A discussion of emerging bike share systems asked how to expand to minority populations, and provided examples of how Boston subsidizes bike share membership for low income members. Boston also relaxes the charges for exceeding 30-minute rides and is figuring out ways to enable those without credit cards to participate.

Once a cynic about bike share, I experienced firsthand the benefits of a truly extensive, practical bike share system in Washington, DC (note to San Francisco — it was NOT covered in Wells Fargo or Google corporate logos). If bike share is extended to the Excelsior, Bayview, Balboa Park, Daly City, and SF State, it will work for the working class and students.

One of the most inspiring personas at the Bike Summit was Terry O'Neill, director of the National Organization for Women, who asked that bicycle advocates get beyond simply advocating for bikes. O'Neill prodded cyclists to ask: What do we need to do to make bicycling useful to women? And then she laid it out eloquently. Build affordable housing — lots of it — in areas where it is most needed, such as affluent Montgomery County, a suburb of DC, or in places like Hayes Valley and Silicon Valley. By creating the spatial proximity that makes cycling practical, women (and men) can incorporate cycling while balancing jobs, household chores, and children. This would do more to increase bicycling (and equity) than simply striping new bike lanes.

Her point is that for cycling to be logical for women, especially in complex metropolitan areas like DC or the Bay Area, well-planned and centrally located affordable housing is key. Perhaps it is time for the San Francisco Bike Coalition and Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, with their wealth of talent and donors, to create staff positions focusing on the bicycle-housing nexus and build strong partnerships with those who are fighting to build and preserve affordable housing in job- and amenity-rich areas.

Dovetailing from that, the newly elected mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, himself a convert to bicycling, urged bicycle advocates to be an active partner in local progressive political coalitions and to work with non-bike groups such as labor unions and housing advocates. Peduto was among a handful of prominent politicians, mostly mayors and members of Congress, espousing the wisdom of linking bicycling and equity as part of the urban agenda.

The overall message is clear. Cities need to move beyond the neoliberal creative class storyline about bicycling, which says that a successful city is one that has a youthful, fit, but affluent stratum for bicycles. We need to be careful about praising the bicycle as a profitable economic development strategy for Realtors who up the rent as part of a commodified package of livability.


You can't take others with you.

You can't carry heavy loads.

You can't use freeways, tunnels and many bridges

You can't travel long distances in any reasonable time

You can't ride a bike if you are very young, very old, disabled ot nervous

It's the ultimate in private transport - even more so than cars.

You feel you don't have to obey any of the traffic rules, which means that everyone hates you.

You are usually young, white, male, affluent and wear nasty lycra or spandex.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

@Guest - But it's clear from your comment that you don't let reality intrude on your anonymous ranting.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:05 am

That wasn't even a decent attempt. Please refute my individual points, above, if you can, otherwise readers will assume that you cannot.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:33 am

@Guest - In theory we have it easier here than in many parts of the world where people commute by bike. As for your cowardly anonymous goading and blather about what readers will assume, I'll take my chances.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:40 am

90% of your 90% figure is in third world basket case nations and so not relevant here.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:52 am

Dude find something productive to do with your time

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

everything will be fine?

Why do you assume that one person is responsible for all posts by "Guest"?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

Why can't you take others with you? Ever heard of a tandem? There are four wheel pedal powered vehicles that can ride 6 adults at a time. Or everybody can employ a solo bike and do a group ride.

You can carry heavy loads. The units for this purpose are called cargo bikes. Bullitt makes an excellent version which can haul 100's of pounds. Check the Fossil Fool website for other examples of cargo bikes.

The day will come, soon, when there are bike lanes on freeways, tunnels and bridges.

What constitutes 'reasonable time' and 'long distance' is pure opinion.The AIDS benefit ride covers something like 600 miles in 5 days.

Have you never been to a retirement community and seen the folks there pedaling about on trikes?

You've posited this 'bikes are the ultimate private transport' more than once here. Again, nothing but an opinion.

The rest of your post is bovine manure.

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 7:48 pm

equipment with you for hundreds of miles in a few hours on a bike.

No way.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 6:30 am

Your lack of imagination stifles any response.

Have a nice day while confined in your little metal box.

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

And so you fell back on what so many do in that situation and went off on a personal attack, thereby effectively admitting defeat in the debate.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

Quite the contrary.

I merely pointed out that your mind appears to be closed on the subject.

If that makes you feel like a 'winner' I'm not surprised.

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 5:06 pm

Obviously they are too difficult for you

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 5:37 pm

I'm not trying to be obtuse, but rereading your posts I failed to spot any questions.

Questions are usually followed by question marks, yes?

You did however, make statements.

In any event, your refusal to take seriously any mode of conveyance besides a personal automobile rather reinforces my point quite nicely.

Thank you, sir.

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 6:53 pm

Dress it up any way you want.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

Go die of a heart attack cager. You are overweight, angry, have diabetes and high blood pressure and don't even comprehend why.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Mar. 26, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

Excellent point. That, of course has to change.

Imagine how many people would ride if there were separated, covered, lanes on bridges, freeways and tunnels. That is a great idea whose time is soon approaching.

Of course the statements regarding carrying heavy loads, etc, are in error. Such developements as cargo bikes and tandem bikes have changed all that.

In fact, as for load carrying, simply a few lengths of good polyester line and a knowledge of simple knots such as the prussik, the bowline, trucker's hitch, rolling hitch on a spar and a good rack allows for all sorts of that.

Generally I find tying a cardboard box or boxes to the book rack--or one of those large plastic hampers--to the back of the bike works great, and I also "guy" the load down to the frame near the rear drop outs using prussiks or rolling hitch-on-spar on the frame. Tension can be put on all the lines by using using trucker's hitches which act like two-part tackle (and which can be cascaded for even greater pull).

I regularly do errands such as runs to the hardware store, grocery shopping, and laundry by bike nowadays and haven't driven my car in over a month. (Bike to Bart works great at all times of day now, too.)

And now for a happy song:

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

So what would you know about the transport needs of most families?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

And what do you know about it 'guest'?

Give us some information to bolster your claims of expertise in the field of 'most families'.

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 3:24 pm

The statistics clearly show that since bike share is tiny.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

From whence springs your authority to speak for 'most families'.

Please provide a link for these statistics.

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 5:12 pm

All you have to do is look out your window. For every one bicycle trip there are around 100 car trips. Are you really that invested in pushing your bicycle-first agenda that it would cause you to ignore obvious common sense?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 5:28 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

Feel better now?

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 6:56 pm

But annoying that I have to.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2014 @ 7:32 pm

That is rather comical, but hardly unexpected, your delusion that you are the one applying correction.

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 2:59 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

It started getting and narrower and narrower. Don't get crushed!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 5:07 pm

I suppose you could do your laundry in the meantime.

Clearly you have an appetite for tedium.

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 5:17 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 5:19 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 5:20 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

Just trying to fit in around here.

Posted by H Howard Folsom III on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 5:18 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 5:19 pm

1) I carry my daugher on my bicycle every day
2) I carry four bags of groceries with my on my bicycle home when I go shopping
3) Irrelevant - I live near everything I want
4) Irrelevent
5) See #1
6) 75% of San Franciscans want more bike lanes. The only one filled with hate is you.
7) I am old, have grey hair and don't wear spandex. I am not white. I have some money from all the dollars I saved not owning a car. Don't hate me because I am rich though. Hate me because I am more successful than you.

You on the other hand are out of shape, filled with hate, have diabetes and high blood pressure and will die early of a heart attack. You wasted all your money on stupid cars in a futile attempt to impress people and all your time stuck in traffic.

Now you a lonely pathetic troll with no life attempting to influence people on a website where no one agrees with you or cares about you.

In short, you are a pathetic loser.


Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Mar. 26, 2014 @ 11:21 pm

Stuff White People Like

#61 Bicycles
February 10, 2008 by colander

A good place to find white people on a Saturday is at a Bike Shop. Bike shops are almost entirely staffed and patronized by white people!


actually, #62 is pretty relevant, too:

#62 Knowing what’s best for poor people

White people spend a lot of time of worrying about poor people. It takes up a pretty significant portion of their day.

They feel guilty and sad that poor people shop at Wal*Mart instead of Whole Foods, that they vote Republican instead of Democratic, that they go to Community College/get a job instead of studying art at a University.

It is a poorly guarded secret that, deep down, white people believe if given money and education that all poor people would be EXACTLY like them. In fact, the only reason that poor people make the choices they do is because they have not been given the means to make the right choices and care about the right things.


Posted by racer さ on Mar. 19, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

@racer - Yeah, that's from a dumb list from a tiresome blog for simple minds. Meanwhile, here in reality, a national movement of Black cyclists thrives:

Posted by Jym Dyer on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:09 am

cannot be a lot of them.

The last two cyclists I saw riding on the sidewalk were black

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:33 am

Plenty of people of color on bikes, always have been.

If you actually looked at that website you'd see that it's about visibility. Possibly for people like you, who can't see what's right in front of you unless it's something you can make a racist remark about.

Posted by Hugo Carranza on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

Interesting thought. Should they wear more lights?

Most cyclists I see are young white affluent-looking males. Nut then maybe we frequent different neighborhoods. I'd imagine so.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 1:03 pm

No, I'm saying you have trouble seeing things.

Probably because your head is up your ass.

Posted by Hugo Carranza on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 1:36 pm

How unusual for a socialist. Not.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

most of them are what is considered the color white.

What color is the non color?

Posted by guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

of color, not of the mind.

Posted by guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:41 pm

Bicycling is far safer that driving in the city?

Why, because you can wear a helmet?

Another example of how the SFBG doesn't need to concern itself with the truth.

We are on a mission!

If it feels good, just say it!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

Jason wrote that one commonality shared by all road users was an unpleasant experience. That the transportation advocacy organizations have bought into the neoliberal development agenda means that they're party to the increase in road users as the economy and population have boomed. More road users in a context where road use is unpleasant means more angered road users. When motorists get angry in gridlocked traffic, it is cyclists and pedestrians who take the hit.

The way to resolve unpleasant road use experiences is to shift the priority from motorists to transit because more motorists will mode shift to transit than bike. But the transportation planning is lagging a decade behind land use planning. Efforts to link the two have been shot down by developers and their compliant claque is not making much of an issue of that. So "livability" boosters add load to a fixed system, worsening the road use experience on one hand and then urge more folks to bicycle under these increasingly unpleasant and dangerous conditions.

I've got ethical issues in urging novices to engage in an increasingly dangerous activity.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 19, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

Like as in SFBC and Walk SF?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 6:57 am

No, I mean claque as in a group of people paid to cheer or boo on command.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 8:10 am

@marcos - A greater number of bicyclists will of course mean a greater number of bicyclists being injured. This is not a 1-to-1 correspondence, though. If you're referring to the numbers reported in the _Chron_ last June, they did a weird comparison of increased bicycling from 2006-2012 with injuries from 2009-2011. A little statistics math and you come up with a 35% increase in ridership over 3 years, compared to the reported 18% increase in injuries.

This fits pretty handily in the range of the power law factor of 0.6 found by Jacobsen, most famously known as "Safety in Numbers." Basically, the more bicyclists you add, the safer it gets per bicyclist, by that factor. Jacobsen also found the same effect with pedestrians.

So if trips by bike or on foot replace trips by car, you're actually safer (and making it safer for others). Of course it's even safer to be inside a bus or train, and of course there are good reasons to promote much better transit than we're experiencing, but "an increasingly dangerous activity" is not one of those reasons. Anything that replaces car trips is an improvement.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:26 am

greatly overstated because no allowance is made for the fact that there are far more pedestrians in SF than another US city of the same size with which we are being compared.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:40 am

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