The Bicycle Coalition's Commitment to Equity

Everyone in the Greater Philadelphia Region deserves to live in a place that is connected, safe, and built for everyone regardless of income, race, age, or ability.

Over the past 50 years the Bicycle Coalition has advocated for and won significant victories related to trails, bike lanes, traffic calming measures, Vision Zero, bicycle safety education and was also an integral part of bringing Indego to Philadelphia.

All of these advances have contributed to growing the number of people using a bicycle for transportation and recreation.  If the Bicycle Coalition wants to continue to move the needle on increasing the number of people bicycling in the Greater Philadelphia area, it must focus its attention on making bicycling safe for all and supporting under-represented bicyclists and bicyclists in under-resourced communities across the city and region.

In order to address inequities in transportation and make bicycling safe and accessible for all in the region, The Bicycle Coalition will focus on:

Transportation Equity means that who you are does not limit how you get around. 

In order to achieve transportation equity, one must first acknowledge the structural forces, including redlining, that have shaped our region. The historic disinvestment in Black and brown communities affects safe mobility by creating ongoing unequal access to safe street infrastructure and unequal access to safe and well-maintained parks and trails to ride on.  Neighborhoods made up of the highest income earners shouldn’t be the only place you can walk or ride a bicycle to get around. Every neighborhood regardless of income and demographic makeup deserves basic quality of life services like safe roads and sidewalks, access to a high quality bike network, efficient and reliable public transportation, and safe public spaces.

But what does it mean to be connected?

But what does it mean to be connected? 

Our physical environment has the opportunity to bring us together. No matter where you live, you should be able to get to a grocery store, local business, primary and secondary schools, hospitals and doctor’s offices, transit hubs serving work centers and universities, recreation centers, or your place of worship safely within 15 minutes via your chosen mode of transportation. You should have a safe route to school and have the opportunity to choose whether or not you want to drive, walk, ride a bicycle, or take public transportation. 

And what does it mean to be safe?

And what does it mean to be safe? 

In 2022, 125 Philadelphians were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Traffic violence is an epidemic in our region. Philadelphia’s per capita traffic fatality rate is higher than that of Chicago, Washington DC and New York City.  Fatal and serious injury crashes are 3 times more likely to occur in areas of the city where most residents are living on low incomes and 30% more likely to occur in areas of the city where most residents are people of color.  Eliminating traffic deaths will meaningfully benefit communities of color and low income communities that currently bear the burden of this epidemic.

For more information, check out the resources below.

Want to know more about unequal access to bicycling infrastructure: trails, bike lanes and traffic-calmed roads?

Additional Resources

Better Bike Share Partnership Reports and Resources
Rails to Trails Commitment to Equity
League of American Bicyclists Equity Initiative
Circuit Trails Inclusionary Trails Planning Toolkit
The Untokening, What Is Mobility Justice?
Tamika Butler, Can Vision Zero Work in a Racist Society?
Transit Center, Equity in Practice
National Association of City Transportation Officials:  Equity Reports and Resources  
Arrested Mobility, Charles Brown (podcast)
Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture and Resistance, Adonia Lugo (book)
There are no Accidents, Jessie Singer  (book)
Mobility Justice, Mimi Sheller (book)
Right of Way, Angie Schmitt  (book)
Color of Law, Richard Rothstein  (book)
The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs  (book)
Walkable City, Jeff Speck  (book)

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