It is without question that the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless other Black folks in the U.S. who have been targeted based on their race while bicycling, jogging, walking, or sleeping is horrific. The structural racism in our society that has enabled this injustice must be confronted, and action must be taken to end it.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has long held the core value that people from all racial and economic backgrounds should have access to safe, healthy and affordable transportation options in the communities where they live, work, learn, and play. This vision for safe streets extends beyond threats of traffic violence alone, and is one of the reasons we stand fervently aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement. This vision has driven us to organize and fund a number of programs and initiatives that we are proud to continue.
For example, since 2014, we have been an integral partner of the Better Bike Share Partnership, a collaboration funded by the JPB Foundation to bring equitable bike share systems to under-resourced communities. That program has introduced bicycle education to over 1,500 Philadelphians, including many from diverse backgrounds. Our Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling program brings healthy habits, leadership, and independence through the sport of cycling to over 150 predominantly Black youth every year. Our work with the AARP in 2018 to hold listening sessions in West and North Philadelphia was designed precisely to listen to the concerns of Black communities and incorporate their ideas into our Vision Zero policy advocacy. We are working with partners to ensure that Circuit Trails are designed inclusively and positively serve communities of color. We support programs like Folx n Spokes PHL and Transit Forward Philadelphia, which collaborate with the LGBTQIA bicycling community and transit users. We designed an in-house Bike Nice Drive Nice public education campaign with diverse representation of bicyclists to promote safe bicycling and driving habits.
While we take pride in our existing anti-racist community work, we recognize that we must address our own biases and perspectives in order to promote sustained and progressive change.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is ready to step up to the plate and use its resources to advocate for policies, infrastructure and education that promote not only more bicycling, but the dismantling of structural and systemic racism. Towards that end, we will form a Task Force among our staff, board, BCYC youth and community stakeholders to implement the following:
- Actively advocate against the use of armed policing in achieving Vision Zero
- Enhance our advocacy to reduce disproportionate impacts of traffic violence in communities of color
- Enhance and amplify our education programming in communities of color
- Support small businesses and organizations serving neighborhoods that are rebuilding
- Recruit and hire Black staff, leadership team and board members
- Organize our efforts with care, study, and input from local leaders from our Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Immigrant communities, to ensure that our work and programming is relevant and services all bicyclists
We recognize that these topics are general, and it will require considerable work to implement them as concrete and measurable action items.
Looking ahead, we are hopeful because the recent protests all over the country and here in Philadelphia have opened up the conversation unlike any other time in recent history. We are also hopeful because we have great regard for the staff and board of the Bicycle Coalition and the community we serve. We are capable of uniting around these objectives and do our part to contribute to an anti-racist society. Bicycling, safe streets and trails are more important than ever to build a resilient, sustainable and equitable society, and we will need your continued participation and support to create a better world for all.
Sarah Clark Stuart
Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
Edward W. Chang