Bike Equity Today and the “Invisible Cyclist”

A new report by the League, “The New Majority: Pedaling Toward Equity” helps to illustrate the existing diversity and present ideas to move toward bike equity.

“Diversity refers to a mix: a mix of people, a mix of experiences,” wrote Adonia Lugo, equity initiative manager for the League of American Bicyclists in an announcement for the League’s new report. “But diversity, on its own, does not guarantee that a mix of perspectives will be included in a final product. Collaboration is an intentional project.”

In 2013, the League demonstrated that bicycling in America is already a diverse activity undertaken by people from all backgrounds with a breakthrough report. Yet, when it comes to advocacy and mainstream discussions of bicycling issues, there are communities that seem rarely represented or completely overlooked.

“The terms “invisible rider” and “invisible cyclist” have been in circulation for about ten years,” wrote Lugo. “In the bike world, we use them to refer politely to the individuals out there riding who have not made their way into policy-oriented bike advocacy. These terms have given us a way to talk about low-income cyclists, immigrant populations, or other groups that bike advocates have found hard to reach.”

These terms however tend to maintain more barriers – an us versus them relationship – than they tend to break through. For bicycle advocacy and policies to increase the number of people who feel included in not only the conversation but also in the movement to make bike-friendly changes to our cities, diversity must play a major role.

A new report by the League, “The New Majority: Pedaling Toward Equity” helps to illustrate existing diversity and present ideas to move toward bike equity. “Invisible riders are only invisible to us if we choose to draw our bike movement boundaries in a way that makes those riders and their experiences irrelevant to producing bike-friendly streets,” explained Lugo.

“This report is not a policy manual or a design guide; instead of advocating for particular technical interventions, it illustrates what it takes to start building the human infrastructure that will lead to policies and designs supporting bike users of all kinds.”

Read the report The New Majority: Pedaling Toward Equity

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