Biking while black, brown, woman, trans, femme, immigrant, poor, different, other…

Image credit: road.co

Image credit: road.co

What does it mean for a mobility tool to be symbolized as freedom, EMPOWERMENT, and a positive form of visibility 

to simultaneously also be a means by which people can easily harass, profile, and taunt those choosing this form of mobility?

What is freedom if the police mark you as suspicious?

Image credit: ABC News

Image credit: ABC News

What is EMPOWERMENT if men catcall you?

Image credit: HollaBack

Image credit: HollaBack

What is visibility if all you are trying to do is stay invisible?

We must remember that while some of us find great freedom, empowerment and visibility in the BICYCLE, there are others of us who see the bicycle as yet another way to be profiled, harassed, and targeted.

Image credit: Miami New Times

Image credit: Miami New Times

Don’t get it? Check out this Healthy Connections report on how your fellow bicyclists feel while riding.

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Re-blog: In a Wheelchair? Good Luck on Franklin Avenue

Last month I wrote a short article about ADA compliance on Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis.

Franklin Ave. sidewalk

Franklin Ave. sidewalk

The focus is more on sidewalks, but the issue of equitable infrastructure remains.

From the article: Working-class and poor people get the worst pedestrian amenities even though they are the ones that use the sidewalks the most. These despicable conditions are at its worst in the poorest area of Franklin Avenue. It is no coincidence that these narrow sidewalks are on the edge of Phillips (the stereotypical “bad” neighborhood south of downtown).

Check out the article here!

Blaming the cyclist, once again. Thanks, hegemony!

Well, here we go again. Another story about a dead cyclist, another round of victim blaming.

Just over a month ago, I posted a critique of local news coverage about a drunk driver who killed a bike commuter. I argued that the news media took pains to affirm that the dead cyclist did not deserve to die by reporting that he was “careful” and wore protective equipment (lights and helmet). Headlines such as “Bicyclist fatally run over was new to Minneapolis, careful about bike safety” reminded some readers of the problematic rhetoric that media use when discussing sexual assault: “Woman raped was new to Minneapolis, careful about sexual assault.”

A victim of violence and their precautionary behavior is not relevant to these stories. What is relevant is the violence. By reaffirming that these victims were attempting to be “safe,” it then creates a dichotomy to those who are not “safe.” If a victim was not attempting to be safe, then how will their situation be read? And at the very least, who gets to define what is “safe”?

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