Including extra various voices would strengthen the Illinois Bike Summit – Streetsblog Chicago
Final week I wakened early for the digital Illinois Bike Summit, hosted by the statewide advocacy group Ride Illinois. I used to be wanting ahead to attending the breakout session on Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion and a session on e-bikes. My plan was to put in writing in regards to the Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion session and attend the e-bike session out of my own personal interest. Sadly, on the finish of the summit, I used to be left just a little disillusioned by the content material. Whereas I need you, the reader, to know that I recognize the work Journey Illinois is doing, I wish to share my trustworthy ideas in regards to the occasion.
The Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion session began off with Elizabeth Adamczyk of Women Bike Chicago and the Chicago Ride of Silence. I might have appreciated a brief explainer as to why range, fairness, and inclusion issues on the earth of biking. I appreciated Elizabeth mentioning the gender hole in biking, the truth that males account for almost all of oldsters using on the streets in Chicago, and in different U.S. cities. However I might have appreciated to have heard her say why that is: Women don’t feel safe on the streets.
Elizabeth and fellow presenter Caryn Davis, proprietor of downstate Bloomington Cycle & Health, spoke of their women-only rides that helped enhance the boldness of feminine contributors. I undoubtedly recognize that group rides assist make new riders extra assured, however in the event you’ve learn some of my previous articles on Streetsblog, you’d know that I really feel strongly in regards to the want for protected bike lanes, site visitors calming, and eradicating police from site visitors enforcement. In a perfect world, the constructed surroundings and legislation enforcement practices would create security for all folks on bikes, no matter their demographic, nobody would want “confidence” to hop on a motorbike, whether or not for recreation or transportation.
Additionally, satirically, the Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion panel wasn’t significantly various. I appreciated that Shawnee Day, an after-school teacher with West City Bikes who’s African-American, participated, sharing her expertise of being welcomed into the fold on the Humboldt Park-based youth bike schooling heart. However I might have most popular to see extra folks of coloration, in addition to cyclists with disabilities, share their experiences of biking and what they’d wish to see achieved to make our streets safer for them.
And there have been no actual suggestions from the panel on methods to advertise the coaching, hiring, and promotion of individuals of coloration throughout the biking business. Given the discussions surrounding racial inclusion and fairness I’ve had the privilege of attending, and the particular consideration paid to systemic racism in the issue of Bicycling magazine visitor edited by mobility justice chief Tamika Butler, this dialogue left me wanting extra.
On the finish of my time on the Illinois Bike Summit, I used to be left questioning what it might take to get a extra various crowd concerned in these conversations and in advocacy efforts. We want an actual dedication to actively contain Black and Brown cyclists, disabled riders, queer and transgender cyclists, ladies cyclists, and cyclists with youngsters. I do know our advocacy priorities and our constructed surroundings would look rather a lot totally different if these people have been main the dialog.
Comply with Courtney Cobbs on Twitter at @CourtneyCyclez.