Recommended Read: “Open Letter to the League of American Bicyclists Board of Directors”

Bike/Walk Equity, a “a loose coalition of diverse leaders across the United States committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in the bike/walk movement,” has posted an Open Letter to the League of American Bicyclists Board of Directors on Medium that calls into question, with great professionalism and thoughtfulness, the Bike League’s recent decision to appoint a new Executive Director rather than conduct a national search:

We believe that the League’s decision to bypass a national search is a recurring example of an organizational practice that systematically undermines equity, diversity and inclusion within our growing bike/walk movement.

I (Stephen Zavestoski) was particularly disheartened to learn of this news as it followed on the heels of Adonia Lugo, the Bike League’s first Equity Initiative Manager, leaving the organization earlier this year. A lifelong bike commuter, I only became a dues-paying member of the Bike League in 2013 when Lugo was hired and it appeared that a fundamental shift towards diversity and inclusion in the organization’s agenda and strategies had occurred.

But Lugo resigned a few months back and recently blogged that she had to step down after realizing that

I couldn’t accomplish what I’d set out to do…I wasn’t just raising awareness about exclusion in bicycle advocacy, I was experiencing it…As a woman of color, I didn’t have the power to solve the problem I’d been hired to fix.

Read the Open Letter and stay tuned for the Bike League’s formal response.

Recommended Read: “Most Cyclists Are Working-Class Immigrants, Not Hipsters”

There’s a great piece by Andrew Keatts on Governing, a media platform for state and local government leaders, that engages meaningfully with both the problematic nature of the term “invisible cyclist” and creative strategies for doing inclusive bike advocacy and bike planning. Continue reading

Polling attitudes on the “invisible cyclist”

We’d like to extend a special thanks to the Bike League’s Equity Initiative Manager, Adonia Lugo, for hosting last Friday’s “Equitable Bike Advocacy and the ‘Invisible Cyclist'” webinar. It was a great success and you can listen to the webinar or view a curated collection of #bikes4all tweets from the event here.

The following twitter exchange captures the gist of what the discussion meant for the future of the “invisible cyclist.” Continue reading

Equitable Bike Advocacy and the “Invisible Cyclist”

As we described in our last post, a new report by the Bike League questions the continued usefulness of the term “invisible cyclist.” Adonia Lugo, one of the report’s authors and Equity Initiative Manager for the League of American Bicyclists, has organized a webinar on “Equitable Bike Advocacy and the ‘Invisible Cyclist'” to explore a range of questions around bike advocacy the “invisible cyclist.”

Steve Zavestoski will be part of the discussion and will live tweet the webinar from @invisiblcyclist. A description of the event, scheduled for Oct. 31 at 10am PDT, follows.

From the Bike League:

In our recent report on “The New Movement: Bike Equity Today”, we shared interviews with many people around the U.S. who see the bicycle as a community empowerment tool. We also questioned the term “invisible cyclist,” which many bike advocates use as a way to refer to people of color who use bikes but do not participate in advocacy. Does this term make the efforts of today’s bike advocates who are people of color harder to see? Join us for a discussion with Professor Stephen Zavestoski of the University of San Francisco, the co-editor of the new book Incomplete Streets, Do Lee of Biking Public Project in New York City, and Najah Shakir of Boston Bikes as we explore what invisibility means for bike users and bike advocates.

Register here

Invisible cyclist: Has the term reached the end of its usefulness?

The Bike League’s new report, The New Movement: Bike Equity Today (PDF) asks an important question about terms like “invisible riders” and “invisible cyclists”:

Have the terms distracted us from the vital importance of making every person who rides a bike visible?  Continue reading

Bicycling and the “Cyclist Identity”: Understanding the “Bikelash”

The recent “bikelash” from commentators like Courtland Milloy, who equates bicyclists with bullies and terrorists, has precipitated some thoughtful analyses of the broader trends evoking such strong responses. Eric Jaffe’s Strange As It Seems, Cycling Haters Are a Sign of Cycling Success does an excellent job of pointing out some of the more intelligent analysis, such as Why Bikes Make Smart People Say Dumb Things by Carl Alviani and last year’s Cyclists Aren’t ‘Special,’ and They Shouldn’t Play by Their Own Rules by Sarah Goodyear. Continue reading