Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reaching Out And Connecting With The Bicycling Poor

Hillsborough County and Tampa are working on a joint bicycle safety action plan and Monday's workshop will have to begin digging deep into educating and connecting with the working poor who rely on bicycles as their only form of mobility.

It means reaching out to ALL bicyclists -- not just ones who participate in bike-commuting programs and the fun rides we all organize.

This morning at the Fun-Lan market where many working poor buy their vegetables and fruits, I saw bicyclists riding bikes that usually don't have lights. They ride with bags hanging from their handlebars, which make their bikes unstable, and rarely wear a helmet.

At night, I make it my responsibility to stop bicyclists who are riding without lights to advise them to please become more visible by using lights. I have a few extra reflective vests and helmets that I plan to keep in my bike panniers to hand out, but I don't have enough for everybody.

I hope the bike safety workshop includes more than just technical items and infrastructure issues; that is, this bike safety plan must be a sweeping initiative that includes all government departments and agencies that deal with working-poor bicyclists such as social services and police.

The DOT and other agencies have money for bike lights and vests -- I hope the bicyclists who need them get them and then use them.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting about this - probably the singular most important local cycling issue. And thanks for taking it upon yourself to hand out lights and vests. I will try to do that, too. Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

As a driver, I noticed a big increase of working poor cyclists, as opposed to the yuppie bike by choice cyclists. The reason for the increase is obvious - and ominous: the depression.

Cycling advocates can just sit back. With income inequality climbing like a jet plane on steroids (or gas prices) pretty soon only the 1 percenters will drive!