The Invisible Cyclists

The video below was produced in conjunction with an article written by Good Magazine about Immigrants and the Bike Community in L.A. Both the video and the article bring up really important issues about environmental justice and its relationship to the bicycle as a means of transportation. In the L.A. area, a few of volunteers who work with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition created a number of great campaigns and projects called City of Lights, which work to reach out to the immigrant cyclist (or potential cyclist) population in the area, who are also referred to as the “invisible cyclists”. The video below, which I found over at Streetsblog LA, highlights the City of Lights program, it’s role in the local community, and some of the issues they are working to address. You can also check out the City of Lights blog.

I plan to write more about the topic of environmental justice and its relationship to utility cycling in the future, but for now, I highly recommend you check out this video and the associated articles.

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3 thoughts on “The Invisible Cyclists”

  1. Rusty Wright says:

    This reminds me of an incident where I was waiting for the light to change at an intersection and a truck with high school kids went past on the cross street and one of them yelled out at me as they went by, “Get a car you fag!”

    Later I was thinking about it and was trying to figure out why they thought I should be in a car instead of on a bicycle. I’m white and while my bicycle isn’t expensive, it’s a road bike and not some cheap WalMart hybrid bicycle either. Where I live there are also many Latins who are low income and whose bicycle is their primary means of transportation and it’s typically a hybrid or a mountain bike. My theory is that people around here associate riding a bicycle with being low income.

    I think this is another part of the problem with advocacy for bike lanes and such; congress people and civic leaders are more likely to see bicyclists as low income people, and therefore, unfortunately, unimportant.

  2. swine flu says:

    Completely agree with the sentiment of that video. I’ve been working for a non-profit shop that attempts to make cycling accessible in the region. As cycling is becoming more popular with privileged social groups, local government is responding more… but what about 10 years ago when most cyclists in the area were riding out of economic necessity? Where was city government then? Why are their employers not providing incentives to ride? Why are these folks not at the bicycle parties in my town?

  3. Thanks for the great comments that bring up the issue that many people associate riding a bicycle with being low income. In many cases, yes, a bicycle is a vehicle of necessity for low income people. It’s not about health or the environment or any other lofty goal; it’s simply about getting to work. And yes, I think there is a serious problem with representation for low income cyclists. I’ve never been to a public meeting on bicycling that had strong representation from the low income demographic…probably because the public meeting was held during regular work hours or was in other ways inaccessible (but that’s another problem altogether). Anyhow, thanks for the great comments. It’s good to see that people are aware of this issue!

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