The media routinely refers to a person riding a bike as a “cyclist”, especially when there’s a police report as a result of a crash. It is often unintentional on the part of the journalist, but that’s not an excuse. It’s a dehumanization of the person, taking the onus off the driver in a crash. The auto industry has deliberately co-opted our language to devalue people who ride bikes as “cyclists” and the same goes for people walking, labeling them “pedestrians”.
We need to change our perception of who a person riding a bike is, who a Black person riding a bike is, who “owns’ the sport, and we need to change our language….and that’s just a start.
The author of this article, Tamika Butler makes a point that she’s a person, as opposed to a “cyclist”. A Black person, a genderqueer person, a mom. “A person who—particularly when the world seems to be falling apart—needs to bike to feel sane, balanced, and healthy.”
Tamika participated in a panel: Bicycling At The Intersections, with a group comprised of Black trans, femme, women, and non-binary cyclists who collectively shared their experiences of race and identity within the sport, and breaking through white supremacy.
“Bikes Are an Expression of Black Joy. Here’s How 5 Riders Break Through White Supremacy”.
“WE’RE HAVING TO PUSH WHITE PEOPLE’S IMAGINATION OF WHAT WE ARE, AND WHAT WE CAN BE.”
THE WORD HAS EVOLVED TO EXCLUDE SO MANY PEOPLE LIKE ME.
I have always thought of myself as “a person who bikes.” More than that, a person who loves to bike. A person who—particularly when the world seems to be falling apart—needs to bike to feel sane, balanced, and healthy. As a mom who is also a genderqueer, Black woman from the Midwest, there are lots of identities I use to describe myself—and plenty of words other people use to describe me. But “cyclist” has never been one of them.I am not skinny. I am not white.
I am not straight. I am not a man. Just Google the term and see that the central casting version of “cyclist” seems to check most or all of these boxes. I have never checked those boxes.
Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition has focused on making the city safer for everyone – streets that are safe for anyone “8 to 80″, in other words, for the most vulnerable. We have worked with the City Transportation Manager and gotten input from the community to create a Plan For Walking And Biking, an evolving plan, which now during the pandemic is adapting to include open streets and other methods of making streets more open to people walking and using micro-mobility, and less accommodating to cars. Cars should be guests in cities, not OWN cities.
Traffic must be slowed, and every effort needs to be made to reduce the need to drive, especially during the pandemic, when people are in need of safe spaces to be able to spend time outdoors for exercise, shopping, and dining.
We are intent upon creating a safe, healthy, and environmentally equitable city, not divided by city streets teeming with traffic.
In cities all over the US, “transportation issues negatively affect people of color” . Highways and roads that cut through, or over, Black, Latino, and immigrant neighborhoods.” Asbury Park’s Memorial Drive, train tracks, and our own Main Street have served to bisect the city into the east and west sides, and maintained the inequity of a city with a history of two faces. But now Main Street is currently nearing the end of a years long DOT reconfiguration, calming traffic and allowing people to walk and ride bikes for transportation and recreation, and a safer Memorial Drive is on the horizon.
Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition is committed to helping to build infrastructure that enables everyone to safely access the city on foot, a wheelchair, or on a bike or scooter, throughout this time of COVID, and beyond.
The pandemic has led to an unexpected positive—people reclaiming streets in ways that have made urban America more bikeable, walkable, and enjoyable. Preserving that will take work, but it’s worth it.
“It’s callous to call a global pandemic an opportunity, but the crisis has altered our view of public spaces in ways no other event could. In Denver, which closed several streets to through traffic, that wouldn’t have happened without a catalyst. “If we had tried to roll this out pre-pandemic, we would have been met with opposition,” says Eulois Cleckley, executive director of the city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. “But the situation people were placed in changed their perspective overnight.””
“For walking, cycling, and so-called micromobility options like scooters to really function as everyday transportation choices for more than just hardcore commuters…there has to be a safe route from anywhere in a city to anywhere else.”
City streets should always be safe for everyone riding bikes or walking. Asbury Park is not alone among municipalities in NJ working on ways to #slowthecars and reduce reliance on automobiles on city streets.
The Asbury Park Slow Roll, November 14th, 2020
The monthly Slow Roll was a pleasure as usual, spending time with others cruising around Asbury Park on bikes. We noted the bike and walk infrastructure appearing in the city, but as usual we also experienced impatient drivers, and a close pass as we navigated Main Street. It underscored the ongoing need for more and better infrastructure to make streets safe for people walking and biking, to slow and calm traffic #20isplenty, and the need for reduced the use of automotive vehicles in our small city.
According to NJ Bike Law, bicyclists may use the full lane, and are not required to ride in the bike lane. Bike riders are more visible riding in the lane, but often rightfully feel frightened and vulnerable among motor vehicles. Paint doesn’t protect, and these striped lanes are within the space where a driver door will open, either hitting the person on the bike or forcing the bike rider into traffic. Whenever possible “take the lane” if you are a bike rider, and if you are a driver please be aware that bike riders are permitted to do so.
Visibility is of utmost importance (contact us to get bright bike lights!). Science has proven that drivers are most likely to see other vehicles, but too often completely unable to see people walking or biking.
This is the way city streets should look all the time. Let’s keep working on safe streets for everyone, especially the most vulnerable in Asbury Park.
Today is World Day Of Remembrance For Road Traffic Victims, and we hope that you will sign & share this pledge for a NJ where no one dies on the roads: tinyurl.com/visionzeronj
World Day Of Remembrance For Road Traffic Victims
Slow Roll Bike Ride Saturday, Nov.14th at 1pm.
In honor of World Day of Remembrance For Road Traffic Victims – Asbury Park Slow is Roll Saturday, November 14th Meet at The Carousel at 1pm for about an hour cruise around the city. We encourage a bright, white flashing light on the front, and red flashing light on the back of bikes. Cars have daytime running lights. So should bicycles. Until all bikes come equipped with lights we have to buy them – or message us if you’re unable to get lights and we’ll hook you up. 👍🏻🚲🌠🎇
Please join the FB Live Event on Nov. 15th at 11am (link below) and consider a donation to NJ Bike & Walk Coalition,which works tirelessly to make streets and safe for everyone, especially the most vulnerable. NJBWC has been incredibly helpful to Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition.
For those concerned about making streets safe for the most vulnerable in our Asbury Park community, we recommend the book, Right Of Way, by Angie Schmitt, and the webinar hosted by Charles T. Brown: Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America.
The facts and data presented in the webinar are illuminating and disturbing. Pedestrian deaths are not accidents, nor are they random, but they are a part of a systemic problem, with systemic causes. We have a car-oriented culture by design on the part of the automotive industry. There is a need for engineers (and there are some) to step up to acknowledge that 6000 deaths a year of people walking in the US is unacceptable. Black and brown people are the most common victims of pedestrian crashes.
Asbury Park is a small city with a lot of automotive traffic, and a high percentage of residents under the “poverty line”. Traffic is moving at unsafe speeds most of the time throughout the city. We need to reduce speeds by building infrastructure that prioritizes people walking and micro-mobility. While we don’t advocate for enforcement by police, we do advocate lowering speed limits, and monitoring with speed cameras. #20isplenty.
There is a need for engineering, education, and enforcement – not by police – to keep streets safe for the most vulnerable road users, many of whom are Black and other people of color, and many of those are poor and must walk or ride bikes for transportation.
This website and blog are intended to be an educational tool for the community. We hope that supporters of Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition will share the site, buy the book, and watch the webinar (a little over an hour) and spread the word about how we can make Asbury Park a safer, healthier city.
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This webinar is on right now, and I hope it will be recorded. Bicycling can be a great unifier but there are obstacles for non-white riders. We all need to learn about the experience of Black, trans, femme women, and non-binary people who ride bikes. I am personally feeling a sense of illumination about being visible vs invisible as a white rider and social safety as a privileged white cyclist – the clothes I wear, where I ride, when I ride. I hope this excellent panel is recorded.
Bicycling and SRAM to Host Discussion With Black Trans, Femme, Women, and Non-Binary Cyclists.
THE FREE EVENT WILL EXPLORE HOW BIKES CAN BE TOOLS FOR LIBERATION AND FOR HEALTH, AND HOW WE CAN GET MORE PEOPLE RIDING.
“In a year experiencing both a pandemic and social uprising, the bicycle has never been more important, says Grace Anderson, co-director for the PGM ONE Summit, a grassroots organization that fights for environmental justice and collective liberation. A bike is transportation, it is health, it is an escape, and it’s a form of protest.
Though the people who ride bikes cover an impressively broad spectrum, many vital voices in the bike world never get a chance to speak up. So Anderson approached Bicycling about hosting a discussion that elevates brilliant riders often left out of the bigger cycling dialogs.
In partnership with SRAM, Bicycling will host Cycling at the Intersections, a free, live discussion of the experiences of Black trans, femme, women, and non-binary cyclists, to be held October 21 at 12 pm ET.”
Iresha Picot (she/her), a Southern Black Woman, currently residing in Philadelphia. Iresha has spent the last decade working in Behavior and Mental Health as a Licensed Behavior Specialist and Therapist, a community activist and birth worker. She enjoys all things fitness, including cycling, Zumba, and daily meditative walks.
Tamika Butler (she/her/they/them), a contributing writer for Bicycling and a national expert and speaker on issues related to the built environment, equity, anti-racism, diversity and inclusion, organizational behavior, and change management. As the Principal + Founder of Tamika L. Butler Consulting, she focuses on shining a light on inequality, inequity, and social justice. Tamika also served as a guest editor on the Bicycling feature story “Why We Must Talk About Race When We Talk About Bikes.”
(she/her) conjures enthusiasm for life by practicing pleasure and play, living simply and seeking joy. Being a parent, organizer, creator, and adventurer are a few roles that allow her to explore the depths of her pleasure and joy. She utilizes experience as a creator as the root of her community organizing efforts to enhance the quality of life among Black folk. Her work centers Black women, children and queer folks and meets at the intersection of justice, principled living, healing, quality of life and Black liberation.
Jesi Harris (any pronouns) is a Master of Urban Planning student at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. She hails from North Carolina where as an UNC – Chapel Hill undergrad, she fell in love with the bicycle as a sustainable, affordable, self-powered form of transportation. Upon graduating in May 2021, she hopes to build a career in affordable, sustainable development.
Check it out;
Charles T. Brown and Angie Schmitt are two of the top experts on pedestrian safety in the country, who think “it is time for cities to consider decriminalizing jaywalking or eliminating the infraction altogether. ” Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition could not agree more. Just last week a group of peaceful protesters were walking in the street front of the site of a recent police shooting when the organizer of the protest was arrested for being in the street. There was no traffic to obstruct, the group of people was relatively small, and the people didn’t present a danger to themselves or the community. While this wasn’t technically “jaywalking”, the crime was simply being in the street, so the police enforced the law which stopped the protest. Thankfully there were no serious injuries in this case.
For those who follow this blog, you know that this topic has been covered extensively, describing jaywalking as “fake” here, explaining the weaponization of jaywalking here, why it’s a crime here, and the history of jaywalking here.
The subject never gets old – partly because it’s origin surprises everyone who learns about it, and critically because jaywalking been used in the extreme to target Black people (mostly men and boys) who are unjustifiably arrested and killed.
This ProPublica story, “Walking While Black”, was presented at an event in 2017 by Charles Brown at Rutgers University, which I was fortunate to attend. The study reveals the numbers which attest to the outrageous percentages of Blacks being stopped for “jaywalking” in Jacksonville, Florida. These statistics are not unusual in cities all over the US.
It’s time to get rid of jaywalking laws everywhere and create streets for people, rather than for prioritization of automotive traffic. It’s time to reallocate police responsibilities, to examine and restructure traffic enforcement by police, and for a complete reevaluation of policing culture.
9 Reasons to Eliminate Jaywalking Laws Now
They’ve rarely protected pedestrians, and their enforcement is racially biased. Two street safety experts say there are better ways to curb traffic violence.Angie Schmitt and Charles T. Brown 1. Jaywalking is a made-up thing by auto companies to deflect blame when drivers hit pedestrians.
Although jaywalking is foundational to the way we think about streets and access today, it is a relatively young concept. As University of Virginia historian Peter Norton explains in his book Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, the notion of “jaywalking” — “jay” being an early 20th century term for someone stupid or unsophisticated — was introduced by a group of auto industry-aligned groups in the 1930s. Prior to the emergence of cars in cities, no such concept existed; pedestrians had free rein in public right-of-ways. But as city streets became sites of increasing carnage in the early days of America’s auto era — about 200,000 Americans (many of them children) were killed by cars in the 1920s — automakers sought regulations that would shift blame away from drivers.
Set to begin summer 2021, safety measures for people walking and riding bikes will be focused on 3 main areas of resident concern:
Traffic Calming on 3rd and 4th Avenues – What is traffic calming?
New 3rd Avenue Bike Lanes – How bike lanes make a city safer.
Traffic Signal Upgrade on 3rd Avenue at Pine Street – Do traffic signals keep us safer?
“Curbing speeding in neighborhoods has always been one of my priorities,” said Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn.
ROUNDABOUTS, BIKE LANES AND SIGNAL UPGRADES TO INCREASE PEDESTRIAN SAFELY
By Dan Jacobson
The City of Asbury Park has been authorized by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) to begin design work on traffic calming measures for 3rd and 4th Avenues. The improvements are funded by $500,000 in federal grants under the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program in partnership with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA).