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  • Eric Jaffe
  • Fri October 30 2015
  • Posted Nov 4, 2015

Over at The Urban Edge blog, Andrew Keatts reports that some bike advocates are worried their community isn’t representing the largest sub-population of cyclists: the poor. Even the term used by advocates to describe this group—“invisible cyclists”—is problematic in that it marginalizes the marginalized.To the detriment of disadvantaged riders,many urban bike movements have aligned with a city’s elite:

“A number of people are wondering how we can do more comprehensive bike advocacy that includes people who can’t afford to get involved,” said Adonia Lugo, an anthropologist who left her job at the League of American Cyclists earlier this year because of a disconnect she perceived between bike advocates and those who ride bicycles regularly. “They’re on bikes, so they should be involved.”

“The big issue with why this matters is, there’s this cultural gap between bike advocates and others who bike,” she continued. “The strategy became, to market bicycling as an urban lifestyle. You don’t do it because it’s cheap and you need to get somewhere. It’s presented as an opportunity to be part of urban chic fashion.”

Keatts is right that lower-income households form the bulk of all bike riders, though he misses some of the strongest evidence to his point. The American Community Survey from 2008 to 2012 (also compiled inCommuting in America, 2013) breaks down bike travel by household income among the working population. Lower-income households bike to work in greater shares than higher-income homes:

See the survey results and read more...



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