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Riding a bicycle is a clean, efficient, and affordable way to get around a city. But biking is not an easy option for everyone.

“What is needed is a focus on the prioritization of racial equity within the cycling movement,” says Charles Brown, CEO of Equitable Cities, an urban planning, policy, and research consultancy based in New Jersey.

He says many Black and Hispanic communities lack bike lanes, secure bike parking, and adequate streetlights.

“Racialized minority groups, as well as low-income populations … are less likely to have access to safe bicycling infrastructure,” Brown says.

He says social barriers also persist. For example, in focus groups, many Black and Hispanic people say they worry about interactions with police.

“They had concerns of being harassed while cycling,” Brown says. “And those concerns I’ve heard over and over in focus groups with these populations throughout the country.”

Brown wants all people to have safe opportunities to bike. So he says cities need to invest in biking infrastructure in Black and Brown communities, dismantle patterns of discrimination, and commit to building an inclusive biking culture. 

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media