Where Do We Go From Here?: Breaking Down Barriers to Bicycling in the U.S.
Even without the recent upsurge brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, bicycling has increased in popularity in many U.S. cities over the last decade. However, even as the number of bicyclists and bike trips steadily grows, many communities have struggled to create truly inclusive bike cultures. Furthermore, bicycling still remains completely out of reach for many minority groups and low-income Americans due to persistent and pervasive social and physical barriers.
Physical barriers to bicycling include issues like the inequitable distribution of bicycle infrastructure among neighborhoods and diverse populations, whereas social barriers are occasionally less obvious but arguably more widespread. For example, the dominant perception of bicyclists as white men can prevent minority men and women from embracing bicycling at a rate comparable to their white counterparts. Likewise, hygiene concerns might keep a person of color from biking to work for fear of judgment from their white, corporate counterparts. As we look to grow bicycling nationally, it’s imperative that we understand the reasons why some people choose to ride a bike and others do not.
To better understand these barriers to biking, PeopleForBikes funded research in 10 U.S. cities focused on helping communities build strong local partnerships and accelerate the growth of bicycling. The study’s principal investigator was Charles T. Brown, who worked with Susan Blickstein and Siennah Yang of Susan G. Blickstein, LLC and Brown’s colleagues James Sinclair and Aashna Jain at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers University. Together, they set out to identify different factors preventing people from bicycling, plus what infrastructure and incentives people need in order to start.
Read the full report here.