bicycle equity advocacy

DRAFT Version, Revised: 10/13/17



Equity is achieved by intentionally, deliberately eliminating inequities and disparities adversely impacting marginalized people in a just and fair society. Equity is achieved when disadvantaged people have the opportunity to achieve optimal life outcomes, reach their full potential and no one is deprived from achieving their full potential due to their race, gender, sex, economic position or other socio-economic determinants. Equity is an answer to the historical and contemporary injustices experienced by people in a marginalized, disadvantaged position.

Equity ≠ Equality
Bicycle Equity is not the same as Bicycle Equality. Equality means everyone has access to the same resources. Equity, in contrast, means people receive resources based on their needs and their potential to benefit.

Distribution of Resources
Bicycle Equity requires the equitable, fair and just distribution of bicycle resources (funding, power, protected bike lanes, Divvy bike share stations, other transportation infrastructure, programs, services, etc.), prioritizing the communities and people who are in a disadvantaged position as those who should receive the most bicycle resources due their needing the most and their potential of benefiting the most.

Racism, Oppression & Privilege
Bicycle Equity necessitates the public acknowledgment of structural, institutional and systemic racism in our society and their role in creating bicycle inequity here in Chicago. Equity is a public, operational commitment to addressing, redressing and ultimately dismantling racism in a way which is direct and honest. Inequity experienced by some people is accompanied by unfair privilege for others who are not burdened by the same disadvantage and who benefit from a relative position of greater power than oppressed communities. Achieving bicycle equity requires the elimination of unfair privilege that has been gained via historical oppression and at the disadvantaged position of others.

Cycling as a Human Right
Bicycle Equity decrees the activity of cycling as a human right. Marginalized people have the human right to participate fully in the activity of cycling in Chicago, throughout the US and around the world. Disenfranchised people have the human right to fully enjoy the inherent personal and community benefits associated with the activity of cycling, especially as bicycle mode share increases at the local level. Disadvantaged people have the human right to engage in the activity of cycling in a manner which is safe and secure, free from the risk of interpersonal, vehicular or structural violence. People of color and low- to moderate-income people have the human right to fully access the complete range of mobility options, of their own free will accord, making the choice to safely and conveniently engage in cycling, walking, public transit, bike share, car share or driving.

Community Ownership
Bicycle Equity commands the ownership of the activity of cycling and bicycle advocacy as well as the broader transportation planning process move toward people who are the most adversely, disproportionately impacted by cycling inequities, healthcare inequities, unemployment, violence and the lack of mobility & livability in their communities. This shift in ownership creates meaningful opportunities for neighborhood residents to express an authentic voice in the decision-making process surrounding transportation infrastructure projects in their neighborhoods. Ownership at the community-level encourages respect for the needs, culture and history in neighborhoods. As a result of respecting neighborhoods and the people who live there, a greater level of engagement and investment from residents is achieved.

Diversity & Inclusion
Bicycle Equity demands a public commitment to intentional diversity and radical inclusion within the bicycle advocacy, transportation and urban planning sectors as well as the broader cycling community. Equity is the promise to reflect diversity in a way which is intentional, deliberate and operational. This means achieving real inclusion is something that is beyond the realm of normal effort and is the extra effort required to be inclusive of people who have traditionally been marginalized, disadvantaged and disenfranchised in our society.

Local Innovation
Bicycle Equity dictates the respect and recognition of local community leaders as national leaders, highlighting, elevating, energizing and investing in the bicycle organizing & advocacy work being done at the neighborhood level and their role in addressing problems at the national level.

Public Policy
Bicycle Equity compels the development and implementation of public policies and legislation designed to equitably direct bicycle resources where they are needed the most and where they will cause the most benefit.

Inequities, Disparities and an Equity Strategy
Inequities are the differences in life outcomes that are avoidable, remediable, unfair and unjust. Inequities are caused, in part, by social, economic, environmental conditions and the discriminatory, inequitable distribution of resources. Disparities are the differences in life outcomes among groups of people.

A bicycle equity strategy begins with, and operationalizes, an understanding of the root causes of cycling inequities. A bicycle equity strategy then works directly to eliminate avoidable inequities and disparities, requiring short- and long-term actions, particularly focusing on groups that have experienced major obstacles associated with socio-economic disadvantages as well as historical and contemporary injustices – people of color and low- to moderate-income people.

Bicycle Equity is the way forward to contribute to the creation of a society where we all participate, prosper and reach our full potential.