Yesterday I had the opportunity to share my "big idea" for biking/transportation policy in Seattle at Cascade Bicycle Club's Connect Puget Sound Big Idea Festival. The idea that I shared has been ruminating in my head for a while, and the seed was actually planted three years ago when I first started riding bikes as an adult in Seattle.
To put it frankly, people just weren't very nice to each other on bicycles. The first time I got a flat tire, I struggled with it on the side of the road for nearly 20 minutes by myself to fix it. I finally gave up and walked my bike home. During those 20 minutes, at least 5 other people on bikes rode by me and none of them stopped to ask if I was alright. That isn't friendly cycling.
My idea isn't revolutionary. It doesn't take a large budget. Or even a huge effort by any one person or group. It simply requires a bit of a mind shift by all of us.
I've linked to my presentation below, and am more than willing to come talk to your cycling team, group, workplace, school, whatever. But the gist of it is summarized below:
We need to bike more kindly. ALL OF US. We each bear the responsibility to create an intentional, welcoming, inclusive community to all people on two wheels, regardless of age, gender, race, type of bike, clothing style, apparent income level, biking style, or speed.
It doesn't take much. Here are five easy ways you can do you part on your next ride:
- Share the trails/roads in a friendly manner. Each ride isn't a race. Pass with kindness.
- Say hi to each other. We're not isolated in metal boxes.
- Talk to each other- warn of hazards/potholes, compliment on gear, etc.
- Offer help to people who may need it. Wayfinding for those who look lost, people stopped with mechanical issues, etc.
- Smile and remember why you're riding a bike. Everybody likes seeing happy people.
Here is the link to full presentation. Please be in touch if you have any questions. I'd love to talk more about this and how we can work together to change our bike culture together.