The Everyone Rides Initiative, on behalf of our not-for-profit organization Hamilton Bike Share Inc., reaffirms our commitment to equity in bike share as we witness the recent and ongoing acts of violent, anti-Black racism in the colonial states of Canada and the United States. We see and mourn the recent deaths of George Floyd (46, Minneapolis, MN), Tony McDade (38, Tallahassee, FL), David McAtee (53, Louisville, KY), and D’Andre Campbell (26, Brampton, ON) by the hands of police. We condemn this white supremacy and state-sanctioned violence.
We implore any white viewers of this post to amplify (share) and support Black Lives Matter and local Hamilton-Toronto organizations doing important work to support and represent Black communities, listed below:
- Black Lives Matter (+DONATE)
- Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (+DONATE)
- Afro Canadian Caribbean Association (+DONATE)
- Rafiki Hamilton (+DONATE)
- Empowerment Squared (+DONATE)
- Refuge Centre for Newcomer Health (+DONATE)
- Toronto Protester Bail Fund (+DONATE)
- COBRA - Coalition of Black and Racialized Artists Hamilton
The Everyone Rides Initiative affirms that Black people face disproportionate levels of policing, scrutiny and harm, including being carded, violently detained, and racially profiled in our community as well as other Canadian cities while using or working for public transit.
We know that bike share systems are used globally in cities as efficient, convenient and affordable forms of active public transportation. We also know that bike share systems have never been immune to systemic racism. Bike share systems are routinely launched in dense, downtown neighbourhoods to ensure a greater ridership. However, many downtown North American urban neighbourhoods have become overwhelmingly white and upper-middle class due to gentrification. Gentrification pushes out communities of colour and forces more people to the economic margins. Meanwhile, in neighbourhoods outside of downtown commercial districts, services such as bike share stations can be inaccessible: bike infrastructure, including bike lanes, are often sparse or nonexistent.
Furthermore, Black cyclists report a greater sense of self-vigilance and fear while riding bikes. They avoid busy, high-visibility bike routes and peak commuter times of day while cycling to reduce their risk of being unjustly racially profiled by police.
The reasons listed here as to why Black people may choose not to partake as cyclists in bike share systems are not exhaustive, but they expose racist acts that bike share organizations often partake in, and are obligated to unlearn. We applaud the important work done through programs like Indego in Philadelphia, MoGo for All in Detroit, Adaptive Biketown in Portland, and Better Bike Share to make bike share more equitable.
Through the Everyone Rides Initiative and other ongoing projects, our organization has worked to address and overcome these problematic planning decisions by increasing bike share hubs, service, programming and options in the Hamilton neighbourhoods where there are relatively high levels of poverty. However, it is not enough. We must do more, and we must do better.
We pledge to develop a comprehensive action plan that outlines how our organization will build greater solidarity and allyship with organizations and communities of colour, and work towards dismantling racist structures.
We cannot be silent as Black people are murdered and violence against them continues. Black Lives Matter.