TRANSPORTATION JUSTICE Through Culturally Competent Engagement

The Tube Times is published quarterly as one of the many benefits to members of the SF Bicycle Coalition. For a complete list of membership benefits, or to join/renew today, click here.

In our new Strategic Plan, we embrace the value of transportation justice and promise to advocate for everyone’s equitable access to safe, affordable and healthy transportation. To achieve those goals, we’re upping our game when it comes to multilingual and culturally competent engagement.

We’re increasingly approaching our work so as to show up in communities with a view toward community-generated outcomes. While we continue to promote the bicycle for everyday transportation throughout the city, we know that the best solutions for safe streets come about when community members design the solutions they value most.

Show up: This past February was a great month for our increasing efforts to celebrate community events that matter most to the communities where we work. At the Chinese New Year Festival we sent staff with both Mandarin and Cantonese fluency to talk about bicycle safety and tips. The previous weekend, we partnered with 100% College Prep, which provides academic resources in Bayview-Hunters Point, to co-host a Bike It Forward event. And we were thrilled to host a February ride with Bayview youth as part of that community’s Black History Month Parade.

Listen: As an example of listening, consider our latest work in Chinatown as part of our Safe Routes to School partnership. We are hosting community meetings in partnership with Chinese Newcomers Service Center, where we listen to the stories that grandparents, parents and caregivers tell us about the challenges they face crossing some of the city’s most dangerous streets to and from Gordon Lau, Jean Parker and John Yehall Chin elementary schools. In order to better understand the challenges that Chinatown residents face along their commutes, the SF Bicycle Coalition started organizing large-scale “walking school buses,” improving the visibility of families walking to school.

The SF Bicycle Coalition has also added listening sessions as part of our introductory bicycle education courses in diverse communities across the city. As a result, we can design curriculum that is targeted specifically to meeting the needs of the various communities where we work.

Learn: When I first started working at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, we had already distributed over 500 bicycles to low-income community members as part of our Bike It Forward program. Yet we found that residents in low-income neighborhoods where we hosted Bike It Forward events didn’t really embrace bicycling. So we asked ourselves what we could do better.

We spent three months during the summer of 2017 surveying recipients from our Bike It Forward program to better understand what would support past participants in feeling more confident biking in their neighborhoods.

We learned that residents wanted more informal neighborhood rides. As a result, we partnered with ¡PODER! to launch Community Cruises — rides led by and for people of color. We also learned that if parents didn’t know how to ride a bike themselves, they did not feel comfortable letting their children bike around their neighborhoods. Knowing this, we now lead family rides for parents interested in biking with their children in conjunction with Learn-to-Ride biking events for children at schools.

Very importantly, we are working to better understand the real and perceived barriers that many people face when riding their bikes in San Francisco. We continue to increase our network of community partners, take an intersectional approach to our work and teach bike safety classes in culturally competent ways.

If you would like to volunteer to be a part of our culturally competent programmatic outreach efforts, please visit and sign up.

The Tube Times is published quarterly as one of the many benefits to members of the SF Bicycle Coalition. For a complete list of membership benefits, or to join/renew today, click here.

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