Wordplay: Language a New Focus of Bicycle Advocacy

A few months ago I posted a short piece reflecting on my disassociation with cyclist and instead identifying myself as an urbanite. I was inspired to think intentionally about the cyclist label after a discussion with my classmates in Cascade Bicycle Club’s Advocacy Leadership Institute. Tom Fucoloro, author of the Seattle Bike Blog, sparked our minds by challenging the sensibility of using labels such as driver, cyclist, and pedestrian. Makes sense to me – after all, I am all of these things at various times and it seems foolish to define myself by how I get around.

Now, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is in the spotlight for a blog article it wrote about using better language to break down perceived barriers between people using different modes of transportation. Clearly SNG is finding success; the idea of breaking barriers through more appropriate language not only appeared in my class but also in my neighborhood group. I find my daily language changing and noticed fewer people around me identifying themselves as cyclists. After all, we are all just people, right?

Check out SNG’s quick-guide to positive language:

Language guidelines from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Language guidelines from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

More on this:

Let’s Talk About Safe Streets | Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: http://seattlegreenways.org/blog/2015/01/06/lets-talk-safe-streets/

HOW SMART LANGUAGE HELPED END SEATTLE’S PARALYZING BIKELASH | People For Bikes (with comments by Tom Fucoloro of the Seattle Bike Blog): http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/how-smart-language-helped-end-seattles-paralyzing-bikelash

Seattle Bike Blog: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/02/09/im-not-a-cyclist-supporting-safer-streets-is-obvious-once-you-ditch-vehicle-language/

Language, Vehicle Size, and Bicycle Advocacy | IsolateCyclist: http://www.isolatecyclist.com/2013/12/09/language-vehicle-size-and-bicycle-advocacy/

Accidents Vs. Collisions | Living Streets Alliance: http://www.livingstreetsalliance.org/2013/03/accidents-vs-crashes/

More Traffic Violence: Hit & Run on Rainier Ave

Another instance of drivers running down pedestrians and fleeing the scene in the rainier Valley? This is becoming ridiculous. Can a strong road rechannelization prevent bad driving? Probably not. But smart engineering can slow speeds, increase pedestrian safety, and make it less likely these collisions will continue at such high rate. This is just one more tragic example of why Seattle DOT needs to take Rainier Ave safety seriously – and do a complete overhaul prioritizing Safety over Speeding.

Woman struck while crossing Rainier: ‘I have never been so scared and alone’ | Seattle Bike Blog

 

Story of Survival

Brandon Blake was hit by a car while cycling on Dexter Ave. last year. Thankfully he survived, but not everyone who is hit is so lucky. I rode that same section of Dexter every day on my work commute from Queen Anne and now that I moved to Beacon Hill I still use it as a main thoroughfare when traveling north. One of my best friends rides it on his everyday commutes. Thousands pass along Dexter everyday as they go about there business. What is to keep us form being hit? From being killed?

Read about Brandon’s story on the Seattle Bike Blog. His band, More of Anything, will be playing a show Friday in West Seattle. There is no cover and some special guests are expected. Show solidarity for your fellow cyclist and check it out!

Pronto Cycle Share Just Over 2 Weeks Away: Updates

Here are a few quick updates on Pronto’s October 13th launch. The Seattle Bike Blog did an excellent job covering these, so I will just point you in the right direction.

  • Pronto is installing its first stations now, so keep an eye out for them. The first location to go in will be 9th Ave and Mercer street.
  • Pronto will not launch with helmet vending machines. Instead, it will use a temporary honor system for members to use and deposit helmets. Annual members will also receive a voucher for a free Pronto helmet from REI.
  • Pronto celebrated Park(ing) day alongside many other communities groups by partnering with Bike Works to spread the word and do some basic tune-up work. Great collaboration!
  • Returning to helmets, check out some data from SPD that shows they are targeting the wrong people when it comes to issuing infractions.
  • Mayor Ed Murray is working to get city funding for Pronto to expand into lower income neighborhoods in the Central District.

Bike Share is Coming to Seattle!

A Pronto Cycle Share prototype in front of a dodgeball court at Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill.

A Pronto Cycle Share prototype in front of a dodgeball court at Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill.

Pronto Cycle Share is less than two months away and I could not be more excited for its September launch! I’ve had the luxury of riding the bike on a few occasions and I must say cruising up to Capitol Hill from Downtown is not at all the difficult journey I expected. Whereas most bike share systems’ designs are heavier than average bikes and use only 3 gears, Pronto is lighter than other bike share bikes and has an internal 7-speed hub! Talk about prepared for Seattle! Rather than walk you through the whole bike again, check out this blog post from the Seattle Bike Blog about how Pronto rides. I couldn’t agree more!