Here at Red Emma’s, if we want to think about the big issues around racial equity in bicycling, we only need to look out our windows. On the one hand, there’s the amazing Maryland Avenue cycle track—one of the safest and most pleasant rides in the city—running right down the spine of the “White L” of economic and racial privilege. No such exciting accommodations for cyclists exists (yet) on North Avenue as it stretches east and west into the wings of the “Black butterfly.” But is the answer simply that the city should hurry up and get bike lanes running on North Ave. too? Or are there a complicated set of issues to be unpacked, accompanied by real community deliberation, regarding the connections between bike infrastructure and gentrification, and between the image of who a “bicyclist” is and the real experiences of bikers of color as they navigate both traffic and racial disparities in policing and neighborhood investment?
To help sort through these questions and set the stage for a conversation with the audience on bike equity in Baltimore, we are thrilled to welcome Melody Hoffmann, author of Bike Lanes Are White Lanes: Bicycle Advocacy and Urban Planning, a study of how the burgeoning popularity of urban bicycling in Milwaukee, Portland, and Minneapolis has been trailed by systemic issues of racism, classism, and displacement. Highlighting both the perils of a bicycling advocacy mindset that focuses on the white and upwardly mobile, and the potential of bicycling to create real urban community, Hoffmann’s book is a essential place to start in this important discussion. On hand to MC the event and lead the discussion afterwards will be desegregation activist and Morgan professor Lawrence Brown.
Cosponsored by Morgan State University's School of Community Health and Policy.