Time to celebrate! Today is International Women’s Day!
I think it’s really important to get women involved in something like cycling advocacy, and to celebrate those that do. Why? Equity.
When my husband and I first got involved in cycling advocacy in Maple Ridge back in 2009, and we helped found our own chapter of what was then the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (now HUB Cycling), I was the only woman among a group of men, and MAMILs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) were a common sight at our meetings. At the time, the discussion at the Bicycle Advisory Committee was often about things like cyclist safety on the major bridges, and designing infrastructure that enabled cyclists to keep their momentum, but not so much about kids biking to school. Cycling was seen more as a sport for the strong and fearless, and for commuting to work for the few that could make it all the way to Vancouver on their two wheels. The best thing that cyclists could hope for back then was a white line separating them from the cars and trucks. And the meager cycling budget that cities had, was spent just to repaint the faded lines once in a while.
How things have changed! There are now 7 women and 4 men in our core local group! And cycling advocacy, not just in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, but everywhere, has seen a dramatic change in the past 15 years or so. The organization, HUB Cycling, has grown and become more sophisticated and better organized in its efforts to improve cycling for everyone around Metro Vancouver. The focus is now very much on separation from cars (and as we all know, locally we’re quite vocal about separation from pedestrians in the more urbanized areas!). Equity is the buzzword. People of All Ages and Abilities (AAA) should be able to use their bikes to get around without being killed or harassed. Kids should be able to bike to school safely. Women should be able to bike to work without having to ride on a road bike, assertively claiming their little bit of space on the roadway between speeding cars and trucks. Seniors should be able to go shopping by bike, or go on a leisurely ride in their neighbourhood without having to worry about aggressive drivers. And, just as importantly, pedestrians should be able to go for a walk and feel safe from the increasing number of people cycling, also on e-bikes, people on e-scooters, etc., which often means pedestrians need their own space, called a sidewalk.
So that’s why it’s important to get more women involved in cycling advocacy and celebrate them when they do: equity!
So here’s to my fellow female warriors: Jenny Wright, Sigrun Gilmour, Antoinette Netty DeWit, Ashley van der Pauw, Kirk Grayson, and Janet Dwillies.🍾🍷🍻🍕🍕🚲🦼🛴🚶♀️ Thank you!!!
(Image credit: Momentum Mag)