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Cycling Regulations Hurt Black and Brown People the Most, New Report Finds

Cycling Regulations Hurt Black and Brown People the Most, New Report Finds

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Wednesday, Aug 17

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For all its benefits, cycling is still an imperfect science for city planners and policymakers. A new report by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NATCO) released on Aug. 11 found that many policies regulating cycling have unintended consequences.

Analyzing the three most common kinds of ordinances and policies (equipment, behavior and location), the report found that regulations and infrastructure overwhelmingly discourage and over-police Black and Latino cyclists, who account for the majority of bike-related citations. Meanwhile, Black cyclists have a fatality rate 25% higher than then White cyclists, according to the report’s accompanying press release .

The report states that policies regulating equipment “are typically buried deep in state, county, and municipal codes, and have minimum bearing on safety, even in name.” NACTO pointed to Kansas City, Missouri’s ordinance on tire cleanliness as an example. But more prevalent instances include bike registration and licensing.

Such laws were ostensibly created for law enforcement to facilitate the process of receiving stolen bikes. Yet the report found that police rarely instigate investigations or find stolen bikes. More often, such laws have the opposite effect, and instead prompt police to ticket Black and Brown bike riders for not registering their bikes.

Many municipalities treat bikers like automobile drivers, requiring them to do things like come to a full stop at stop signs and redlights. While these regulations are intended to ensure the safety […]

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