Check your (cycle) privilege

Tim Burns

We need to start designing cycling infrastructure for disadvantaged communities, writes Tim Burns

Urban design, including how we design neighbourhoods, streets and buildings, is not neutral. Our decisions and actions can either perpetuate or reduce inclusion, and therefore act to reduce or increase inequity.

Cycling, and transport policy more broadly, has for too long served the needs of people who are likely already to be privileged in society. For example designing a cycle track to the city centre is proportionally more likely to benefit those who work in the city, are often on higher incomes and are more likely to have existing transport options to get to work. Financially supporting people in work and on higher wages to buy a bike through the government’s cycle to work scheme while excluding people not in employment or who are on low wages also reinforces inequity.

Most people in the UK do not cycle but the proportion is significantly higher among women, disabled people, people at risk of deprivation, people from ethnic minority groups and people aged over 65.

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