Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on January 29th, 2007 at 9:57 am
Read the article.]
For the second time in a row, Oregonian columnist Renee Mitchell has devoted her column (which appears on the front page of the Metro section) to the power of the pedal.
Last Wednesday she wrote about how the community came together to recover Erin Greeson’s $2,000 stolen bike. Now, in this morning’s edition she again writes about the powerful potential of the bike community.
Today, in her column titled Putting pedal power to work on attitudes, she details the recent dialogue we’ve been having on this site about neighborhood safety and how bikes can be a part of community building in Portland neighborhoods.
A few people have told me that Mitchell has been less-than bike-friendly in the past (found this on IndyMedia), but her tone seems to be changing. To me, this confirms my belief that putting our activism to work in our neighborhoods (like the CCC has been doing for years) has great potential, not just for making our city a better place to live and ride in, but in bringing more (non-biking) Portlanders (like Mitchell) onto our side.
In addition to quotes from myself and John Canda (from the Mayor’s Office on Youth Crime Prevention), Mitchell has this bit about the exciting and long overdue work of the BTA’s Emily Gardner:
“Right now, inner NoPo has the city’s highest number of potential cyclists, according to Emily Gardner…
The alliance’s goal is to eventually create a public-awareness campaign to encourage more black residents to ride bikes as an effective strategy to improve their health. As a side benefit, the more that blacks ride bikes, the less they’ll view cycling as a whites-only activity.”
Besides dangerous drivers, unsafe roads, and common misconceptions about cycling, one of our biggest hurdles to getting more people on bikes is to convince the non-biking and/or anti-cycling public that we’re human, welcoming, and really not all that bad.
Using bikes to build community, reaching out to new parts of the population and strengthening our neighborhoods with pedal power is a great way to do that.