Washington Bikes’ Commitment to Anti-Racism

Washington Bikes is deeply invested in our vision of a safe and healthy future where bicycles unite people, eliminate inequity, and create thriving communities. To make that a reality, we have work to do in our state and across the country to make bicycling more accessible and safe for everyone, regardless of their skin color. Washington Bikes and our sister organization, Cascade Bicycle Club, stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and oppose police brutality. Dismantling white supremacy in our work and in our community must be at the forefront of everything we do. Our organization has committed to a racial equity plan, approved by the Board in April of 2020, that reaffirms our commitment to eliminating racial inequities in our culture, in our policies, and in our practices. We are dedicated to working with our community and partners to overcome the vast impacts of systemic racism within our organization and in bicycling more broadly. There is much work to do.

This page is a document to share our work as we continue to grow and learn on this racial equity journey. Please refer to this glossary of terms used or online guide from Racial Equity Tools when leaning in and learning about race and racism.

Why Anti-Racism Matters in Bicycling

At Washington Bikes, we work daily toward a mission of promoting the benefits of bicycling, advocating for people who bike, and collaborating with community members and public officials to shape polices and invest in thriving communities. But we must also confront the reality that our streets are not truly safe for everyone and we have not done enough to equitably protect the lives of Black and Brown people who are on our streets, bicycling or otherwise. As former Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Tamika Butler said, “Bicycling cannot solve systemic racism in the United States. But systemic racism can’t be fixed without tackling it within bicycling.” As our racial equity plan makes clear, Cascade has committed itself to transforming from being a bicycling club working to diversify itself to one that, through bicycling, works to eliminate inequities in community healthy outcomes and in mobility and transportation access.

In other words, we believe deep systems changes are needed to make our streets safe for everyone, and that undoing racist harms must happen in every aspect of our work. Some folks have said to us, “bikes don’t discriminate” but we know from the data and from our community’s stories that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color experience bicycling differently. We believe we must actively fight systems of oppression and inequality if we hope to meaningfully contribute to the movement for Black lives. To do anything less would perpetuate these same systems and further harm Black and Brown people, on and off the bike.

What’s Next

Washington Bikes and Cascade have been actively working on our Racial Equity Plan for several years that guides us toward several racial equity outcomes we seek to achieve — and we acknowledge that we have more work to do both in our organization and with the broader community. However, we are excited and energized by the work we are currently doing, including:

Though much of this work is internal, the toolkit requires us to reach out to external advisors and supporters to provide feedback on whether we hit the mark, and to review new and existing policies, practices, and programs through it to ensure we achieve racial equity by centering communities of color.

How Can I Help?

There are many ways supporters, volunteers, partners, and community members can advance racial equity, both within bicycling and in their communities.

Originally posted: 12/7/20
Updated on: