Biased policing of cyclists

Two of my recent bike-related experiences came together this weekend, when Naj K. Smith of Rich City Rides (who I met leading a ride last week) got arrested in Oakland for leading a ride on First Fridays with his sound system trailer. The bike and sound system were confiscated, and he was handcuffed and spent the night in jail. He made bail but the bike is still impounded.

Rich City Rides

I was going to go check out the new Dirt World bike park up in Richmond, but on my way there, I was fortunate enough to run into a group of cyclists with a sound system blasting a Jackson 5 remix. This turned out to be the weekly "Self-Care Sunday" social ride from Rich City Rides, and they were on their way to the Berkeley Kite Festival. I altered my plans to join them on the ride through town and along the Ohlone Greenway.

Oakland Bike Plan process

Oakland is working on updating its Bicycle Master Plan. Since the last update in 2007, a lot has changed in Oakland, but I think the two most important changes affecting this plan aren't related to cyclists or even cycling infrastructure. What's really different is that Oakland has consolidated various different agencies into a new Department of Transportation, and also created a new Department of Race and Equity. The structural changes have led to a very different (and better) community engagement process for the new bike plan.

Oakland Equity Indicators

In 2016, Oakland created a new Department of Race and Equity, charged with creating "a city where our diversity is maintained, racial disparities have been eliminated and racial equity has been achieved." In Oakland, that's a big ask. But the creation of the office is, I think, an honest attempt to look for ways to improve the situation. The department has just released its first Equity Indicators Report, and as you might expect, Oakland fails on a number of important indicators related to equity.

Oakland Rideout

Heading out for a fun ride yesterday, I ran into the Oakland Rideout at Oakland Technical High. Sponsored by Marshawn Lynch, this was a super-social ride from his Beast Mode store downtown, up to my neighborhood. The event included a beautiful demonstration of the transformation of public space, as a sideshow of BMX and motocross bikes, and Lime scooters took over Broadway.

Bike share and the public interest

One of the topics at the Oakland BPAC was an update on bike share progress. As part of the 2017 East Bay roll-out, Motivate created a "Bike Share 4 All" program which allows low-income individuals to obtain an annual bike share membership for $5 (instead of the regular cost of $150). But Motivate has refused to place bike share stations in Deep East, despite using the Scraper Bike Team's style as marketing for their service. The exclusive rights we granted Motivate are a give-away of public space to private interest.

Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day began in Oakland 25 years ago. I've always been a bit ambivalent about it, partly because I feel like bike advocacy in the U.S. tends to frame cycling as a distinct activity, and I think it would be more productive to frame it as a common activity that everyone should be able to do all the time. This year, my wife was volunteering at the pancake breakfast at Oakland City Hall, so I decided to join the pedal pool led by Mayor Libby Schaaf and Council member Abel Guillen.

Shout-out from Streetsblog

Roger Rudick of Streetsblog SF was among about 25 people who joined me on the Oakland Flatlands bike tour this weekend, and he wrote up a good summary. The short version is, we had a good group, lots of good discussion, got finished before the rain started, and I think everyone got to learn some new stuff.

Oakland neighborhoods

Oakland neighborhoods

I'm going to be leading a bike tour of Oakland's flatland neighborhoods this weekend, and in preparation I did some work on redlining maps. One of the themes of the ride is that the current racial divisions between neighborhoods is largely a function of housing policies and practices in the post-Depression era. 

Smarter cities?

Smarter cities?

The recent autonomous vehicle fatality in Arizona highlights some of the philosophical issues which our societies will need to grapple with as we transition to the post-driving world. Technical developments will allow autonomous vehicles to outperform human drivers, but the surrounding moral issues still remain to be addressed.

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