April 7, 2014

by Zoe Kircos, PeopleForBikes grants manager

Pittsburgh installed its first protected bike lane on Liberty Avenue in 2013 with the help of a PeopleForBikes grant. (Image: Bike Pittsburgh)

Here’s the radical concept for the day: People who ride bicycles are people. Who happen to be riding bicycles. I know. Bear with me.

For many of us, riding a bike is not a political statement, a judgment of other transportation choices, a quest for attention, or based on a sense of entitlement. For many, riding a bike is an easy and cheap way to get around, or a way to enjoy the outdoors, or a way to get some exercise.

But we all know that people on bicycles often get tarred with the scofflaw brush. While we don’t usually see people jaywalking and think, ?oh, those walkers,? or observe cars rolling through a 4-way stop and mutter, ?oh, those drivers,? a single cyclist failing to yield right-of-way adds to the big bucket of bicycle badness where almost every bicycle rider gets placed automatically. I know. I get it. We all get irritated and we generalize. But the bummer is, when people on bicycles become ?rogue,? or ?rule-breakers,? or ?entitled,? or some other word that we don’t mention in a family blog, they cease to be ?people.?

Since we are, you know, PeopleForBikes (as opposed to SpandexWearersForBikes or HipstersForBikes, names that lacked the inclusiveness we were going for), one of our goals is to bring attention to the regular, everyday human beings riding those two wheelers. That kid on a bike could be your kid. That college student riding could be your cousin. That older gentleman peddling along could be Uncle Joe. After all, they’re surely someone’s kid or cousin or uncle.

That’s why we loved the recent Drive With Care Campaign from our friends at Bike Pittsburgh. It points out that people are many things, and only one of them is a person who rides a bike. It reminds us that those people are human — and possibly someone that we know. And it does it in a way that gives a nudge without being judge-y. Nobody likes judge-y.

In fact, we loved this campaign so much that we made a donation to it on Indiegogo where Bike Pittsburgh is raising money to place the ads throughout their city this summer. And we’re teaming up with them to bring this campaign to a few other cities as well. To our minds, this is a message worth spreading.

So take a peek and start envisioning yourself starring in your very own ad. What words describe you? Mom? Dad? Brother? Aunt? Doctor? Dishwasher? Baseball player? Mail carrier? And next time you?re out on the road, remember we’re all human beings just trying to get around. Even the ones wearing spandex.

Bike Pittsburgh’s Ride With Care Campaign showcases real Pittsburghers, including Pittsburgh Steeler Antonio Brown. (Image: Bike Pittsburgh)

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