Edgar’s Story: Making Bike Advocacy More Accessible to More People
Last week, we here at WABA announced an ambitious plan to triple the number of people riding bikes throughout the region over the next five years. You’re a part of that! But we need your help. At the end of this story we’ll ask you for a contribution, but before we get to that, we want to highlight one of our members and why he supports WABA:
When my wife and I returned to Arlington from living in Copenhagen, we decided we would continue the car free lifestyle we enjoyed. Considering how much time and money can be consumed by public transportation costs, I focused on using my bike as my primary mode of transportation. I quickly realized that our bike infrastructure is fragmented and requires navigating a complex set of situations. I recognized that I could use more knowledge about how to bike in our urban environment, and came across an offer from WABA for a city cycling course. I was hooked. Building on the certification WABA offered, I eventually became a certified instructor for the League of American Bicyclists. As I became more involved in the bike advocacy community, I observed a lack of outreach and engagement with a community that consists of major users of bikes for transportation in the area – new immigrants. I could relate to the position the members of this group were in, having been a new immigrant to the U.S. as an adult in 1999. For many new immigrants a bicycle is the only transportation method available, but lack of knowledge of rights and responsibilities often prevent members of this community from engaging and benefiting from the resources and infrastructure that WABA has helped create. I wanted to see this change, so I suggested that WABA offer free city cycling classes taught in Spanish. Since I had become certified as an instructor, with collaboration and support of WABA, I was able to offer these classes to workers at a day laborer center in Arlington. WABA has repeatedly demonstrated their openness to new partnerships, like bringing bicycling to diabetes patients at la Clínica del Pueblo or sponsoring classes for daily workers in Arlington. WABA invests in community members like me to become instructors and advocates for better biking infrastructure, in order to give voice to those who don’t share the same language, or have the time, skills, or knowledge of the system to get involved. When you support WABA, you are supporting an organization that seeks to improve the landscape of biking for all types of users in a wide variety of communities. WABA is keeping our communities healthier and happier one pedal stroke at the time!WABA’s effective advocacy is funded by thousands of bicyclists like you with stories like Edgar’s. Please contribute to WABA’s bold vision for safer streets in 2016.