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Creating Safe Streets For People With Disabilities

At the 2020 National Bike Summit, we hosted the “Creating Safe Streets for People With Disabilities” panel showcasing four organizations working to ensure people of all abilities and backgrounds can safely and confidently walk, cycle and roll to their destinations.

As we move into the new year and gear up for the 2022 National Bike Summit, we’re revisiting some of the amazing presentations we’ve had in the past as we look to the future. We connected with Programs to Educate All Cyclists (PEAC) to find out what 2022 and beyond looks like for advancing their mission and the movement for safer streets. Read below to learn more about PEAC and find out ways everyone can be involved in their advocacy.

New and Improved Programs In 2022

Currently, PEAC runs a comprehensive travel training program for adults with cognitive impairments, as well as a school-based program for young adults, where participants learn how to walk, cycle, and ride fixed-route buses to their destinations. After buying a space that will be used as a community bike shop run by students with disabilities, they are aiming to expand their Summer Cycling Program in 2022. The program teaches over 200 individuals how to cycle, as well as repair bikes, and it will run twice a week for 8 weeks and welcome people of all abilities over the age of five. 

Through both the Summer Cycling Program and travel training programs, PEAC empowers individuals with disabilities to travel safely and independently. In 2022 and beyond, the organization hopes to help other organizations and advocates advance their cycling education around people with disabilities and assist in making their programs more accessible to people with disabilities.

What PEAC Says We Can Do To Help Create Safer Streets for People With Disabilities:

  • Talk about it: people with disabilities face traffic violence at a disproportionate rate. While it’s not always easy to talk about these horrific incidents, it’s important to spread more awareness around the additional hurdles and dangers individuals with disabilities face in active transportation, as well as talk about the fact that with proper guidance and safe infrastructure, everyone can ride. 
  • Be mindful as an able-bodied cyclist: able-bodied cyclists can make sure they are not a part of the problem by making sure they keep all pathways of travel (sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.) clear for other users. Where we park our bikes or dock our bike share can impede the mobility of wheelchair users and other people with disabilities so be sure to avoid blocking sidewalks. 
  • Let people with disabilities be the voice at the table: those living the experience need to be involved and put at the forefront of conversations about what they need. 
  • Everything we do and build should be cognitively accessible: being cognitively accessible removes barriers to ensure people with limitations in cognitive abilities are able to process information and easily travel. A disconnected or broken-up bike lane is an example of something that’s not cognitively accessible and can prove difficult for someone with a disability to maneuver. A lot of resources don’t reach our total society in that they are too complex or not inclusive of individuals with cognitive impairments. Organizations can provide more basic information to meet these individuals where they are and push for fully connected biking and walking networks. 
  • Show more people with disabilities: Organizations, including the League itself, should include more images of people with disabilities in their resources, promotion and storytelling. Focusing on that representation makes it more known that people with disabilities are welcome in the cycling community. 

The 2020 “Creating Safe Streets for People With Disabilities” panel also featured presentations from Cycle St. Louis, InTandem Cycling Inc, and Greta Neimanas, Paralympian and Cycling Coach for U.S. Navy Wounded Warrior and Mind Endurance. Watch the full recording of the panel below.