photo via life uncharted
there are times when i absolutely love to talk about the joys of cycling but sometimes i feel the need to bring up topics about the issues of cycling. often times i never talk about the harassment i get on the road from walkers, drivers, and other cyclists. i'm not just saying that it's the group of "hey move out of the road" but it's the group of whistlers, hollers, commenter's on my nice ass and shit. after 6 years of living in san francisco you think i'd be used to it by now but no, i don't think i should ever have to be used to something that makes me feel uncomfortable. oftentimes i think about the many girls i know who are afraid to get on a bike because they don't feel safe riding in certain parts of the city or certain times of the day. i can understand, there was a time back when i was being harassed by a man on the road who was trying to take me down while i was riding my bike, i was almost ran into oncoming traffic, luckily i safely got away but i was terrified to ride by bike for the rest of the week. street harassment this is not a light subject but a serious issue that i'm sure many of you ladies can relate to. cat calling, the holla, whistling or even being talked to when unwelcomed is considered street harassment, and it's a reason enough to not want to get on a bike and ride on the road. nobody needs to put up with that crap. as an advocate for both bicycling and walking, i hear a lot about what needs to be done to get more people out into the public space, bike lanes, well-lit paths, access to dependable and well connected modes of transportation are all good and well, however, just over one half of our cities populations have the very specific threat of street harassment to deal with and behavior is not fixed with white paint or street cars. cycling in our beloved cities is a skill and it's a shame some of us don't feel comfortable exercising it. the street isn't an inviting space for many whose frame is more step-through than truss, but I suppose I shouldn't overgeneralize. there are a hell of a lot of women who don’t let concerns about their safety prevent them from pedaling to and fro, and I have mad respect for those tough cookies. the fact remains, however, that some women haven’t found that courage, or don’t live in a place that affords the luxury. and they could really use the support from those who do. all of this makes me think about gender specific public safety and wondering how we can get our cities, bicycle advocacy groups, even group rides, to take this issue into consideration. but here's some truth that we've been saying over and over again, making the roads safer will increase ridership of women. until then, how do we protect ourselves from streets harassment?
a while back i found this website Hollaback, where women around the world are being empowered to end street harrasment, check it out, you can read the stories and although some of them may be funny, some of them are downright scary. after all it could be someone you know.