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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Story: The Invisible Cyclists: Immigrants and the Bike Community [spot.us]


Alternate versions of this story were first published by Good MagazineStreetsblog LA and Epoch times thanks to the support and funding from the Spot.Us community and a grant from the California Endowment. Link back: Urban Valo
They ride on the sidewalks around the city, many of them without helmets or lights. For thousands of immigrants in Los Angeles, the bicycle is their primary means of transportation. But while “everybody’s sort of aware of these bikers,” says Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition organizer Allison Mannos, "there’s not really any outreach. My interest is to address the people who never get taken into account."
Mannos has co-founded a program, called City of Lights, to do just that. The program is bringing material benefits to immigrant bike riders, but, more broadly, is trying to strengthen the sometimes tenuous-seeming links between transportation and social justice.
Helwin Aguilar, an immigrant from Mexico, had heard that he wasn’t required to wear a helmet over the age of 18. At a recent workshop operated by City of Lights, Aguilar raised his hand, and had his question answered: Adults over 18 do not legally need to wear helmets, and should not be ticketed for failing to do so. (Aguilar says he wears one, just to be safe.) The bicycle is his primary vehicle for work, education, and health care, yet he is fundamentally unaware of the laws surrounding its use.

spot.us (http://s.tt/122p7)

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