In communities across the United States, there are laws that criminalize the simple acts of walking and biking. For Black and Brown people, these laws create the potential for excessive stops and over-policing.
In 2021, BikeWalkKC, a nonprofit organization in Kansas City, MO, worked with a coalition of advocates across Kansas City to successfully repeal several of these laws. In collaboration with the national Safe Routes Partnership, the organizations have co-authored a resource guide for other groups interested in advocating for the repeal or modification of similar laws in their communities.
The collaborative publication “Taking on Traffic Laws: A How-To Guide for Decriminalizing Mobility” provides a detailed account of BikeWalkKC’s process, and the approaches that worked and failed. They want the guide to serve as a tool and road map for other groups to use as they advocate for a safer environment for Black and Brown travelers.
The guide covers three key areas:
- Why the need to repeal laws leading to racialized traffic enforcement?
- What BikeWalkKC did in Kansas City
- A Call to Action
Co-authors Michael Kelley, Policy Director at BikeWalkKC and Marisa Jones, Policy and Partnerships Director at Safe Routes Partnership say that this guide invites readers to build coalitions for change:
“Our intent with this guide is to encourage active transportation advocates and professionals to take an actively anti-racist approach to the work of creating safe, connected, equitable communities for people walking and bicycling,” says Jones.
“It’s important to acknowledge that this work fits within a broader sphere of research, advocacy, and legislation focused on creating safer streets for the people made vulnerable by both a historical and contemporary lack of investment,” says Kelley.
On April 20th 2022, Kelley and Jones hosted a webinar for advocates, transportation professionals, and community leaders to discuss the guide, answer questions, and engage attendees in interactive breakout discussions.
BikeWalkKC’s mission is to redefine our streets as places for people to build a culture of active living. We envision a Greater Kansas City where everyone moves through the city and its public spaces equitably, safely, comfortably, and sustainably. www.bikewalkkc.org
About Safe Routes Partnership
The Safe Routes Partnership is a national nonprofit organization working to advance safe walking and rolling to and from schools and in everyday life, improving the health and well-being of people of all races, income levels, and abilities, and building healthy, thriving communities for everyone. www.saferoutespartnership.org