Low-income Commuters View Cycling---Invisible Cyclists

Posted by tan xiao yan on

The term "invisible cyclists" or "invisible riders" have existed for more than 10 years. It means the working class people who use bikes to traverse home and the working destination. Many people would think that cycling is a form of sports or recreation. However, thousands of working class cyclists regard cycling as a means of transportation to go to work. Because they can't afford to buy a car or they need to save the money. In other words, invisible cyclists can mean the low-income commuters.

The low-income commuters riding to work on whatever types of bikes they can get. As night has fallen, wherever you go, you can see a particular group of cyclists: the working class group cyclists. But you won't see them in some venues like the bike lanes or the streets. The group of cyclists often rides alone or intermingled with the pedestrians on the sidewalk. Without lights on their bikes, the invisible cyclists do not wear bright clothing, so it is not very easy for you to notice them when you are driving a car.

The article will talk about how the low-income commuters---invisible cyclists view cycling.

They are working class, not athletes

How Low-Income Cyclists Go Unnoticed, an article in bicycling magazine gives us a detailed look at the "invisible cyclists". The invisible bike riders are men and women from the working class use bikes as their sole form of transportation. Some of them are the immigrants and even illegal immigrants. They just trying to go to work and go home.

The poor you are, the more likely you are riding a bike

Low-income commuters have limited choice for transportation, and this makes them to bike. The invisible cyclists' income cannot afford to buy cars, or even a monthly bus fee. For some cyclists who ride to work, the ride a bike because they can afford to buy a house near the working place. Low-income commuters spending more time in weekly commute than the higher-income cyclists do. Bikes are paramount important tools for the low-income commuters, because biking to work is cheap and convenient. The distances that some invisible cyclists ride every day are more than the cyclists who do the endurance training or performance

Most people want cars

It seems to be a common sense that most bicyclists ride for environment purpose or to exercise. But not exactly is, the invisible cyclists use the bikes as a means of transportation to go to work, and they aspire for another means of transportation. For the invisible cyclist, cycling is not what they want, but have to.

A survey found that most people, including the poor, non-poor want to have their own car. Although the citizens are encouraged to walk or ride in many cities, the invisible cyclists still want to get cars. Low-income commuters still want cars while rich people gradually to reduce their car ownership.

The poor bike, the rich bike share

The costs of bikes which the invisible cyclists buy are usually less than $100. For example, the cyclists are able to buy the 37.5-pound Magna Excitor XP3000 with only$79. According to some studies, about 15 million bicycles are sold like this.

In many cities, the government encouraged the people to ride or walk, and the bike-share make a great progress on it. But the invisible riders

As the largest group of cyclists, the invisible cyclists should be involved in the advocacy of bike-share. However, the invisible riders cannot afford to bike-share and they are wondering how some bike advocates do the bike advocacy that includes people can't afford. In other words, the bike-share is unreachable for the invisible cyclists.

The poor they are, the more important the bikes are

Getting cheap bikes are also not very easy for them. The bikes are very important to them---even important than themselves, because they can't afford to another one. The low-income commuters would try to protect their bikes. For example, Moreno talked about his riding style---not riding too fast, not weaving in and out of the other vehicles, and sometimes riding on the sideways with the pedestrians. He said he is not afraid of being injured by other vehicles, but he worries that he would lose a bike and he may not able to buy another bike. However, there is an infrastructure problem---many of the bicycles parking in the high-crime place where bikes are easy to be stolen.

Making transportation safer

Low-income commuters have little option of transportation except for the bicycle. The cyclists would dream of an ideal world when cycling. The world should contain more bike paths, less traffic congestion, less vehicles, because it will be safer for them to ride on bikes. However, there is no idealism and the cycling environment dangerous. The invisible cyclists often ride without wearing the helmet, biking clothing, and other equipment.

The dangerous biking conditions consist of the crumbling pavement and no separation from the vehicles in traffic. Besides, the second-hand bikes the invisible cyclists use are not reliable under these conditions.

Besides, the invisible cyclists often ride improperly: they ride against the traffic; wearing dark clothing when riding at night, and so on. In other words, they are riding on bikes with danger.

The word "invisible cyclists" has existed for more than 10 years, and now there are some other people to help them. For example, the City of Light, a program of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, was working to help the working-class Latino immigrant cyclists. The program teaches the riders on the rules of traffic and bicycle safety riding skills, knowledge of the cycling and so on. The program also does some other things to help the cyclists. In addition, the Los Angeles City also provides more bike lanes and parking place for the invisible riders. Focusing on the invisible riders and do something to help them.

The invisible cyclists are the low-income workers who use bicycles as the means of transportation. They may view cycling as the transportation to traverse working place rather than a form of exercise or joy. Some cyclists may regard them both recreation and the transportation.