Bicycle coalitions and universities prioritization of equity: why and why not? A shift towards more equitable opportunities
Keywords:programming equity, bicycling, underrepresented populations, bicycle coalitions, universities, health
Travel by walking or bicycling has a wide range of health benefits, from lowering the risk of obesity to all-cause mortality. Although the benefits of bicycling are well-known, there are various disparities and inequities seen in participation levels and safety in underserved and underrepresented communities (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, women, low-income, youth, LGBTQ+). Community coalitions and universities have the potential to play a large role in reaching underrepresented populations and establishing equitable programming. The purpose of this study was to understand why equity is or isn’t prioritized throughout bicycle coalition and universities’ programming efforts. Methods: A volunteer sample of bicycle coalitions (n=71) and universities (n=51) were surveyed to identify common themes from the participants’ responses regarding why or why not equity was prioritized. Results: Common themes among coalitions and universities who ranked equity first, was awareness of the inequality present in their communities, identified equity as an important element, and planned to prioritize equity in their programming. Common themes among those who ranked equity last was the lack of awareness, knowledge, and demand for equity-related issues. Conclusions: Equity is a concern for coalitions and universities. Implementation of different resources has the potential to increase equitable programming in both community and university settings.