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As bike share programs kick off in cities from New York to Chattanooga, some are concerned that they only serve the yuppier parts of cities.
In Chicago, city officials acknowledged that their bike stations are focused on serving city business centers — not poorer neighborhoods.
But Eboni Senai Hawkins says there’s a bigger problem — poor access to bikes among African-Americans. She recently launched the Chicago branch of Red Bike and Green, a national group promoting cycling in the black community.
Hawkin’s organization leads community bike rides through African-American communities in Chicago, to get people in the communities out and riding, and learning more about cycling.
Doing so, Hawkins says, has positive effects for health and for the social fabric of neighborhoods.
“Cycling for us is a community building tool,” Hawkins said. “So when people see–they actually see–black people on bikes, who look like them, that goes a long way.”