Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


The abundance of bicycle infrastructure appearing alongside controversial urban revitalization efforts in recent years has left many with distinct perceptions about people who ride bicycles and their role in society. The lifestyle associated with the most visible cyclist cohorts has furthered divisive perceptions and often times created resentment, as what was once a humble tool for mobility has become a symbol of an inaccessible cyclist “culture” often associated with gentrification. This paper aims to acknowledge existing research on how the bicycle has attained so many divisive connotations, while looking at methods to improve this reputation and increase accessibility to utilitarian cycling moving forward. Analyses of recent and ongoing projects in Portland, Oregon and Minneapolis, Minnesota will demonstrate how specific urban contexts influence perceptions of bicycle infrastructure and future accessibility. Especially important are the perceptions of communities with a strong minority presence, or populations who are typically underrepresented amongst cycling cohorts. In the future, it is crucial that cities acknowledge resident diversity and history of place and utilize human infrastructure as a tool for development, to ensure that all residents feel invested in results of bicycle planning initiatives.



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