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Highlights From Our 2020 Work

Updated: Apr 14, 2021



1 - Year of growth


In 2020 we turned 3 and we continued to grow our platform, technology, and advocacy reach. Our data, insights, and reach were used to improve infrastructure, pass laws, influence employment policies, and help shape the culture surrounding biking. We worked on getting the word out and growing our platform by making ourselves available for countless interviews, meetings with city officials, and community biking groups. We went viral twice and were featured in around 50 news publications. Perhaps our most memorable mention was by the Obama Foundation.



 

2 - Improved our technology


We built, tested, and released a mobile app for iOS and Android users. Our mobile app is available in all of North America. We also released a series of enhancements to our bike lane obstruction maps. These updates included automating our maps, adding bike lanes to all cities, allowing users the ability to filter maps and obstructions on a variety of datasets and compare those datasets between cities. We also automated city insight calculations, enhanced usability on desktop and mobile, and added a new cluster map view.



 

3 - Worked with city officials


Ward leaders are crucial advocates for the biking community. This year, we continued working with city officials. We worked with ward leaders to squash disinformation campaigns by companies attempting to stonewall critical bike lane improvements. We helped Aldermen get community support for open streets. We also helped alders identify opportunities to make their specific wards safer to bike in. And we made it easier for the biking community to stay up to date with their ward leaders, by adding contact information to city pages, and creating public twitter contact lists, and surveying ward leaders on their biking infrastructure plans.



 

4 - Year of reckoning


We marched alongside millions of people around the world demanding change. We also mobilized to help protesters in Chicago and Minneapolis who were unjustly victimized by the very same systems they were working to change. After Chicago Police stole, damaged, and destroyed bikes from protesters, we helped publicize and promote a bike drive to replace those stolen bikes. We helped secure volunteers to help intake and repair bikes, lead a bikepool to and from the event, and helped get our followers to donate over 40 bikes in a single day! When Minneapolis protesters were jailed and had their bikes taken by police, we worked to reunite cyclists with their bikes and were in direct communication with Minneapolis State Police and ward leaders.



 

5 - Office of the Inspector General


We’ve continued to work with the Office of the Inspector General on a variety of incidents to ensure city departments are held accountable for their actions. We worked with them to highlight illegal and unsafe practices by police, dangerous practices by the department of transportation, and other various human rights violations. We are pleased to share, the Chicago Office of the Inspector General has released their plan of 22 topics they plan to investigate in 2021. Investigating bike lane obstructions, specifically those created by city employees or lanes poorly maintained is # 5 on their list.


Image source: CITY OF CHICAGO OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL, AUDIT AND PROGRAM REVIEW SECTION 2021 ANNUAL PLAN, DECEMBER 23, 2020, PG 15


 

6 - Fostering a BIG biking fam


This year, we felt it was important to use our platform as a conduit to bridge the gap between different biking groups around the city of Chicago. Instead of hosting our own group bike rides, we used our platform to amp up other biking groups around the city. We doubled down on promoting biking events held on the south and west sides of the city. We helped secure volunteers for these rides, and hosted bikepools to get folks to the events and back. Both Roll N Peace rides in Englewood (All in Phavor and the Juneteenth ride), the Streets Love Ride in Lawndale, and the HUGE newcomer group Streets Calling BC.



 


7 - Funded over 1,000 sets of USB rechargeable bike lights...and counting


We noticed there were many cyclists riding without bike lights this year. We thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we could buy a bunch of bike lights and give them away to people without lights?” So then we did. We made the decision early on to purchase USB rechargeable lights. We didn’t want the lights to end up in a landfill, and we felt it was important the lights be the same quality and brightness we would feel comfortable riding with ourselves. We initially hoped to secure funding for 100 sets of bike lights (front and back), but this really resonated with our followers. Our followers from all over the US (and the UK) loved seeing happy photos of people receiving free bike lights, and sponsored them one set at a time for $10 per set. Multiple recipients have stated receiving bike lights has been the nicest thing that’s happened to them in MONTHS. In a year when there has been so much darkness and despair, it’s been an incredible experience to add so much light. So far bike lights have been distributed in Chicago, and we’re gearing up to give away bike lights in DC and Minneapolis as early as this week!



 

8 - Trusted source of knowledge sharing


This year we began sharing knowledge and insights by writing a variety of articles. These articles are usually focused on making biking more accessible, making rides more cozy and approachable, and offering help if things go wrong. Notable articles include:

  1. What To Do After a Bike Crash

  2. If Your Bike Gets Stolen