Arrested Mobility Podcast
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Many Black students live in over-policed, under-funded communities. School should be a safe space for them, a refuge from surveillance and a place to explore. But almost 70% of public high schools and middle schools have police officers on site, and Black students have contact with police more often than White students. When there’s police inside the school, and police outside the school, law enforcement is a constant presence in these students’ lives.
In a majority Black and Latino neighborhood of Hammond, Indiana, children are clambering over and under stopped train cars to get to school. These trains are halted by rail traffic at pedestrian intersections, and there are not a lot of enforceable laws to keep them moving. Blocked crossings can pose an inconvenience, or a deadly obstacle, to Americans of all kinds. But in the United States, we usually find that the people living around train tracks are Black and Brown folks who are living in a state of arrested mobility.
Today, we’re going to focus mostly on how Black women, femme and trans folks have had their mobility arrested while navigating public transit. We’re going to think about what equitable, accessible, intersectional mobility looks like.
Stopping and searching cyclists is just one way that Black and Brown Americans have had their mobility arrested. Today, we’re breaking down the arguments for why cyclists should have the same protection from police stops as people in cars.
In some rural Louisiana communities, converted levee paths are not always equitably accessible. These communities are more than 50% Black, but researchers have found that Black and White residents report different experiences when it comes to feeling safe and welcome on the levee.
On May 15th, 2022, the Black community of St. Louis, Missouri gathered downtown to celebrate the Annie Malone May Day Parade. The day after the parade, Public Safety Director Dan Isom held a press conference. He said that groups of young people downtown had caused traffic and safety disruptions with electric scooters. The city decided to impose a 7pm curfew on electric scooters in the downtown area. Then, just a few weeks later, St. Louis banned electric scooters altogether in two downtown neighborhoods, including the area near the famous Gateway Arch monument.
For many Americans, taking public transit can be a difficult daily trial. Depending on where people live, and where they’re going, buses or trains may only come once every thirty minutes to an hour. Or, in some cases, they may not come at all. Riders might have to transfer one, two, maybe three times, and even walk or roll long distances between each stop.
Our public transit systems are supposed to be designed for everyone. Instead, bus and train lines often leave behind people living in low-income communities of color.
There’s no question that helmets save lives. But some people just aren’t going to wear them, whether or not it’s illegal. Helmet laws are similar to sidewalk riding laws. They’re intended to keep people safe, but they also give police officers an excuse to stop cyclists.
Helmet laws are just one way that Black Americans, unhoused cyclists and other marginalized communities have had their mobility arrested. Today we’re exploring how enforcement of helmet laws can give way to racial and economic injustice.
Today, we’re breaking down the tension on the sidewalk between micro mobility devices, vulnerable pedestrians, and people with disabilities.
Micro mobility devices include bicycles, e-bikes, electric scooters, electric skateboards, shared bicycles, and electric pedal assisted bicycles. Although micro mobility continues to be a work in progress, micro mobility vehicles can serve an important role in transportation equity.
Many states and cities in the US have laws that make it illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk. But, are these laws keeping people safe? Or are they another way that Black Americans and other people of color have had their mobility arrested?
Today, we investigate how law enforcement uses cycling infractions to perpetuate systemic racism in under-resourced and underserved communities. We’ll talk to Patric McCoy, who was stopped by Chicago police.
When you walk around a city, there are many rules you follow – or maybe, you don’t follow them. You might not think about them too much. Rules like, walk on the sidewalk. Wait for the walk signal when crossing an intersection. Don’t cross in the middle of the block. When you break those rules in the U.S., we call it jaywalking, and it’s illegal. But most people who jaywalk don’t think about it as a crime. In fact, most Americans admit to having jaywalked.
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