Trailnet interviews Trailnet Champion, Cycle St. Louis about getting more people with disabilities bicycling more often | Trailnet

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What are St. Louis’ biggest barriers to safer walking and biking and how can we work to overcome them?

The current focus of Cycle St. Louis is access to cycles, training, and cycling opportunities for people with disabilities. We fully realize that safety for walkers and cyclists is important for everyone. There are unique access and safety considerations for people with disabilities, such as wider cycling lanes and trails needed for adapted cycles. Addressing these considerations would also enhance safety for the general population. Other infrastructure challenges need to be addressed in planning new projects as the example below highlights.

-During a walk to a park last year with blind and visually impaired children, we encountered a light pole in the middle of a sidewalk, and occasionally no sidewalk at all, among other obstacles.

Why are you and your partners so passionate about transportation related work?

Our partners work with people with disabilities every day and realize they make up a significant part of our community. We believe people with disabilities should have the opportunity to realize the amazing benefits that cycling provides, including a sense of freedom and independence, fitness, opportunities for socialization, and an important mode of transportation, which connects people to services, social opportunities and communities to each other. And, cycling is simply fun – how many of us remember the thrill of our first bike ride and still get a thrill when cycling? Many people with disabilities simply don’t have the opportunities to even get on a cycle.

I’ve been volunteering with the Delta Gamma Center for 12 years, tandem cycling with blind and visually impaired children. I know first-hand how magical it is to share the joy of cycling, especially with people that don’t typically have the opportunity. Recreation and transportation/mobility work needs to be inclusive of this large community. The attitudes of others have the greatest impact on access to sports for people with disabilities. For too many years, “she has no business doing that” was an all too common refrain. We need to embrace inclusion, paving the way for others to do so as well.

MoBikeFed comment: Both Cycle St Louis are doing great work in making the St Louis region more accessible to everyone.

Following the lead of Trailnet and Cycle St Louis, MoBikeFed has started making our regular annual bicycle rides FREE to people with a disability and a companion.

We were very happy to have several riders join us for the Queen City Century in June. Look for the same offer for the upcoming BikeMO (August 24th) and Tour de Wildwood (October 6th)--and all our future rides.