Hundreds participate in ‘pedal for justice’ protest bicycle ride across San Diego
Goal of event was social justice, highlighting lack of recreational amenities in low-income areas
A few hundred San Diegans participated in Sunday’s “pedal for justice” bicycle ride, an event focused on social justice and the need for more recreational opportunities in low-income communities.
The event attracted a wide range of ages and a roughly equal mix of Blacks, Whites and Latinos. They all rode bicycles together from southeastern San Diego to Balboa Park, with a pit stop in Teralta Park for some speeches.
Some riders adorned their bikes with “Black Lives Matter” signs or wore T-shirts with messages like “How many more – end racism now.” Others took a more low-key approach, but still participated.
“I’m here to show my support and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Emily Weagraff, who rode her bike from North Park to Encanto to participate in the event. “It’s an ongoing issue and we want to keep the momentum going.”
Weagraff, who is White, said it’s crucial for protests to continue until significant changes happen.
“Police brutality has been happening for as long as I can remember and this movement has been around for a while,” she said. “But it kind of feels like the momentum fades.”
Lesford Duncan, who helped organize the event for a nonprofit called Outdoor Outreach, said it had two key goals.
“Our goal here is not only to elevate the importance of black lives, but also emphasizing the need for communities of color to have access to healthy spaces – trails, parks, bike paths, bike lanes,” said Duncan, who is Black.
Lack of exercise opportunities and healthy food in minority communities have been cited as potential reasons why COVID-19 infection rates have been higher there.
Duncan said Sunday’s route went beyond southeastern San Diego so the message would resonate in more areas.
“The route really cuts through San Diego and gives us a strong cross-section of the city,” he said.
Bicycle advocacy groups said they hope Sunday’s ride will help increase awareness of San Diego’s lack of bicycle lanes and related infrastructure, especially in low-income areas.
Susie Murphy, executive director of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, said biking is more than recreation for the many people who commute by bicycle.
Murphy said the event was about showing support for change, especially revisions to San Diego’s city budget and how much is spent on law enforcement.
“They need to systemically figure out how they can spend their money in a way that helps more people,” she said.
Greg Brown, a Black man from Ocean View Hills near Otay Mesa, said the bike ride was an interesting twist on recent social justice protests.
“It touches different elements of society — the biking community,” he said.
Brown said it was gratifying to see so many people from different races and ethnic groups come together for the event.
Most of the cars the riders passed on the route showed support for their efforts. When a car showed a lack of support, the riders typically smiled and waved anyway.
The event was also a fundraiser for social justice causes. For details, visit pedal4justicesd.com.
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