How the pandemic might be changing people’s perceptions about bike rides

The Washington Area Bicycling Association wants to know how people’s perspective on biking has changed during the pandemic. (Courtesy WABA/Colin Browne)

A D.C. bicycling advocacy group wants to know how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the role that bikes play in people’s lives.

“We’ve been doing some surveys and trying to determine what are people’s needs from this program that we have,” said Washington Area Bicyclist Association, or WABA, spokesman Jonathan Kincade.

Talking about the Let’s Get Rolling! outreach campaign, Kincade said people seem to be viewing biking as a more viable option for after the pandemic.

The reasons for this could include the discovery that biking is fun and a concern about the safety of using public transportation. Some are also interested in building awareness.

“What it means to ride on a trail, or how you ride though a city and what you should do to establish yourself in a lane or what you do when you’re commuting from one place to another,” Kincade said.

Let’s Get Rolling! offers live events, such as Q&A session webinars called “Questions Encouraged.”

“How do I know what bike to pick? How do I know what size bike to get?” are common questions for beginners, Kincade said. “One of the first things that we ask as a response to that question is, ‘Well, what type of riding do you want to do?'”

WABA has a library of articles, advice and perspectives.

“How do I keep my kids out of the way of cars? What are some good places to go riding and work on skills, especially if you live in D.C. and you’re not close to many parks or opens spaces?” Kincade said.

Touting on-the-ground, practical experience of members, Kincade said they have awareness in Montgomery County, Maryland, in Arlington and Alexandria in Virginia and across D.C.

“I’m a big fan of telling people to go to RFK (Stadium) because there’s a lot of space out there,” Kincade said.

WABA is about more than being a biking or transit organization. It’s also a people organization.

Friday mornings at 8 a.m., there’s a virtual coffee hour. The Tuesday webinar is for those who identify as women, trans or femme.

Kincade believes that engaging with different communities and the things that they need can be a learning experience that extends beyond the life of the pandemic.

“Hopefully using this as an opportunity to address things as unrelated as it sounds, as climate change. Since the pandemic, we’re seen that emissions are down because people are driving less,” Kincade said. “Hopefully there’s a way that we can use this moment as a learning point and as an opportunity going forward into the fall and into 2021, when things are back open again, hopefully.”

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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