It is no surprise that bikes—including shared micromobility bikes— played a role in the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer of 2020. Black and Latine/x cyclists face unique challenges: they are more likely to be targeted and ticketed, and safe biking infrastructure is disproportionately absent from many communities of color.
Transportation itself became an issue at the height of the protests. In some places, city governments, looking to enforce curfews and reduce the size of protest, ordered partial shutdowns of transit and shared micromobility systems. In others, cities and dockless operators— citing fear of vandalism or misuse—remotely disabled and removed equipment from streets, shutting down or limiting service.
Many station-based bike share systems, especially those operating under public-private partnership-style agreements, remained open. In Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Jersey City, systems continued to function, and operators offered discounts and waived fees for protesters.
Longer Trips, Different Purposes
In 2020, many systems saw increases trip length during the early months of nationwide office and school closures, especially among casual riders. When the traditional 9-to-5 commute was essentially eliminated in spring 2020, shared micromobility remained a tool for socializing, exercise, and seeing the city. In Atlanta, the average e-scooter trip distance doubled to 2 miles after the program reopened in July 2020. Philadelphia also saw Indego trip durations increase between 7 and 12.5 minutes across the city, and across socioeconomic and demographic groups.
What We Saw in 2021