Monday, October 3, 2011

Quick Note on the Safe Streets Social

I spent last week writing an academic paper about how thinking in terms of human infrastructure can help cities become more bike friendly. So all consuming was this, I never wrote up the Safe Streets Social we had on Saturday, September 24.

Well, it went great. I spent the morning frantically preparing t shirts, starting at the Bins (Goodwill Outlet). It was like serendipity x1000 all up in there cause I needed about 8 orange t shirts, and lo and behold, I came across a mass of bright orange construction worker t shirts that already had bright yellow stripes! I took them home and painted on some heart sharrows, whipped out a hair dryer to expedite the drying process, and then headed down to the Moving Planet festival at South Lake Union to meet up for the ride.

I made it just in time to be part of the aerial photo that happens as part of events. Here are some examples from other events. Since I had on a bright orange dress, subtly giraffed, (by which I mean there are light brown giraffes on the fabric), I was placed strategically in the photo. Afterwards a nice elderly lady came up to me and said that when my grandparents were in high school, they loved to wear bright colors like my dress. She said that she had very bright sweater sets. Day Glo Grandma!

As the event wound down, people got ready for the Safe Streets Social. While people gathered on a grassy slope, co-organizer Davey talked a bit about the memorial character of the ride, and how we would be riding no more than two abreast on busy streets. We wanted to make a statement by sharing the road. This played out very successfully. I mean, of course I witnessed some aggressive driving, motorists darting quickly in front of our group, etc., but I also felt like we passed through the city thoughtfully. Deciding not to cork intersections meant that our group got divided by signals a few times, but stopping at each memorial site gave us a chance to rejoin each other.

I talked to some very fun people, and personally felt very cheered by spending time in a mobile social space. Here's co-organizer Tom's post about the ride on Seattle Bike Blog. In discussing it afterwards, Tom, Davey, and I agreed that we had succeeded in creating a space for people to remember the cyclists we had lost this summer, while also reminding us that we ride together. We're planning to make some more socials happen, starting with an info share on biking in the rain.