The Bicycle as Economic Lifeline

For many low-income households, bikes offer an affordable way to access more destinations and economic opportunities.

2 minute read

February 6, 2023, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


In a highly personal piece in The Philadelphia Inquirer, high school senior Sarahi Franco-Morales describes how bicycles have been a lifeline for their family, and even contributed to their acceptance into the University of Pennsylvania. “The bicycle made traveling and connecting with people all over Philadelphia accessible,” Franco-Morales writes. “That’s how I found myself on Penn’s campus during a tour last October, sitting next to Ben on the Bench, daring to dream about my future.”

For Franco-Morales and her parents, biking is a crucial transportation mode. “We ride year-round, even in the 100-degree summer heat, the sweat stinging our eyes. We ride our bikes in the rain and snow, dodging the spray of gray slush from passing cars and buses. Each time, we hope we come back alive, not another number in the growing toll of bike riders killed on our city streets.” Growing up with bikes at the center of their life, Franco-Morales learned more about the city. “Biking opened my eyes to the disparities across Philadelphia. It pushed me to strive for a future where owning a car was economically viable for us.”

This story highlights the vital importance of safe and widespread bike infrastructure, reminding the reader that bike riding isn’t just for kids or recreation. For many of the nation’s lowest-income workers, bicycles provide an essential and affordable mode of travel.

Thursday, February 2, 2023 in The Philadelphia Inquirer

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