The Boston Cyclists Union stands with local advocates and activists calling for dramatic changes to policing on our streets — some of which begin to address systemic racism in our transportation system.
We sent a forceful letter to Mayor Walsh today, along with LivableStreets and WalkBoston, calling for reforms to enforcement in Vision Zero; the defunding of the police department; and the removal of a BPD officer from the city’s Vision Zero Task Force who has demonstrated aggressive and racist behavior toward peaceful protestors on multiple occasions. You can read our letter and all our recommendations here.
Here’s what you can do right now to make those changes happen
Using the link below, contact Mayor Walsh and the Boston City Council and demand that the City:
- Defund the police — There is ample evidence that heightened police funding is counterproductive, yet policing is the second-largest expenditure in Boston’s entire budget; the Boston Police Department (BPD) budget is four times the size of that for the Public Health Commission. We support the Muslim Justice League’s call to shift at least $40M from the BPD budget to address education, housing, public health, youth employment and more.
- Ban facial recognition — Invasive facial recognition technology is prone to abuse and racial profiling. As we continue to advocate for automated enforcement — a vital tool to curtail dangerous driving that eliminates racial bias and interactions between individuals and police— it can only be an option once facial recognition is off the table, ensuring any use of cameras is done in a way that respects civil liberties and does not further harm people of color.
- Remove enforcement from Vision Zero — Rather, Boston should expedite infrastructure improvements and policy changes that reduce traffic crashes without focusing on criminalization, which disproportionately harms low-income people and people of color.
Our mission is to make streets safer for everyone. That means not only fighting for better bike lanes, but ensuring that all Bostonians enjoy the same freedom, dignity and access on our streets. As communities nationwide discuss how to move away from law enforcement and the racism and violence it perpetuates, we must fundamentally rethink the role of police in transportation, too. That’s why we’re pushing to prioritize street safety solutions that deemphasize enforcement.
Now is a critical time to act.
The Boston City Council will vote in two weeks (June 24) on a final budget. Adding further urgency, the City Council also held a hearing today about facial recognition technology. The changes we’re demanding to how Boston pursues Vision Zero are less time-sensitive, but since they’re inextricably linked to systemic overuse of policing, we’re asking for them in tandem with the asks around the BPD budget and facial recognition.
Please join us in demanding that Boston shift its focus from enforcement to prevention, and from investing in police to investing in safe, strong communities.
The BCU has always believed in equity in our transportation system, but in the past we have not acted enough on that conviction. We’re committed to changing that, and ask that you continue showing up with us for racial justice.