We Asked, You Told: Your Stories of Street Harassment While Biking

Anti-street harassment rally organized by CASS in 2011 in Adams Morgan, DC.

We’ve told you all about the 19th Amendment Alleycat, an empowering, all-women scavenger-hunt-like race taking over the streets of DC this Saturday. The event will emphasize women feeling comfortable and confident on the DC streets, especially when faced with street harassment. Registration is just $5 and benefits CASS, which does programming, community activism and policy work to prevent public sexual harassment in DC.

As we explained last week, at the same time that biking can be incredibly empowering, we’ve also learned from the DC community that many women experience public sexual harassment while cycling. According to a study by Stop Street Harassment, 24 percent of women refrain from exercising outdoors in order to avoid public sexual harassment and assault. It’s a problem that’s bigger than just DC. Last Saturday, for example, activists in Cairo, Egypt, organized a biking event, called “We Will Ride Bicycles,” in order “to promote women and girl’s rights to run errands through cycling without being afraid of attracting negative reaction in the streets.”

In prep for the 19th Amendment Alleycat and as a way to bolster the conversation about these important issues, last week we asked you to share your experiences with biking and street harassment, including how biking helps makes you feel empowered. Here’s what some of you said. 

On facing street harassment while biking:

@KidicalMassDC  HELL yeah.The worst was when a dude ran into the street & GRABBED MY ASS while I was pedaling uphill.

@KidicalMassDC  Biking generally not as bad as walking(except for that crazy incident), but still no picnic

@itsnotlucky agree that walking is worse but yes. For example, a driver catcalled, cutme off, asked for my phone number.

@rachelcannon I have gone from glaring & flipping people off to ignoring, which results in more hollering. I don’t respond.

@rachelcannon Yes,especially while in a skirt. Wolf whistles happen. Or, “Hey baby, how ’bout a ride?”

@safeSpacesDC Gah that’sright – the old “can I have a ride” smirk smirk #endSH 

On how biking helps make you feel empowered:

@juliastrange Biking makes me feel empowered bc I flythrough this city faster than any harasser could possibly keepup (though they try) @SafeSpacesDC

@yeluacrk biking helps me avoid being stuck in uncomfortable SH situations on metro/busses & i get places faster! #streetharassment

@ewingren biking helps me feel empowered b/c I engage people in conversation, eye contact, common cause.

@reneetheorizes Biking makes me feel empowered bc I don’t have to wait at bus stops or metro stations #endSH #fem2

@eliseeeymann biking makes me feel empowered bc I can go anywhere I want, fast. It’s me and my body in control.

@blapina biking empowers me because it gets me fit, out in dc cheaply, and connects me with small businesses.


Have anything you want to add or a story that you want to tell?
We want to keep the conversation going.
Email Renee or tweet us at @safespacesDC.

>>>>>>>>> RSVP Now! Registration is $5 Proceeds go to CASS!

See you Saturday!