Why Bike Patrols?
Why did we decide to go out on bikes to stop street harassment?
Street harassment happens in the street, and is widely accepted or not even seen by many in Central Brooklyn. To truly transform the culture of harassment to one of community-building and mutual respect, we needed a way to keep harassers accountable and also show women, gender non-conforming and trans folks that we’ve got their back!
Intervening in street harassment and having conversations about ways our gender and sexuality are objectified and questioned in public can be the first step to ending those behaviors.
Why did we decide to use bike patrols as our intervention?
We are against contributing to the criminalization of neighborhoods of color, but we believe that men must be held accountable for the damage their words, gestures, looks, and actions do to our entire community. The bike patrols are a way of developing alternatives to police and state intervention, run by the people harmed most by the harassment.
Interventions can easily escalate a dangerous situation, and our model — patrols done by teams of four and being mobile — increase our ability to safely de-escalate incidents of harassment.
How will this work?
What does the bike patrol actually look like?
These bike patrols will be made up of four Central Brooklynites playing specific roles:
Route Leader: steers mapped route and direction of group
Scout: looks for opportunities to intervene and/or do outreach
Communicator: has emergency numbers, communicates with base, carries outreach material
Recorder: takes photos of outreach; video and audio when appropriate; writes a detailed summary of the evening on the online survey
Each patrol takes about two hours, including a prep meeting to make agreements about safety and intervention activities, and post-patrol debrief.
Outside of street harassment interventions, the patrol will start conversations with people on the street about what it is like being on the receiving end of street harassment.
Besides the people who are physically on patrol, there will be a person playing the role of home base, who will work from home and keep the phone close by just in case there is any emergency. Home base will be responsible for calling the correct channels depending on what type of emergency is reported. They will be informed of those channels before their shift.
These bike patrols are a demonstration to the community that we are united against street harassment and we will not stand for it. We want to de-escalate instances of sexualized and gendered street harassment. We want to see change when we walk on the streets and that starts by educating, and holding accountable, our own community and neighborhood.
Want to get involved?
If you want to get involved, please participate in our orientation. We will discuss safety precautions, different intervention and exit strategies, and go into more depth about the roles each person will play.
Please email Anthonine Pierre at [email protected] for more information.