Trinity Students Urge Hartford to Embrace Cycling, Cyclists

Three “Cycling, Sustainability, and the City of Hartford” Students Pen Hartford Courant Op-Ed

Hartford, CT, October 29, 2014 – The advantages of navigating a city by bicycle are well-documented, and cities around the country are reaping the benefits. Three first-year students in the “Cycling, Sustainability, and the City of Hartford” seminar have spent much of their first semester getting to know their city by bike and together penned an op-ed in today’s Hartford Courant encouraging the city to join the ranks of bike-friendly cities.

A bicycle from Trinity's "Bantam Bikes" bike-sharing program.
Elizabeth Searls ’18, Lucian Cascino ’18, and Georgia Mergner ’18 observed the reactions of motorists as they and their classmates explored their new city by bike on the weekends. What they found was that Hartford-area residents, 81 percent of whom commute alone by car, attach a stigma to cyclists: “weird, dorky, or tree-huggers” was how they describe it.

Additionally, Searls, Cascino, and Mergner looked at some of the research into the economic, health, and environmental benefits of cycling. Young people, they said, are already making walking and cycling a part of their transportation. To attract them, a city needs to do the same. They also point to successful examples from other cities, including Boston’s “Hubway” bike-sharing program.

Considering both their experience cycling through Hartford and the literature on the benefits, the students come to one clear conclusion: “If we want our state capital, and the state, to be an up and coming place and compete with other major cities, start with the bike. The time to promote a cycling culture is now.”