Last Roll N Peace ride of the summer promotes public safety, cancer prevention
The fourth and final Roll N Peace neighborhood bike ride of the summer will take place this Friday, September 13, in Chicago’s Engelwood neighborhood. Presented by the community organization Think Outside Da Block, in conjunction with the Englewood Quality of Life Plan Public Safety Task Force and T.I.M.E. 21:36, this celebrated summer event will convene at the 63rd/Ashland Green Line station with a resource fair at 6 p.m., followed by the ride at 8 p.m. Roll N Peace is more than just a fun bike ride that draws hundreds of people. It’s also conceived as a strategy to reduce violence, as well as promoting physical health and traffic safety. The organizers say the bike tour “will increase physical fitness and endurance, promote weight loss, decrease depression and anxiety and improve self-esteem and interest in entrepreneurship.”
“Using data collected and analyzed by TIME 21:36 every bike tour route explores small geographic areas with concentrated crime known as hot spots,” the organizers said in a statement. “Community presence in these areas has been proven to reduce crime without displacement. To this point 7th District commander Roderick Robinson proudly reports ‘no violent crimes the day of the event’ for all three Roll N Peace bike tours.”
“It’s roughly an eight-mile ride through the Englewood community,” says Lyana Funches, of Think Outside Da Block. Mayor’s Bicycle Advisor Council rep Maurice “Pha’Tal” Perkins is another leader of the group who co-organizes the ride. “Roll N Peace is an innovative approach to reducing violence. We’re using cycling as the plan of action to address the mental health and wellness of the Englewood community. It’s definitely an intergenerational bike ride. We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the festivities.”
Funches says the ride, which includes participation by officers from the 7th Police District bike patrol, promotes neighborhood safety in a few different ways. TODB helps spread the word about the CHI311 website and mobile app, which help residents stay abreast of any new developments the community. “Through the application you can submit requisitions of safety issues that need to be addressed,” she said. “Within the application to date, we have 81 requisitions submitted regarding potholes and streetlights as well as vacant lot maintenance, which is a crucial part of making an area, quote-unquote, ‘bikeable.’ The tools are forthcoming, but this first step with the application has tremendously increased bike safety in our community.”
The upcoming bike ride also highlights breast cancer prevention. The Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force will be there scheduling free mammogram screening appointments. There will also be a bike giveaway, as well as free loaner bikes from Divvy.
Activities at the resource fair will also include traffic mapping projects that show how to stay safe while traveling; bike repair and maintenance lessons; free bike helmet distribution; healthy food preparation demos; and mental health and wellness checks. Other involved organizations include Working Bikes, the Chicago Park District, the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, the city’s Bicycling Ambassadors, Vision Zero Chicago, Free Bikes 4 Kidz, TOMS, The McCormick Foundation, and Safe and Peaceful Communities.
Punches says the huge, joyful bike ride helps people view the Englewood neighborhood in a positive light. “Everyone has the right to feel safe in their community,” she said. “What we know from the historical data is that in areas that are saturated with community presence, violence falls. So, one of the solutions is to make sure that the community is engaged. It takes a village, so as residents in Englewood become more vested in its safety, then we will see crime continue to fall as it has for the last four years in our area.”