The following release was recently issued by Mutual Aid Katarokwi/Kingston regarding Yellow Bike Action and a Critical Mass ride planned for Friday, July 31 in support of the community bike shop:
RELEASE — Yellow Bike Action, a not-for-profit community institution in Kingston for 20 years, is still too cramped to operate safely in a physically distanced environment and to store donated bikes and recycled parts. They are still without running water, and have access to bathroom facilities only when the pool at the Memorial Centre is open.
To make room for the Covid-19 Assessment Centre, Yellow Bike Action was moved out of the Memorial Centre, where the organization has worked for the last seven years. It is now operating in the Ness horse barn on the Memorial Centre grounds.
The Kingston community, as well as the larger cycling community across North America, stands behind them as they collectively pressure the City to provide these basic needs during a pandemic. Over 950 people have signed a petition organized by Mutual Aid Kingston-Katarokwi. Concerned community members have also been writing to the City. They are prepared to keep putting pressure on until Yellow Bike Action is given what they need to operate safely.
“It is frustrating as a city resident and supporter of Yellow Bike Action to see an immense empty barn beside an active organization that needs the space. It is particularly frustrating to see messages from city managers claiming the issues have been dealt with. They haven’t been and it is dishonest,” said Matt Silburn, a member of Mutual Aid Katarokwi-Kingston. “Yellow Bike Action contributes to the city’s Transportation Master Plan and the Kingston Climate Action Plan. Their inadequate support of an organization with a track record of serving Kingstonians does not speak well about their commitments.”
July 10, residents took to the streets in a “Critical Mass”, a large-scale community bike ride in support of Yellow Bike Action. Critical Mass is a worldwide protest tactic where cyclists advocate for cyclists’ rights, sustainable urban planning, and climate justice.
“They’ve made cycling affordable in Kingston for more than 20 years. Without Yellow Bike Action, many people wouldn’t have access to bicycles or to repairs.” commented Toni Thornton a Critical Mass supporter, whose son has been riding bikes from and repaired by Yellow Bike Action for over a decade.
Michael Pomery, lead mechanic and volunteer co-ordinator at the shop. “We have to develop a better working relationship with the City. We appreciate it is a difficult time for them” said Pomery. “We asked city staff to help us with more space months ago and were refused. It wasn’t until we made a press release that they consented to additional space in the barn, however they only gave us 3 meters more. They also made it clear that the additional space was temporary. This, and the barn adjacent to us is underused”
Another Critical Mass ride is being planned by Mutual Aid Kingston-Katarokwi for July 31, departing from Skeleton Park at 530pm. Learn more on Facebook
Release: Mutual Aid Katarokwi/Kingston
Photo source: Critical Mass Big Community Ride Facebook page