Why Would Police Arrest a Woman for Biking to Work?

Overwhelmed by the expenses of driving, this single mom became a bike commuter so she could keep her job and support her family. Then things got weird.

Overwhelmed by the expenses of driving, Cherokee Schill of Nicholasville, Kentucky, became a bike commuter so she could keep her job and support her family. When drivers challenged her right to share the road on her 18-mile commute, Schill turned to local police for help. To her surprise, the police began ticketing and arresting her.

The headline “Woman Arrested for Riding Her Bicycle to Work” got the attention of Portland-based filmmakers and bicycle advocates Joe Biel and Elly Blue. They knew there had to be more to the story than just a clickbait headline.

In the 10-minute film Not Waiting for Safety: A Single Mother Bicycles for Survival, Schill describes herself as a patriot and talks about her fight to share the road. Biel notes that “it’s a tremendous story about how our transportation choices are so often made for us.” The documentary is part of the Groundswell series of short films, which boost the unheard voices of bicycle advocates and offer insight into the role bicycle advocacy can play in building intersectional movements.

The film debuted in September at the Pro Bike/Pro Walk/Pro Place conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more about Groundswell, visit pdot.org