The Rise of the Bike Commute

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It makes sense that the decline of car culture would come with a corresponding rise in bike culture. The 9Billion.com reports that bike commuting is up by 50% since the year 2000.

This is not as large of an increase as it might seem, however.

Still, only 1% of Americans are biking on the regular, compared to 26% of people in the Netherlands, 10% of the Germans, and 19% of the Danish population. The growth in the United States is of course still positive, and a great indication there will be widespread public support as more cities begin to integrate cycling into the transportation grid.

One of the biggest struggles is going to be creating a grid that allows bikes and cars to more efficiently share the road. As the CSM article mentions, there are a lot of issues between the two groups that make cycling incredibly dangerous for both parties. Bike lanes are relatively "new," so some cyclists may not think to use them, and drivers may think that it doubles as a parking space as well.

These challenges are not insurmountable. As the article shows, other countries have tackled them successfully. Americans can certainly do the same. We will need to start by returning the car to its proper place as a tool, and not as a "symbol of prosperity," a "mark of status," as "freedom" or as a part of our "culture."

We simply need to examine our priorities enough to develop the will to do so. Once we have the will, we can find the way.

Then, we can create a transportation matrix that is cleaner, safer, and more versatile for everyone.