In the last 30 years the number of people bicycling during their daily commute has more than tripled in large cities such as New York, Chicago, Portland, and Minneapolis and doubled in many more cities across the United States.
The increase in cycling has mainly been in adult men. Women ridership has increased as well but still lags behind men. Cycling by children has declined within the same period.Countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark have long had great numbers of cycling commuters.
Most of these countries have restricted traffic in residential neighborhoods and invested heavily in pedestrian and bicycling safety and infrastructure to make cycling safer and more convenient for people to take up from childhood and continue throughout their life. There are numerous reasons cycling has increased over the last thirty years. For one, bicycling continues to get safer as cities build bike lane networks. Bike lanes and special bike and pedestrian paths that are only open to cyclists and pedestrians make cycling much safer, especially in cities that see heavy traffic as well. Accidents involving cyclists have decline in recent years, even with more cyclists on the road. Cities have also invested in ways to make biking more convenient and implemented bike sharing programs. Installing bike racks on buses and in parking lots increases the amount of people using their bike for errands and to make longer commutes by utilizing public transport.
Bike sharing systems allow people to utilize cycling without having to worry about keeping up with a particular bicycle, or use them if they cannot afford to purchase bicycles. Bike share programs have proven a great way to make cycling safer. They increase the visibility of bikers and as cities open up biking to more people, and as the number of bikers increase the risk of a cyclist being struck by a driver decreases.
The more people who cycle in a given city, the more political momentum there is for bike lanes. These bicycling initiatives and investments in bicycling infrastructure will help continue bicycling growth into the future. While cycling in the United States may never reach the importance it has reached in the countries like Germany and Denmark there is definitely the potential for massive growth across the country over the next few years. As downtowns across the country are also in the process of revitalizations the opportunity for more bicycling increases.
Continuing to make cycling both more convenient and safe will ensure the continued growth of bicycling across the country which will further diversify America’s transportation systems.Many people who currently don’t bike said they would if they were more comfortable with the safety. Over 80% of people said they would ride on streets that had a separated or protected bike lane. Making biking safer is especially important for low income riders.
Biking can be a viable way low income families can have access to transportation to run errands and get to work. Building bike lanes and providing ride share programs help more people have access to bikes. The only decline that has been seen in bicycling over the past years has been children. Less children are riding now than they were in 1990s.
One of the main reasons is because parents are afraid their children will not be safe while riding. As cities invest in biking infrastructure they would do well to invest in the special needs of children as well. One of the big ways cities can make neighborhoods safer for children to bicycle is by lowering speed limits in residential areas and diverting thru traffic from neighborhoods. There are also programs such as the Safe Routes to School programs that could be invested to make sure children can cycle to school safely and reduce the risks of being hit by cars. When children are invested in bike riding at an early age, they are set up for a lifetime of confident cycling. When communities and cities invest in cycling programs and infrastructures they are building their cities for biking success in the future. The more people who bike, the larger their influence in getting safety improvements.
Cities can harness partnerships with local organizations to utilize their resources and expand biking engagement and safety. Communities can also make sure to make sure they are expanding bike safety and access to include people from all demographics to make sure everyone is benefitting from their choices in transportation.Through safety improvements and investments to access, cities and communities can continue to increase the number of bike riders, leading to more diverse cities and leaving with people more options for transportations. More options give people access to better jobs and more opportunities to engage in their communities. Sourceshttps://momentummag.com/cycling-safety-in-numers/https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2014/05/rise-bicycling-smaller-and-midsize-us-cities/9059/https://nacto.org/2016/07/20/high-quality-bike-facilities-increase-ridership-make-biking-safer/