From Reuters, 06.12.08:
U.S. cities promote bicycling as gas prices soarThe story remains the same: "People are pulling away from gas pumps and into the bike shop." Record fuel prices are dominating the news these days, and many media outlets are discovering bicycles as an alternative to driving. This wire service story examines those cities that have previously created supportive bicycle infrastructure, and how those facilities are now paying off and crowding with new riders.
U.S. cities that have long promoted bicycle use by commuters are now seeing a steady rise in the popularity of pedal power as gasoline prices soar. Campaigns originally designed to cut down on traffic and pollution are now paying off for people looking for an option to driving with national gas prices averaging a record $4 per gallon.
People in cities such as Chicago, Washington and Portland, Oregon, can take advantage of bicycle lanes, bike-friendly transit systems and bike-parking locations built in recent years. "Twelve years ago, I would bike down to City Hall and often it was a lonely ride," said Ben Gomberg, Chicago's bicycle program coordinator. "Today, there are often 17 or 18 riders stopped at the intersections." (Read more.)
Will this trend toward bicycles (and transit) continue? Can bicyclists be complacent and simply watch our numbers swell? Not at all. Some suggest that the recent rapid gas price escalation is largely due to commodity speculation and oil company price gouging. Gas prices could moderate in the short term--even if the long term trend is toward diminishing supplies and increasing cost. (The whole emerging China and India motoring class in their cheap Tatas thing...)
Bicyclists have a media spotlight right now. We should capitalize on this attention to promote our fun, healthy and efficient commute mode. Just riding everyday is a big part, being an inspiration and model to our colleagues, a presence to motorists. And supporting bicycle advocacy organizations is another big part. If you're not a member already, join the League of American Bicyclists now. With your support, maybe LAB and its allies might finally pass the long-overdue Bicycle Commuter Act.
Image: Web capture.
Visit: League of American Bicyclists
Visit: High gas prices drive movement toward bicycling, KSBY-TV (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Visit: Gas Prices and New Bike Path Have People Biking to Work, KTVL-TV (Medford, OR)
Visit: Visalians turn to two wheels to save on fuel costs, Times-Delta (Visalia, CA)
Visit: Will rising fuel prices force more pedaling?, St. Tammany News (LA)
Visit: Rolling with pump prices: Other sets of wheels looking better, Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, CO
Visit: U.S. cities encourage bicycling, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site