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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bicycle as tool for planetary salvation

Image of bicyclist and friend in Amsterdam
From, 05.14.08:

Pedaling Toward Cleaner Cities
WASHINGTON--What single silver bullet can simultaneously reduce air pollution and oil dependency, roll back urban congestion, and fight obesity?

It’s not a pill, nor a complicated formula concocted by the World Bank. People around the world are turning to bicycles by the millions, as governments rush to create incentives for the low-tech transport alternative to gas-glugging, smog-making, traffic jam-producing automobiles.

Some 130 million bikes were produced worldwide in 2007--more than double the number of cars rolling off assembly lines (52 million). Bike production took off in the 1970s, and after a brief dip, has been soaring since 2001, according to an ”Eco-Economy Indicators” report issued Monday by the Earth Policy Institute. (Read more.)
It's National Bike Month, featuring Bike to Work promotional events in many communities across the U.S. It's highly likely your local media outlet has already featured stories on bicycling's appeal to gas price refugees (Phoenix, AZ); editorials by bicycling enthusiasts (Marin, CA); personal accounts by bicycling reporters (Billings, MT); politicians making their annual ceremonial bike ride, (Milwaukee, WI); bike shops boasting record sales (Naples, FL); more articles about giddy bicycle retailers (Lancaster, PA); tips for prospective bike commuters (Roanoke, VA)...even your faithful Bike Commute Tips blogger featured in USA Today. The articles are coming faster than a blogger with a demanding job can process. Bikes are hot!

However, this hopeful essay on a modest progressive website might be overlooked. It describes bicycling infrastructure enhancements in cities around the planet, in both developed and developing countries. It also details initiatives to introduce Paris Velib'-style bike sharing programs in many cities. And of course it describes how the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the world in bicycling activity.

The Earth Policy Institute report cited in this article is particularly noteworthy. Bicycle production has dramatically increased in the past three decades (including a significant share of electric bicycles.)

Truly, this year's National Bike Month is a heady one for bicycle enthusiasts. Might we finally have a favorable tailwind?

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
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Anonymous said...

Great article, Pablo, thanks. One major flaw with it though: No mention of Portland, Oregon.

Anonymous said...

Nice article! thanks mate