A Washington Post story
today published Sunday notes that global bicycle production has increased for six consecutive years, driven recently by demand from commuters trying to escape from high fuel prices. It’s noted, however, that some corners of the globe have been slow to catch on to the benefits that flow from encouraging people to get out of their cars. Most of the United States, unfortunately, is in this category.
How can we can convince more Americans to cast off the chains of automobile dependence and reverse our increasing and dangerous dependence on oil? Examples from other parts of the world prove success can be acheived by deploying a three-pronged approach that includes bike lanes, secure bike parking and easy access to mass transportation. Sound simple, right? This guy agrees:
“It is very clear how to do this,” said John Pucher, a professor of urban planning at Rutgers University and lead author of a global study of strategies that promote cycling. “It is not rocket science.”
Our problem is we haven’t really even tried:
“In the United States, with the exception of a handful of cities, these strategies have been ignored. Car-centric transportation policies and suburban sprawl continue to make bicycle commuting rare, arduous and relatively dangerous.”
And there are folks here in Savannah, who want to keep it that way. A comment in
today’s yesterday’s Savannah Morning News Vox Populi gripe section suggests that “defeating” a bicycle facility would be a “victory” for Chatham County.
The good news is communities, including Savannah, are discovering that bicycle infrastructure projects generate an “instantaneous surge in cycling.” Such a surge will be extremely valuable in combatting and defeating serious environmental, economic, national security, public health and public safety problems. That’s the kind of victory Chatham County and the whole country ought to be fighting for.
Photo source: MSU Bikes