What’s Limiting Bicycling Popularity?

פורסם: 28 בדצמ׳ 2010, 23:33 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 31 בדצמ׳ 2010, 2:08 ]
By Coalition | Published: December 2, 2010

The number one contributor to creating livable communities, contends Mikael Colville-Andersen, is bicycling. In fact, 12 of the top 20 livable cities in 2010 have considerable bicyclists and bike infrastructure. Yet, despite this incentive to bike, there’s strong resistance to get out of the car and onto you bicycle. Why? According to Mikael: our “culture of fear.” Our preoccupation with safety, or rather our irrational sense of impending doom, argues Mikael, is keeping people off their bikes and in their cars. We should be warning motorists, and not cyclists, of the hazards of driving.

Both sides of this helmet debate cite empirical data to support their position. Mikael contends that the overall heath benefits of cycling outweigh the costs of not wearing a helmet, and that, astoundingly, helmet use actually increases the likelihood of injury. This latter argument may be a bit extreme, but if you want to learn more there’s some data on Wikipedia.

No matter what side you’re on, his observation that cycling has decreased in Denmark since they’ve begun their bicycle-helmet campaign in 2008 is persuasive: 10,000 fewer bicycle trips in Copenhagen in 2008, and a 5% decrease in bicycle sales. Just a coincidence? Maybe… maybe not…

Here’s the list of the 20 most livable cities in 2010, by the way. Notice anything missing? Yes, Cleveland Heights is conspicuously missing. But more so is that there isn’t one city from the continental United States. What gives?

Munich, Copenhagen, Zurich, Tokyo, Helsinki, Stockholm, Paris, Vienna, Melbourne, Madrid, Berlin, Sydney, Honolulu, Fukuoka, Geneva, Vancouver, Barcelona, Oslo, Montreal, and Auckland.