U.S. mayors following the European lead on bicycling
Inspired by the huge political, social and economic success of Paris’ bike sharing system, U.S. cities are looking for ways to instill a more profound biking infrastructure and culture. In Europe, a woman in a dress on a bicycle is the norm, while in the U.S. it’s a curiosity.
In a USA Today article, Big cities try to ease way for bicyclists, several cities are at least talking about big changes to support a more authentic biking culture:
New York City is creating the first ;a href=”http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/09/20/nyc-gets-its-first-ever-physically-separated-bike-path”>special bike lane on Ninth Avenue with a planter separating cyclists from motorists and parked cars. Mayor Michael Bloomberg promises 200 miles of bike lanes by 2010.
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has a goal of 5% of all trips shorter than 5 miles to be taken by bicycle by 2015, and already launched a pilot based on Paris’ bike sharing system in July.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to have at least 10% of all trips in the city to be made by bicycle by 2010, and the City will make a decision next month on whether to implement the Paris bike sharing system (which by the way, was started in Leon, France).
Here’s another way to look at the force behind this trend – 99.99% of all buildings in the U.S. are designed to be accessible by the car as a priority. How about 1% of them being developed to be accessible by bike/foot as a priority? It’s happening, slowly…
Image source: Leopold Estaban. You know the picture wasn’t taken in the U.S., otherwise the sidewalk would be lined with cars.
Here in Tulsa, OK one of the local hospitals have stepped up and provided free bicycle rentals along the river park trails. The bikes are free for individuals who can swipe a credit card at the unmanned kiosk. Your credit card is not charged if you return the bike in 24 hours. I had some guest in town from France and Austin who enjoyed the bike ride around some of the neighborhoods and who were also impressed with the technology of the kiosk bike station. So, coming from an Austin transplant perspective I thought this concept was pretty forward thinking for Oklahoma.