I don’t think so. I think we’ll see a dsicernbile difference in the amount of people riding bikes when the benefits are made clearer to them. It has been said that Americans vote with their pocketbooks, and the same could be said for their behavior. If people could understand the economic impacts of riding a bike (obviously less expensive than a car), then that might spur more to ride bikes.
I think it depends on the area. In larger cities I believe you will see people riding bikes more because they see the benefits through other people. In more suburban areas I also think people may be more likely to ride bikes if they don’t have long commutes, kind of a keeping up with the Jones’. In more rural areas I doubt you would see people following the crowd riding bikes, simply because its too hard to get around for most of them.
This is probable in areas where there is good weather (not too likely in a place like Seattle where it rains a lot) and where it is easy to ride a bike. In some places there are no bike lanes or parking, so it would be difficult to get a trend started.
In some cities, like Madison, WI and Minneapolis, MN, a lot of people are already riding their bikes to work and school. In these areas companies and campuses could launch incentives and promotions to get more people to ride their bikes. Offer then parking right outside of the building or perhaps a gift card for riding their bike a majority of days a month.
Unfortunately a lot of people need an incentive in order to start something new. Simply seeing other people riding their bikes likely is not enough in and of itself to change many people. However, we can try!
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