Cities can make themselves more bike friendly by putting in a lot of bike lanes on their streets and setting up bike racks for people to lock their bikes to, and by putting in bike trails to help ease traffic congestion.
Two other ways cities become more bike friendly are (1) to pass laws that protect cyclists, such as laws against “dooring” (flinging open a car door without looking for cyclists), parking in bike lanes, cutting corners, and passing too close, and (2) to offer convenient public bike rental programs such as Velib, in Paris, France.
One thing that a city could do….which is actually very cheap (really would hardly cost anything) is start to practice “Share The Road”. this is where bikers are legally aloud to be on the street with cars (obviously on the side of the road, not just riding anywhere)
In my hometown we have many roads like that. it is just where legally bikes are allowed to be on the road. When cars know the bikers have the law on their side, they are cautious enough to where you don’t even need bike lanes. Just a shared road.
its cheap, and it encourages more people to bike to free up road congestion EVERYONE WINS!
Education is also a great way for cities to increase bicycle ridership. Conducting bicycle safety programs and engaging its youth all while communicating the health and economical benefits of riding a bike to the public will most definitely affect ridership numbers.
The Alliance for Biking and Walking has recently released a wonderful report on bicycling and walking in the United States. It offers lots of valuable facts, information, and analysis all on bicycling in cities and is definitely worth a look. You can download the report for free! here…http://www.peoplepoweredmovement.org/site/index.php/site/memberservices/C529
My hometown of Portland Oregon has bike paths that run parallel to the major highways (one major bridge has a fenced-in bicycle path in the middle of the highway) that allow bicycle commuters to conveniently access travel routes to places difficult or complicated to reach through residential routes, such as the airport.
Cities also promote the use of bikes over other forms of transportation. Cities set up multiple bike racks and provide bike racks on city buses so that if a place is a distance to get to, you can easily attach your bike to the front of the bus. Austin has a pretty strong bike community. Throughout the whole city I am constantly seeing people on bikes, and it is strongly encouraged by not only the city, but the establishments as well who have bike racks for those who use their bicycle.
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