Biking is, of course, good for the environment. But that's barely scratching the surface of the value (intrinsic and economic) of increasing bike accessibility in urban areas. Biking can help mitigate traffic congestion, support local businesses, provide equal and accessible forms of transportation for a broader range of income brackets, and strengthen a relationship between people and their local environment.
The stories in this collection (see below) explore how different cities have addressed the need for alternative sources of transportation for their citizens in order to support a healthier environment and more accessible infrastructure. In Vancouver, B.C., the addition of protected bike lanes has resulted in more than 10% of commutes being made my bicycle. Portland, Oregon and New York City have seen significant improvements in local business economy by incorporating bike lanes in their cities. in Zwolle, Netherlands, the city has been experimenting with the use of recycled plastics has building materials for bike paths. In San Francisco, California, counties have approved the ability for citizens to invest directly into building sustainable infrastructure such as bike lanes and better schools.
I grew up in a small town that was largely walk- and bike-friendly. The amount of freedom and ease associated with living somewhere with effective alternate transportation options is one that is more universally accessible and equitable for those who live there. Corvallis, Oregon is a great example because there is a free city-wide bus and a plethora of biking infrastructure, community, and maintenance options. I look forward to more cities incorporating similar models in the future for socioeconomic AND environmental reasons!
This collection is featured in the Campus Ecochallenge.
Click here for more stories on innovations in transportation related to bicycling.