The U.S is Not Europe, Can it Ever Be?

This is a complimentary article to “They Say We Need More Women Bicycle Commuters” at
Bike Lane to Work

Over the past week I have had many conversations about the European lifestyle and why the U.S is so anti-bicycles and pro-automobile.   As a country, and in the cycling industry, we are doing better.   We have learned that bicycles are going to help the world, ourselves and our children but what we haven’t learned is how to get there.

I would love to think within my life time my children would have a safe way to get to their school 7 miles away and I wouldn’t be such the odd-ball by commuting to work daily.   Unfortunately the part of the country I live in isn’t as bicycle friendly as Portland, Oregon or others listed on the top bicycle friendly cities.

Here are some of the key reasons I feel that the infrastructure and culture are needed to change first :

  • Starting top down we need to embrace cycling as a viable means of transportation.   This means government and large corporations.
  • From bottom up we need to encourage our children and youth to utilize cycling like we did 30 years ago.   Safe Routes to School is a great example of this.
  • The government and city planning needs to create a better footprint for urban planning that is not revolved around an automobile.
  • Urban sprawl must slow down so that towns and cities can catch up.
  • All the large developments being built 25 minutes from the heart of the city are great, until those miles aren’t approachable by bicycle or public transportation like the subway.
  • Bicycle shops, schools and law enforcement to promote, encourage and participate in bike commuting or utilizing your bike often.

The U.S is taking big strides every year towards becoming a friendlier bicycle country and I hope that there are big waves to be made in the coming years. My biggest piece of encouragement is for you, the readers, to help with any of the above mentioned issues.   Commute By Bike as often as you can, help co-workers or your children learn how going by bike does not have to be difficult and is very rewarding.

Food for thought links :
KUOW : Bicycle Commuting Rising, but Still Pales Compared to Europe
Scientific American : How to Get More Bicyclist on the Road
Forbes – North America’s Most Bike-Friendly Cities

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0 thoughts on “The U.S is Not Europe, Can it Ever Be?”

  1. scarecrow says:

    This chart shows why the euro “lifestyle” is more bike oriented.

  2. JJ says:

    I’ve been commuting a couple times a week to work and have been enjoying it. I do this for various reasons but the top 3 are:

    1) setting example for my children
    2) health and enjoyment
    3) help environment / less need for gas dependency

    We have a decent bike movement here in Austin, TX.

    Thanks for getting this site back up.

  3. Steve says:

    Like most bike commuters, I could whip a 150 page thesis out of my muddy pannier to explain why this should happen, but space here is limited. I did want to throw out that we can’t expect this to happen everywhere, but we have to do what we can locally. Remember, we are comparing a nation of 48 geographically connected states, each the size of a typical European country, so progress will have to be grassroots. Like so many have said, the best thing we can do is lead by example. Ride safe!

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