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Bicycling

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"Bicycling"

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From the requests thread:

Following one of your strong suits, urban development, and personal interests (yours and mine), it would be interesting to see more about urban cycling programs, e.g., bike lanes, and bicycle sharing. How much do bike lanes actually promote cycling? How successful are bike sharing programs, i.e., how much of a subsidy do they require, if at all?

I don’t write about this all that frequently because I’ve come to the view that it’s a topic that’s easy to overthink. The number one factor in making a city a congenial place for cycling is . . . having lots of other people ride bikes. When lots of people ride bikes, bike riding is safe since everyone is conscious of the presence of cyclists. A mode of transportation that’s safe, healthy, and cheap will naturally attract some adherents but it’s only safe if it has adherents. Consequently, the real impact of any kind of bike-friendly measure is likely more in the fact that it signals “hey think about biking” than in the details.

This is why I’ve tended to shift more in the direction of big picture stuff. If you have dense development and don’t have parking minimums, some people will start to bike around. And having those people bike around is the best pro-bicycle measure on earth.

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