As a bicycle enthusiast, and an attorney representing bicyclists, I am always happy to read about cities supporting cycling around the country, and across the world. I enjoy citing examples of how other communities try to increase bicycle safety and decrease bicycle accidents.
Bicycle commuting to work is not only good for the cyclist but also good for the community. National Bike Month spreads knowledge and incentive to potential bike commuters. Hundreds of U.S. cities have been successful in increasing bicycle commuting by offering enticements on Bike-to-Work Day. Proudly, San Francisco is one of the top bicycle-friendly cities.
As a San Francisco Bicycle Accident Attorney, I promote safe bike commuting to work or school as a healthy and cost-effective means of transportation. I’m a proud sponsor of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, and member of San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition as well, and support Safe Routes to Schools and other pro bicycle and pedestrian organizations.
By making those overly aggressive or careless motorists who harm bicyclists accountable, I feel I’m contributing to bike safety, and thereby helping to increase the popularity of bicycling in our community. Bicycling popularity rises when people feel safe riding their bikes. A good bike-friendly infrastructure in any city enhances the cycling experience and decreases accidents. Or, to put it another way, if bicyclists don’t feel safe, they will likely chose to drive their car to work instead.
I’m proud to report that more and more Americans are taking to the road on two wheels. This, to me, means that cities are beginning to value bike riding which is: better for the environment by promoting less greenhouse gases; healthier for the body to exercise; and contributes to mental health by breathing in fresh air. Bikes are easy to transport by bus now if you need to mix up your ride to work or school. Bikes don’t take up a parking place and do make the commute less congested.
As cited by The Economist,
“Between 1977 and 2009 the total number of annual bike trips more than tripled, while the bike’s share of all trips rose from 0.6% to 1%. Commuting cyclists have also increased in number, with twice as many biking to work in 2009 as in 2000.”
Top cities are making efforts to be bicycle-friendly such as:
The growth in bicycling numbers is made possible by city policy-making and increases in government spending on both the local and county level. When the motivation is to improve the quality of life for citizens–as is done with bicycle-friendly cities, families are encouraged to live there and businesses are encouraged to open up shop.
Still, this bike revolution needs to be expaned to encompass an even larger cross-section of people. According to Pucher and Buehler, authors of “City Cycling”, much of the growth comes from men aged 25-64, while rates have fallen among women and sharply among children.
As I’ve been discussing in many of my blog posts, bicycle safety is the greatest concern for families. With distracted driving on the rise, along with bike accident injuries and fatalities, it is no surprise to me that women and children are riding less. There are some who believe cycling in the U.S. is getting safer though.
Although the U.S. does lag behind Europe in bike riding percentage, one reason is that car ownership remains far cheaper in America. Another reason is that there are very little (if any) restrictions on car use here in the U.S.
Yesterday, the gas prices in the San Francisco Bay Area popped over $5.00 per gallon. This will assuredly encourage an increase in cycling locally, and once cyclists learn how much less expensive it is to ride to work, they will likely keep riding and drive a lot less. We hope.
About the author: Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for Bay Area bicyclists. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, and, as a Marin County bicyclist and San Francisco bicycle accident attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured cyclists throughout his legal career. Claude is also an avid cyclist himself and member of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and is a sponsor of Safe Routes to School. Claude is also a founding member of the American Association for Justice’s bicycle litigation group, a national group of lawyers focused on improving bicycle safety.