The bicycle, a humble nineteenth century invention, is challenging the fossil-fuel automobile as the conveyance of the future. It’s the ideal city machine, light, portable, and cheap. Non-polluting. Good exercise too. Urban dwellers around the world are turning to bikes as the car turns them off.
But with bicycles coming of age as a serious mode of transportation there are a few problems. Bicycles and automobiles have to share the same roads, a recipe for conflict, and many potential cyclists just won’t ride in the city because they see it as too dangerous. Add in the plague of bike theft and a lot of cyclists are simply leaving their bikes at home.
“You want to steal my stuff, please. You can’t do anything with it anyways. I dismantle them. “Igor Kenk, bike shop operator, Toronto
“The plan was to stop the car, the destruction of the town, the pollution, by leaving cars outside the town, and give a new instrument for people to use when they want to travel around: free bikes, for everybody. ”
Luud Schimmelpennink, social inventor, Amsterdam
“These days the real cycling radical in New York City is the 40-year-old mom whose taking her kids to school on a bike.”
Aaron Naparstek, Streetsblog, New York
“If a cyclist gets hit by a motorist, you can pretty much be guaranteed there will be no consequences for the motorist. Normally there’s not even a summons issued, and there’s virtually never a severe penalty.
John Pucher, Prof Urban Planning, Rutgers University, New Jersey