17. Are We Ready For Bikes?

It’s hard not to like your article on bike sharing and the concept itself (May).  But I have some reservations:

  • Biking in the Netherlands and Denmark is greatly facilitated by thorough planning and implementation of seperate bikeways on city streets — well-protected lanes with their own traffic controls.  We have a long way to go to create a bike infrastructure that feels safe for the mass of (usually older) potential bikers.
  • The under-25 male bikers who today predominate have no fear for themselves or for others.  They typically ignore stop signs and lights, ride against traffic, and weave among cars and trucks just to save a few minutes.  Traffic enforcing police are usually off somewhere else responding to higher priorities.  Further, today’s bikers routinely flaunt no-bikes-on-sidewalk laws, an increasing nuisance and hazard as urban sidewalks fill with pedestrians.
  • while bike sharing can produce many of the article’s cited benefits, I believe that car sharing will have a far broader positive effect on urban transportation and urban life, even on urban economies.  WHen planners catch up with the potential of car-share-induced reductions in real estate costs, cities will loosen the currently excessive parking requirements.
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