For as long as I can remember bicycle advocates and enthusiasts have been telling people bikes would save the world. Or could save the world. I’m sure if you go back to minutes after the bicycle was invented there was someone touting it’s world saving properties.
I used to believe it. At least in part.
When I entered the bike business there were no advocates. At least none to speak of. Riding a bicycle was seen as the activity of children, or weird people wearing weird clothing.
Sometime in the early ‘aughts things began to change. Cities were installing infrastructure, and the bicycle became a form of transportation. I understand that it's always been a form of transportation. I’m speaking strictly of a more wide spread change in perception.
If we were all more like Amsterdam, the bike could save the world!
Not so fast. Literally not so fast.
As infrastructure increased so did the speeds at which motorists drove their cars.
Motorists “interactions” (isn’t that precious?) with cyclists are at an all time high. Distracted driving is rampant. There are laws against using your mobile phone while driving, but no real way to enforce said laws.
How exactly are bikes supposed to save the world when nearly 900 cyclists were killed by automobiles in 2019 alone?
You and I may be comfortable riding on these city streets. The rider just starting out probably won't be. To be honest, my level of comfort is decreasing by the day. Until “we” start treating driving a car as a privilege, and not a right. Until "we" start punishing drivers for doing everything behind the wheel BUT paying attention to the road. Until cyclist are given equal access to safe use of the roadways, I’m afraid there’s no way for bikes to save the world.
Get involved with your local advocacy organization. Hold to account the elected officials that allow this behavior to continue.
Then. Maybe then