With the majority of Americans now living in urban areas, it’s becoming apparent to many experts that traditional, car-centered city planning is unsustainable. Alternative modes of transportation, such as bicycling on traditional and electric bikes, are becoming the preferred method of locomotion in some of the country’s big metropolises. Learn how cities are changing in the face of this biking revolution.
Why Is Action Needed?
Among other things, the combination of rapid urban growth, extended life expectancy and high gas prices is driving the need for cities to provide alternative transportation options to their citizens. The notion of one car per person doesn’t seem sustainable in today’s world. By focusing solely on improvements to highways and streets that only accommodate cars and trucks, cities will not be prepared to meet the demands being placed on their over-taxed roadways. That’s why many are springing into action to support alternative means of transportation, like electric bikes.
What’s Being Done?
Recognizing the need to expand beyond traditional roadway design, urban planners are addressing ways to make infrastructure improvements that support alternatives to traditional motorized transportation. Some of the steps being taken in cities in the U.S. and around the globe include:
- widening existing bike lanes to accommodate more riders
- creating dedicated roadways that are safely segregated from vehicle traffic
- redesigning intersections to increase safety for those riding an electric bike for commuting
- providing secure bike parking
- implementing robust bike-share programs to make electric bikes accessible to more citizens
Employers in cities are getting in on the action, as well, by providing perks like electric bike storage and shower rooms and lockers for cleaning up and changing after commuting. Some are even offering monetary incentives to employees who ditch their cars and begin bicycling work. All of these changes indicate that both government and industry are encouraging the shift to cycling.
How Are Cities Benefiting From These Changes?
It’s likely that the surface is just being scratched when it comes to learning how cities can benefit from trending toward becoming more bike-friendly. For starters, studies show that when even just a small percentage of commuters switch to biking there’s a noticeable reduction in carbon monoxide emissions. Also, because electric bikes take up less space on roadways and can be parked and stored in smaller spaces, getting more people off four wheels and onto two can reduce urban sprawl and leave more room for parks and greenways. Additionally, although the reduction in stress many drivers experience when switching to commuting by bike is perhaps a less tangible benefit, it shouldn’t be overlooked. After all, when people are less stressed out they tend to feel happier, and happy people make happy communities.
Becoming an urban bicyclist just may put you at the cutting edge of urban modernization. Whether you need a top-speed bike for your daily commute or are in the market for an electric beach cruiser for sale, check online for the perfect ride to start sustainably tooling around town on two wheels rather than four.