We need to rethink our commutes in the United States.
We’re dealing with a lot in today’s world: climate change, an obesity epidemic, and a cost of living crisis. Since the end of the pandemic, more of us are driving back into the offices every day. That means more pollution, more time spent sitting, and more money spent on gas and car maintenance.
There’s a way to tackle all of this: cycling! However, in America, cycling isn’t feasible for many of us. Why is that? To answer this question, let’s take a look at three cycle-friendly cities around the world and see what we can learn from them.
3 Cycleable Cities Around The World
Copenhagen currently sits at the top bicycle-friendly city in the entire world (stealing the limelight from Amsterdam). In fact, 37% of commuters use bikes to get to school or work. Compare that to 0.6% in the United States.
With wide cycle paths, clear demarcations, and ample bike storage facilities, Copenhagen creates an environment where cyclists feel prioritized and protected. The city has also worked
on extensive public awareness campaigns, making citizens view cycling as an integral part of their day.
Amsterdam, with its picturesque canals and narrow streets, has been a front-runner in promoting bicycles.
It has an extensive network of bike lanes and dedicated bike traffic lights. Besides infrastructure, the cultural mindset in Amsterdam is oriented towards cycling. Bikes are a primary mode of transport, used by young and old alike, rain or shine.
Vancouver is North America’s beacon of hope for cycle enthusiasts. The city is teeming with dedicated bike lanes, scenic routes, and a public that’s conscious about reducing their carbon footprint. Vancouver’s Seawall is one of the longest uninterrupted waterfront paths in the world, a testimony to the city’s commitment to cycling.
So, what can America learn?
Firstly, infrastructure is pivotal. Well-designed, safe cycle paths are a necessity.
Secondly, public awareness campaigns can change mindsets. Make cycling an aspirational activity, a daily habit.
Lastly, look at incentives – whether it’s tax breaks or subsidized bike purchases, every bit helps. In the future, I am hopeful that we will become a more bicycle-friendly nation.