There’s been a firestorm of biking news this month and it’s been a challenge just to keep up. Last week, for example, The Atlantic reported on the ways that biking is changing our cities.
Most importantly though, bicycles are an intrinsic part of how we imagine and design the city of the future. They will play a significant role in shaping identity and communities and influencing social dynamics in urban areas, because they are the next great technology platform.
That article goes on to mention several changes biking is bringing about. They’re all interesting but I found the community arguments particularly persuasive:
Bike shops are community hubs, where groups and new friendships are forged and social activism takes root.
Bicycles help create cohesion in communities and aid social services, especially in developing countries.
My feeling is that if we were all persuaded by statistics, we’d already have ditched our cars and would be riding bikes; there’s just so much information about why that change would benefit our health, our wallets, and our communities.
But clearly not all of us are sufficiently persuaded by research on the benefits of biking. As a result, I find arguments like the one above — which emphasize ostensibly more touchy -feeling benefits as well — useful. The statistics can persuade our minds, but to make biking a bigger part of our cities, we need to be persuaded in our hearts as well.
And in the end, we clearly are making progress. Today, my good friend Dane alerted me to this post, which ranks Utah as the thirteenth best biking state in America and the fifth best in the West. That’s just behind California, and way ahead of big states like New York and Florida. You can read the entire “report card” here.
As I’ve always said in the past, we have a long way to go. But this information helps us understand how to get there, and that we’re definitely on our way.