Image Above: In July 2017 Portland launched the nation’s first partnership between a private bike shop, a bike share system and a city government to provide access to adaptive bicycles. Adaptive Biketown is the latest evolution of Portland's bike share system. Photo by Jonathan Maus.
"A lot has been accomplished over the past two decades, John Burke President of Trek Bicycles notes, “but we still have a long way to go to make a bike-friendly America. This is important for everybody,” he adds, “because the bicycle is a simple solution to climate change, congestion and the massive health crisis we have in this nation.”
A quick glance at other modern nations shows what’s possible. Across the Netherlands, 27 percent of all trips are made on bike—double the rate of the 1980s thanks to safety upgrades in infrastructure. In Denmark, it’s 18%. In Germany, it’s 12%—up from 9 percent in 2002, and headed for 15 percent by 2020.
Even Canadians bike significantly more than Americans. Montreal and Vancouver are arguably the two top cities for bicycling in North America despite freezing temperatures in one and heavy rainfall in the other. Why? The prevalence of protected bike lanes, bikeshare, neighborhood greenways and other 21st-century bike facilities.
Inspiration from other places combined with American ingenuity set the stage for more leaps in biking across the US over the past 20 years. For instance, Santa Monica—in the heart of auto-centric Southern California—witnessed a staggering 356 percent increase in biking between 2000 and 2012. Daily biking jumped 80 percent between 2010 and 2015 in in New York, another place once dismissed as inhospitable to riders. Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, five percent of people commute by bike, a 170 percent increase since 2000.
Image Above: Cynthia Rose, primary catalyst and co-founder of Santa Monica Spoke, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition's (LACBC) first Local Chapter in 2009, which has grown to 13 local chapters and expanded its reach. Santa Monica Spoke and Cynthia have been active leaders in Santa Monica’s impressive move to bike-friendliness in everything from infrastructure, policy, Safe Routes to School Programing and bike safety education, and encouraging the launch of Breeze, LA County’s first bikeshare system in 2015.