Adam Voiland wrote an article entitled, "Bike Commuting By the Numbers" for today's US News and World Report. It describes the success that certain European countries have had in encouraging transportation by bicycle rather than by car.
Some interesting statistics from the article:
- 37% of trips under 2.5 kilometers in the Netherlands are made by bicycle
- 0.02% of trips to work in Kansas City, Missouri are made by bicycle
- Motorists in the Netherlands and Germany are legally responsible for collisions with children or elderly people on bicycles, even if the cyclist is not obeying the law
- 1.1 cyclists are killed per 100 million kilometers cycled in the Netherlands, while 5.8 cyclists are killed in the United States over the same distance cycled
- One third of cycling fatalities in the United States involve alcohol use by the driver or cyclist
The article states, "Transportation planners in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark have invested heavily in bicycle paths and lanes, discouraged the use of cars, and gone to great efforts to protect the legal rights and safety of cyclists." The results of these efforts seem definitive. When a country makes a sincere effort to encourage cycling as a form of transportation, it works. When a country allows oil companies to dictate transportation policy, we get what we should expect.