An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What American bureaucrats need most: A trip abroad


My envy for cycling culture in other countries goes up in inverse proportion to the value of the dollar as it tanks. And it's interesting to consider how different countries are adapting to bikes as a primary mode of transportation: city planners in the US could learn a lot by taking a quick trip around the planet on a bicycle.

For example, Cuba has in the last 20 years become a bike-centric society after the collapse of the Soviet Union and communist subsidies for oil. A broad-ranging job-swapping program made it possible for most Cubans to trade their faraway positions for new ones that were closer to home and more easily reached by bicycle.

And also this:


At first the bike accident rate was high for Havana, a city not used to bike transportation. But that changed quickly, as infrastructure changed to reserve lanes just for bicyclists and yellow concrete bumps called turtle backs were installed which separate bike paths from cars.


With apologies to all the road-crossing turtles on the planet, this is a great idea that should be rolled out yesterday in every American city with bike lanes. It would save lives in Portland, and in New York, it would free Times Up to do more children's birthday parties.

2 comments:

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