May is National Bike Month

James on a bike

James on a bike

That leaves you only a few precious days to get you bike tuned up and ready to go for Friday! Check out bikcommuters.com for tips on getting around on your bike, including recent posts on long commutesdispelling myths about bicycle commuting, and a review of the book ‘The Practical Cyclist ‘, which addresses how to help make cycling a practical means of transportation for more people. Or, have a look at the League of American Bicyclists website for more information about National Bike Month. So what does this all have to do with design?

First, bicycles are fabulously frugal with energy. Some estimate that an average car uses 50 times more energy per passenger mile than a bicycle (and the cyclist benefits by serving as an energy source). I consider this a great sustainable design.

Second, there is a grand opportunity to develop bicycle designs that are more practical for a variety of uses. Have a look at the Bicycle Design blog for some innovative cycling alternatives, and look here to read about a comptetition for developing practical bicycle designs for the masses.

Third, for human-powered transportation to expand in the U.S. and have meaningful impact on energy consumption (and public health), we need to design transportation policies that place cycling as a priority and stimulate demand for cycling. Not only do we need better laws to protect cyclists, but we need to move toward communities that embrace cycling as a mainstream transportation alternative and provide infrastructure that supports cycling. We all would benefit from a shift from car-centric communities to bicycle and people-centric communities. We can look to places like the Netherlands for inspiration, where cycling is not just mainstream, but irresistible, and the ‘needs of cyclists are taken into account in all stages of urban planning’.

What do you think about cycling as a viable mode of transportation? Would you consider trying it out for National Bike Month?

Posted: April 29th, 2009 | Filed under: Cycling, Energy, Transportation |

One Comment on “May is National Bike Month”

  1. 1 Design Impact » Blog Archive » What Cycling Can Teach us About Better Driving said at 4:51 pm on May 31st, 2009:

    [...] that bike month is drawing to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on a few things that can be learned by [...]


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