It took a pandemic for city governments to give full support to the use of bicycles in city roads, where bikers before were regarded as a road nuisance. Today in several U.S. and European cities, local governments have taken steps to make bicycle-use more permanent, as a mode of transport by dedicating miles and miles of city roads for exclusive use of bikers and pedestrians.
Actually, there’s been an explosion of bike use after people started coming out of their quarantine hiatus, to avoid riding in public transport systems. Making the transition was easier today than it was before, as there are now electric bikes to suit different types of people, including seniors. The availability of electrical power to supplement physical effort makes riding a bike to work, to school or to a business place, a lot more manageable.
UK Government, to Boost Bike Use on a Nationwide Level
The UK government though is taking the transformation to a nationwide level as funds have been provided to cities to make it more convenient for citizens to use their bicycle. UK’s Secretary of Transport, Grant Shapps, announced last May 09 that about £250 million will be released to local government authorities to use as funds in installing “pop-up” cycling and walking infrastructure in their respective cities.
The amount was released as emergency funds from out of the £2 billion package to boost biking and walking throughout the country during and after the pandemic.
According to the British Transport Secretary, the use of alternative modes of transportation have both short- and long-term benefits that will carry on even if the pandemic subsides. Secretary Shapps said that although cars will still be vital for many, the future plan is to build a country with cleaner air, greener travel behaviors and healthier communities. He added that the transportation department is fast-tracking the development of statutory guidelines that will be implemented in anticipation of the significant increase in cycling and walking activities.
A Quick Glimpse of Some of the Biker-Friendly Cities in the U.S.
Several state governments in the U.S. have taken action to support their citizens in making the transition to bike-riding over the use of private cars and public transports. The actions taken include temporarily closing to car traffic, some thoroughfares in major cities to make walking and cycling safe for everyone
1. Seattle foe one has announced that nearly 20 miles of the city roads will be transformed into pedestrian streets permanently closed to vehicular traffic.
2. In Oakland, the city government plans to gradually close 74 miles of roadways to vehicular traffic, which is about 10% of the city’s entire cityscape.
3. Denver has already designated 13 miles of open streets for pedestrians and cyclists.
4. Minneapolis has set aside 18 miles of road purely for use of pedestrians and bikeks.
5. New York City has already dedicated 12 miles of roadways for pedestrians and only recently added 9 miles of protected bike lanes. Since city has experienced a dramatic drop in traffic, the local government has legalized the use of ebikes. The government also plans to implement regulatory guidelines as many city-dwellers have been driving the sale of ebikes in recent months.
By the way, although there is quite a selection of ebikes under $1,000 (https://www.ponfish.com/best-electric-bikes-under-1000/) being offered online, review website ponfish gives advice to carefully look over the features and make of each ebike type. That way you can make informed decisions on what is suitable for your regular use. Some electric bikes come with wide fat tires, others are recommended as safest for commuters, particularly for seniors.