States and cities alike are trying to figure out how to encourage people to take on activities like choosing to cycle to work. The obesity epidemic and gridlock-filled rush hours are a plague across the country.
That said, despite efforts to encourage people to cycle to work, North Americans simply don’t seem interested. Even when cycling paths are constructed, the weather is beautiful, and commutes are short, people aren’t taking the bait. Americans and Canadians are addicted to four wheels and don’t have any inclination to change theirs.
What Would Convince You to Cycle to Work?
Some cities have managed to be more successful than others in convincing people to cycle to work. One of the top cities in North America for being “bike friendly” to commuters is Montreal. It offers over 525 miles of cycling paths. Still, even with all the great features meant to make it easy for people to get on their bikes instead of into their cars, some still prefer the car.
Equally, many cities that are already extremely population-dense are finding it difficult to locate the space for bike-friendly features. They already have a hard time fitting the cars in the traffic lanes, let alone adding designated space for cyclists.
The cities with the highest number of bike commuters are typically those where the cost of driving and parking is the most expensive, where short distances are typically travelled and where safety for cyclists is prioritized. It isn’t the number of paths laid out as much as it is that it is cheaper and safer to ride.
Researchers Want to Get Bikes on the Roads
A North Carolina University research team published a study in which they identified the “social process of initiating and sustaining the practice of bicycle commuting” in an automobile-reliant culture. The paper used the example of Charlotte, North Carolina as an example.
The city has added 200 miles of bike paths since the year 2000. It also has intentions to build a cycling network for cyclists of all ages. However, despite all this effort, only 0.25 percent of residents cycle to work or school. Another 87 percent rely exclusively on their cars. Many of those drivers are the only ones in their cars.
How to Get More People to Cycle to Work
Cities and states are hoping to show more drivers how great it can be to ride a bike. This effort will take bike paths, slower speed limits, education on bike safety and even getting employers to encourage this practice within their workforce. This could help to build a cycle to work culture.