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Americans Want to Bike — or, Another Case for Protected Lanes

A protected bike lane outside a hotel in Crystal City, VA , where several BCGP are this week for the National Bike Summit.

A protected bike lane in Crystal City, VA , where several BCGP staff members are this week for the National Bike Summit.

Americans want to bike, and we want them to bike. But sometimes, that’s easier said than done. According to a study released this month by Breakaway Research Group for People For Bikes, a majority of Americans who want to bike more are afraid of getting hit by a car or truck—and that’s the main issue holding them back.

The report, based on survey results from 16,193 U.S. adults weighted to correspond to national demographics, found that 45.1 million Americans (age 3 and older) rode a bicycle for transportation at least once last year. The most common type of transportation trip for Americans is traveling to and from social events/errands.

Bicycling is generally considered a convenient way to travel, and 53 percent of those surveyed said they’d like to ride more often. However, 52 percent are worried about being hit by a motor vehicle.

How to give them a better sense of security? Our intuition says an increased presence of protected bike lanes—and so does the data.

Forty-six percent of adults would be more likely to ride bicycles if they were physically separated from cars, according to the survey, and more than half of all Americans would like to bicycle more often and perceive bicycling as a convenient more of transportation.

You can read the whole thing here. Feel free to share it with your friends and enemies alike.

While this information may enforce what you have already long-believed, it does help us understand just how misguided the pundits are when they blame a lack of bicycling on things like “the weather” and not, you know, a lack of safe infrastructure. Philadelphia is already the most-biked big city in the United States per capita; imagine if we kept up with our peer cities on new infrastructure.

bikelanecomparison

That’s why the Better Mobility Working Group, a coalition including groups from the Bicycle Coalition to the Clean Air Council to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, put together the Better Mobility 2015 platform for Philadelphia’s next mayor. We want to see more politicians and those who make future decisions for our city dedicate themselves to a more productive, sustainable, mobile city.

On Thursday, March 19 (that’s next week, people!) the Better Mobility Working Group will host the Better Mobility 2015 mayoral forum at the Friends Center at 1501 Cherry Street in Center City, Philadelphia, where those positioned to run for mayor of Philadelphia will discuss the issues laid out in the Better Mobility 2015 platform. You can RSVP for that event here. And hey, check out Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Alex Doty’s op/ed on Philadelphia Magazine’s Citified blog today.

Topics: Vision Zero

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