Comment 32986

By arienc (registered) | Posted August 21, 2009 at 23:20:29

A Smith >> What you mean to say is "net externalities". That figure would also include all the positive effects that cars and trucks provide to society, everything from being able to visit family more often, fresher foods, richer cultural experiences, quick emergency care and 99% of the all the consumer goods we currently enjoy. Basically, anything that we can do and consume that have come about since the invention of the car.

A point well taken. The car has brought us many wonderful things, especially the freedom to seek opportunities over a wider area. As well as the urban sprawl, far-flung families, pollution and related health impacts, needless deaths/injuries due to accidents, and time spent commuting instead of with family that we see as negative impacts. Cars have created tremendous benefits for those who have access to them, without question.

However, cities like Copenhagen and Portland offer all of the same benefits, and more. They offer a better balance. so that those who are inclined to bicycle actually do so, because they are respected by drivers and provided with safe and relatively inexpensive infrastructure.

I though bikes were efficient modes of transportation, so why can't you just drive on any roads that cars do?

I can and do. I am part of the 1-2% of the public who is confident and enthusiastic about cycling. I am not the target market for bike lanes (although the little bit of separation does make me feel a little less anxiety on the road as cars and trucks whizz by at 80 in a 60 zone). There is a further 10-20 percent of the population that is eager to cycle, but they percieve barriers to them doing so. One of those barriers being the perception of safety. Those are the people who surveys have shown will come out in droves when facilities are convenient and well-designed. A further 50-60% would only cycle occasionally or recreationally.

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