Transportation Policy

After Millions of Dollars Spent and Hundreds of New Lane Miles Built, Bike Ridership Is Down Across America

The 2017 American Community Survey finds the number of people biking to work is falling nationwide.

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Dmitry Panchenko/Dreamstime.com

Despite spending millions of dollars on hundreds of miles of bikeways, American cities are seeing a big drop in the number of people who pedal their way to work. That's according to the latest American Community Survey (a smaller, more detailed version of the U.S. Census), which found declining bike ridership across most American cities last year.

The drop was most pronounced in bike-friendly Seattle, home of the $12-million-a-mile bike lane. In 2015, 4 percent of Seattleites (16,300 people) biked to work. That rate fell to 3.5 percent (14,600 people) in 2016 and 2.8 percent (12,000 people) last year.

This decrease comes as the city of Seattle is throwing a lot of money at building out its biking network. In 2015, Emerald City voters approved the Move Seattle levy, which raised some $94 million to add 110 miles of bike lanes, greenways, and associated infrastructure. Costs have since increased to a point where Seattle residents may get only about half the miles they were promised.

Bike lane supporters in the city pointed to a number of reasons for the precipitous drop, including drops of precipitation. Both the Seattle Bike Blog and The Seattle Times suggested that the rainy city's unusually wet winter weather and downtown construction help explain the decline in biking.

That may be true, but biking was down in many cities, even those spared harsh winter rains. Take Los Angeles, where biking has been falling for years, even as the city has added bike lanes at a frenzied pace. The city's 2010 Bicycle Plan called for quintupling the number of bike lane miles at a projected cost of $234 million to $437 million. The state and federal governments have chipped in with grants for bike infrastructure. The city has been adding from 30 to 60 lane miles (the number of lanes multiplied by miles of path) of bikeways a year, reaching some 1,200 lane miles—including fully separated lanes, recreational trails, and marked or "sharrowed" lanes—by 2017.

Despite this investment, biking numbers are down. In 2013, some 21,000 Angelenos (1.2 percent of commuters) biked to work. After a spike in 2014, the number of bikers has been falling continuously. Last year, only 17,930 commuters (about 0.9 percent of all commuters) biked to work, according to the new survey data.

Some cities, including car-centric places like Dallas and Phoenix, did see small gains in the share of commuters biking to work, but not enough to reverse the national trend. In the U.S. as a whole, only 0.5 percent of people biked to work in 2017, down from 0.6 percent in 2016.

What is driving this drop is difficult to say. The reasons could vary from city to city. Yet the fact that biking is falling even in those cities most committed to expanding bike ridership suggests that throwing more money at bike-only infrastructure cannot change the fact that most people would rather use non-pedal-powered modes of transportation to get around town.

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  1. Boomers who grew up bicycling are getting too old for it. Helicopter-parented kids from subsequent generations weren’t allowed to ride bikes anywhere and don’t have the affinity for bicycles that many Boomers had.

    1. ^THIS^

      Bicycle commuting had dropped because the cyclists have retired.

      1. Urbanization and modernization as well.

        I used to bike 10 miles on a BMX as a kid to go to the grocery store. Now, I live 6 blocks from the grocery store and drive because I have to take the kids with me and couldn’t possibly fit everything we need on a bike.

        1. Give each kid a backpack. One for yourself too. And go to the grocery store more often so you don’t have as much to carry home.

          There. Problem solved. The family that exercises together..

          1. Really it’s the Schwan’s Man and the Peapod driver’s fault for not riding a bike. What they really need to do is force Uber drivers to man rickshaws and pedalcarts.

    2. And there’s a shitload more traffic than there was thirty or forty years ago.

      1. It’s no fun on a fancy bike path.

      2. THIS is the reason. Cars are bigger and heavier than they have ever been. Drivers are more distracted, isolated, cocooned and crappier. They have NO interest in respecting ‘bike lanes’ – which are a shitty idea to begin with. Every single block I ride on a busy street – I’m gonna have one or two incidents or near-incidents where someone is crowding me over, dooring me, splashing crap, turning right across the lane without signal, double parking, etc. Drivers don’t actually stop at stop signs anymore for peds/bikes – only for other cars or cop nearby. They don’t leave any sightlines when parked near alleys/intersections – so peds too end up having to poke into the bike lane from the other side to see before they cross.

        Combine that with the BS of the ‘bike culture’ crowd that revels in the helmets/spandex/extreme and you have a guarantee that ‘normal/everyday’ biking is the polar opposite of what those advocates want. They are interested in bike lanes – or sticking bikes on racks and driving 100 miles into the country to go biking. They are poison to the infrastructure that is actually needed. Biking is not utility transportation to them.

        1. “Drivers don’t actually stop at stop signs anymore for peds/bikes”

          Not stopping at stop signs? A sure sign more bicyclists are driving these days than they used to.

        2. Well, if more bike riders didn’t constantly break the law themselves, and actually showed some common decency in their riding I might be a little nicer back. I usually AM nice still, despite not wanting to be, but when I get one of those asshole bikers who decides to block my way down a road, or block off a turn lane for no good reason… Yeah I stick it right back to that person.

          As far as things go, biking is a stupid fucking idea as far as solving any real transportation problems. It’s fine and well for people to do it sometimes for health or entertainment, but 19th century modes of transportation are not going to solve 21st century problems. In my humble opinion, since rail just doesn’t actually make sense in most cities in the USA (cost, population density, etc), I’m a big fan of buses. They can be varied scheduling wise as needed, and are reasonably cost effective. Hell they could even charge what they cost to operate if they wanted to, and it wouldn’t cost taxpayers who don’t use them a dime. Nothing not to like about buses.

          Of course in Seattle they’ve been unnecessarily turning regular lanes into bus only lanes on purpose to bork traffic for car commuters… But that isn’t a pre-req in cities run by sane people.

          1. actually showed somecommon decency suitable obeisance in their riding I might be a little nicer back

            There. fify.

            Of course you do. Because you are an ignorant asshole with a two-ton weapon that is a penis-substitute. What’s the point of having a two-ton penis substitute if you can’t wave it around and knock everyone else off the road?

            1. LOL

              You really lose your shit whenever bikes come up!

              Respect is a two way street asshole. I don’t MIND polite bikers, and there are plenty of them. But the kind that ride down the middle of a road, when there is a fucking bike lane for them to be in, intentionally just to slow down cars… Those people can go fuck themselves. It’s rude. There is no excuse. Period.

              I’ve never tried to run anybody off the road, and I am always nice to bikers until they do something assholeish. But once they do, I have no reason to feel bad about speeding past them and giving them the evil eye. If you frequently have drivers doing extra mean things to you, it’s most likely your own bullshit behavior bringing it on yourself. Start having a little common decency and it will likely stop.

              As far as things go, if you’re implying I drive some big pickup truck because I have a small penis… You’re wrong on both counts. I have never owned a pickup, big or not. I also have a considerably above average sized penis… I won’t get specific, but let’s just say I could lose a couple full inches and still be within the middle of the normal range…

    3. People are richer and better off.

      Did anyone bemoan the number of horse riders decreasing every year as cars got better and cheaper? I bet they did.

      I’ve biked to work. It needs good weather, a short ride, and getting out in the middle of a lane so cars that want to pass have to use the next lane over. You got to have a thick skin for insults and be ready to stand up to idiot drivers and know when not to stand up to them.

      Most people who can afford a car will drive because you can run errands, commute in the dark and rain, and visit friends after work. A bicycle is seldom the best choice.

      1. Did anyone bemoan the number of horse riders decreasing every year as cars got better and cheaper? I bet they did.

        Probably the same people who were inciting panic with claims that city streets were going to end up buried in 3 feet of horse shit just a few years earlier.

      2. And you don’t get to work all sweaty with matted hair.

      3. Richer? Do not think so. My guess is the middle of cities or close to work areas are too expensive for most people so they move to the burbs where you have to drive to get to work. If you want to bike to work you really have to explicitly live close to where you work. Which is exactly what I did, I bike to work most of the time, which was also more expensive because the property in the nice area was more expensive. Suburbs would have been cheaper but no biking then.

  2. Meanwhile, Ford posts record sales once again and Tesla demonstrates that sales surge before government-sponsored vehicle incentives terminate and then tank afterwards.

  3. “Unusually wet” in Seattle? How could they tell?

  4. Riding a bike on city streets is horrible. I don’t care if there’s a white line separating the bike lane from the roadway you are still subject to being run into and there is no way you win that.

    And given that bike lanes are generally in the same condition as the roadway they are part of makes it worse for riders as their vehicle does not have shock absorbers or tires wide enough to safely traverse even small holes, bumps and ruts.

    And with puddles and rain or snow it gets so much worse.

    Why anyone bikes on city streets is beyond me.

    1. You have to be a complete nut to bike on city streets.

    2. It is healthy and people like to bike?

  5. Gosh people won’t do what we want, maybe we should steal more of their money to nudge them into doing what we want?

    Rational person: How about we direct that money to make what they actually use (roads) better?

    1. Rational person: How about we direct that money to make what they actually use (roads) better?

      Hyper-rational (apparently) person: How about we don’t take their money and let them use it to make things better as they see fit?

    2. That’s how Portland, for example, works.

      The City sets “goals” and then works to achieve them and screw the people who live there.

      What’re we going to do? Find a non-Progressive to vote for who won’t kowtow to bike virtue signaling?

    3. You’re not going to make roads better. Because the more traffic you want to push through, the more land you gotta set aside for the road (and its geometric – more since you probably want to make sure SUV’s/tanks are accommodated) – and the amount of land is fixed.

      The US is already easily the most car-friendly and car-oriented and car-exclusive place on Earth. Ain’t even close. Our cities currently rank #1, #3, #5, #8, #10, #13, #14, #17, #20 in traffic congestion (and 30 of the top 100). The only way the US is gonna get rid of that congestion via car is to get rid of the cities themselves. Turn everything into a road.

      The US is in late-stage delusion about cars.

      1. I despise trying to drive anywhere downtown near where I live because parking is impossible… so I do not. I drive out of the city to the suburbs if I cannot walk to it. Heaven forbid I try to ever live in the suburbs and drive into the city during rush hour, the traffic is horrendus.

        I agree wholeheartedly. I am no fan of driving and our road systems.

      2. There are many intertwined issues… And it is correct that at a point adding more cars to a given space is problematic… But there are things that could be done, both in terms of roads in general, or changing stuff “above” roads in the problem structure.

        I live in Seattle. There are a million situations here where they have gone out of their way to make roads worse out of anti car zealotry. One thing they have done in many places is expanding the sidewalks to monstrous sizes, and reducing the number of lanes. I’ve seen these streets at peak times of the day… They didn’t need to magically become 3 times as wide as they used to be. It was just spite, but claimed to be some pro pedestrian thing.

        Now, a CRAZY idea… HOW ABOUT since the sidewalks in most places have EXCESS capacity at all times, and the roads don’t have enough… One actually remove the sidewalk on one side of a road and replace it with a car lane? It’s the exact same theory used by them in reverse, except this way it is actually serving a need people clearly have, versus grand standing by shit libs.

        1. Hell why not eliminate sidewalks altogether? That could confirm even more that so-called ‘pedestrians’ don’t really exist absent all those subsidies they get.

          1. You’re being ridiculous again.

            Let me put it to you this way: If everybody can comfortably fit on a sidewalk 8 feet wide or whatever at peak times, and there are not enough lanes for car OR even bike traffic… What is the point in removing car lanes and making a 25 or 30 foot wide sidewalk? This is quite literally what they have done in tons of places here.

            It makes no logical sense. Keep in mind those road lanes could even be for your beloved bikes, not just cars. It’s an anti car, at any cost, thing by the government here. Period.

            Obviously places need sidewalks, but they don’t need to be 4 times bigger than is needed for moving people walking down the street.

      3. On the high level, these stupid companies could stop trying to cram every single job into the downtown core too. Especially since most people DO NOT live there.

        Maybe start tossing offices in other parts of the city again, or even in proper suburbs, which was a thing until top down planners started being against this a couple decades ago. This move towards cramming everything/everybody into as compact a city as possible is a MAJOR part of the problem.

        I’m a fan of a main hub and spoke surrounded by smaller hubs/spokes in a metro area. It seems to make logical sense. Things should be organic and not top down, but the thing is the reason a lot of this concentration has happened has BEEN top down planning via zoning laws etc.

        In Seattle, Amazon could have very sensibly thrown in an office in Shoreline, which is all of 10-15 minutes north of downtown in middling bad traffic, and saved the city MASSIVE amounts of congestion simply by offering an office up there for employees who live in that neck of the woods. Since their offices are already spread ALL around DT, and not all are within walking distance of each other, it would make zero difference for business purposes.

        If a dozen or two companies did the same, all of a sudden average commuting time drops by 25%! Miles driven drops, pollution drops, it’s win win win. Structuring things around cars is a good idea since they’re the best form of transportation, and they just aren’t going anywhere even if people want them to.

        1. Seattle is a great town – but it has ALWAYS had the one-company town blinders that lead to bad decisions by the muni itself (and those big cos). Used to be it was Boeing.

          Seattle isn’t a naturally great biking city (esp downtown) – but if it wants to be more biking-oriented, ‘commuters’ should be about #100 on the list of priorities.

          The top priority should be KIDS. Who have no non-biking alternative to dependency on someone else and never will. But that means the transport focus should be on schools-as-hub and nearby-residential-as-spoke. Which mostly means eliminating thru traffic on those roads and slowing it down – NOT sticking big employers and rat-runs there. The effect will be that local retail and small employer there will become more ped/bike friendly – which would eliminate a ton of non-commuter congestion. Follow-on actions become obvious too at that point.

          Of course Amazon is the last company on Earth that wants to see the return of neighborhood mixed-use anything. So Seattle is the last city on Earth that will lead that sort of change.

          1. “Seattle is a great town – but it has ALWAYS had the one-company town blinders that lead to bad decisions by the muni itself (and those big cos). Used to be it was Boeing.”

            This is a fact!

            “Seattle isn’t a naturally great biking city (esp downtown) – but if it wants to be more biking-oriented, ‘commuters’ should be about #100 on the list of priorities.”

            First part is true… Which is why people will never bike here. And the shit weather. Wrong on the second part. People getting to work is one of the most important things for any society to achieve. There are lots of ways of doing this, but ignoring the problem sure as shit isn’t it.

            “The top priority should be KIDS. ”

            LOL Kids are fine. They can bike all over the place just fine now. I did when I was a kid, with no issues. Kids, however, aren’t the ones who need to travel everywhere constantly for real reasons. They don’t make the economy function. They don’t put food on the table. Adults and their employment are simply more important to keeping society functional.

            Also, kids have buses and Uber/Lyft, not to mention mom and dad, to get around for places that are too far to walk/bike.

            You really are hilarious how you will pull out any illogical nonsense to try to pump up bikes somehow being the only answer to all the worlds problems. Saying people working is less important than kids being able to ride to the corner store, or that people don’t need to be able to get to work efficiently… It’s utter retardation.

  6. Round here there are three kinds of people who ride bicycles: children, snobs, and people who lost their license.

    Regardless, who wants to show up to work all sweaty with a sore ass?

    1. Regardless, who wants to leave a 45 min. earlier show up to work all sweaty with a sore ass?

      FIFY

      1. Well, sorta.

      2. Very true. I didn’t even think about the time factor.

    2. Regardless, who wants to show up to work all sweaty with a sore ass?

      Wealthy white people who live within 10 minutes biking distance of downtown and have posh offices with shower and changing facilities in them.

    3. I ride my bike because I like living downtown, walking everywhere, and not needing two cars between my wife and me.

      Who is the snob here again?

      1. LAME.

        What kind of a loser would only have 2 cars for 2 people? I usually try to have at least 2 for just myself, sometimes 3… But at minimum one needs to obey the 1 car for every person, plus a spare for when one is in the shop rule.

        Also when you say “wife” you mean husband right? I mean being a fancy, urbanite, snob and all I would just assume…

        I’m obviously 90% kidding on the above stuff… But seriously, I don’t know why anybody would want to subject themselves to living downtown in a major city. Living in the close suburbs sure. That’s where I live more or less. But RIGHT downtown. Ugh. You do know Uber exists now right? I can go wherever I want, whenever I want, within a few minutes, ALL while still having a gorgeous backyard with fruit trees, a garden, squirrels running around etc in the summer. I just don’t get the appeal of living in a shitty apartment surrounded by crack heads and hobos…

        1. I lived in Japan for six years man. I like walking everywhere and I do not care if I have a garden or yard. The crack and heroid heads are a feature of the USA, not downtown living in general across the world. I ignore them.

          I will be moving back to Japan or Europe one day, I like the style of life there much better. Downtown life is for me, but I can do without the hobos and drugs.

          1. I hear you on the hobo thing. I’ve never been to Japan, but would love to. It seems like such a nice, neat, orderly society. Europe used to be in many areas too… Unfortunately they brought in a few too many migrants, and many European cities are nothing like they used to be. Hopefully they’ll be fixing that though.

            Obviously you should be free to be a DT kinda guy… But I still just don’t get it. It doesn’t compute. As a 23 year old for a couple years while you’re running around trying to catch herpes or whatever, sure. But forever. No thanks.

  7. A bicycle is a recreational device, not a transportation device.

    1. Eh, I mean, they can be transportation devices.

      If you live in Amsterdam, I hear they’re very effective and practical.

      But American cities aren’t Amsterdam, Americans aren’t Dutch, and we can’t change either of those

      (Likewise anywhere in the developing world; bikes are wonderful compared to walking.)

      1. If you live in Amsterdam, I hear they’re very effective and practical.

        Flat. Very flat. Flatter than your mom. Flatter than a pancake.

        Flat as in, Yo Mama so flat, her shirts say “open this side”.

        1. Also, the city historically, culturally, and economically was built to be bicycle friendly/car hostile while Seattle was built more car friendly and is being poorly retrofitted.

          1. You’re wrong about that. I lived in Amsterdam when it changed. Literally 1972 when the Stop Kinder Moord campaign took off – with the 73 oil embargo being the event that made biking an integral part of all transport decisions from then on. What it wasn’t was some separate expensive obvious special-interest one-time boondoggle – that allows the car to be the only form of transport designed for at all other times.

            1. Oh – and the economic reason bikes really do end up being a cheap transport option is because – no eminent domain. That and the lost prop tax base of turning valuable city land into car-based streets are HUGE costs of cars that they don’t carry themselves.

              1. Yeah, in la-la land that would work.

                You DO realize that big cities had MASSIVE streets hundreds/thousands of years ago right? Because carts, carriages, horses, etc all take up lots of room too? As do shit tons of bikes if everybody magically biked.

                You’re not completely retarded on all issues, but every time a bike article gets posted you just go off the reservation. Moving people at a dozen or two miles an hour versus 60-80 is an inferior way of going about things man. Especially in most of the country where it is either prohibitively hot or cold for large parts of the year.

                It’s just a garbage idea that will never work for 95% of people. We’d be better off rearranging the way our employment is arranged geographically than going back to using 19th century transportation methods. This is something I’m actually in favor of. Also as I mentioned above, I’m not opposed to buses. They are a reasonable thing in urban areas, but bikes just fall down on too many real world issues.

                1. Moving people at a dozen or two miles an hour versus 60-80 is an inferior way of going about things man.

                  Busy cycle path in NL – 37,000/day. No lights or traffic control. Looks like utter chaos – or spontaneous order if you like (no surprise it’s the motorcycles at higher velo that create the probs). Takes up only a bit more land than one-lane of road traffic. To do that traffic volume via car would require 3 lanes each direction – with protected left turn lights/lanes too (and that eliminates 60-80 mph too).

                  And like it or not, median vehicle trip even in the US is 4 miles or less. Are you really saying that the velo difference between that trip in 3 mins v 12 mins is the main difference? BS. It’s the stop/start, lights/traffic control, parking location at beginning/end – all of which have a NATURAL advantage for bikes unless they are punished by designing everything for cars.

                  1. The peak traffic being shown in that video is prob more like 70,000/day run rate – the 37,000/day is including nighttime and such.

                  2. Oh – and like it or not also – the human brain also evolved to process ‘mobility’ type info at roughly the maximum speed we can run. It’s why we can run down a sidewalk with people walking all around and still avoid running into them. We can make our adjustments without causing harm to ourselves or others – even if we distract ourselves a bit with headphones/cell/etc.

                    Go faster than that – and our mistakes and distractions tend to be much deadlier. And the only way we ‘make that safer’ is by cocooning the mistake-maker in a bunch of metal so that they don’t suffer from that mistake only bystanders do. Which means we also push the envelope of bad/late/distracted decisions.

                    NO technology is going to change the evolution of the human brain.

                    1. Look, I already know you’re a zealot, and will never change your mind… But you have to realize you’re talking about:

                      1. Completely changing how the entire country’s infrastructure is setup.
                      2. It’s NOT something people WANT.
                      3. It will NOT solve all issues. It is at best a limited solution in a small subset of areas. It will do NOTHING useful in rural or suburban areas.

                      It is not some magic silver bullet, and even if it was people don’t want it! Car ownership is exploding worldwide, because having to ride bikes fucking sucks balls. As soon as people can buy cars, they do.

                      Unlike YOU, I fully admit bikes are totally fine, and should be used by people who want to in a lot of situations. YOU are the one who is an immovable object with your little obsession. I’m not ANTI bike, I just have the common sense to realize it’s not going to fix everything.

                      Riding a bike a mile isn’t a big deal… But lots of people need to go 20 miles to work too, or more. Again, it is an option for the guy who lives 2 miles from work, but that isn’t a lot of people. It isn’t a solution for making Costco runs, or going to Home Depot, or taking the 3 kids to a birthday party across town in the rain, or 1 million other normal every day things. For some soyboy single guy who lives in the middle of a city it might work… But that’s not most people dude. Deal with that fact. You’re literally demanding the entire way the world works be reshaped because you have a hard on for bikes! Ain’t gonna happen.

                    2. The only reason cars are a problem is because we’ve been trying to cram in excessively densely in compact cities. The density that American cities had saaay 50 or 75 years ago, traffic wasn’t nearly as big a problem. If anything a lot of the smaller cities in the USA should turn into 500K-1 million person cities, and people should stop piling into NYC, LA, etc.

                      There’s no reason there couldn’t be 500K cities dotted up the Cali coast if you MUST have the coastal view versus all piling into LA or SF. Cities bring economic advantages in the modern world, but they don’t all need to be mega cities. Also, spreading employment around cities instead of all in the core helps a lot too. There are a lot of little fixes that combine to make a HUGE difference.

                      This maintains superior mobility offered by cars, which is the actual preference of 99.5% of people according to this data, and solves traffic issues. We have zero shortage of land, the density is the issue. The density is ALSO the reason for horrible cost of living issues in these same places.

                    3. I think the density at any cost thing that has been pushed top down by lefties is falling flat on its face as the real world problems become apparent. I fully expect that people will be bailing back out of these bigger cities for cost and other reasons. I am. Lots of people are according to some stats. I guess we’ll see.

                      But one thing I do know, is that unless we end up with communist masters taking over the country, we’re NEVER going to all be riding bikes to work, the store, etc. EVER. So give up your mad dream now, and accept that cars will dominate the future just as they do now.

      2. If you live in Amsterdam, I hear they’re very effective and practical.

        Define effective and practical, more people are killed on bikes than cars in Amsterdam.

        1. Don’t they have dikes where they can skate to work?

        2. People RIDE bikes in Amsterdam. Very few people in Amsterdam are killed by rampaging whales. And the number of people in the US killed by rabid out-of-control horses has been dropping a lot in recent years.

          Oh – and BTW – the total traffic fatality rate (whether killed in car bike ped whatever) in NL is 1/3 the rate of the US.

    2. Do you remember when the Segway first came out.

      They planned this big reveal, but in the months leading up to the reveal, the inventor was doing the circuit hyping it as the next big revolution in human transportation.

      They the do the big reveal and: Oh my God! All that hype and it’s a fucking toy.

        1. Not the creator, the man who bought the company.

          1. Oh you’re right. Wow… talk about buyer’s remorse.

    3. That is exactly how the bike has been marketed in the US since the 1890’s. The stupidest management in any industry – easily. Sold it as ‘manly’ exercise with the high-wheelers. Got all the first paved/prepared ‘parkways’ built. And by the mid-1920’s was almost exclusively sold to children.

    4. You guys are clowns. I did not realize to be a libertarian you had to worship on the altar of cars, suburbinization, and traffic congestion. Thanks for clearing this up.

      1. You guys are clowns. I did not realize to be a libertarian you had to worship on the altar of cars, suburbinization, and traffic congestion. Thanks for clearing this up.

        You are a clown. I did not realize to be a bicycle absolutist you had to worship on the altar of reductive hyperbole, urbanism, and aggressive lobbying. Thanks for clearing this up.

        Jk!

      2. You seem to be more of a zealot than I am. I simply see the MASSIVE practical benefits of cars. I think bikes work for some people, in some situations. And that’s fine. But it’s like arguing that everybody going back to growing their own food is a real solution for the modern worlds agricultural problems. It’s cool to grow a garden, I’ve done it myself quite a few years… But it’s not as efficient productivity wise as buying most stuff at the market, since the time put in isn’t worth it.

        If anything I think the massive top down push for density at any cost is the biggest problem with cars. Back in the day when cars were taking over, many big businesses built offices on the outskirts of cities, or in outright suburbs. This push to drive everything back into dense downtowns is a massive part of the problem.

        As I mentioned above about Amazon in Seattle, if they would just build a couple decent sized offices 10-20 minutes north, south, and east of DT it would save literally TENS OF THOUSANDS of man hours every single DAY. Why don’t they? I’ve had this discussion with employees who think it’s a great idea.

        My best guess is it’s them doing what Top Men want, which is extreme density. Cities are useful in the modern world for various reasons, BUT suburbs could be utilized a lot more in solving some of the issues created by excess density too. In short more Brooklyn around cities, and less trying to FORCE Manhattan in the center of every city. You dig?

        1. Why don’t they?

          Amazon’s entire business model is built around destroying all reasons for anyone to go anywhere except to commute to/from work. Why on Earth would they have any interest in making neighborhoods viable again? Starbucks may be interested in that – but not Amazon.

          1. Perhaps! But they don’t have the sway to do anything nationally, this would simply be to make things nice for them and their employees. As I said a number of employees I have talked to really want them to open offices spread around the Seattle area, not all just downtown.

            I really do believe that with all these major corporations it is them obeying what the Top Men have told them they want to happen. Cities planners, environazis who think cramming people in like Tokyo is the only possible future, etc.

            I fully expect the rebellion against this to pick up steam in coming years. This mantra has driven costs so sky high that people are bailing SF and many other expensive cities in large numbers. I know a TON of friends in Seattle who make really good money who are tired of making insane money, and living like college kids still because that’s all they can afford. I guess we’ll find out.

        2. Not a zealot. I am fine with the way things are now and do not see the need for more bike lanes. But the bleeting here about bikes being for children or dumb is about the most nonsensical shit I have ever read. It does not work for you, fine, but do not try to push your stupid preferences on everyone else. I thought that is what libertarianism is for? All I see here is blathering about how awesome it is to get a car and drive everywhere.

          1. You don’t seem to be, not like Jfree.

            Honestly, I think there probably are SOME places where MORE bike lanes would be fine. I’m NOT against people riding bikes, but I do think there is a time and a place where it works, and is a worthwhile thing. Replacing downtown car lanes that move thousands of cars an hour for a bike lane that moves hundreds ain’t one of them.

            As far as everybody saying that, that’s because 99.5% of people prefer driving to riding bikes, so obviously that’s going to be what 99.5% of people say! I haven’t owned a bike since I was a teenager, but the thought has crossed my mind. But as a fun thing to do on a sunny Saturday, NOT as a replacement for my vehicles. I’m just not into not being able to go snag a weeks worth of groceries at the store, or pick up shelves at Lowe’s like I did the other week, etc. It’s not a lifestyle choice that makes any sense to me.

            As far as public policy goes, since bikes vs cars is neither here nor there in terms of any real “freedom” issue in and of itself… It seems obvious to me that going with the stated preference of 99.5% of the population just makes the most sense.

            I have often said that if 75% of the people wanted to bike to work in Seattle, I would be in favor of expanded bike lanes… And I would be. But they don’t. And it’s not a chicken and egg issue. The lanes we have are all empty with tons of cars going by at all hours of the day. Most people just aren’t into it. I’m one of ’em.

            1. You continue to argue against a strawman. I already said I chose where I lived so I could bike to work, walk where I want to walk, and only drive when I need to. I am not asking for bike lanes or whatever they are doing in Seattle, the strawman you are intent to knock down, but simply stating that everyone here stating bikes are dumb because they do not fit their lifestyle are indeed acting irrationally.

              Different strokes for different folks. I like walking around downtown. Others like yards and suburbs. You keep your preference, I keep mine, and we are all good.

  8. As a resident of Seattle, I have a warning for the rest of you, be afraid if your city creates:

    1. A bicycling plan.
    2. A 10 year plan to eliminate homelessness.

    1. Murphy’s rules of thumb for government:

      #32 Any thing the government tries to promote will wither and die.

      #44 Anything the government tries to eliminate will prosper.

    2. As a fellow Seattleite, I agree.

      This article will give me some WONDERFUL ammo when discussing the anti car nonsense going on in this city. The funny thing is, even when talking to the endless shit libs one runs into here, I have literally only met 1 or 2 people out of probably 100+ that actually thought any of the excessive shit that has been going on made any sense.

      Everybody else was super pissed, or moderately pissed about it… Because it’s just so obviously dumb. 2 bikes in a lane when there are hundreds of cars backed up is too plain for everybody to see.

  9. What do you mean that bicycles are an outmoded form of transportation?! Why, next you’ll be saying that the buggy whip makers shouldn’t be subsidized!

  10. precipitous drop, including drops of precipitation

    I take back every gnarly thought. You are A-OK.

  11. Maybe riding a bike should be mandatory; that way the peoples will lose weight if they’re weight challenged, and they can enjoy live more in the bike lane.

  12. So how did the government get these bikesters to pay for the 12 million bucks per mile paths built for them? Tolls? Bike tax? GPS tracking? Honor system?

    1. Gas taxes, they made car drivers pay to reduce the space they had to drive in.

    2. I’m a crazy cyclist. I also commute to work in a car (live in NE Wisconsin).

      Yes, they take gas tax and build bike lanes. It’s several levels of stupid.

      I wish they’d just ignore cyclists, punish initiations of force against cyclists (and all other people for that matter).

      Government doesn’t do that. Governments are full of control-freaks.

  13. As some have pointed out, the Boomers were encouraged to ride as kids and many kept riding. They’re getting old. I’m a late Boomer and still work but I don’t bike to work as much as I used to for several reasons.
    1) I got promoted. I had a flexible work schedule and dressed casually. Biking worked. Then I moved up, had to dress nicer and had a tighter schedule. Not as conducive to biking.
    2) Roads got worse. When city streets are so bad that cars blow shocks in potholes, it’s hard to bike too. I’m not riding a full-suspension mountain bike to work just to survive.
    3) Speaking of survival, drivers are getting worse. Traffic density has done up, aggression has gone up, and ability has gone down. I’m in southern WI and it’s almost as bad as Chicago 30 years ago.

    The bigger issue here is the waste of money on bike lanes. They don’t work. Maybe one could create useful bike lanes but I haven’t seen it. Locally, they painted lanes down one of the busiest streets. This road is so busy that I don’t feel safe DRIVING on it. There’s no way I’m biking.

    If communities want to support biking, they need to follow John Forrester’s advice: wide outer lanes and bikes follow road rules. No more, no less. Then cars, bikes and motorcycles can share the road. If no one bikes at all, it’s still safer for cars. Finally, it’s a lot cheaper than trying to create bike-specific lanes or slapping confusing paint all over the roadway.

    1. The bigger issue here is the waste of money on bike lanes. They don’t work. Maybe one could create useful bike lanes but I haven’t seen it

      Amsterdam does a pretty decent job (although when you scratch the surface of the local population, they’re not all shiny and ‘up with people’ when you ask them about the biking infrastructure– at least not as positive as the American press is) but they do things in Amsterdam that either can’t or won’t be done in the states due to the cultural/legal landscape.

      Many areas of Amsterdam are mixed use. Bikes, motorcycles and pedestrians in the same space. Literally. Which results in high speed differentials between objects. American regulators would drop a deuce in their pants if they saw it. Helmets aren’t widely worn by the populace and are not required for bicycles. There are helmet laws, but they apply to motorcycles and only if they exceed a certain speed. According to the locals: not enforced.

      Plus, there’s a laid back, cultural vibe that exists in the Netherlands that’s hard to describe. The culture is more monolithic. Although I did see a couple of hot headed moments between bicyclists and cars. I didn’t see any accidents, but I saw hundreds of opportunities for them, but people tend to just weave out of the way and go on with their day.

      1. The ‘shared space’ notion with different velocities is mostly American-pretending-to-be-Dutch. The Dutch shared space is a woonerf. Mostly residential areas – with hard limits on car speed (think 15 mph – with cobblestone to rattle you to hell when you exceed it) and vehicle priority (peds first, bikes second, cars/trucks third) and usually bollards and such to eliminate through traffic. In practice, bikes take over and linking those areas BECOMES the main bike transport grid for the city. It would work well in grid-layout cities here – but it would mean forcing cars onto arterials rather than letting every street everywhere be a through street to everywhere else.

    2. I ride on sidewalks pedestrians never use. It’s a rare day that I see two pedestrians, and even money one of them will be Asian, the other Indian or Filipino, and neither of them overweight.

  14. There’s nothing that beats a car for last mile connectivity. There is no other vehicle, whether personal or mass-transit, that can beat the utility of a personal auto.

    It can take you and number of others literally anywhere in the country along with a certain amount of gear. And do it on your own schedule. It takes a die hard ideologue to throw all that away.

    There is a downside in that parking lots and parking structures are ugly, many people are horrible drivers, and the road networks can be sloppily built and poorly maintained. Still the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

    All that said if I wanted to de-car a city I wouldn’t mess with bike lanes. I’d just make core areas mostly-pedestrian only, raise parking costs, charge congestion and or exhaust fees, and eliminate mandatory minimum parking rules for developments. But I’d take a hands-off approach to taxis, ride share, jitneys and private or company bus lines. With a proper permit you could drive in most of the core areas but it would be for business or the disabled only.

    And I’d do it all at once, none of this Fabian-like stuff the anti-car people are pulling.

  15. Anyone who believes a stripe of paint is a bike lane needs to get run over a few times. Eventually the difference will become clear.

  16. Soooo to those that advocate bikes as a legit form of modern transportation to replace the automobile… I would propose we one up the sustainability.

    Horses! They are LITERALLY self replicating, so we don’t need any factories or pollution to make them! You can stop hiring an illegal Mexican to cut your lawn, because the horse will LITERALLY fuel itself off your grass! At a modest gallop they go so slow it’s basically impossible to kill yourself on them, unlike cars and bikes, especially if we introduced mandatory seat belt laws for saddles so you couldn’t fall off! Obviously horse drawn carriages are out though, because they take up too much space. Sure they keep you out of the rain, and allow you to actually bring things with you, but we just can’t afford the space, being freezing cold is FAR better for people and the environment.

    I could go on for DAYS. But basically horses are the ultimate form of transportation.

    All we have to do is completely rework the entire infrastructure for the country, start giving every person an extra hour or two leeway in their day for commute time, bring back jobs that shoe horses and scoop poop, and we’re good to go! The 21st century is gonna be AWESOME when we realize the genius of horses for our transportation needs!

  17. Seriously though people: Bikes are not a large scale solution. They work for a small number of people in a small number of situations. Even in those situations they have a lot of downsides though.

    Relocating where employment happens is a REAL solution to a lot of the problem. Put more offices outside of downtown cores, but in the inner suburbs or outer suburbs of cities. This would knock out a HUGE portion of commuting issues alone.

    More buses actually works too. God forbid I even say it… But trains/rail can work in a small handful of cities that have the right density/layout as well.

    Uber/Lyft, especially when self driving cars are not fantasy land stuff (which probably won’t happen for a lot longer than many think from my reading on the subject), are a real improvement too.

    Hell, even motorcycles are not a horrible thing. You can actually move at a decent pace, and not turn into a sweat machine, but still have to deal with shit weather conditions.

    Any/all of these are better and more realistic solutions than trying to force people to bike, when those people clearly do not want to bike, and never will bike. I haven’t owned a bike since I was 16. I may buy one again someday for kicks, but it won’t be for commuting.

    People who think biking is a real solution to transportation problems are just fooling themselves.

    1. Crazy cyclist here. Main problems with cycling into work are twofold:
      Distance. People want to live in the Suburbs and work in the city. It’s too far for most people to ride. This is not a terribly common Euro problem.
      Weather. I don’t want to ride outside when it’s often -10 F. Also, downpours suck. I imagine riding at 110 F and high humidity is also a pain. This is not a terribly common Euro problem (except the downpours).

      1. I agree. The thing is that we can’t change the weather, and the other one is only a half truth IMO…

        People want to live in the suburbs, but they don’t REALLY care where their office is. Post WWII a lot of big companies put their facilities, whether industrial or office, on the outskirts of cities or in the suburbs. This was a good idea IMO.

        Top Men claim that people DEMAND moving back into the cities, so they’re moving their offices back into the cities… But I think a lot of evidence shows those roles are reversed. The gigs started getting moved back into city cores, perhaps because the corporate execs want to live smack dab in the middle of NYC or wherever, but a LOT of their employees seem to continue to live in the burbs. I think the people follow the jobs a LOT more than the jobs follow the people.

        Does anybody really doubt that if Amazon had decided to open a Cleveland office 10 years ago and hired 50K people at $100K+ a year that they would have been able to fill every role they asked for? They would have had zero issues.

        Stats are showing that millennials apparently aren’t hooked on city life, they are just waiting a couple years longer on average to have kids and move to the burbs. Combine that with cost of living being insane, and I see the uber dense city model falling apart in the coming years. It’s a bad idea for tons of reasons, so I say good riddance.

  18. It’s easier to use your smartphone in a car

    1. That’s a joke, but it’s very true. Doing anything other than taking a drink would require stopping for most cyclists.

    2. Especially if that car is an Uber with a driver, or in 20 years a driverless car… But even driving yourself, being able to listen to your jams, be warm and comfortable, possibly making phone calls or listening to useful info, etc. That stuff just can’t happen on a bike. I 100% support people who want to bike biking, but it will never be more than a minority.

  19. I was able to bike to school/work until I was 30. Next job was 20 miles–no way. Biking is fine if you are young, single and athletic. Otherwise, forget it.

  20. Note, the bike lane infrastructure is also useful for electric scooters and e-bikes.

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