Health and environmental benefits, time and cost savings, more and better bike lanes and paths, innovative bike sharing programs, and the sheer fun of riding have contributed to a bicycling boom in many North American and European cities.
This urban cycling renaissance has created enthusiasm for "City Cycling", a newly published book on cycling trends and policies edited by Ralph Buehler, assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech National Capital Region, and John Pucher, professor in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University.
Published by MIT Press, "City Cycling" reports on cycling trends and policies in countries and cities in North America, Europe, and Australia, and covers such topics as cycling safety, cycling infrastructure provisions including bikeways and bike parking, the wide range of bike designs and bike equipment, integration of cycling with public transportation, and promoting cycling for women and children. The book offers detailed examinations and illustrations of cycling conditions in different urban environments: small cities, large cities, and “megacities.” And it takes a closer look at how cities both with and without historical cycling cultures have developed cycling programs over time.
In an early favorable review, Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, said that “'City Cycling' is sure to become the key reference work for academics, advocates, technicians, and politicians seeking to increase cycling in the United States. This impressive book thoroughly documents the individual, community, and national benefits of getting more people on bikes and proposes specific measures for making cycling safe and feasible for everyone.”
Anne Lusk, a research scientist at Harvard School of Public Health, said, "This book could be a change agent for bicycling and the infrastructure. It can be hoped that nationally elected officials will read it and pass legislation favorable to bicycling."
David Banister, professor, Transport Studies, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, noted that the book “is a must-read book for all those interested in transport and concerned about the environment, their own health, the quality of life, and the future of mobility. It provides an authoritative statement of the renaissance of cycling in all its facets, and each chapter is presented in a systematic, well-structured, accessible, and comprehensive manner through a galaxy of international authors. It is a benchmark book that will stand the test of time."
Several chapters describe ways to make city cycling feasible, convenient, and safe for commutes to work and school, shopping trips, visits, and other daily transportation needs. “We wanted to emphasize that bicycling should not be limited to those who are highly trained, extremely fit, and/or daring enough to battle traffic on busy roads,” said Buehler.
And, Buehler continued, “We wanted to create a volume of information, at an affordable price, that would appeal and be useful to everyone interested in bicycling, including academics, professionals, policy makers, and cycling enthusiasts.”
In addition to editing the guide, Buehler and Pucher authored the introduction, the international overview, and chapters on “Integration of Cycling and Public Transportation;” “Big City Cycling in Europe, North America, and Australia;” and “Promoting Cycling for Daily Travel: Conclusions and Lessons from Across the Globe.” Leading bicycle scholars from North America, Europe, and Australia contributed the other chapters.
Throughout the chapters in "City Cycling," it is clear that successful promotion of city cycling depends on coordinating infrastructure, programs, and government policies, Buehler said.
The seven lessons Buehler and Pucher cite in the book are:
- Publicize both individual and societal benefits of bicycling.
- Ensure citizen participation in all stages of planning and implementation.
- Develop long-range bike plans and regularly update them.
- Implement controversial policies in stages.
- Combine incentives for cycling and disincentives for car use.
- Cultivate alliances with politicians, cycling organizations, and other bike-friendly groups
- Coordinate bike advocacy and planning through national organizations.
All of the individual chapters in "City Cycling," as well as the book as a whole, were peer reviewed.
In conjunction with the book’s release, Buehler recently spoke on “Making Cycling Irresistible” at the CyCity Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, and was invited by the German Embassy to Ottawa, Canada, to give two keynote lectures on sustainable transport – one at Carleton University and a second at Citizen's for Safer Cycling. While in Canada, he also made presentations to 80 city planners from the City of Ottawa and the National Planning Commission.
Buehler joined Virginia Tech in 2008. He has lectured, written, and been quoted extensively on the influence of transport policy; land use; socio-demographics on travel behavior; active travel and public health; and public transport demand, supply, and financial efficiency. Buehler was recently appointed to serve a three-year term as chair of the Committee on Bicycle Transportation for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) at the National Academies. He has served as a member of the committee for four years.
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