When U.S. city officials visit the cities of Northern Europe with PeopleForBikes, the volume of people going about their lives on bikes is unbelievable.
What makes USA look to Northern Europe for inspiration it is the great quality of the cities, not just the quantity of the bicycles.
More people, less space
The eternal challenge in USA cities is how to fit more people into tight quarters. Northern Europe’s thriving cities have simple logic: you can fit a lot more people in the most desirable places if they arrive on foot or on a bike.
Biking, walking, and public transport are a powerful combination greater than the sum of their parts: a mobility triad that optimizes the advantages of each for convenience, value, and accessibility.
People on bikes support neighborhood shops, which is exactly the type of activity that encourages entrepreneurship and keeps tax revenue and profits within the local economy. Studies show bikers shop more frequently and closer to their homes, rather than making trips to different cities.
The playing field
Bikes provide low-cost transportation that can increase range and access for all people. It’s no coincidence that countries like Denmark and the Netherlands among the most egalitarian and prosperous.
Returning to the human scale
For most of human history, cities were full of people engaging in economic, social, and cultural exchanges. Bikes bring something valuable back to the city – humanity. Every person that passes by on a bike is an opportunity to recognize another person, a chance for spontaneous social exchanges.