While it’s great that bicycling can be encouraged through bicycle subsidies and the cycling campaign, both of those policies have relatively minor impacts, which makes sense: no amount of promotion or cost-reduction will cause a major increase in cycling if there isn’t infrastructure to make it safe and reliable.
A policy to build dedicated bike infrastructure would create a method to majorly increase bicycle use. At the low end, this would take the form of cheap and simple measures such as painted bicycle lanes; while these are a step in the right direction, the majority of people don’t feel comfortable biking right by busy streets, so increases in bike use would be minor.
As you increase the policy, more effective (and expensive) improvements, such as adding buffer space and physical barriers between bike lanes and traffic, or protected intersections, would further encourage biking. When maxed out, major infrastructure like dedicated bicycle path networks and bike parking garages would massively increase bicycle use.
City Beautiful has an excellent video on the subject; he points out that in Amsterdam, a city with highly extensive bike infrastructure, forty-three percent of people bike daily. The potential for reducing car usage is high.
- Car usage is reduced, of course.
- Health is boosted, from exercise, as well as reductions in bicyclist injuries.
- Obesity is reduced.
- Parents are pleased that their kids can bike around safely (and not be constantly driven by them).
- Environmentalists are happy to see less people driving.
- Motorists might resent the spending on other transport modes.
Other notes on transport:
- For the same reason as stated above, shouldn’t environmentalists be pleased a bit when enacting the existing bike policies?
- Car crashes are a major cause of injury and death: perhaps high car usage should reduce health or lifespan? This effect would be greatly reduced by the widespread adoption of self-driving cars.