US Slow to Hop On Global Biking Boom

Countries that encourage self-propelled commuting see benefits instantly
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2008 3:34 PM CDT
The Netherlands has one of the highest rates of biking and lowest accident rates, due to incentives for bikers and penalties for those who commute by car.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – The US remains uninspired by nations that have prodded people to save money by biking to work, the Washington Post reports. Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands installed infrastructure years ago to benefit bikers and discourage cars, but America—along with Canada, Australia, and Britain—have not. "It is very clear how to do this," one expert said. "It is not rocket science."

Bike lanes and charges for downtown drivers have helped in some countries. One ward in Tokyo spent millions this year on computerized parking towers to store bikes near subways. Other nations are cycling the other way, however: India and China, long home to millions of cyclists, have dumped bikes as symbols of poverty. Said one expert in India: Cars indicate "progress and that you are more influential." (Read more bikes stories.)