While the United States, as a whole, lags far behind Europe and Asia on building bicycle infrastructure and encouraging bicycling as an alternative transportation mode, more and more cities and states are making an effort. Of course, some places, like Portland, Oregon, have long encouraged bicycling. But it certainly isn't the only place. Even traditionally non-bicycling friendly places like, say, Indianapolis, are beginning to build paths and designated lanes.
In addition to writing about Bloomington's bicycle culture, I am going to start two new series here: one devoted to highlighting efforts from around the country to promote a bicycle culture or aid the growth of one that has already taken root, and a second focusing on laws and how they can be used to encourage or discourage this alternative form of transportation (the second one is of particular interest to me, given my legal background).
The first in this series is Memphis, Tennessee. I have been to Memphis on several occasions, but it never once occurred to me to ride my bike. And I'm glad that I didn't because, according to the New York Times, until recently Memphis was the worst city in the country for bicycling. In 2008, it had only a mile and a half of bike lanes. Since 2009, Memphis has increased the number to 50 miles of designated (segregated) lanes, and it has a total of 160 miles of lanes (including shared) and paths. This is a HUGE growth. And it shows that when the political will is there, change can happen!
This is also great for the health of Memphis residents because the more they ride, the healthier they will be. And the more that residents see others riding, the more they will be inspired to ride. The more bikes on the road also mean fewer cars, which, in turn, means less pollution. It's a win for everyone.
Here is the article from the Times today. Enjoy and Happy Riding!