The “Acid Test” for Chicago Bike Lanes : Can They Do This?


On the Alternative Department for Transport is a wonderful photo album of children using the bike lanes in the Netherlands (i.e Holland). The short description of the blog entry reads:

I thought this would be one of the easiest picture posts to choose the photos for, but it turned out that I had so many photos of children riding bikes that it was hard to choose which ones to show.

It’s often said that children are the pit-canaries of our society, and if this is the case then we’ve got a problem. Our pit canary lost its feathers years ago and is now gasping for air.

One of my aims with these posts is to challenge those who insist that we can achieve mass cycling without infrastructure, by showing scenes that simply wouldn’t exist if the cycle paths weren’t there. I really can’t imagine any of these scenes happening on the UK’s roads!

Now picture the bike lanes you are seeing popping up around Chicago of late. Ask yourself this question, can they be ridden with as much carefree abandon by children to and from school or perhaps downtown to meet Mom or Dad? If not then why are we so elated by the presence of lanes which are not as good as those in the Netherlands? And we have had much more time to build our infrastructure and do it with the knowledge of what else lies out there.

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