Is our North American society ready for cycling as an alternate to using a car?
In Europe, bicycles are everywhere. Cars are used only for long distances or by those few who want to use them (or by tourists and taxis).
Bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, and cars get along quite well on the streets of Paris.
But why is this not true on the streets of North American cities?
Various levels of government laud the idea of making our society greener by reducing the use of cars.
They suggest using bicycles or walking or using public transportation.
That sounds great, but are bicycles a practical alternative in your city?
If you ride your cycle to work, or to college, or shopping, you need to find a safe place to park it or it will be stolen.
If you lock your bike into the rack that secures the front wheel, you may come back to find that some or all of your cycle is missing.
I don't think we are going to stop thieves even if we use the biggest and best bike locks.
At the very least, they will steal your computer.
They will even steal that $10 bike that you picked up at the thrift store.
Currently, the only solution is to ride with a partner who will guard the cycle while you do your business.
What do you do if your partner is not available or wants to shop with you? You drive your 15 mpg car at $5 a gallon or you make many trips for groceries using public transportation (i.e., a bus with 3 or 4 passengers but uses more fuel than your car ever did).
My suggestion: throughout the city we need metal bicycle lockers with a hook to hang the front wheel and those zero-clearance locks that are next to impossible to cut with bolt cutters.
Make the lockers coin operated to recover the cost.
Will this happen in our life-time? I doubt it.
What is your suggestion to make cycling viable in your city?