The Dilemmas of Bicycle Planning

Since the 1970s, the bicycle has been a motherhood issue for United States transportation planning. At least in the abstract, everyone is in favor of increased use of these non-polluting, energy-efficient, quiet, and fitness-promoting vehicles. However, when one begins to investigate the use of bicycles for transportation, one finds that there are a number of dilemmas facing bicyclists and the bicycle planner. The first dilemma is that the public has many misconceptions about bicycling, including the skills required, which places are safe for riding, and the rights of bicyclists to use public roads. Second, professionals have often ignored bicycling, failing to consider bicyclists in roadway design or traffic enforcement. Third, the locations where bicycling is the most useful for transportation are also some of the most challenging, especially for the beginner. Fourth, the bicycle is not generally a "design vehicle," so roads are not routinely designed with bicyclists in mind. Fifth, transportation funding emphasizes capital spending over maintenance, although the latter is often more important to cyclists. Sixth, traffic enforcement officials in many localities routinely ignore even the most flagrant and dangerous violations by bicyclists. Seventh, designated bicycle facilities often do not serve the purpose their advocates propose, and sometimes can create dangerous conditions. Eighth, bicycle education has not yet become available on a wide scale in part because advocates, funding programs, politicians, and public opinion focus on building facilities. Getting beyond these dilemmas requires a focus on changing public opinion through advertising, politician and celebrity endorsement, making the bicycle a design vehicle, and widespread availability of bicycle training programs.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 12p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01516513
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: Jan 28 2014 4:01PM