Elly Blue

Elly Blue is a writer and bicycle activist based in Portland, Ore. She blogs at Taking the Lane and is writing a book about Bikenomics that comes out in 2013. You can also find her on Twitter.


The economic case for on-street bike parking

This is the fourth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling.  Bicycling and driving have one thing in common that is almost universally frustrating, time consuming, friction causing, and potentially expensive. Parking. No matter how seamless your ride across town, no matter how well-timed the traffic lights or low-conflict the bike lanes, it’s all pointless if when you arrive at work, or the store, or the music venue or party, and have nowhere to put your ride. Worse is when you go back outside find your lock still securely attached and that sweet bike you invested in …

How we roll

Pedaling away from the health care crisis

This is the third column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. In the United States, we have the most expensive health care system in the world. We collectively invest more than 15 percent of our GDP — that’s around $2 trillion, or $5,700 per person — into health care every year. The tragedy of these enormous numbers is that they fail to stem the tide of our increasing ill health. “Most of the money we’re spending on health care is going to treat preventable chronic diseases,” Michael Pollan told Grist in 2009. Our poor diet, he added, …

How we roll

Tearing down urban freeways to make room for a new bicycle economy

This is the second column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. Here’s one way to fund bicycle infrastructure: Stop building freeways in cities. Better yet, tear down the ones we already have. Cities are starting to catch on that becoming bicycle friendly is one of the best investments they can make. Cities are also starting to realize that removing freeways makes more economic sense than maintaining or expanding them. In the last year, with the help of federal and state funding, cities like Baltimore and New Haven have been demolishing the “highways to nowhere” that have divided …

How we roll

How bicycling will save the economy (if we let it)

This is the first column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. Imagine getting a $3,000 to $12,000 tax rebate this year. Now imagine it coming again and again. Every year it grows by around a thousand dollars. Imagine how this would change your daily life. Sounds like a teabagger’s wet dream, but it’s actually a conservative estimate of how much you’d save by ditching your car, or even just one of your cars — and getting on a bicycle instead. Car-centric conditions don’t always make it easy to choose the bicycle. Communities designed exclusively for motor vehicles …

How we roll

Cyclists shouldn’t ‘share the road,’ they should have their own

A physically separated bike lane in Vancouver, B.C. Looks nice, right?Photo: Paul KruegerIt’s long been the most controversial issue in bicycling: Should people on bikes ride in traffic with cars, using the same infrastructure and following the same procedures (a style of riding known as “Vehicular Cycling”)? Should we ride on the sidewalks and off-road paths, with pedestrians? Or should we have our own place to ride that’s designed specifically for bicycling? Like Goldilocks, we’ve tried all these options. Riding with faster, heavier cars is hard on us. Riding with slower, roaming pedestrians is hard on them. Only when we …

How We Roll

Don't fear riding a bicycle, fear sitting in that chair

We know that bicycling is good for public health. But what about YOUR personal health and safety?