Helmet not included.Photo: Paul SwansenCross-posted from Sightline Daily.
Imagine for a moment that cities around the world are rolling out fleets of magic carpets, and that those carpets are having truly wizardly effects: improved public health and safety, reduced traffic congestion and carbon emissions, and reduced dependence on foreign oil. City dwellers can check them out or drop them off at stations everywhere, and they are free to use for up to 30 minutes. After that, they cost something, but not much. Picture literally millions of citizens using these carpets for short, speedy trips all over town. Now imagine being in the Northwest and watching this opportunity fly by because fanatical carpet helmet laws discourage would-be riders.
This is exactly what’s happening. The magic’s not in carpets, though: It’s in the humble bicycle.
Public bike-share programs, whether run by municipal governments, private entities, or both, are built on a simple idea: blanket urban areas with hundreds, even thousands, of identical, sturdy bikes, and give people a huge network of convenient stations at which to park them. Make the system acce... Read more