The number of drivers on the road in the U.S. has been steadily increasing since the automobile became a popular mode of transportation in the early 1900s. The growth of car popularity has caused a drastic increase in traffic congestion and vehicle-related accidents; the growth in automobile use is also putting an unplanned amount of stress on the nation’s infrastructure, causing deterioration to be far more rapid than was expected (Small, 1997). In Germany and the Netherlands, the response to increasing car traffic has been to alleviate it by encouraging use of bicycles and has seen widespread success (Pucher and Buehler, 2008b). This convenient and relatively cheap method of transportation can provide transportation to young and indigent people, reduce traffic congestion, alleviate pollution, and decrease annual wear on roads. However, the U.S. has safety and convenience limitations that prevent bikes from being practical for any use except leisure. People most frequently respond on surveys that safety concerns and inconvenience prevent them from biking (Langone-Danila and Fink, 2013). Proximity to vehicles on roadways and intersection design issues contribute most to hazardous conditions for cyclists. For the U.S. to ever become a biking nation, these risk factors must be addressed. Improving and expanding cycling infrastructure would make biking a viable transportation option in the U.S. In countries where cycling is popular for commuting, adequately developed infrastructure is the key element of their systems. Bike lanes and intersection alterations are the two main biking facilities that are most influential. By taking these two factors into consideration and making a bike network priority, the U.S. could see a huge increase in the number of cyclists on the road.
"Infrastructure Elements of a Viable Cycling Network in the United States,"
Pursuit - The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee:
1, Article 19.
Available at: http://trace.tennessee.edu/pursuit/vol6/iss1/19