“America's cities are preparing for a great revival,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard in his testimony before the US Senate in March 2014. “New urban dwellers want to be connected to their neighborhood and their city through means other than a car.”
Increasingly, that alternate mean is a bicycle. Mayor Ballard’s city is a national leader when it comes to advancing bike lanes, but communities around the US are catching on too. In case there’s any doubt that the biking revolution is here, we’ve gathered the top 10 US bicycle stories of 2014. Happy Bike Month!
1. Biking to work increases 60% in past decade – In May, the US Census Bureau found that bicycling rates are rising faster than any other commuting modes tracked. From 2008-2012, about 786,000 Americans commuted by bicycle, not only in well-known hubs like Davis, CA and San Francisco, but in communities of all sizes across the country.
2. How One Suburb Made School Buses Obsolete - When it comes to its schools, the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, Ohio, does things the old-fashioned way. The city doesn't have a bus system for its 5,800 students, because it doesn’t need one. Its ten schools are all within walking or biking distance of the children they serve.
3. The Next Breakthrough for American Bike Lanes: Protected Intersections - As protected bike lanes become more widespread in the United States, creating physical separation from motor vehicle traffic that makes more people comfortable cycling on city streets, advocates are starting to push for even safer bikeway designs.
4. Philadelphia to enter bike share realm - Mayor Michael A. Nutter recently announced the city would be implementing a long-anticipated bike share system in spring 2015. With 60 stations and 600 bikes, the system will help Philadelphians reach destinations that the rest of the transit system doesn’t.
5. Two Wheel Valet’s plans to revolutionize bike parking in DC - Two Wheel Valet may be the first mobile bike valet business in the US. The company’s motto is “We rack up events!” And since its launch in December, Two Wheel Valet has already handled six.
6. Anthony Foxx Kicks Off Nationwide Project for Better Bike Lanes - Staring down a highway trust fund that he described as “teetering toward insolvency” by August or September, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that better bike infrastructure projects are part of the solution.
7. Google Just Added An Awesome New Maps Feature For Bikers - Google Maps just added a sweet new elevation feature that will help bikers better choose between routes by showing them where they'll hit steep hills.
8. Bicycle Friendly Communities Winners announced – Every year, the League of American Bicyclists bestows the coveted honor on those cities that have made the most progress for cyclists. Among the recently inducted are Las Vegas, NV and Akron, OH. See the full list here.
9. Bikes Get Blessed in New York City – Before a popular annual Five Boro Bike Tour in New York, cyclists pulled into the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to get a special blessing from Rev. Canon Julia Whitworth.
10. Biking, Walking Projects to Help Make Rochester, Minn., International Wellness Community - As part of Rochester’s plan to become a global destination for medical care, they’re expanding the existing 100 miles of bike trails, 23 miles of on-street bike lanes and 514 miles of sidewalks. More hospitals are encouraging bicycling as part of a focus on wellness.