Bikes, Not Self Driving Cars, Are The Technological Gateway To Urban Progress - Next City

NICOLAS COLLIGNON

Op-Ed: Bicycles can be at the core of the technological revolution our cities need. It might just require us to use a different lens.

Bicyclist on a protected bike lane
Bicyclist on a protected bike lane

It took a whole lot of noise from activists and campaigners for bicycles to be taken seriously at last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, and for active travel to be added to the declaration on accelerating the decarbonisation of road transport.


Beyond the serious lobbying from automotive industries, there seems to be a psychological block that prevents the bicycle from being accepted as a central technology when imagining the future of cities.


Sometimes money speaks the loudest. Since 2010, over $200 billion have been invested in autonomous vehicle (AV) technology. Over a similar period of time, just slightly over $2 billion were spent on bike and pedestrian initiatives in the European Union.


If we are to believe the all-powerful technologists, the dream of self-driving vehicles is just around the corner. Yet, looking at the past two years, the biggest revolution has come from vehicles on two wheels. Sparked by the pandemic, supported by people waking up to the climate crisis and now fuelled by the rising price of oil, we’re living through a bicycle renaissance.


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