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Bikes in a Resilient City

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  • By Ben Cowie
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Bikes in a Resilient City

Learn more about the Resilient Cities global movement.

White text on a blue background: "Pioneered by the Rockerfeller Foundation. 100 Resilient Cities."

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending parts of the London Resilient Cities conference, part of the 100 Resilient Cities global movement. Resilience is an important concept because it measures our ability to adapt to a changing world. In a nutshell, "Urban resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience." Bikes are incredible resilience machines because (in concert with good street design) they enable flexible, low-cost mobility for people of all ages and abilities. Here's three reasons why more bikes make for a more resilient city:

  1. By building safe space for bikes, people of all ages and abilities gain freedom of movement throughout the city. This means more independence for young people, and many fewer vehicle trips to shuttle children to their activities.
  2. In the event of an energy (oil) crisis, bikes are unaffected for transportation. Cargo bikes in particular have been shown to be the most effective tool for moving people and goods through the city in an emergency (see Portland Disaster Relief Trials for more details)
  3. Bikes help us stay healthy as a population, reducing stress on medical care systems that are reaching their limits with our aging population. Seniors can better age-in-place within car-dependent suburbs, particularly with electric-assist bicycles becoming more widely available. Stay tuned for our e-assist models in 2018: the Pure Cycles Volta, Benno Boost & eJoy, Xtracycle Edgerunner, and Brompton Electric.

There are many more ways that bikes help us be more resilient, but these were the ones that hit home during the conference. We know that bikes can move more people quickly for less money than any other mode of transportation, let's work together to build a city that enables that kind of mobility for everybody.


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