I live in a typical Midwest city of 80,000 where I only know of maybe 10 people that avidly use a bike to get to work. I got to thinking “What keeps me from riding to work on my bicycle?” Here is what I came up with:
1. Weather: Plains states have four seasons. There are some times you just can't ride.
2. Safety: I don't feel safe because there is no real barrier between me and Billy Bob's F950 Dually and no real threat of punishment for anyone killing a cyclist. Most juries in the Midwest would say something like “He knew biking was dangerous.” People are generally not good drivers and I don't want to take what I perceive as an elevated level of risk. Our roads just are not designed and maintained in a manner that encourages sharing space.
3. Sweat: When I get to work there are no facilities to shower and dress. A small shower room is expensive for an employer and offers additional liability.
4. Expectations: Other people you work with expect you to have a car to jet to this meeting, office depot, city hall, the building site… Not all of us have access to an official vehicle. Thus, people plan on other professionals using a car.
Society can do something about items 2, 3, and 4. and I can adapt to the limitation imposed by #1.
Note that the following are not there: Length of the journey. Topography. What co-workers think about my using an “unconventional” mode of transportation. Reliability – patches are cheap.
Just thinking out loud. Care to share your thoughts?