Sierra Club logo

Stopping Sprawl campaign home page - click here.
Get an overview. Sign up for an e-newsletter. Find out what you can do to help.
Environmental Update Main
Sprawl Main
In This Section
Sprawl Overview
Reports & Factsheets
Activist Resources
Get Involved!
Articles & Research
Population and Sprawl

Get The Sierra Club Insider
Environmental news, green living tips, and ways to take action: Subscribe to the Sierra Club Insider!

Stop Sprawl

  En espaņol
Encouraging Bicycling

John Pucher, Charles Komanoff, and Paul Schimek, in their article, "Bicycling Renaissance in North America: Recent Trends and Alternative Policies to Promote Bicycling," (Transportation Research A, Vol. 33, Nos. 7/8, September/November 1999, pp. 625-654) provide a great review of bicycle use, safety, roadway design, the influence of ISTEA and TEA21, and through case studies of six U.S. and one Canadian city, factors affecting cycling and provide steps to encourage cycling.


Over the past two decades, the number of bicycle trips in the United States has doubled. Since 48% of trips by all modes in American cities are shorter than three miles, the potential for further growth in bicycling seems enormous. So far, efforts to promote bicycling have focused on building bike paths and bike lanes. Although necessary, separate cycling facilities must be complemented by a comprehensive program to make all roads bikeable, through both physical adaptations and enforcement of cyclists' right to use the road. It seems likely that cycling will continue to grow in North America, but that its mode share will remain far lower than levels in northern Europe. Bicycling in Canada and especially the United States is impeded by the lack of a tradition of cycling for utilitarian purposes and by the marginal legal, cultural and infrastructure status of cyclists in both countries' automobile-based transport systems. As long as car use remains cheap and transportation policy remains dominated by motoring, bicycles will continue to be used primarily for recreation and not for daily urban travel in North America.

The article is based on a nationwide, aggregate analysis as well as detailed case studies of cycling trends and policies in seven case study cities: Toronto (CA), Seattle (WI), San Francisco, Davis (CA), New York City, Boston/Cambridge, and Madison (WI).

Anyone interested in obtaining copies of the article should contact any one of the three authors directly at the following email addresses:

John Pucher
Charles Komanoff
Paul Schimek

The authors can send you either a PDF computer file of the article (needs adobe/acrobat program on your computer to download) or the corresponding Word 7.0 files (one for text, one for table). Most university libraries subscribe to Transportation Research A, so you can also find it there in hard copy form.

The three authors would be pleased to hear reactions of readers to the article, so please feel free to contact them with your comments, as well as to get a copy of the article if you haven't had access to it yet.

Up to Top | Printer-friendly version of this page