2015: The Year We Won The Streets

Check out these pictures from People for Bikes’ Green Lane Project.

Austin Texas.  Photo-Adam Coppola Photography

Austin Texas-  all photos credited to Adam Coppola Photography

Boston Massachusetts -  Adam Coppola Photography

Boston Massachusetts

Chicago Illinois - Adam Coppola Photography

Chicago Illinois

Seattle Washington - Adam Coppola Photography

Seattle Washington

The times, they are a changing.  We have momentum.  From sea to shining sea, we are winning the streets.

We are winning the streets in the industrial northeast. New York City is bicycle friendly.  So are Boston and Cleveland. Motown is now Detroit Bike City.  Pittsburgh is bicycle friendly thanks to the yeoman efforts of BikePGH and Mayor Bill Peduto.  You rock, Pittsburgh!

We are winning the streets deep in the heart of Texas, not only in Austin, but in Houston and San Antonio and El Paso and the lower Rio Grande Valley where my new friend Fernando Martinez has helped transform and unite his community through cicolvia.  Thank you, Fernando.  Muchas gracias, Maestro.

We are winning out west and up north.  We are winning on the Plains where a dedicated group of individuals like Peter Muraski and Sarah Kessinger of Marysville Kansas are quietly building rail trails linking communities across multiple states and making it possible to take long trips by bicycle.   We are winning in the mountains where Ogden Utah Mayor Mike Caldwell raised the bar by riding to work every day for a year.  You folks are the heavy lifters.  You are my heroes.

Thanks to all of you, we have already won.  Game over.  Does anybody really believe we’re going to unwind all these gains and go back to what we used to be?  Of course not.  We can’t afford to go back and everybody knows it now, even those who aren’t particularly fond of us.  They know it in their hearts, even if they don’t want to admit it.  Bicycles heal.  We will continue to move forward.

America has a lot of reasons for building bicycle infrastructure, but it basically boils down to finding a way forward.  The present all car, all the time model is broken.  It worked for a long time but it no longer works, and so we do what we have always done when a model no longer serves us.  We change it.

I have never been involved in a movement before.  This is my first.  It will be my last.  I believe in this as I have never believed in anything before it.  Bicycles heal people.  That’s so easy to see.  After all, my bicycle healed me.  I’m healthier at 56 years of age than I have been in decades.  All the damage undone in relatively short order.  It’s magic.

But my own healing is the least of it.  Bicycles also heal communities.  You have to look a little more deeply to see it, but have another look at those pictures and tell me that it isn’t so.  Give me one example of a place in those pictures (or anywhere) that wasn’t made better by trading automobile lanes for bicycle lanes.  I don’t think you can do it.  I can’t.

That’s the real magic of bicycles.  They heal people individually and collectively at the same time.  Heal enough communities and you heal nations.  Heal enough nations and you heal the planet.  We need ourselves some healing…big time healing.  The humble bicycle shows us the way forward, as it always has.

Happy Holidays.  Merry Christmas.  May God bless you and your loved ones abundantly, now and always.  More soon.

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