Livability and Bicycles

So here I am with cup of coffee numero uno.  I’m rubbing the sleep out of my eyes when I see this story from Bicycling magazine about how Copenhagen now officially has more bicycles than cars.  I’m immediately awake.  This isn’t some college town.  It’s a big, important city…a world capital.  Cool.

Amagerbrogade_without_cars_-_panoramio

Copenhagen By Jens Cederskjold, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57295222

As I have another sip of my Tanzanian Peaberry,  I remember reading another article not too long ago about Copenhagen also being the world’s most livable city.  Hmmm.  I need to find that article, so I Google it.  Yep, I remembered right.  Here it is.

I read it again and skim the list for US cities.  Where are New York?  LA?  Chicago? Dallas?  Atlanta? Houston?  Phoenix?  Kansas City?  They didn’t make the cut.   What about the cool cities, you know, the ones millennials are flocking to?  Austin, Denver, Seattle,  Raleigh-Durham are nowhere to be found either.  Oh, there’s Portland…number ten.  Congrats, Stumptown.

I understand that these lists are really more clickbait than anything else.  If I choose the appropriate criteria, I can make Detroit, St. Louis and Toledo the world’s most livable cities.  I get that, but I also understand that the same places keep rising to the top of lists compiled by people with completely different agendas.   These places are different from each other in many ways, but access to bicycles for transportation is almost always high on the list.  Pictures like the one above almost always accompany the article because the authors know that this is the very essence of what makes a place livable.

Bicycles matter.  Where we have them, we live better.  We are in better physical shape. We visit the doctor for checkups rather than damage control.  Our air is cleaner.  Our fiscal finances are in better shape.  We are generally happier, all things being equal.  The solution to what ails us is right in front of our eyes.

More bikes than cars?  You’re awesome, Copenhagen.   You’re what I hope my city becomes and soon.  Way to go.  Congratulations.

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