While there is certainly no reason to be happy about a pandemic, some industries have experienced significant boosts in their sales since the COVID-19 government stay-at-home orders began. One of those industries: bike sales. And more bikes on the road could very well lead to more cycling-friendly city plans.
With more people exercising outside amid the pandemic, Los Angeles officials have temporarily closed off some residential streets to provide more room for pedestrians to stay physically distant while on foot or bicycle.
In light of the current “bike boom” amid mass lockdowns, a recent Forbes article dove into the surge of the biking industry in the 1970s. Not only had bicycling risen in popularity as a hobby, but many people were even selling their vehicles and biking as a permanent means of transportation.
It didn’t take long before bills were proposed that incorporated new or reformed cycleways throughout major cities. In fact, the government passed the Federal-Aid Highway Act in 1973 which provided over $100 million to cycleways.
How might the future look?
Of course, times are much different now. Federal and state governments may be less likely to approve such funds amid a pandemic. That said, reforms to bike pathways would likely provide safer travel for bicyclists.
Separated bike lanes, for example, could significantly lower bicycle-related injuries and potentially prevent traffic congestion. Researchers have actually found that developing a properly separated bike lane may result in nearly 45% fewer biking-related deaths and even fewer injuries.
A complete shift in how cities like Los Angeles treat cycling pathways may be further down the future than many of us would like to hope. But history has shown us that more bikes on the road could lead to adjustments to city road planning.