The ever interesting and wise Alan During has written a series of articles on Bicycle Neglect in "Cascadia" - the term for the biological and geographical region that comprises states such as Oregon, Washington, British Columbia.
What is Bicycle Neglect (and it's opposite, Bicycle Respect)? And how does it translate to the legal, political and physical landscape in which we move from point A to Point B? Well, Alan explains that
Bicycle Neglect is a syndrome with four mutually reinforcing symptoms:
1. A tendency to view bicycles as a form of recreation, not a form of transportation (this is typically a manifestation of Car-head);
2. An institutional, legal, and physical environment explicitly or unwittingly hostile to bicycling for transportation (typical features include car-oriented traffic laws, car-oriented traffic policing, woefully inadequate biking facilities, and miserly budgets to improve these facilities);
3. Unnecessarily dangerous conditions for cycling; and
4. Very low levels of bicycling for transportation, as a result.
Bicycle Respect is Bicycle Neglect’s opposite, on each count:
1. A tendency to view bicycles as a form of transportation, not just recreation;
2. An institutional, legal, and physical environment supportive of bicycling for transportation, including bike-friendly traffic laws and policing, ample biking facilities, and adequate budgets to improve these facilities;
3. Safe conditions for cycling; and
4. High levels of bicycling for transportation, as a result.
Anyone in Toronto can see a reflection of these insights in our own transportation situation. It's nice to see a comprehensive analysis of what's holding back the real promise of the bicycle!