In my years of bicycle commuting, I can’t say I’ve gotten many adults to swap out their car for a bike ride or two. I’ve come close; it’s a discussion I’ve had with a few colleagues that went sort of like this…
Q – “Oh, I’ve thought about riding to work, but is it safe to park in the bike rack?”
A – “Yes. I lock my bike up there all the time and have never had a problem.”
Q – “How far do you ride? Do you ride on the sidewalk or street?”
A – “Not far, a couple of miles and I do both – sidewalk and street – depending on where I feel safer.”
Q – “How long does it take you to get to your destination?”
A – “Not much longer than by car. Maybe 5 minutes more.”
End result – the colleague usually ponders the decision, but then doesn’t try it out for themselves for various reasons – too far, not safe, recent injury, not enough time in the morning, etc.
However, there’s always hope that someday that colleague might give it a try. And I have reason to be optimistic. According to a Science Daily article, “…people who walk or bike to work influence others.” This obviously seems like a logical conclusion; if a co-worker commutes to work via bike or walking, other workers will notice. Those that are already thinking about commuting by bike or walking, might feel inspired to do it themselves. The key to getting others to follow suit is that they have to already have the mindset that walking or biking to work is feasible.
The study discussed in Science Daily by an assistant kinesiology professor at Penn State found many variables that deter people from biking to work such as health issues, unsafe streets, or having to drop off children. Not all of these issues can be resolved, but having a supportive community, family, and working environment can help increase the health of our population.