Riding a bicycle is the new black

Bike friendliness is increasing dramatically both locally and internationally.

Riding a bicycle to get around is surely nothing new to students. However, there is a growing enthusiasm for it as communities search for sustainable alternatives and gas prices fluctuate. From around the University campus to across the Atlantic, from hip kids to corporate commuters, biking is an increasingly important function in societies.

Imagine the impact the city of Minneapolis could make if more people chose to bike or take public transportation instead of driving their cars to work. Minneapolis does have a high percentage of bike commuters compared to most other cities across the nation, but there is still plenty of room to increase that number.

Critical Mass, a nationwide network of massively participated bicycle rides, aims to make bicycling more visible to automobile traffic to create more awareness of it as a transportation method. Riders meet up and tour cities’ busiest streets, often slowing traffic, but always making themselves seen. Critical Mass has held rides in both Minneapolis and St. Paul this summer.

Paris has recently implemented a huge network of bicycle rental stops throughout the city. Residents and tourists alike can stop and rent bicycles by the half hour with a credit card deposit reimbursed upon return. The programs’ intentions are to reduce automobile traffic by making biking more affordable and accessible to the public.

There are already plans in place to create more bike paths near the University campus. Students who frequent the West Bank campus and Seward neighborhood will see improvements along Franklin Avenue as well as from Riverside to Como avenues along 10th Avenue.

There are still some areas around campus that need to be more accessible to bicyclers. Washington Avenue from University Avenue to the Washington Avenue Bridge is dangerously congested with cars and buses at almost all hours of the day, and biking isn’t permitted on the sidewalks.

We, as a community, must continue to encourage biking and embrace its growth.