Is the car’s allure fading?

old bike riderIs what’s happening in cities now the decline of the car or the rise of the bike? One might be driving the other.

Maybe this situation is like the wristwatch situation. First, around forty years ago, wristwatches with cheaper more accurate quartz movements started displacing the pricier and less accurate mechanical movements (now, mechanical movements are found only in wristwatches costing a small fortune because they’re artisanal, super complicated, and made by hand). Then came the widespread use of cell phones and smart phones, which is why it’s hard to find anyone who’s sub middle-age using a wristwatch, except as a fashion accessory.

It seems that in cities, probably among the same people who shun wristwatches there’s less interest in car ownership. And at the same time there’s a rise in biking culture. If true, I think it’s a good thing. People will be a bit healthier and the cities will be cleaner and safer.

The rise of the bike will spur entrepreneurship too. There’ll be cyclists interested in after market doo dads for their bikes, things like locks, fenders, lights, and who knows what yet. Not all, but lots of cyclists are into gear and care about their bikes.

Here in Mexico, in its biggest cities there are popular and successful Sunday street closing (to cars) so they can be used for biking and walking.

You don’t even need to own a bike in some bigger cities. NYC just started its public bike sharing system. I’ve used similar systems in Montreal and Mexico City and both systems were fantastic and easy to use.

I’m sure cars are here to stay for a while, but I’m also hopeful they’re becoming less popular and biking is on the rise.