Another entry in the “if you build it, they will come” debate – As a previous post noted, a large, careful, and well-funded program in Britain found that simply building bike paths wasn’t enough to get large numbers of people to use them. Social marketing and perhaps other incentives were needed. My students and I found a similar pattern in Indonesia. Yet a recent article in the Guardian claims the contrary for Sevilla. (Or Seville, if you’re one of those.)
A few years ago, the local government constructed and simultaneously opened many kilometers (or miles, if you’re one of those) of bike paths that 1) connected to each other in useful ways and 2) were protected by curbs from roads. Apparently, gobs of riders suddenly took to the paths, surprising everyone because Sevillans previously hadn’t been cyclists.
That bears study. Did the local government really not promote cycling beyond providing infrastructure? If that’s the case, then what influenced Andalucians (or Andalusians …) to get on their bicycles and ride, when providing paths wasn’t enough elsewhere? In fact, it hasn’t worked in my neighborhood, even though large numbers of cyclists use paths elsewhere in the DC area.