In Sweden, Free Bikes To Commuters Who Promise To Drive Less

Many people never bike because they've never tried it. This program wants to get everyone riding.

Even though more people are starting to commute by bike, few cities match up to ultra-bike-friendly Copenhagen, where around half of the population cycles to work. In the U.S., Portland leads the list of larger cities, but even there, only 6% of commuters bike. What does it take to get more bikes on the road?
The obvious answer is better infrastructure like decent bike lanes. But a new program in Sweden is taking a different approach, based on the theory that one reason many people don’t ride is that haven’t really tried it. In Gothenburg--a city with bike commuter rates on par with Portland--the government is giving some people the chance to try a bike for six months in exchange for the promise that they will ditch their cars at least three times a week.

“We think biking has the potential to fulfill most transport needs for most groups,” saysRickard Waern, a project manager for the Energy Agency of West Sweden. “This is especially true in light of all of the new types of bikes that have appeared on the market in recent years.”
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