Swedes Get Free Bikes if They Promise to Drive Less

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Car traffic cripples cities and destroys them. For the last hundred years the common solution to transportation issues was to cater to car drivers and this has left us with endless traffic and awful pollution. The solution today is a mixture of public transit and encouraging people to ride bikes.

In France, they are paying people to ride bikes. They figure it’s cheaper to pay cyclists than to pay for car-only infrastructure.

In Sweden, they want families to get rid of their large vehicles and hop on bikes. In an interesting pilot study people who promise to drive less and ride their bicycle instead will get free bikes. This will lower demand on roadways while improving the health of participants.

Sweden faces some of the same infrastructure problems as the U.S. Most cities have been planned with cars in mind, so cycling to Ikea to run an errand might not seem easy.

“In some cases, it can be challenging to use a bike to, for example, do your shopping, or take your children to preschool and then get to your workplace in the morning,” Waern says. “And while this is absolutely true in some cases, the fact of the matter is that this can be more a mental barrier than an actual one. Most people can, with the right bike and a bit of planning, manage to do all these things and more.”

The project hopes to start to break down those mental barriers by sticking with each participant for six months.

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