Author: Jeff Mapes
Title: Pedaling Revolution
Publication Info: Corvallis, OR : Oregon State University Press, 2009.
A good overview of the ongoing changes to American cities as more and more people switch to bicycling as a major means of commuting, running errands, and recreation. Biking meets obvious challenges in both the safety of sharing roads with high-speed automobiles with indifferent drivers and the political hostility towards bicycling and bicycle infrastructure. The book covers many of the same points as Harry Wray’s Pedal Power, but I find Mapes’ work a more engaging read. Mapes is preaching to choir when I am his reader but this book sets in good detail the detrimental effect of prioritizing the automobile in our cities and the benefits of switching to a bicycle-based culture.
“It is true that cyclists don’t pay gas taxes (except when they are driving, as most cyclists do at one time or another). But they do pay property taxes, which nationally account for 25 percent of spending on local roads, which is what cyclists most heavily use. These streets have always been seen as public space, free to whomever wanted to use them. Motorists may want to turn them into a kind of gated community, but that is contrary to our traditions and to our law.
More importantly, very little is said about the huge subsidies received by motorists that far outweigh any freebies received by cyclists. The largest is free – or cheap – parking.” -p. 19