Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Roads were not [originally] built for cars"

How cyclists, not drivers, first fought to pave US roads

From VOX -- Nowadays, it's common to view city streets as largely a place for cars. Bikes, if anything, are seen as a very recent intrusion on them.

But the surprising truth is that back in the 1890s and early 1900s, it was mainly cyclists who first advocated for cities in the US and Europe to pave their streets and build new roads. Then as cars became practical, wealthy, privileged people adopted the car as their leisure toy of choice, and the bicycle's central place in what's now called the Good Roads Movement was largely forgotten.

"The people who were making and promoting bicycles were the same people who later made and promoted cars," says Carlton Reid, who uncovered this history in his fascinating, meticulously researched book Roads Were Not Built for Cars.

In fact, Reid argues, the car's eventual domination was not as inevitable as it might seem today - and the bicycle itself may have been necessary to pave the way for it. [Full article ...]

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