17 August 2012

Bike Ownership

A bicyclist from Portland, Ore., is finding some YouTube fame for tracking down his stolen bike and helping police arrest the alleged thief. Check out the news article.

This story interests me for two reasons. First, it reminds me of my trip to Finland. While in Turku, the country's fifth largest city (178,784 people as of 31 January 2012), I was impressed with the number of bikes in use (even on really rainy days) and that very few people locked up their bikes. I only remember seeing one bike chained to something. The rest of the parked bikes, as you can tell from the pictures below, were simply left with the belief that they would be there when the owners returned.

When I saw these bikes in Finland, I thought about how different it was for bicyclists in the United States, and I realized that the Finns truly had ownership over their community. They had created and maintained a situation where they could feel safe and connected enough to trust people.

That brings up the second reason Oregon's YouTube bike saga interests me. The man whose bike was stolen expresses a strong sense of ownership of the bike, and it is clear he wants to fight for a community where that ownership is respected. US society may not yet have developed a culture in which a bicyclist can leave a bike unattended without worrying about it, but the more people show that we will not accept a culture where bike ownership is not respected, the closer we will be to enjoying the benefits of bicycling. Without question, that is the type of community we should all have.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.