In the evolution of the bicycle, there has been a lot of prohibition and restrictions. Wherever there are bicycles, you can be sure that regimentation follows quickly. It’s just another cold, hard fact.
Evolution of the bicycle (1817-1865)
When the bicycle was first invented by Karl von Drais in 1817, it took less than six months for the municipal authorities of the city of Mannheim to issue a decree. The decree was issued on December 5th of the same year. The decree prescribed the ‘running machine’ or the bicycle from side streets and pavements.
Not long after that, the bicycle was banished into the palace garden as well. Pretty soon, large cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Milan, and even Calcutta implemented their own bicycle bans as well.
Why were bicycles banned, you ask? Well, it’s simple, bureaucrats at the time believed that decent citizens did not require the device. According to them, bicycles were only used by dubious characters.
Not only that, but bicycles were also regarded as a disturbance to public order. Not long after, the excitement and enthusiasm for the bicycles slowly ebbed away. It remained the same for over 50 years.
In those fifty year periods, there were no new developments on the bicycle. However, in 1865, things started to change. The vélocipède came into the picture, and everyone was suddenly interested.
Evolution of the bicycle: The vélocipède
A vélocipède is equipped with a foot pedal attached to the front wheel. The drivers were compelled to remove their feet from the ground. It required a lot of balance and skill. To be able to ride this thing, you need to learn with great effort.
However, a few short months later, this device was finally gaining popularity. It has spread all over Europe and the United States. And, as you can probably guess, prohibitions quickly followed once again.
Bicycles were not allowed on public roads and public squares. However, this did not stop enthusiasts. They continued to support bicycles, until finally, there were some technical improvements on the machine.
Evolution of the bicycle (1900-Today)
In the evolution of the bycicle, fast forward to today, bikes are not only used for leisure activities and exercise. They are also used for urban transportation. Since the 1870s, bicycles have continued to improve.
Now, there are a lot more choices when it comes to style, durability, speed, and more. Over the past century, the number of trips made on a bicycle has doubled.
It is estimated that there are over 1 billion bicycles all over the world, today. However, that number cannot be certain because bicycles are not regulated all over the world.
In fact, according to statistics, there are around 364,000 bicycles produced on a daily basis. That means over 15,000 bicycles per hour, 253 per minute and 4 bicycles per second!
On top of that number, it was concluded that the numbers of bicycles being sold on a daily basis are at around 47,670. Bicycles are now so popular that it is on track to outnumber automobiles or cars on the streets.
This actually already happened in Copenhagen, Denmark back in 2016. According to the news, Copenhagen had more bikes than cars on its streets that year. It was a first.
If we see at the evolution of the bicycle, the city has always made it their top priority to be bicycle-friendly. This is, of course, with the citizen’s welfare in mind. The campaign proved to be a massive success. Over the past 20 years, there has been a 68 percent spike in bicycle users.
Nowadays, there are different types of bicycles you can use for different purposes. There are city bikes which are most commonly used for commuting around the city. Then, there are mountain bikes for off-road rides. And there are road bikes which are built for recreational activities. Road bikes are often equipped with speed and performance abilities.
We discussed the differences between the three major bicycle types in our previous article titled ’What Makes A Bike A Good Investment + Factors to Consider When Buying A Bike.’
Evolution of the bicycle: The future of urban transportation
Indeed, there are plenty of uses for today’s bicycles. In fact, there are multiple studies that show bicycles are the future of urban transportation, and we couldn’t agree more.
Recently, Deloitte has published a study that showcases the significant part that these bicycles will play in the years going forward. Deloitte is known as one of the biggest consulting firms across the globe.
According to their study, bicycles will play a major role in easing traffic congestion. Not only that, but these two-wheeled machines will also help improve urban air quality and the overall public health.
This is especially true for those cities who have become over populated in the past few years. It seems like a lot of people from across the globe know this, too. More and more people are choosing to use bicycles for their daily commute instead of using public transportation and private vehicles.
Not to mention the rapid increase in e-bike’s popularity. E-bikes are not far from your regular bicycles, and they are still a more fair option than private vehicles.
According to reports, e-bikes make bicycle commuting more efficient. And more people are able to use these electric bicycles. These are better alternatives to cars and vehicles, especially in congested cities.
According to the study, the number of electric bikes is predicted to rise between the years 2019 to 2023. The number will increase from 200 million to 300 million e-bikes.
Evolution of the bicycle and COVID-19
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also played a huge part in creating an opportunity to reshape transportation and mobility all over the world. Many government bodies have turned to bicycles and electric bicycles as a safer, more practical and efficient way of transportation.
The key lies in redesigning cities and roads so people won’t fear about their safety when they ride their bicycles. Many government bodies are also looking towards adopting Vision Zero in their cities in order to create a safer bicycling environment. You can read more about Vision Zero and what it means in our previous article titled ‘Adopting Vision Zero.’
Do you think bicycles are the future of urban transportation? Let us know in the comments below!