Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Jason Dearen writes that as California’s gas prices hit record highs, the millions of dollars spent in recent years on commuter bike lanes and public transportation projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities are being seen in a new light by many drivers with San Francisco seeing a 71-percent increase in cyclists in the past five years and Los Angeles reporting a 32 percent increase from 2009-2011. Both findings gibe with the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which found a 63 percent increase in bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2010 in the nation's 70 largest cities. "In some ways it's a perfect storm of events that is starting to take place," says Claire Bowin, head of policy planning for Los Angeles' planning department. Getting people out of cars "is a very daunting task, but on other hand we have largely benefited from a growing community here that is demanding these things. We're not just sitting here in our ivory tower saying people should bike." Los Angles is building almost 1,600 miles of bike infrastructure over the next five years (PDF) and Los Angeles County's Metrolink, which features open train cars for bike riders is seeing record ridership. Changing attitudes about cars caused by climate change is helping these efforts as people in their twenties and thirties have adopted biking in larger numbers than previous generations (PDF). "I think all these factors are coming together at this moment in time to create a renaissance in bicycling as a mode of transportation.," according to Susan Handy. "Whether it will be a passing fad or a lasting trend, time will tell, but I'm betting on the latter.""
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