Bicycles in American Highway Planning

The Critical Years of Policy-Making, 1969–1991

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About the Book

The United States differs from other developed nations in the extent to which its national bicycle transportation policy relies on the use of unmodified roadways, with cyclists obeying the same traffic regulations as motor vehicles. This policy—known as “vehicular cycling”—evolved between 1969, when the “10-speed boom” saw a sharp increase in adult bicycling, and 1991, when the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials adopted an official policy that on-road bikeways were not desirable. This policy resulted from a growing realization by highway engineers and experienced club cyclists that they had parallel interests: the cyclists preferred to ride on highways, because most bikeways were not designed for high speeds and pack riding; and the highway engineers did not want to divert funding from roadways to construct bikeways.
Using contemporary magazine articles, government reports, and archival material from industry lobbying groups and national cycling organizations, this book tells the story of how America became a nation of bicyclists without bikeways.

About the Author(s)

Bruce D. Epperson is a retired transportation planner and attorney who has published technical works on urban transportation planning (including bicycle use) for the Federal Highway Administration, the Transportation Research Board and the Institute of Transportation Engineers. He lives in Hollywood, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Bruce D. Epperson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9495-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1679-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Introduction 1

Abbreviations 19

Chapter 1. Historical Antecedents: American Traffic Planning, 1870–1945 25

Chapter 2. Historical Antecedents: European Bicycle Planning, 1890–1990 50

Chapter 3. Early American Bicycle Planning, 1965–1975 72

Chapter 4. The Dutch Challenge: ­Third-Stream Bicycle Planning, 1967–1974 96

Chapter 5. Backlash, 1973–1977 112

Chapter 6. From “Bike Advocate” to “Transport Professional,” 1977–1994 142

Chapter 7. Unexpected Consequences, Big and Small, 1970–1983 165

Conclusions 189

Chapter Notes 201

Bibliography 223

Index 233

Book Reviews & Awards

“this book will both delight and inform…superb analysis”—SAH Journal; “enlightening”—The Journal of Transport History; “very welcome study…a must read”—Transfers.