physical exercise

The role of public policies in promoting the safety, convenience & popularity of bicycling

In his recent article in this journal, Heath Maddox questions the potential of public policies to encourage bicycling (Maddox, 2001). In particular, he contests my earlier finding that public policies were essential for permitting the dramatic growth in bicycling in Germany from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s (Pucher, 1997). Although he provides no empirical evidence of his own, Maddox summarises the views of a few German ‘experts’ he selected. On the basis of that selective literature review, Maddox draws the conclusion that the bicycling boom in Germany occurred, at best, independently of supportive public policies and, at worst, in spite of public policies that supposedly hindered bicycling.