Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monthly Bike Book Review- Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy by Elly Blue

Reviewed by Robert Leone

Long-time observers of local politics and bond measures, whether in San Diego or elsewhere, are familiar with a particular style of opinion article: A vast set of economic arguments. If you examine the details, you'll see a quantification and monetization of such vague imponderables as "civic pride" resulting in C-level executive relocations and similar much-leveraged benefits to the community. Long-time bike advocate Elly Blue's *Bikenomics*is a similar polemic at book length, focused not on a particular project but on the general cause of cycling infrastructure. 

The twelve chapters, bracketed by an introduction and "The Future," lead by addressing arguments against bike infrastructure ("The Free Rider Myth" and "Whose Streets?"), hold an examination of the nature of current paving policy ("The Asphalt Bubble" and "Parking"), and address the indirect impacts of lots of people riding bikes ("Superhighway to Health" and "Redefining Safety"). Jobs also get a mention in "Bikes on Main Street" and "Putting Bikes to Work." There is some humor as well, when Blue describes some people worried about their on street parking complaining they're getting run over by "Big Bicycle."

If there were a monolithic big bicycle movement, Blue's books and writing would not be in their prime place in advocacy: Instead we'd read something with far less verve and fewer miscues such as the process blue printer's ink used throughout this book! The intended audience is bike advocates. I can easily imagine *Bikenomics*condensed, rephrased, and adjusted for a specific project or measure, mirrored in shorter, more widely read newspaper and blog opinion pieces over the next decade. Don't miss the endnotes: Not only do they provide the sources for Blue's mustered facts and figures, but they're filled with insightful comments.

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