Could Better Bike Design Encourage People To Ditch Their Cars?

October 26, 2011

By: Chad Richards

The results are in for the annual Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Design Challenge, and the winning bike is pretty awesome. The challenge, which takes place every September, asks bike enthusiasts to “design and build the ultimate modern utility bike.”  This year’s winner, Portland native Tony Pereira, is the owner of Pereira Cycles

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Pereira’s bike, painted fluorescent pink, features an electric assist, which can boost a rider’s power, a lockable storage container to protect valuables and a sound system so riders don’t get too bored during long rides. Pereira told judges that he hopes his newest bike design will help replace cars for many cycle enthusiasts and possibly attract potential riders who are currently turned off by the idea of biking their daily commutes. While ‘hot pink’ may not be every rider’s first choice, Pereira’s website is home to a large number of bike designs, each one fully customizable.

Could A Better Bike Help Reset San Francisco’s Public Transit?

At Reset we are always talking about ways to incentivize people to save money by easing their reliance on cars. If the cost of gas doesn’t give you enough of a reason to make the switch, Pereira’s design might just have what it takes.

Nobody appreciates the idea of an easier bike ride more than the riders of San Francisco. In a city known for its heart-stopping hills and death-defying valleys, the electric assist means that a rider could make a trip without pedaling as hard and arriving at a destination sweaty and unkempt — a thought that could potentially lead to a number of drivers ditching their car keys for bike helmets. Making bikes a more attractive option is not only important for the environment, but is also vital for San Francisco’s public transit. If we can get drivers to start biking or riding the bus, then there will be fewer cars on the road, which means Muni can move faster. If Muni moves faster, even more people will ditch their cars further reducing the amount of cars on the road, thus creating a very positive cycle.

Before you get too attached, Pereira’s custom bikes start at about $1,500 and go up from there. Pereira’s entry to last year’s design challenge sold for $6,900. These numbers might sound steep, but AAA has estimated that it costs a whopping $9,650 a year to own a car. Sounds like a greater long-term savings and a greater civic return on investment.

Yet, is this cost too high to make people ditch their cars? Or will a sleek design and an easier ride be enough to inspire people to make the switch?


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