Thursday, August 21, 2008

Unintended Consequences of Bike Paths

Bicycles will reduce emissions, right?
Mr. Anderson disagrees. Cars always will vastly outnumber bikes, he reasons, so allotting more street space to cyclists could cause more traffic jams, more idling and more pollution. Mr. Anderson says the city has been blinded by political correctness. It's an "attempt by the anti-car fanatics to screw up our traffic on behalf of the bicycle fantasy," he wrote in his blog this month.
The city in question is San Francisco. Whether or not he is right is an empirical question, requiring cost-benefit analysis to find the appropriate margin.* My guess? Individual choice already leads to the correct marginal trade-off, or is very close to it.

* Not to mention the disutility I get from running over bikers who abuse their right-of-way privileges.

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