Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road (Hardcover)

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"Read Bike Battles to be enlightened about the flip-flopping importance of the bicycle in the US since the late 19th century. Longhurst carefully documents various 'battles' for the road and, by the end, claims that transportation in common spaces is the most important than what people drive (sic): cars or bikes. What does he think about skateboarders, though?"

— Todd Wellman


Americans have been riding bikes for more than a century now. So why are most American cities still so ill-prepared to handle cyclists? James Longhurst, a historian and avid cyclist, tackles that question by tracing the contentious debates between American bike riders, motorists, and pedestrians over the shared road.

Bike Battles explores the different ways that Americans have thought about the bicycle through popular songs, merit badge pamphlets, advertising, films, newspapers and sitcoms. Those associations shaped the actions of government and the courts when they intervened in bike policy through lawsuits, traffic control, road building, taxation, rationing, import tariffs, safety education and bike lanes from the 1870s to the 1970s.

Today, cycling in American urban centers remains a challenge as city planners, political pundits, and residents continue to argue over bike lanes, bike-share programs, law enforcement, sustainability, and public safety. Combining fascinating new research from a wide range of sources with a true passion for the topic, Longhurst shows us that these battles are nothing new; in fact they're simply a continuation of the original battle over who is - and isn't - welcome on our roads.

Watch the trailer: https: //

About the Author

James Longhurst is associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and author of Citizen Environmentalists.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780295994680
ISBN-10: 0295994681
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Publication Date: April 15th, 2015
Pages: 306
Language: English