Hugh Pickens writes "As California's gas prices hit record highs, the millions of dollars spent in recent years on commuter bike lanes and public transportation projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities are being seen in a new light by many drivers. Jason Dearen reports that San Francisco is seeing a 71-percent increase in cyclists in the past five years, and Los Angeles is reporting a 32 percent increase from 2009-2011. Both findings gibe with the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which found a 63 percent increase in bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2010 in the nation's 70 largest cities. 'In some ways it's a perfect storm of events that is starting to take place,' says Claire Bowin, head of policy planning for Los Angeles' planning department. Getting people out of cars 'is a very daunting task, but on other hand we have largely benefited from a growing community here that is demanding these things.' Los Angeles is building almost 1,600 miles of bike infrastructure (PDF) over the next five years. Los Angeles County's Metrolink, which features open train cars for bike riders is seeing record ridership. Changing attitudes about cars — caused by climate change — are helping these efforts as people in their twenties and thirties have adopted biking in larger numbers than previous generations (PDF)."
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