How one postcard can increase the number of cyclists in your city

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Can you tell me why every city is not doing this?

It's true, cities like Paris have been doing a lot to increase the number of cyclists in town. 🚲

👉🏽 Financial support to buy/fix bikes

👉🏽 Build new bicycle paths

👉🏽 Increase the number of bike-sharing stations

It cost a lot of money… and the results are here.

The number of Parisians using bikes rose 54% from September 2018 to 2019. 📈

However, if the city wants to grow this number again they might want to look at the freshstart approach.

Example :

Portland was looking to increase take-up of its bike-sharing program, BIKETOWN.

Postcards promoting the program were sent to 2 groups:

1) residents who had recently moved

2) residents who had a new bike station recently installed in their neighbourhood


People who had recently moved were 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝟰 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀 as likely to respond to the postcard and take up the service than group 2.


Because it’s a lot easier to change habits when you’re making big life changes like moving to a new home or starting a new job.

When doing so, you're breaking the old habits and are ready to make new ones.

On the contrary, the people who had a new bike station newly installed in their neighbourhood were not experiencing any changes in their current habits.

For some detailed explanations on why, have a look at the article on the status quo bias.

Timing is everything!

So next time, you would like to make your friends, colleagues, family adopt cycling in town, don't miss their next life change (new house, new jobs, new marital status...)

So why not more cities are doing this?

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