Another brick in the wall

12 February 2021

Lego, the world’s largest toy company, is giving bicycles more room in its brick-made universe – a step enthusiastically welcomed by fans and urban mobility experts alike.

Lego has long been criticised for designing car-centric city sets. Only last year, for the first time, a street set with a bicycle lane was released. The tiny blue bike lane, though, was very small, barely wide enough for a cargo bike. That prompted Marcel Steeman, a regional councilor in the Netherlands and a Lego fan, to design a more generous cycling infrastructure and post it on Lego’s ‘Ideas’ website.

Proposed Lego playset ‘Bike Lanes’ by Marcel Steeman

The ideation process of Lego is quite selective – in the 13 year history of the programme, only 33 ideas have been turned into reality. Several of Steeman’s bike proposals had also been rejected in the past. But this time, his idea was accepted within a day. Now it needs to get 10,000 supporters – an apparently achievable goal, as more than half of this number was already reached after a few weeks. You can read more and vote here.

Building the future in our playrooms

“It’s becoming a reality” – Jean-Claude Dardelet

Steeman’s ambition “to make Lego City a bike friendly city” is also supported by real world politicians. “Walking and cycling has to become the new normal in our cities,” says Jean-Claude Dardelet, deputy mayor of Toulouse, France, and chair of Eurocities’ mobility forum. “From kids to elders, throughout the generations, we start building the future in our respective playrooms. It’s becoming a reality.”

After all, the Lego bricks are present in millions of children’s rooms around the globe, arguably forming the world’s largest city.

“Lego’s decision is good news for three reasons,” says Peter Staelens, mobility expert at Eurocities. “It shows children that cycling is a natural part of city life. It allows cycling enthusiasts to build their dream city. And it proves that Lego listens to the people – something we hope to see more of in urban planning.”

You can read more about the Lego bike story in this article from the Verge.