As to why the bicycle has become so trendy, I think the answer is relatively obvious: it’s a combination of the urban push that has seen cities increase the number of bike lanes, institute cycle share systems, and otherwise facilitate riding; the general eco-conversation; and fashion’s continuous drive to boost market share by extending its reach into other areas where design is possible in search of the opportunity to penetrate every area of a consumer’s life.
Here’s an interesting method to build the needed support: pop-up cycling infrastructure. This exercise in tactical urbanism was recently undertaken by a group of graduate students in Cleveland, Ohio. For one week, a downtown street was converted to a two-way cycle track — the first ever on Cleveland streets.
This second installment deals with the chapter (#10) in the book on “women and cycling,” which was written by my three brilliant colleagues, Jan Garrard, Susan Handy, and Jennifer Dill, the world’s leading experts on this topic.
Over the weekend a hardened set of contenders pedaled 30 miles across Portland, each loaded down with a hundred pounds of food, propane, and tents. This isn’t the new Ironman challenge. It’s the Cargo Bike Disaster Trials. …
Carmen Merlo runs Portland’s Office of Emergency Management.
Carmen Merlo “We saw a much larger potential for the use of these bikes. During a large-scale event, or even an event such as a fuel shortage, you want to use sustainable practices that don’t rely on fuel to get around, that can be open, even when larger emergency vehicles can’t get through.”
So her department agreed to sponsor the disaster trial. And staff are identifying parts of town that might be harder to serve in a disaster. They’re working with cargo bikers to set up volunteer delivery routes for emergency supplies.
I had a request the other day from someone (sorry, lost your email) for any pics I had of the Burrard Bridge bike-lane experiment of 1995. And fortunately, I found one:
A little premature, that experiment – but at least it didn’t stop progress on the bikeway network, which eventually increased demand sufficient to justify another trial in 2010. That one took place on both sides of the bridge, was better prepared for and had strong commitment from both the politicians and the engineers.
But the final design is still not approved, and no doubt the culture-war aspect of cycling will still bring warriors to the field.
One British study found that over the course of four generations, the distance that eight-year-old children in one family (the Thomases of Sheffield, England) were allowed to roam from home had shrunk from 6 miles (for great-grandfather George in 1926) to one mile (for grandfather Jack in 1950) to half a mile (for mother Vicky in 1979) to 300 yards (for son Ed in 2007).
Another study reported that, on average, today’s children are two years older than their parents were when first allowed to do things like use public transportation, sleep over at a friend’s house, or babysit for a younger sibling.
And healthy too! In an interview for the European Cyclists’ Federation, John Pucher cites his new books, City Cycling:
“All scientific studies find that, even using conservative, understated estimates of the health benefits of cycling, they far exceed any traffic risk,” explains Pucher.
All evidence cited in “City Cycling” shows that helmet laws discourage cycling so much that the reduced health benefits from less cycling are much greater than any alleged safety benefits of helmet laws. But above all, the book is suggesting it’s time to push the helmet debate to one side and focus on the real dangers affecting cyclists.
“In short, the focus on cycling safety should be on restricting car use and improving motorist behaviour,” says Pucher.
While figures on usage of the Brisbane and Melbourne schemes are hard to come by, the available information suggests the usage rate is very low, at about 10% of comparable programs in London or Dublin.
The poor uptake is likely due to a combination of poor cycling infrastructure and the requirement for users to wear helmets.
I’ve heard of potential users seeing the bikes lined up and going to have a look, only to turn away when they realise they needed a helmet and didn’t have one (and despite them being available in a nearby store in Melbourne for minimal cost).
Conclusion: exempt bike-share from the helmet law.
The good news is that Vancouver will finally be announcing its own bike sharing system around the time of the conference. The bad news is that it’s going to fail because of B.C.’s compulsory helmet law.
Look around you. Bikes are everywhere: in glamorous ads and fashionable neighborhoods, parked outside art galleries, clubs, office buildings. More and more city workers arrive for work on bikes. The future is visible in the increasing number of bikes you see all over the urban landscape. This simple form of transportation is about to make our city more livable, more human and better connected; New Yokers are going to love the bike-share program; culturally and physically, our city is perfectly suited for it.”
The League of American Cyclists announced their “Every Bicyclist Counts” project, which will chronicle news and police reports of cyclists killed on America’s roadways.
The LAB’s Every Bicyclist Counts” website is a memorial and collection of news and information about cyclists killed since January 1, 2012. It’s an expansion to the national level of the effort Ted Rogers has put into tracking southern California fatalities over at Biking In LA.
A study of first-time bicycle-helmet users published in the American Journal of Public Health found men who wore helmets bicycled significantly faster than men who didn’t wear them, whereas helmets had no effect on women’s biking speed.
Individuals often take more risks when they feel safer, a type of behavior known as risk compensation.
The first edition of Collection of Cycle Concepts was published in 2000 and enjoyed a wide circulation among everyone interested in bicycle traffic. … The second edition, Collection of Cycle Concepts 2012, updates the field, featuring new challenges and the latest knowledge.
Actually, the cleverest concept is the idea of a Cycling Embassy – “a comprehensive network of private companies, local authorities and non-governmental organizations working together to promote cycling and communicate cycling solutions and know-how.”
Los Angeles Lives by Car, but Learns to Embrace Bikes
For years, bicyclists in Los Angeles were just another renegade subculture in a city that is teeming with all manner of subcultures. These days, they have become downright mainstream. …
Joel Epstein, a mass transit advocate, said traffic here had led him to use his bicycle more often. “L.A. is a very complicated kind of place,” Mr. Epstein said. “A lot of people are going to commute by car forever. But I think bikes are a piece of the puzzle, just like mass transit is and just like walking is.”
As I approached the incline at the casino, I noticed a daddy and daughter pair. Daughter was probably four or five, riding her own very tiny bicycle–pink, handlebar fringe, training wheels. As the path tipped up the slightest bit, daddy leaned over to offer some cycling advice. “Okay, honey, it’s time to power up for the hill!” And, she did!! Sped up just a little, added a bit of pressure on the pedals so that the next moment she was speeding (relatively) down the other side. Wheeeee.
Lisa Moffatt reports in from the Ladies Army, the world’s only all women bike polo tournament
My team placed ninth out of 34 teams, which we were quite please with. It was really anyone’s tournament and the highlight for my team-mates and me was knocking out a favoured team from Seattle!! So good!
If you are interested in watching the final game, there is an okay quality video of it here. The teams are Cunning Stunts (I can’t make this up!) from Milwaukee, Toronto and Jacksonville, FL and Bear Hugs from Lexington (subbing in for the player from Switzerland who broke her collar bone earlier), Toronto and East Van. The two Toronto players on opposing teams are actually room-mates.
A guide to today’s urban cycling renaissance, with information on cycling’s health benefits, safety, bikes and bike equipment, bike lanes, bike sharing, and other topics.
City Cycling emphasizes that bicycling should not be limited to those who are highly trained, extremely fit, and daring enough to battle traffic on busy roads. The chapters describe ways to make city cycling feasible, convenient, and safe for commutes to work and school, shopping trips, visits, and other daily transportation needs.
Piet de Jong has written a useful companion piece to the wonderful cycling health meta-study published recently by Prof. Kay Teschke of UBC. Both papers find that the overall health benefit of cycling outweighs any increase in health risks.
Mr. de Jong’s paper argues more specifically that helmet laws discourage cycling, reduce the exercise benefits, and society as a whole bears higher health costs as a result.
My favourite quote from the paper: “DeMarco(9) opines ‘Ultimately, helmet laws save a few brains but destroy many hearts’ .”
Be warned, this is a nuanced academic paper, and it contains mathematics festooned with Greek alphabet symbols. Reading it is not for the faint of heart or the simplistic polemicist.
This article seeks to answer the question whether mandatory bicycle helmet laws deliver a net societal health benefit. The question is addressed using a simple model. The model recognizes a single health benefit — reduced head injuries, and a single health cost — increased morbidity due to foregone exercise from reduced cycling.
Using estimates suggested in the literature of the effectiveness of helmets, the health benefits of cycling, head injury rates, and reductions in cycling, leads to the following conclusions. In jurisdictions where cycling is safe, a helmet law is likely to have a large unintended negative health impact. In jurisdiction where cycling is relatively unsafe, helmets will do little to make it safer and a helmet law, under relatively extreme assumptions may make a small positive contribution to net societal health.
Have you signed up for a cycling event, have a new road bike and want to feel confident on the road? The Beginner Road Bike Clinic is designed to help you feel safe and confident on your bike and on the road. We will practice what to do before, during and after each ride.
… we’re talking about a lot of big broad cultural changes that have taken place. That statistic that you mentioned – in 1969, 48 percent of kids walked to school. Today it’s 13 percent. And part of that is suburban sprawl.
Today’s schools are – they build schools bigger and further from the center of town with more kids, so it’s further away. I personally think that’s all the more reason for kids to ride bikes. It’s a good reason for them not to walk. It’s pretty far.
But a bicycle is a good solution to that. And then there’s all the other stuff that, you know, adults are prey to these days, mostly, as Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, puts it, things involving a small screen, namely computers and video games and things like that.
All over the State of Victoria in Australia. KenOhrn writes:
I have some growing admiration for those behind the Parkiteer (“Park-it-here”) bike cages. Aside from the practicalities, someone there knows how to write an advocacy piece.
The first para discusses 9 new Parkiteers, costing $ 1M Oz. That’s ~ $ 110,000 per Parkiteer — compared to documented costs of up to $ 40,000 per parking spot at some stations. A typical Parkiteer holds about 30 bikes (very roughly $ 3,700 per bike) in the space of 3 car parking spots. Note that at least one of the Parkiteers is a second installation at the same transit station.
Apparently a single access card gets you into any Parkiteer.
It seems that bike parking is in some cases justified as a response to suburban car commuters not being able to find day parking at transit stations. Low cost Parkiteers reduce the need for car parking space, and help Public Transit Victoria cope with its ridership increase problems.
Tim Shah passes along another paper by Ralph Buehler and John Pucher that found that the presence of off-road bike paths and on-street bike lanes were, by far, the biggest determinant of cycling rates in cities. “And that’s true even after you control for a variety of other factors like how hot or cold a city is, how much rain falls, how dense the city is, how high gas prices are, the type of people that live there, or how safe it is to cycle”.
Don’t miss the Velo Village pre-event on beautiful Salt Spring Island.
Velo Village is celebrating rural cycling from June 21-23, 2012. Salt Spring Island, located in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, will be bicycle heaven on earth – the most welcoming place on the planet to be on a bike.
There will be fun, games and a knowledge exchange. In addition to bicycle-themed performances, art exhibits, workshops, and a specially chartered bicycle-only ferry on June 23rd, Velo Village will host a one-day conference focused on cycling and rural mobility.
ECF Secretary General Dr. Bernhard Ensink is already familiar with Salt Spring Island. Read about his previous visit here.
For more information, and help with planning your travel, visit the Velo Village website.