Cycling
July 5, 2012

Annals of Cycling – 63

An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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AUCKLAND’S MINI BIKE RACKS

Just bolt it to the sign post and you’re done:

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FASHION POINT

Some kind of tipping point has been reached when you can get a Dolce & Gabbana leopard-print bike:

From the Financial Times:

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.

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VOGUE SADDLES UP

Just to re-emphasize the post above – from Australian Vogue:

Seven more helmetless models here.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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FASHIONISTA

From Scot Bathgate, a lovely local example of the cycle chic movement:

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WHAT SAN FRANCISCANS ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT – AS SEEN BY L.A.

Gears of rhetoric ratchet up in San Francisco’s car-bike debate: The death of a pedestrian run over in a crosswalk by an out-of-control cyclist has inflamed the conversation about who owns the scarce public space in this dense city.

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TEN THOUSAND MORE THINGS FOR NEW YORKERS TO COMPLAIN ABOUT

 From Grist:

What happens when you throw 10,000 publicly available bikes into one of the most crowded, dense cities in America?

Check New York City in a few months.

Citibike.  Coming soon.

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WHAT VANCOUVERITES WILL BE COMPLAINING ABOUT 

For the record, City Hall’s priorities for the future of bike routes in Vancouver:

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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POP-UP BIKE LANES

From Streetsblog:

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.

 

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THE PUCHER-BUEHLER PAPER MACHINE – 3

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. 


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LIFE, DEATH AND CARGO BIKES

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.

Article here.

UPDATE:

Disaster Relief Trials

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

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:

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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.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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LET THE KIDS BIKE

From The Dish:

It’s not just an American problem:

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.

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IS CYCLING SAFE?

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.

Helmets?

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.

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WHAT WON’T THEY THINK OF NEXT?

Washington, D.C., circa 1918. “Woman on motorized bicycle.”  From Shorpy.

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HAVE HELMET LAW’S PUT THE SKIDS ON MELBOURNE’S BIKE SHARE?

From The Conversation: 

 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.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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HELMETS, YES; COMPULSORY HELMETS, NO

Peter Ladner takes a position:

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.

Rev. TwoWheeler is taking the initiative with a petition, asking Shirley Bond, the Minister of Justice and provincial Attorney-General, to amend the Motor-vehicle Act for exemptions to the compulsory helmet law.  You can get a copy of the letter and petition here to circulate.

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THE FUTURE IS VISIBLE

Davud Byrne lyrically explains how New York is going to redefine itself with bicycles:

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.”

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COUNTDOWN 

Portland is going to get a bike counter on the Hawthorne Bridge (here); Seattle will have one next to the Fremont Bridge (here).

This is what they do – even at -3 degrees:

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DEATH BY DEATH

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.

Besides the narratives, the LAB websites also includes a national map of cycling fatalities.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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RISK TAKING (NOT JUST) ON WALL STREET

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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.

Thanks to Doug Clarke. 

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A WORD TO THE WISE-ASS

From Michael Kluckner: “An addition to the Adanac bike lane at a pedestrian crossing at Templeton, maybe by a disgruntled pedestrian?”

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OF FURTHER INTEREST TO WALL STREET

U.S. Bicyclists Save $4.6 Billion By Riding Instead of Driving

Key data:

  • Bicyclists in the U.S. save $4.6 billion per year by riding, instead of driving
  • If American drivers replaced just one four-mile car trip with a bike each week for the whole year, it would save more than 2 billion gallons of gas.
  • From 2001 to 2009, Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans took up biking at faster rates than other Americans, representing 21 percent of all bike trips in the U.S. in 2009.

Thanks to Eric Griswold.

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THE DANES HAVE SOME GOOD IDEAS

From the Cycling Embassy of Denmark:

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.

Download HERE.

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.”

Thanks to Ron Richings.

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NEW YORK COVERS L.A.

From the New York Times:

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.”

Thanks to Ken Ohrn.

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OVERHEARD ON THE SEAWALL

Dianna Waggoner reports in:

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.

Another bike lover is born.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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HOT (BIKE) TIMES AT UBC

You’ve no doubt heard of WalkScore’s latest: Bikescoring major cities.  But you may not be aware of the contribution Prof. Kay Teschke and a group at UBC made to ‘Bike Score’:

By examining the “heat maps” of Bike Score for their city, municipal planners can locate neighbourhoods that are currently underserved and target them for improvements.

More here.

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FROM THE SADDLE:

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.
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THE PUCHER BUEHLER PAPER MACHINE – 2

It’s (almost) out:

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.

 Get it here on October 19.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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BIKE SHARE EVERYWHERE

New York has bike share; even Houston, for heaven’s sake, has bike share.  Vancouver ?… well, we have a helmet law.

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THE HELMET DEBATE

From Ken Ohrn:

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.

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BEGINNER ROAD BIKE CLINIC

From Evolution Coaching:

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.

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UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES

A National Public Radio interview, with transcript: David Darlington talks about his Bicycling article, “Why Johnny Can’t 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.

More here.

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DEFACEMENT

One more from Ken Ohrn:

While out on a meandering bike ride today in the glorious sunshine, I came across this sad example of how crude and nasty some of our fellow humans can be.

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This mural is a treasure, and is located at 1249 Adanac.  Called “Crossings”, it was painted in 2009.  Further detail on it HERE, and HERE.

It’s a disheartening thing to see, and took some of the joy out of my day.

But some good news in response from the artist:

I will be reworking/cleaning and resealing the mural within a month…had to wait for weather.

Read more »

An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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THE PARKITEER NETWORK

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.

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UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES

Stossel is not my favourite reporter (well, that’s a stretch), but then it kinda depends whether you agree with him or not about helmets.

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THE PUCHER BUEHLER PAPER MACHINE

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”.

More here.

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A NEW VISION FOR YUKON

And Tenth Avenue.

Rev. TwoWheeler has put a lot of work into a proposal to repaint Tenth and Yukon:

 

This is a great opportunity to improve a dangerous intersection cheaply and easily, simply by repainting it differently.  The images attached show the rough idea. The presentation is here.

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An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.

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NO COMMENT NEEDED

Erik Griswold posted this with “No Comment:”

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CRRAAASH

Face it: competitve cycling is no different than car racing when it comes to crashes.  Awful – but we can’t turn away.

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HEAVEN ON EARTH, aka SALT SPRING ISLAND

From the Velo-City Conference:

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.

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