"The essence of Van den Berg’s traffic circulation plan, as it came to be called, was that the centre of Groningen would be divided in four sections. For motorists, it would become impossible to go from one section to the other: cars had to take the ring-road around the inner city, whereas cyclists could move freely about on new cycle paths constructed to accommodate them. Driving a car would become a time-consuming affair in the centre of Groningen. In the future, travelling by bike would be a much quicker option."
"Under normal circumstances, an accidental death would be investigated thoroughly and the person responsible could be charged and punished for the life that has been cut short. Somehow, it often doesn’t seem to be regarded similarly when it’s a driver who accidentally kills a cyclist, even though the end result is the same.
This dichotomy has been observed again and again. On the afternoon of July 22, 2011, a teenage driver hit an unsuspecting John Przychodzen on the shoulder of Juanita Drive in Kirkland, Wash. Przychodzen, 49, died at the scene. The motorist was given a $42 ticket for changing lanes unsafely. He served no jail time, no mandatory instructional classes on driving safely, and no community service.
Arguably, the driver will have to live with the fact that he has killed a man and that, therefore, his punishment is actually much greater than the ticket’s value. However, most parking infractions are about $40, which begs the question: is someone’s life equal to a mild parking infraction?
It is incredibly infuriating for many to penalize someone who has eradicated a life by charging them such a minimal amount. If the government can stamp a $40+ ticket on an individual for leaving a car in the wrong place, how can that same government decide that accidentally killing a cyclist deserves a similar level of punishment?"
"The idea is that when driving zones are heavily delineated, drivers tend to be on autopilot, focusing on other cars rather than pedestrians or cyclists. That's why London has so many guard rails on either side of pedestrian crossings, preventing pedestrians from straying into the road where they're not supposed to. But 10 years ago, Kensington and Chelsea experimented with removing the railings from Kensington High Street and found that the number of pedestrian accidents dropped by 60%. It seems that when drivers are forced to be more aware and pedestrians are forced to take more responsibility for themselves, everyone is safer. Rules, it seems, were counterproductive."
"Most roads in the US are built for cars, not for pedestrians. Whether we're happy or unhappy with this, most of us are aware of it.
But this brilliant illustration, made by Swedish artist Karl Jilg and commissioned by the Swedish Road Administration, shows just how extreme the situation truly is — even in an urban business district that's designed with pedestrians in mind:"
The Flow is a system of modules that click together to create an elevated cycle track that physically separates cyclists from the motorised traffic. It is fantastically easy and fast to implement, and is perfect for cities wishing to test the benefits of separated bicycle infrastructure before investing in permanent solutions.
I concede that cycling "sans helmet" will lead to higher costs to society in some situations. This is because a number of non-helmeted cyclists will require medical treatment following cycle accidents which they would not need if they always donned protective helmets. However, the total costs involved here are dwarfed by the costs generated by those who smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, eat unhealthily and fail to exercise regularly.<br /><br />As such, it seems mighty odd to create legislation prohibiting people who are engaged in a healthy activity from taking a relatively small risk of creating a relatively small cost while allowing other people to engage in highly risky activities that will generate enormous social costs. Indeed, the whole thing smacks of discrimination against the cycling minority.
And yet the explosion of bicycle-flavored culture and activism lasted only a few years. In 1899, approximately 1.2 million bicycles had been produced in America–four years later, only half as many were made. The “cycle craze” was over. What happened? It might seem that the automobile had replaced the bicycle, but that was hardly the case, as there were only eight thousand cars in the entire United States at the turn of the century. When, in 1902, a reporter from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle asked a salesman, “Has the automobile affected the bicycle craze much?” the man replied: “Well, no, I can’t say it has. The bicycle business has practically been dead for some time.”
In 1897, a wealthy American businessman named Horace Dobbins began construction on a private, for-profit bicycle superhighway that would stretch from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles. It may seem like a preposterous notion now—everyone knows Angelenos don't get out of their cars—but at the time, amidst the height of a pre-automobile worldwide cycling boom, the idea attracted the attention of some hugely powerful players. And it almost got built.
"Cycling is popular among children, but results in thousands of injuries annually. In recent years, many states and localities have enacted bicycle helmet laws. We examine direct and indirect effects of these laws on injuries. Using hospital-level panel data and triple difference models, we find helmet laws are associated with reductions in bicycle-related head injuries among children. However, laws also are associated with decreases in non-head cycling injuries, as well as increases in head injuries from other wheeled sports. Thus, the observed reduction in bicycle-related head injuries may be due to reductions in bicycle riding induced by the laws."
"The Porteur doesn’t appear to have any motor or electric batteries. It looks greyhound-like. It doesn’t have a display, which I appreciate. Bikes don’t need displays.
Instead, it has a small on-off switch, and lights that are part of the bike itself, and turn on automatically when you need them.
It knows when you’re exerting yourself and helps you get up that hill, if you need even more, there’s a throttle you can push for a boost."
"Remarkably, the story makes no mention of the extraordinary figure for cycling’s modal share in Copenhagen, so I will: fully 37 percent of Copenhagen residents — and 55 percent of downtown dwellers — use bikes as their primary mode of transportation. Which points to another key Copenhagen innovation ..."
"One common denominator of successful bike programs around the world — from Paris to Barcelona to Guangzhou — is that almost no one wears a helmet, and there is no pressure to do so.
In the United States the notion that bike helmets promote health and safety by preventing head injuries is taken as pretty near God’s truth. Un-helmeted cyclists are regarded as irresponsible, like people who smoke. Cities are aggressive in helmet promotion.
But many European health experts have taken a very different view: Yes, there are studies that show that if you fall off a bicycle at a certain speed and hit your head, a helmet can reduce your risk of serious head injury. But such falls off bikes are rare — exceedingly so in mature urban cycling systems.
On the other hand, many researchers say, if you force or pressure people to wear helmets, you discourage them from riding bicycles. That means more obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And — Catch-22 — a result is fewer ordinary cyclists on the road, which makes it harder to develop a safe bicycling network. The safest biking cities are places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where middle-aged commuters are mainstay riders and the fraction of adults in helmets is minuscule.
“Pushing helmets really kills cycling and bike-sharing in particular because it promotes a sense of danger that just isn’t justified — in fact, cycling has many health benefits,” says Piet de Jong, a professor in the department of applied finance and actuarial studies at Macquarie University in Sydney. He studied the issue with mathematical modeling, and concludes that the benefits may outweigh the risks by 20 to 1.
He adds: “Statistically, if we wear helmets for cycling, maybe we should wear helmets when we climb ladders or get into a bath, because there are lots more injuries during those activities.” The European Cyclists’ Federation says that bicyclists in its domain have the same risk of serious injury as pedestrians per mile traveled."
"The Bicycle Helmet Mirror Re-Invented
Retractable, micro-adjustable, land-fill resistant, with a minimal, all-aluminum design that will last a lifetime!"
The Pump-Hub has been in development for several years. Manning makes the entire unit himself and it consists of a hub-shell with a pump inside that attaches to an air house that attaches directly to an inner tube valve. Once attached and set, the rotation of your wheel moves the pump, which pushes air into your tire.
Manning says the hub can inflate a tire up to 125 psi. It will automatically shut off at any desired pressure (you can set it via a lever on the hub flange). Basically, once you install the hub, you just attach the hose to your valve and then forget about it.
In the Seattle suburb where I grew up, the main transportation choice most residents face is what kind of car to buy. I moved to the city after college and, inspired by the “car-lite” lifestyles of several friends, decided to give cycling a try.
I fell in love with it. Urban cycling freed me from slow buses, parking meters, and mind-numbing elliptical machines. I arrived at work with more energy. I lost weight. I discovered charming neighborhood restaurants. I could smell fresh laundry and dinners in the oven while I pedaled home through residential streets. Getting from A to B on my bike became the best part of my day.
Recently, I won a fellowship and got to spend six months living life on two wheels in the world’s most bike-friendly cities. I brought home 10 lessons for us here in the States:
We’ve already seen how the bicycle emancipated women, but it wasn’t exactly a smooth ride. The following list of 41 don’ts for female cyclists was published in 1895 in the newspaper New York World by an author of unknown gender. Equal parts amusing and appalling, the list is the best (or worst, depending on you look at it) thing since the Victorian map of woman’s heart.
This text was first published in Le Monde in early 1973. Over lunch in Paris the venerable editor of that daily, as he accepted my manuscript, recommended just one change. He felt that a term as little known and as technical as “energy crisis” had no place in the opening sentence of an article that he would be running on page 1. As I now reread the text, I am struck by the speed with which language and issues have shifted in less than five years. But I am equally struck by the slow yet steady pace at which the radical alternative to industrial society—namely, low-energy, convivial modernity—has gained defenders. In this essay I argue that under some circumstances, a technology incorporates the values of the society for which it was invented to such a degree that these values become dominant in every society which applies that technology. The material structure of production devices can thus irremediably incorporate class prejudice. High-energy technology, at least as applied to traffic, provides a clear example. Obviously, this thesis undermines the legitimacy of those professionals who monopolize the operation of such technologies. It is particularly irksome to those individuals within the professions who seek to serve the public by using the rhetoric of class struggle with the aim of replacing the “capitalists” who now control institutional policy by professional peers and laymen who accept professional standards Mainly under the influence of such “radical” professionals, this thesis has, in only five years, changed from an oddity into a heresy that has provoked a barrage of abuse. The distinction proposed here, however, is not new. I oppose tools that can be applied in the generation of use-values to others that cannot be used except in the production of commodities This distinction has recently been re-emphasized by a great variety of social critics The insistence on the need for a balance between convivial and industrial tools is, in fact, the common distinctive element in an emerging consensus among groups engaged in radical politics A superb guide to the bibliography in this field has been published in Radical Technology (London and New York, 1976), by the editors of Undercurrents. I have transferred my own files on the theme to Valentina Borremans, who is now working on a librarians’ guide to reference materials on use-value-oriented modern tools, scheduled for publication in 1978. (Preliminary drafts of individual chapters of this guide can be obtained by writing to Valentina Borremans, APDO 479, Cuernavaca, Mexico.) The specific argument on socially critical energy thresholds in transportation that I pursue in this essay has been elaborated and documented by two colleagues, Jean-Pierre Dupuy and Jean Robert, in their two jointly written books, La Trahison de l’opulence (Paris, 1976) and Les Chronophages (Paris, 1978).
—Ivan Illich: Toward a History of Needs. New York: Pantheon, 1978
There are lots of excuses for driving instead of riding your bike.
“It’s too cold.”
“I’m going too far.”
“I don’t want to show up sweaty.”
But these all seem flimsy when you consider the actual impact of choosing your car over your bike.
The typical American family spends almost $8000 a year to own and operate a car, when you count the car payments, gas, oil, maintenance and repairs, licenses, parking, and insurance.
Transportation of all types accounts for more than 25% of the world’s commercial energy use, and motor vehicles account for nearly 80% of that.
Cars emit 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), a heat-trapping, illness-causing gas, for every gallon of gas burned.
Slowly but surely, statistics like this are starting to make economic, environmental, and physical sense to people in all walks of life. In fact, the percentage of people using a bike as their primary mode of transportation grew 45 percent between 2000 and 2009…in the United States alone.
In addition to being cheaper and cleaner than driving a car, a study published recently in the British Medical Journal found that bike sharing in urban environments can actually help save lives.
Want more compelling reasons to adopt the two-wheeled lifestyle? Scroll on.
There must be times when you'd like to take a big load of groceries on your bike. Or you've thought of taking your kids around by bike but a trailer doesn't look safe enough. A cargo bike is a versatile tool for this. I've collected information on how to get a cargo bike in Canada. For more info, read the wikipedia article on cargo bikes.
Bike projects in the Twin Cities are not limited to Minneapolis. St. Paul and many suburbs are also making it easier for people to travel on two wheels and two feet. Steve Elkins, Transportation Chair of the Metropolitan Council, a government body that guides development throughout the region, highlighted his efforts as city council member in suburban Bloomington (home of the Mall of America) to push the idea of Complete Streets—meaning that roadways should serve walkers and bikers as well as cars.
He extolled the virtue of road diets, conversion of four-way streets into three-way configurations with alternating center turn lanes—which create opportunities to add bike lanes or widen sidewalks without diminishing capacity for cars. “When done in the course of regular road repair projects, they cost nothing more than what it takes for a community outreach campaign,” he noted.
One theme recurring through the entire tour was that better bike facilities benefit not just bicyclists, but everyone. Bike lanes improve safety for motorists too, by slowing the speed of traffic, explained Mayor Rybak, noting “we’ve found they’re the best traffic calming device around.” Joan Pasiuk, Program Director for Bike Walk Twin Cities, distributed materials documenting how new bike facilities get bicyclist off the sidewalks, a major breakthrough for pedestrians’ safety and peace of mind.
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