The Progressive Review
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.- Ernest Hemingway
Al Jazeera America - A new study the first that analyzes several different models of how bike infrastructure affects cities concludes that policies and projects supportive of bike lanes are worth every penny, and then some.
The study, published by several researchers at universities in New Zealand in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, argues that for every dollar spent on bike-related infrastructure, cities can receive anywhere from $6 to $24 in cost savings in the form of reductions to pollution and traffic congestion, as well as lowered health care costs from decreased traffic fatalities and increased exercise.
The researchers used Auckland, New Zealand as their model city and applied five theoretical interventions to its infrastructure to see how bikers and other commuters would be affected. They found that the larger the investment in bike infrastructure, the more people would be encouraged to commute by bike, and therefore the larger the return on investment would be.
One of the most effective ways to increase bike traffic is to build separate bike lanes along major roads. The study found that these lanes could increase bike commuting by 20 percent by 2040. Separated bike lanes alongside car traffic also decrease injuries by 50 percent, the study said.
The researchers posited that the fastest and most cost-efficient way to get bikes on the road, cars off the road, and better the publics health was for a city to go all out: creating separate bike lanes on most roads as well as slowing car traffic on shared roads. That intervention was predicted to increase bike traffic by a whopping 40 percent by 2040, and decrease car traffic by the same amount, leading to the biggest cost savings of all: $24 dollars for every dollar spent on infrastructure.
The biggest cost savings would come from an overall increase in physical activity, leading to fewer public health problems that weigh down government budgets.
Unfortunately, a common bike strategy in cities sporadic improvements to roads, and the creation of bike lanes on only some routes was predicted to only increase bike traffic by 5 percent.
But the biggest problem with instituting this all-out strategy might not be government money but public perception. According to one researcher who talked with Bloomberg News, people think bike lanes are giving privileged travel to the few at the cost of a lot.
The age group with the highest rate of bicycling is the 18-24 age group, but the 55+ age group is the one that has been increasing its rate fastest (by far), and it is quickly gaining ground on the young.
According to Reuters, 20 of Frances companies and organizations have agreed to pay their employees 25 euro cents (about 34 cents in USD) for every kilometer cycled during the commute to and from work.
About cargo bikes
More than 11,000 British cyclists were fined for riding on pavements and running red lights last year. Of these, more than 7,000 cyclists were fined for cycling on pavements while over 4,000 were caught jumping red lights and ignoring other road signs and markings.
DC's Capital Bikeshares now hitting 10,000 rides a day
The one wheeler you won't fall off of
TWO BICYCLE WONDERS OF THE WORLD
More than 500 cities in 49 countries host advanced bike-sharing programs, with a combined fleet exceeding 500,000 bicycles according to Earth Policy Institute
Twike: A human-electric hybrid
Abandoned & stolen bikes
Some car makers now creating electric bikes
Something to replace your Segway?
The Alliance for Biking and Walking says the top cities for these activities are, in order, Boston, Wahsington DC, San Francisco, Seattle and New York
A new University of Massachusetts study shows that bicycle lanes create 46 percent more jobs than car-only road projects. The study examined 58 infrastructure projects in 11 states, and found out that cycling projects create a total of 11.4 local jobs for each $1 million spent, while road-only projects generate just 7.8 jobs per $1 million. - Good Is
A public bike-share system in NYC has been a long time coming, but it's almost here: The city has announced a partnership with Alta Bike Share, the company that runs systems in DC, London, and Montreal. And now for the best news: There will initially be 10,000 bikes, at 600 stations around the city.
Ecomodder - It may seem counterintuitive, but according to a recent report more cyclists on the road mean fewer accidents involving cyclists and motor vehicles. . . "It's a virtuous cycle," says Dr Julie Hatfield, an injury expert from University of New South Wales. "The likelihood that an individual cyclist will be struck by a motorist falls with increasing rate of bicycling in a community. And the safer cycling is perceived to be, the more people are prepared to cycle." Also, even more encouragingly, it doesn't seem that cycling infrastructure is responsible for the change:
Experts say the effect
is independent of improvements in cycling-friendly laws such
as lower speed limits and better infrastructure, such as bike
paths. Research has revealed the safety-in-numbers impact for
cyclists in Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, 14 European
countries and 68 Californian cities.
CHRISTOPHER CHERRY, LIVE SCIENCE - Electric bike users have taken Chinese cities by storm, quickly outnumbering the cars and in many cities, bicycles. Electric bikes range in style from traditional pedal bicycles powered by an electric motor to larger electric powered scooters. They are loosely restricted on speed and size, but given the same rights as bicycle users, operate in bicycle lanes, and do not require driver's licenses, vehicle registration or helmet use.
Proponents would suggest that the e-bike phenomenon is a positive development; after all, e-bikes are quiet, non-polluting and provide more mobility than any other mode of transportation. Opponents charge that e-bikes are unsafe, increase congestion, and indirectly pollute the environment through increased power plant emissions and lead pollution from their heavy batteries. Several cities have attempted to, or successfully, banned electric bikes from roadways, including the mega-cities of Beijing and Guangzhou.
Still, there has been little research on the true impacts of electric bikes in China. As a Ph.D. student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, I began conducting research, which led to a dissertation, on quantifying the impacts of electric bikes in China. . .
I found that electric bikes travel about 35 percent faster than bicycles and have a much larger range. In the city of Kunming, an electric bike can access 60 percent more jobs within 20 minutes than a traditional bicycle. Compared to a 30-40 minute bus ride, an electric bike rider can access three to six times the number of jobs. While this increase in mobility is remarkable, this mobility does come at a cost, namely increased lead pollution from battery use.
Electric bikes use one car-sized lead acid battery per year. Each battery represents 30-40 percent of its lead content emitted to the environment in the production processes, resulting in about 3 kilograms of lead emitted per battery produced. When scaled up the 40 million electric bikes currently on the roads, this is an astonishing amount of lead emitted into the environment.
This negative environmental impact is countered by other environmental benefits compared to most modes, including vastly reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Ultimately, the success or failure of electric bikes as a sustainable mode of transportation should be evaluated in the context of the extent to which they displace automobile. They certainly have fewer negative impacts than personal automobiles, but they currently displace mostly bus and bicycle users and only a small number of car users.
NEW TRICYCLE GIVES BIKING A DIFFERENT FEEL
TREE HUGGER - Mechanical Engineer Stephen Coates thought that traditional bikes has limitations when it came to balance, comfort, storage and joint-friendly leg action. He has developed the [three wheeled] hiker, and says that he "has done away with the inefficiencies of both traditional bicycles and recumbent bicycles - tricycles. For starters, the seat is at standard chair height and does not require a complicated movement to get onto and off of. The revolutionary tangent lever design abolishes circular pedal travel in favor of a simple leg extension for forward movement. Due to the versatility of this design, all that is required is a simple internal 3-speed hub to ensure optimal gearing with minimal changes. As for steering, all that's required is an intuitive lean, thanks to the new center-pivot steering ."
TOP RIGHT: Vienna's free bike system. Users can register
directly at the terminal or at the site. . . TOP LEFT:
An electric bike that has enough mileage on it to make it a feasible
alternative to the urban car. . . BOTTOM
RIGHT: Built in France in 1875, the Cynosphere was driven
by two caged dogs. The Society for the Protection of Animals
thought the idea inappropriate and further development was abandoned.
. . BOTTOM LEFT:
A hyperbike featuring speeds up to 50 mph, full body workout
and two independent brake systems. The driver twists his torso,
contracts the stomach and back muscles, and alternately extends
the arms up and down as in a foot pedal motion, while coordinating
with the legs to get the best push and pull from the lower pedals.
NORWAY'S BIKE LIFT
TRAMPE, NORWAR - The inventor of the Bicycle Lift and the owner of the company Design Management, Jarle Wanvik, is a true bicycle enthusiast. He always finds an excuse for parking his car and using his bicycle instead. In daily transport to and from work, to the shopping center etc., it is uncomfortable to be too warm and sweaty. In 1992, Wanvik got luminous visions about a bicycle lift that could carry cyclists uphill. Inspired by the ski lift technology, he visualized a lift design by which the cyclists could be pushed uphill without having to descend the bicycle.
Wanvik's home town is Trondheim, the third largest city of Norway, housing 150 000 inhabitants and 30,000 students. Trondheim is characterized by the old town center down by the seashore with a surrounding, terraced landscape formed back in the ice age. On the banks of these terraces, 100-300 m above sea level, we find most of the living areas, each of them with 20-30 000 inhabitants. On top of one of these terraces is the University of Trondheim.
To increase the usage of bicycles in Trondheim, the Municipal of Trondheim has through the recent years invested in building multiple, connected bicycle roads. Due to topographical height differences, however, there is limited bicycle commuting to and from the town center. In job/school commuting or shopping the last thing you want to be is sweaty, and climbing the hills to the top of the terraces in Trondheim will guarantee copious amounts of perspiration.
After having simulated the basic principle of the new product - pushing the cyclist by his backwardly stretched foot, the Public Roads Administration was convinced. In November 1992, Design Management AS was asked to deliver and install a prototype of the lift at Bakklandet, situated close to the town center and consisting of a commonly used hill leading to the university campus.
Normally, there are 20-30,000 trips per year. 220,000 have taken Trampe since the installment in 1993.
BIKE PORTLAND - Bob Crispin sent in these photos after seeing this wayward pedaler on the streets of Northeast Portland. Amazingly, the guy claims to have ridden this contraption all over the U.S. and down to Mexico. "He said his design was inspired by the moon rovers and the moon landing vehicle, the super structure and the shiny panels. The interior was sweet too, looked comfy, and had a map holder and lots of neat nooks and crannies to store stuff.". . . The craziest thing is that despite days of torrential rain, Bob said it was dry inside the cabin.
MICHAEL BLUEJAY - I've moved several times entirely by bicycle. Usually I've used a Worksman trike pulling a large 4'x3' trailer. I've hauled huge things with the Worksman, including couches and washing machines. It's funny how people tell me, "Oh, I wish I'd known you were moving, I have a car." As though we could fit a couch or a washing machine in their car. With a large trailer, I'm actually more mobile than I would be with a passenger automobile.
BIKE RIDERS MAKE HEADWAY IN SAN FRANCISCO
DANIEL B. WOOD, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR - By day, they are sober-minded city professionals - teachers, doctors, lawyers - who forgo cars and buses to commute by bicycle. One Friday night a month, they gather in this liberal bastion of activism for the cause of cleaner air and quieter and safer streets. One thousand to 2,000 strong on average, they pedal through traffic lights and stop signs like a diminutive band of Hobbit cyclists out to conquer the armies of Sauron (car owners of San Francisco). "It has taken a decade of organizing and lobbying, but bike riders in San Francisco have put themselves into the forefront of city politics," says Supervisor Chris Daly, one of 11 supervisors who last year gave a unanimous thumbs up to a five-year plan to create skeins of official pathways for bicyclists all over the city.
About 40,000 residents say they commute by bike regularly, which is less than 10 percent of the city's 450,000 registered car owners. They are led by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which has secured backing from the public and the city to develop plans for more bike lanes, official bike routes, bike parking, and bike racks on buses.
But not all residents are embracing the city's five-year plan. Critics filed a lawsuit to put the brakes on it. And in June, a San Francisco Superior Court judge put the plan on hold, preventing it from going forward until the court rules on the case. The hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13. . .
The size and influence of the SFBC has made it a model for large cities such as Miami and St. Louis, which also seek ways to ease traffic, parking, noise, and air pollution. . .
They also have established goodwill with the last-Friday-of-the-month ritual known as Critical Mass. Between 600 and 2,500 bicyclists gather at dusk and pedal shoulder-to-shoulder through city neighborhoods, while singing, playing boom boxes, and waving flags and banners - and taking up the length of at least two city blocks. Ten years ago, riders were often treated as obnoxious scofflaws intruding on civility. Now, people mostly welcome the parade as it passes.
"I'd say about 90 percent of the city believes in what they are doing," says a police officer riding behind the some 1,500 bikers during the Critical Mass bike ride last month.