Annals of Cycling – 47
An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.
TOO MANY BICYCLES?
A problem we’d like to have – like Copenhagen. In the last of her series in the The Sun, Kelly Sinoski looks at the future of cycling in Vancouver.
The popularity of cycling in Europe is no surprise. In countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and parts of Germany, 30 to 40 per cent of urban trips are made by bicycle.
Compare that with Canada and Metro Vancouver, where only two per cent of all trips are made by bike. …
Gordon Price, director of Simon Fraser’s City Program, said Vancouver is never likely reach the same scale of cycling numbers as Europe* but problems of gridlock — and associated issues like rising tensions and road rage — can happen anywhere a lot of people sharing the same space, whether they’re in a car, on foot or pedalling a bicycle.
* A clarification: we’re not likely to reach European numbers in the car-dependent-designed post-war suburbs, at least until they’re rebuilt. But within the central area, depending on factors like the price of driving and scale of infrastructure … well, why not?
A PLACE WHERE NO ONE STEALS BIKES?
Copenhagen, apparently – and Brian Merchant explains why in Treehugger:
Nobody really wanted the bikes, it turns out, because everyone that wanted one already had one. Or had access to one, through the city’s bike-share system. No bike thief could make any serious money selling bikes. Besides, income equality was much greater in Denmark, and the have-nots were not nearly as destitute or desperate as those in a city like New York. The incentive for organized bike-stealing was simply not there.
Sure, bikes got stolen, sometimes, said the Dane. But that was mostly the work of drunk kids or jerks.
AIRBAGS FOR CYCLISTS
Swedish auto maker Volvo has just announced what it says is a first: an external airbag on the front of the car designed to help protect pedestrians in the event of a collision.
Richard Campbell sees the possibility:
Similar measures should be taken to protect cyclists and pedestrians from impact. It is more efficient material and energy wise to put impact absorbing measures on stationary objects rather than mobile vehicles. It also makes sense, as in the case of exterior air bags on cars, it place impact absorption measures on motor vehicles instead of pedestrians and cyclists.I suspect these ones are safer for cyclists although they seemed to be designed to protect vehicles from impact. Even better, bollards, poles, benches, trees and other hazards should not be placed in the middle of sidewalks and paths.
Bicycles are so entrenched in day-to-day life in the Netherlands and Denmark, the countries have official cycling embassies. It should therefore come as no surprise that Amsterdam and Copenhagen have each produced obsessives who, Tommy Ton-like, painstakingly catalog their city’s parade of two-wheel street style. Marc van Woudenberg, of Amsterdamize, and Mikael Colville-Andersen, of Copenhagen Cycle Chic, agree that their respective cycling cultures are far more alike than different. “It’s as normal as running water,” Van Woudenberg says. “We don’t fetishize it,” Colville-Andersen adds.