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Annals of Cycling – 47

March 20, 2012

An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.




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?




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.




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.
Copenhagenize weighs in.
From the New York Times style magazine, T:
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.
A wonderful slide show accompanies:
Plus a whole section on Urban Biking.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tessa permalink
    March 21, 2012 6:40 am

    Having recently visited Copenhagen, I was amazed at the number of bikes with no lock, or simply a small device that locked only the front tire, but didn’t attach it to anything. People parked their bikes on the street outside their apartment not locked to anything while they were home. It amazed me at the time, but reading this makes a lot of sense, and I never got the sense that bike theft was common. In fact, when wind would knock over people’s bikes, people would come by and pick them up again. Not bad, really.

  2. March 23, 2012 9:41 pm

    I would argue that some of the cycle chic attitude does fetishize, just in a different way. The pics that I’ve seen them touting as ‘the way to go’ are always of the stylish and beautiful and there’s a measure of disapproval from their most slavish acolytes if one dares to don something waterproof and functional.

    To toot my own horn somewhat, I’ve been asking why we don’t make car exteriors out of something soft and forgiving for a few years. Just make the hood and front quarter panels out of neoprene or something similar. No brainer IMO.

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