Bicycle Network: Skill Up
Developments from around the bike world
Hawaii to surf bike wave
29 January 2014. The resort island of Hawaii is turning to bikes to solve the congestion crisis that is strangling its carefree beach culture.
Like many coastal resorts, Waikiki Beach is no longer the place you come to get away from it all: it is already crammed with all the cars you came to get away from.
Towns like Byron Bay and Noosa in Australia, and Nice in France are also grappling with this problem: to be carefree you have to be car-free.
Hawaii is planning an extensive bike route network and a bike share scheme so that people can leave their cars at home. A bus-based public transport system will also be introduced.
A recent study found that high pedestrian numbers were the key to successful tourism, but that the current system that prioritised cars over pedestrians and bikes was a barrier to the tourist trade. It also found that many of the car trips were unnecessary.
Tourism businesses are leading the way. The Hilton Hotel has invested in extensive end-of-trip facilities to encourage its staff to ride to work. Employees have found that a commute that used to take up to 60 minutes in a car can now be done in 15 on a bike.
Design and construction of the new networks are expected in 2015 and 2016.
Bikes strike polar opposites
12 December 2013. While fat Santas head away from the North Pole this Christmas, fat bikes are heading to the South Pole.
A number of expeditions have hopes of getting bike riders to the South Pole this year, though some are already struggling. A bid by an Australian rider is now set for next year.
Since the advent of the fat bike several years ago—a bike with super-wide high floatation tyres able to cover soft ground—adventurers have eyed off the prospect of using the southern summer to be the first person to reach the South Pole on a bike.
At least one previous attempt has failed before this year. Keeping hands and feet warm, and carrying enough food for the journey is a test.
Even with the fat bike tyres, riders find the going extremely difficult, either sinking into soft snow, skidding on light snow, or fighting head winds.
One of the riders heading south this year has a sled onto which he mounts his bike and then tows while skiing when the going get too tough for riding. He skiing most of the time.
Daniel Burton has opted for the the purer, ride-only method as he takes on the two month journey, which you can track in real time via satellite.
Melburnian Kate Leeming has been testing a two-wheel drive bike in Norway which she hopes will give greater traction in a bid she has planned for next summer.
Central London throttles back to 20 MPH
3 October 2013. While Australian cities and towns are struggling to get 40 kph speed limits imposed, safety conscious cities around the world are now moving to 30 kph limits, with London the latest to join the club.
The City of London, the district in the centre of Greater London and the heart of the UK's financial sector, is dialling back the speedo to to 20 miles per hour on all streets (32 kph).
All other surrounding boroughs have already adopted a 20 mph limit and another eight of Greater London’s 32 boroughs have lowered speeds or are considering doing so.
Other 20 mph zones in London have recorded a drop in injuries and fatalities of 46 per cent. A person struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph has a 95 percent chance of surviving the collision.
Local police have backed the change and have called for additional speed cameras and other resources.
As well as lower limits London's boroughs are also introducing street calming measures to reduce the speed of motorists.
Bike riders accounted for 47 percent of all road fatalities in the City of London in 2011 and continue to be disproportionately represented in trauma statistics.
Paris and Tokyo already have 30 KPH limits.
Bikes: Amazon goes with the flow
17 September 2013. On-line retailer Amazon.com will build separated bike lanes for two blocks to help riders reach its massive new office building complex being developed in downtown Seattle.
Seattle has few bike facilities in the downtown area and Amazon hopes its seed investment will lead to the lanes being extended elsewhere in the city.
As well as building the 2.1 metre paths with a line of trees to separating the bike riders from other traffic, the company is giving the city council $250,000 to conduct a feasibility study into further extensions.
The company also will provide bike parking for about 400 bikes in each of the three towers in its development—three times the number of bike spaces required under city code and many more than other office projects provide.
“Cyclists are part of the fabric of Seattle, and so we’re thrilled to be creating a new cycle track that will make the ride to and from downtown safer and easier for all cyclists in the community,” said John Schoettler, Amazon director of global real estate and facilities.
Although Seattle has only about 1.5 kilometres of separated bike path, it has plans for more than 160 kilometres, once funding is found.
Dubai gets the hots for bikes
2 September 2013. Dubai, where temperatures can hit 50 degrees C, is building 850km of cycle tracks to encourage cycling, giving a whole new meaning to the term "scorcher".
Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority has already completed more than 100k of tracks as part of the Dubai Bicycle Master Plan.
Initially met with skepticism, opinions changed when an early fitness circuit was a surprise hit with locals and expats.
Now the plans have been revised to place more facilities in downtown and in the new suburban developments. An aim is to connect as many tracks as possible with the nearest Dubai Metro stations.
Some 1,400 bike racks have been already been installed near various Metro stations for cyclists to securely park their bikes before switching to trains.
“Most of the tracks planned will be dedicated exclusively for cyclists but in some busy and low-speed areas, cyclists will have to share space with other motorists though in a safer environment,” said Nasser Abu Shehab of the RTA.
Apart from the construction of tracks the RTA is also carrying out campaigns to encourage people to take up cycling.
“The cycling master plan is developed to provide a dedicated cycling space across the emirate in a bid to encourage the use of bikes as an environment-friendly transit means, and it also offers health benefits.
"The RTA aims to raise the proportion of pedestrians and cyclists since they involve traffic, health and environmental benefits,” said Abu Shehab.
("Scorcher" is a term from the early days of cycling to describe fast and care-free riders.)
Brit bike cash shames Aussies
21 August 2013. The British Government will pump an additional $133M into cycling facilities across the nation in the next two years in a concerted bid to get more people riding bikes.
Meanwhile, in an election-focused Australia, our major political parties are yet to find funds for Australia's bike riders.
Alternatively, Prime Minister David Cameron said his government wanted to see cycling soar.
"Our athletes have shown they are among the best in the world and we want to build on that, taking our cycling success beyond the arena and onto the roads, starting a cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists," Mr Cameron said.
"We want to make it easier and safer for people who already cycle as well as encouraging far more people to take it up.
The announcement brings the British Government's total spend to $255M by 2015.
The latest $133M initiative is designed to promote cycling in eight cities—Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich—and bring them closer to the cycling standards of Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The British Government said the investment brings the level of funding for bikes to $17 per head of population, the minimum threshold for bike facilities spending in England.
The money will help improve existing cycle networks, pay for new ones and create segregated routes in some areas.
The investment will also provide for:
- Improvements at 14 locations on the trunk road network where major roads have been identified as posing an obstacle for bike journeys.
- Four national parks—New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor—will receive £17m between them for cycling related infrastructure
Brian Cookson, the president of British Cycling, said: "It is very encouraging that Mr Cameron has shown leadership by recognising that better provision for people who want to travel by bike is fundamental to modern transport policy."
Copenhagen rides to the front
8 August 2013. Copenhageners are riding more frequently and are more satisfied with their cycling city than ever before, according to the 2012 Copenhagen Bicycle Account.
The bi-annual Bicycle Account, which assesses cycling development in the City of Copenhagen, found 1.27 million kilometres were cycled each day in 2012, up 36% from 1996.
The city scored an amazing 93% for rider satisfaction. Cycling conditions, new initiatives and cyclists’ satisfaction ratings are key areas focused on in the account.
The findings come from telephone interviews with 1,021 randomly selected Copenhagen residents as well as data from the Transport Survey of Transport Behaviour.
The positive state of cycling in Copenhagen reflects a city that has clear targets and objectives to improve cycling conditions, cyclists satisfaction and ultimately see 50% of commuters cycling to work or school by 2015.
Although Copenhagen’s commuter levels are the envy of cities the world over, Copenhagen’s mayor, Ayfer Baykal, realises there’s work to do with current commuter levels at 33% and says that: “we should not be content to be good when we can be better.
"We are addressing the challenge and in 2013 alone we have devoted DKK 250 million to improve the conditions for cycling in Copenhagen.”
This kind of investment has yielded positive results from surveyed Copenhageners, who are 11 percentage points more satisfied with the condition of cycling tracks, up from 51% in 2010 to 61% in 2012. However, responses are less positive about the condition of smaller roads without cycling tracks, where satisfaction levels are at 32%.
Increasing the sense of safety cyclists feel is another key objective in Copehagen’s Bicycle Strategy. Over the last four years, Copenhageners have increased their sense of safety from 51% in 2008 to 76% in 2012.
Traffic manners campaigns
Large improvements to infrastructure such as the widening of cycle tracks in congested areas, as well as ‘traffic manners’ campaigns have been effective in making cyclists feel safe.
Copenhageners responded positively to the “Karma campaign” during 2011 and 2012 with 87% stating they thought behavioural change campaigns were a good idea.
Mayor Baykal says the city is “very close to their goal of four out of five cycling Copenhageners who feel safe. This clearly indicates that efforts to prioritise cycling as a serious mode of transport have worked.”
With a pledge to become the best city of cyclists in 2015, Copenhagen is keeping a close eye on its nearest competitor, Amsterdam. According to data released in 2008, Copenhagen and Amsterdam had roughly the same amount of people making cycling trips within the city, at 29% of the modal share.
Outside the city, however, Amsterdam had Copenhagen covered with residents living in outer Amsterdam cycling nearly as much as those living in the city of Amsterdam. In Copenhagen, the share of cyclists dropped drastically outside the municipalities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg to 10% in rural areas, contrasting with 26% outside Amsterdam.
Despite these differences, largely due to government and geographical reasons, Copenhagen is arguably a safer city to cycle as twice as many deaths per capita occurred in Amsterdam during 2011 and 2012.
The Norrebrogade street initiative undertaken in 2011 and 2012 proved valuable—widening cycle tracks, instilling separated bus platforms and restricting on through traffic were key measures designed to improve the street’s overall attractiveness and useability. The changes not only increasing bicycle traffic (10%) and reduced car traffic (10%), but reduced the number of accidents for all road users in the area by a significant 45%.
The account also surveyed motorists’ habits and attitudes. One in three car trips in Copenhagen were found to be less than 5 kilometres, most of which were for shopping.
69 per cent of drivers wants traffic restricted
Some 82% of motorists felt improved infrastructure is important to encourage people to cycle rather than drive for short trips. Interestingly, when asked for their approval of Copenhagen municipalities actively restricting car traffic, 69% of motorists approved, 17% were indifferent and 14% disapproved.
Studies found comfort and travel time, were the major factors for both motorists and cyclists in their willingness to cycle more often.
The children of Copenhagen proved they were just as willing to jump on the bike with 58% of parents stating their child cycle to school. Of those parents who did not let their child cycle to school, 51% said they would if their route to school was safer.
Parents that accompanied their child cycling to school also said they felt safer about their child’s route to school (58%). Conversely, parents of children riding alone felt just 21% safe about their child’s ride to school.
Despite these concerns, there have been no deaths from traffic accidents from school children since 2006. Copenhagen schools have also stepped up their commitment to safer roads to school for their students.
Between 2010 and 2012, as part of the ‘Safe Road to School’ program, 87 schools and institutions established physical facilities to promote cycling and walking along with education courses and skills programs.
London's bike count gets 'near-Dutch' results
24 June 2013. The biggest ever bike use census in London has revealed that bike riders make up one-in-four road users during the morning peak hour—with bikes even outnumbering other vehicles on key routes, such as river crossings and roundabouts.
The study, conducted by Transport for London over two weeks in April, found that, at 29 of the 164 count locations, bike riders made up the majority of vehicles on the road—a further sign that the 21st century bike boom is helping London close the gap on Amsterdam as a leading cycle capital.
Bikes now account for 24 per cent of all road traffic in central London during the morning peak and 16 per cent across the whole day.
Separate Transport for London figures already show that cyclists now make 570,000 trips in London every day compared with 290,000 trips in 2001, with almost 9,300 riders—11 a minute—crossing London Bridge daily.
The research was commissioned by London Mayor Boris Johnson and the findings will help City Hall deliver the Mayor’s £1 billion cycle revolution through a more extensive cycle network. The mayor’s “cycle vision” aims to sustain the cycling boom by increasing cyclist numbers by 400 per cent from 2001 to 2026.
For more information on the study, click here.
£10 Poms to roll again
2 May 2013. A landmark report on the future of cycling in Britain has called for the national transport budget to allocate at least £10 a year per person to accelerate the country's move to more bike riding
And that's just the start: the funding would then increase as cycling levels increased.
The target is 10 per cent of all journeys in Britain by bike by 2025.
The report of the influential All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group inquiry ‘Get Britain Cycling’ also calls for 32kph speed limits to become standard in urban areas and lower speed limits on many rural roads. (A summary is here)
The group’s report follows extensive public evidence from over 100 individuals and organisations, and a wide range of government departments and ministers.
Key recommendations include:
- Cycling should be considered at an earlier stage in all planning decisions, whether transport schemes or new houses or businesses
- More use should be made of segregated cycle lanes
- Just as children learn to swim at school they should learn to ride a bike
- The Government should produce a detailed cross-departmental Cycling Action Plan, with annual progress reports
- Appointment of a National Cycling Champion to advocate for cycling across all departments and externally
It is both possible and necessary to expand the role of cycling in the nation’s transport and social life, says the group.
This will lead to reduced congestion, environmental benefits and healthier citizens.
"It is essential that the patterns of spending on cycling should be seen as mainstream commitments, with long term continuity rather than temporary initiatives, says the group.
"While these are welcome, they should be in addition to a much larger sustained base of funding, not in place of it.
"Many of the improvements that would benefit cyclists, such as improvements to road quality, creation of segregated cycle tracks and junction changes, will also benefit pedestrians and other road users. They should therefore form part of planned highway maintenance programmes."
For this to happen, leadership is needed right from the top, the MPs and Peers conclude.
Boris' big bang
15 March 2013. Mayor Boris Johnson has committed A$1.3 billion to transform London's cycling environment over the next 10 years.
The plan will involve major investment in continuous, 'super-highway' networks, the introduction of separated bike lanes, the development of 'Quietways' back-street networks, and Dutch influenced local centres that are deeply traffic calmed and bike friendly.
In a move with significant symbolic importance, traffic lanes will be removed from some major arterial streets and replaced with bikes lanes, beginning with the Victoria Embankment and the Westway.
Mr Johnson said cycling will be treated not as niche, marginal, or an afterthought, but as what it is: an integral part of the transport network, with the capital spending, road space and traffic planners’ attention befitting that role.
"I want cycling to be normal, a part of everyday life. I want it to be something you feel comfortable doing in your ordinary clothes, something you hardly think about.
I want more women cycling, more older people cycling, more black and minority ethnic Londoners cycling, more cyclists of all social backgrounds – without which truly mass participation can never come," the mayor said.
"As well as the admirable Lycra-wearers, and the enviable east Londoners on their fixed-gear bikes, I want more of the kind of cyclists you see in Holland, going at a leisurely pace on often clunky steeds. I will do all this by creating a variety of routes for the variety of cyclists I seek.
"There will be greatly-improved fast routes on busy roads for cyclists in a hurry. And there will be direct, continuous, quieter routes on side streets for new cyclists, cautious cyclists and all sorts of other people who would rather take it more slowly. But nothing I do will affect cyclists’ freedom to use any road they choose."
By 2015 London will be spending A$210 million a year on its annual bike budget, about A$24 per head.
Sir Peter Hendy, Commissioner, Transport for London, who will be charged with delivering the plan said: "In urban transport, cycling is now at the cutting edge. Across the western world, from Paris to New York, from Edinburgh to Dublin, forward-thinking cities are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in the bicycle, knowing that well-designed schemes can deliver benefits far greater than their relatively modest costs.
"Because transport is not just how you get around. It is part of what shapes a city, for good and for ill. Cycling shapes a city – for all its people, cyclists or not – in ways that are almost always good.
"I believe this is about so much more than routes for cyclists. It is about the huge health and economic benefits that greater cycling can bring. It is about improving London’s streets and places for everyone, including those with no intention of getting on a bike. And it is about helping the whole transport system meet the enormous demands that will be placed on it."
More details on the plan here.
More bike racks please: 38,000 more
7 March 2013. Amsterdam will install a further 38,000 bike parking racks in the city by 2020 to meet the demand of the growing number of bike riders in the Dutch capital.
And in just the next three years the city will spend A$72M on its bike facilities.
Bicycle usage in Amsterdam reached 490,000 trips per day in 2012.
Many routes now carry 1500 bikes in rush hour, and the busiest carry 3500 riders during the peak period.
Cycling lanes and paths in the city centre are too narrow to accommodate this large stream of cyclists, and bottlenecks arise at busy points. According to the municipality, investment in infrastructure has been lagging, resulting in overflowing bike racks and undersized cycling paths on the main routes in the city centre.
The Amsterdam cycling network is for the most part in good shape, according to the municipal plan, except for the city centre that often lacks space to enable the construction of separated cycling lanes.
This is why 15 kilometres of red cycling paths will be constructed where the worst bottlenecks occur.
The municipality will also work on the "Plus Network" for bikes: a sparse network of spacious, comfortable, safe, and fast routes within the city centre where riders have priority.
Cycling routes that will become part of the Plus Network must have sufficient width to accommodate the number of cyclists using them. Cyclists will get as much priority as possible at intersections and waiting time indications lights will enhance their comfort.
In the period leading up to 2020, the municipality, together with other parties such as Prorail and the Amsterdam City Region, will invest almost A$152M to deal with the most important bottlenecks in the cycling path network, and to implement parking arrangements for bicycles.
About A$114M of that money will go to constructing the 38,000 bike parking places. The city estimates that A$215M will need to be allocated for bicycle parking by 2040.
In comparison with other modes of travel, the municipality calculates that investments in the bicycle have the most effect for each Euro spent.
Germans aim at 15% on bikes
1 October 2012. The German government has released national cycling strategy which envisages 15 percent of all trips on bikes by 2020.
This compares to the 10 percent last measured in 2008. The target has been split to account for the urban/rural difference: 16 per cent in cities and 13 per cent in the country.
The key pillars of the plan include the extension of promotional activities to support cycling, a raised awareness of cycling as a mode of transport in rural areas, and the improvement of traffic safety.
The plan was developed after extensive consultation with State and Local Government, which is from where most of the investment to develop cycling in Germany comes. The Federal Government, while developing the strategy, has not been known for its generosity with funding for bike projects not on Federal roads.
A key recommendation is that cities and towns spend between $10 and $24 per inhabitant each year on bike investment.
Other recommendations include:
- better bicycle parking at railway stations
- integration of bike transport into mainstream transport planning and construction
- jump-start financial incentives for towns and cities with 10% or less mode share
- more road safety research
- systematic counting and measurement of bike use
One problem still up in the air is Germany's history of relatively high speed limits in urban areas. The strategy said local authorities 'may' introduce 30 kph limits, although the default is 50kph.
Netherlands goes the distance
6 September 2012. For the first time the Netherlands has produced an accurate measure of its bike lane infrastructure—a phenomenal 39,700 kilometres of on and off road paths. But they want more.
The Netherlands Cyclist Union discovered 35,000k of separated paths and a further 4,700k of bikes lanes on roads.
While they are happy with the result, it is still not enough.
"The roads are overcrowded, especially in the provinces where a lot of cycling is been done," Cyclist Union Director Hugo van der Steenhoven said. "This is not pleasant and sometimes even unsafe."
"Everyone wants to keep riding, especially the vulnerable road users such as children and the elderly.
"Therefore more bicycle roads are needed. A nice mission for the new government."
The research into the path network was undertaken by the Cyclist Union for the development of its route planner, which is nationall in scope covering all 12 provinces.
They used more than 1000 volunteers from all over the country to verify the routes and facilities. The result is what they believe is the best route planner and the best map of bike routes in the country.
Liverpool rolls out 32kph limit
28 May 2012. More than 70 per cent of Liverpool (UK) roads are being restricted to 20mph (32kph) in a major four-year safety initiative.
While Australian cities and towns struggle to get to 40 kph, Liverpool will now convert 587 kilometres of road to 32kph after initially converting about 31 per cent of the roads and finding that successful.
The move will cost $4M over 4 years. Remarkably more than $1M of the budget is coming from the local health authorities, who have determined that lower speed limits get better health outcomes than alternatives such as more treatment facilities for crash victims.
Under the proposals it is calculated that there could potentially be a total reduction of 54 collisions a year in the proposed 20mph speed limit areas. This would present a saving to society of over £5.2m a year.
Trips times are expected to increase by between 40 seconds and a couple of minutes. Many obstacles cause people to slow down or stop many times on a journey – junctions, traffic lights, cars turning, parked cars, bends, pedestrian crossings, volume of traffic etc.
Research shows that a pedestrian has a 50 per cent chance of surviving if they are hit by a car travelling at 30mph; this figure increases to 90 per cent if a car is travelling at 20mph.
Under the plans, Liverpool has been divided up into seven areas, and these are being prioritised based on the number of collisions. The scheme would cover the majority of residential roads, including roads outside schools on strategic routes, where possible.
First bike-bahn opens
19 April 2012. The first of the bike super highways being built in Denmark has been opened to traffic.
The new route takes riders from the suburb of Albertslund the entire 22 kilometres into central Copenhagen.
It is part of a planned 300 kilometer road network to boost bike use and cut CO2 by giving bikes dedicated routes through the city and its suburbs, eliminating as many stops as possible and maximising speed and safety.
A total of 26 such routes are planned, which will increase by 30 percent the number of bike lanes in greater Copenhagen.
A third of commuters in the greater Copenhagen area already travel by bike, with most of them traveling distances less than 10 km.
The new cycle highways will increase these distances, providing capacity for an additional 15,000 riders.
This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7,000 tons per year, and reduce healthcare expenditure by 300 million Danish kroner (around $50M) annually, owing to improved health of commuters, the city authorities said.
The highways project will expand and link existing bike lanes in greater Copenhagen, and help cyclists identify the best routes through better signage, safer traffic intersections, and traffic lights timed to give the most green lights in succession, along with timers indicating when lights will change.
Free access to air pumps, cyclist rest stops and bike parking are among other amenities provided to urge more commuters to leave their personal cars at home and get on their bikes.
"One in three people living in Greater Copenhagen say they would bike more if it were easier to do so," said Vibeke Storm Rasmussen, Chair of the Greater Copenhagen Regional Council, in a statement announcing the opening of the super highways.
"The bike-bahn is the best thing we can do to make cycling a real alternative to driving for even more commuters. The more people we can encourage to bike, the more we can reduce congestion and pollution - both of which will improve quality of life in Greater Copenhagen," she added.
L.A. banishes 'unAmerican' bike lanes
Los Angeles City Hall has reversed its bike lane plans for downtown LA and painted out recently installed green lanes. The reason? The film industry complained that the city no longer looked like America.
Apparently Hollywood execs have not become aware that bike lanes are rolling out in cities all over the US and that the real America is now filling up with bikes and bike lanes.
Last year L.A. city used federal government funding to create a new bike lane on Spring Street featuring green paint that would be familiar to Australia riders.
Film producers who periodically used this part of the city for location filming recoiled in shock and demanded it be taken out.
According to local riders production vehicles took no notice of the lanes in any case and parked all over them.
The City has compromised and will no longer use green paint on the lanes. In return the film industry has undertaken to not park in the lanes and leave them free for bikes to ride on.
Film L.A. said the film industry did not opposes bike lanes—as long as they did not look like bike lanes.
Facebook unveils bike plan
23 February 2012. The social-networking behemoth Facebook has developed its own bike plan and bike infrastructure program to help get 3600 employees riding to work at its Menlo Park campus in Silicon Valley.
Facebook will collaborate with local municipalities to create safe, continuous routes through the community to and from its new campus.
It has called on other corporations in the area to back the plan and invest in infrastructure development.
The company has already started work by repainting bike lanes on streets in the area.
Facebook is hoping to get permission to lift employee numbers at the campus to more than 9000 by agreeing to cap the number of car trips to its facility.
The initiative was developed in conjunction with the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, which identified many of the problems and constraints faced by those biking to work at Facebook.
Facebook has agreed to:
- Pay to extend the San Francisco Bay Trail by creating a connection from the San Francisquito Trail in East Palo Alto to the Dumbarton / Bayfront Trail
- Restripe bike lanes
- Rebuild a pedestrian tunnel
- Open a bike shop on campus
Facebook also challenged other large Silicon Valley corporations to join them in funding the missing sections of the San Francisco Bay Trail. The San Francisco Bay Trail, when completed, will be a 500 mile walking and bike trail looping through all nine Bay Area counties to allow continuous, car-free travel around the entire SF Bay shoreline. Currently, 300 miles of the trail are complete, with the longest segments in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.
When this missing one-mile section of the Bay Trail in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto is completed, Facebook expects that bike commuting would increase significantly because its campus lies directly on the Bay Trail, and over 40 percent of its employees live in cities with direct bike path connections to the Bay Trail, including Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and San Jose.
About 47 percent of Facebook employees use alternative transportation to get to work with six percent by bike, a figure they want to lift to 10 to 12 percent.
Company employees say changes the company has already made on campus have cut travel time by grouping indoor bike racks, lockers, and showers close together in each building.
The goal of the bike lane improvements is to create several safe, continuous bike routes to the Facebook Campus that connect to the already high-quality bicycle infrastructure available in west Menlo Park and Palo Alto.
“Continuous bike lanes are low-cost and effective - when safe bicycle infrastructure is provided, people use it, and everyone benefits,” said Corinne Winter, President and Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.
“More bike lanes and bike paths to more destinations help alleviate traffic congestion, increase parking availability, and result in a safer, healthier, more active community.”
$6.5 million for bike superhighway
9 February 2012. Two cities in southern Sweden are linking up via a 32 kilometre bike superhighway at a cost of A$6.5m
The Malmö-Lund superhighway has four lanes (2 in each direction) and will have have exits but no intersections. There are two types of wind protection proposed (low bushes as well as solid fencing), and periodic bicycle service stations.
The proposed project would take eight years to complete.
The Swedish Traffic Authority (Trafikverket)undertook the feasibility study and is proposing a route for running roughly parallel to railway tracks, which makes it easier and less expensive to build, as right of ways are already in place.
In Lund, 60% of the populace bikes or takes public transport to go about their daily tasks. And Malmö, which is just across the Øresund sound from Copenhagen, has a powerful policy to shift transport to bikes, with cycling increasing 30% each year for the last four years.
Copenhagen aims for #1
25 January 2012. Copenhagen's new bike strategy has the daring ambition of making the Danish capital the best bike city in the world . . . and they are going to add capacity for another 60,000 riders into the city centre each day by 2025 to prove it.
Already proud of the staggering 150,000 people in the municipality who ride to work and education daily, the city now wants to show the way to other cities around the world and raise the bar on what is possible in urban cycling.
It wants Copenhagen to be internationally branded as a liveable, innovative sustainable and democratic city, and one with the political will to lead the way in the battle for an improved quality of life for its citizens.
To win this battle the city has recognised that people on bikes have to be given the advantage in traffic.
"It is therefore necessary to improve travel times by bicycle compared to other transport forms," the Copenhagen Bicycle Strategy 2011-2025 says.
"It requires prioritising ambitious short cuts like tunnels and bridges over water, railways and large roads. In addition, it requires many small speed improvements, including allowing contraflow cycling on one-way streets,allowing cycling across squares,implementing more Green Waves for cyclists, etc.
"Finally, traffic calming - on quiet streets near schools, for example - is also necessary if the bicycle is to have a serious advantage in traffic."
The strategy is built around the key concepts of sense of security, speed, comfort and city life.
"On a bicycle the city can be experienced spontaneously and up close and personal. The more there is to sense and experience when you roll through the city, the shorter the trip feels and it becomes more attractive to cycle," the strategy says.
"Cyclists appreciate having things to look at but they also contribute greatly to life in Copenhagen’s streets. They make the city safer and nicer for everyone to move about in."
Copenhagen intends to make bike riding the fastest form of transport in many parts of the city by 2025 and to reduce A to B travel time by 15%.
By 2025, most one-way streets for cyclists will have been eliminated.
Read the full strategy here.
Radar love at the lights
12 January 2012. The days (OK, minutes) of waiting for ever at traffic lights because the vehicle detection loop has failed to notice your bike, could be over.
A city in California has installed radar detectors that not only detect bicycle traffic to trigger green lights, but differentiate between bicycles and cars and adjust the signal cycle accordingly.
The devices, called Intersectors, have been installed at eight intersections across Pleasanton alongside bike lane and road projects.
They use a combination of microwave and presence sensors to detect a vehicle, and offer enough precision to determine whether a vehicle has two, four or more wheels.
“To the city of Pleasanton, this is the best of both worlds — providing additional green timing and green extension timing only when bicycles are present, while utilizing more efficient traffic signal timing more appropriate for vehicle traffic the remaining times,” Pleasanton’s senior transportation engineer Joshua Pack told the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.
Many Australian intersections feature an induction coil beneath the bitumen to trigger a light change when vehicles arrive, but some infuriatingly refuse to recognise a bike.
Normally, the induction coil detects a vehicle and triggers a light when it senses metal.
Unfortunately, the latest, lightest bikes have very little metal in them and therefore cyclists can end up stranded or choose to run a light. Even when they work they usually trigger the same green cycle that a car would use.
Intersectors, which cost between $4,000 and $5,000 each, can be installed without digging up the road and are relatively easily retrofitted to existing intersections.
If Pleasanton's pilot project is a is a success it is expected that similar devices will to appear at bike-friendly intersections.
Trails boost house prices
13 December 2011. New research from the United States suggests that bike and walking trails in natural environments have a positive effect on real estate prices.
University of Cincinnati researchers found housing prices went up by $30 dollars for every metre closer the house was to a trail entrance.
Ultimately, the study concluded that for the average home, homeowners were willing to pay a $9,000 premium to be located 300 metres closer to the trail.
The two researchers examined the Little Miami Scenic Trail – a 12-mile southern stretch of the trail that runs through the Cincinnati metropolitan region – and measured how the trail impacted residential property values in Hamilton County, Ohio.
The scenic, multipurpose trail beckons walkers, hikers, skaters and bicycle enthusiasts and also has horseback riding paths.
These multipurpose trails provide the potential for bicycle commuting and help alleviate noise, pollution and congestion, and expand the means for green transportation and a community’s walkability,” write the authors.
The researchers say their study is among the first to quantify the impact of multipurpose trail proximity on residential property values while isolating the results from the biasing effect of nearby property values.
The research used street network distances between residential properties and the closest trail entrance, in addition to standard parameter estimation. The average home studied was about 40 years old and had an average 2,203 square feet of living space. The average price was $263,517.
The research emphasizes that investment in infrastructure and public amenities is a solid investment that will result in a positive return for communities as rising property values generate higher rate revenue.
China U-turn on bikes
16 Novemberb 2011. After years of trying to get bikes off roads to make room for cars, Chinese policymakers have realised their mistake and are going back to the future.
Last month, southern China's Zhongshan City rolled out 4,000 public bicycles which citizens can ride free of charge for up to an hour.
This is one of numerous bike-sharing programs that are quickly growing in an attempt to unsnarl China's traffic problems.
The goal is to try to get back to days when the streets weren't gridlocked and when the majority of vehicles didn't create emissions.
Chinese cities, which joined this trend only a few years ago, are installing their networks at an unprecedented speed. Hangzhou and Shanghai have over 60,000 and 19,000 public bikes respectively.
Rather than simply copying the Western pattern, the Chinese are innovating, with children's seats on free crash insurance.
On average, each of the Hanzhou public bikes now attracts five riders a day. When launched three years ago the figure was less than one ride per day.
In Shanghai the popularity of the system results in a race to the bike stations every time a train pulls up at a railway station, as there are usually never enough bikes for those who want them.
Hangzhou plans to hook its massive system into carbon trading by selling credits. As city-dwellers and tourists switch from riding fossil fuel-powered vehicles to public bikes, more than 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions is reduced annually.
But even if a profitable business model is developed and more public bikes can be provided as a result, bike-sharing program operators still face roadblocks. While many Chinese choose to cycle, there are more who dare not.
For years Beijing has sacrificed its cycling space to accommodate more drivers. And where bike-only lanes still exist, car owners often ignore signs and park there, forcing cyclists to ride in the lanes with grumpy drivers or to scare away old ladies on sidewalks.
To go hand in hand with its newly announced 50,000 public bikes program by 2015, Beijing pledged to redesign roads with heavy car flows to ensure cyclists' safety. Newly installed cameras will catch car drivers who dare to occupy bike-only lanes.
Bikes get fuel card
11 August 2011. New Zealand thinks it has found the secret of getting people out of cars and onto bikesâ€”a fuel card.
But this fuel card is not for gas . . . it is for the grind.
The iCafe card (surely an Apple trademark) has been introduced by Hastings District Council under its iWay initiative to promote cycling and walking in the North Island centre of Hastings and Napier.
Seven local cafes have joined the project whereby bike riders get one free coffee coffee every five trips.
iWay coordinator Owen Mata says: “we know that lots of casual cyclists are also keen coffee drinkers, and we’re seeing an increasing number of cyclists at cafes, especially on sunny days. So we thought we’d help them refuel during the trip with a loyalty card. We hope it will also encourage them to leave the car at home more often”.
“Cycling is a great way to work off that extra piece of cake you had with your coffee, so you don’t need to feel guilty either,” Mr Mata says.
The cafes will all have an iCafe sticker on the door, and the distinctive iWay bike stand will be installed outside.
In another program iWay is providing both bikes and helmets for preschool students who want to learn to ride bikes.
13 July 2011. Copenhagen is doubling the space for bikes on a number of its suburban trains to meet growth stimulated by the switch to free bike travel.
The photo at right is sure to strike pangs of envy in Melbourne commuters who have to shoe-horn bikes into tiny spaces.
The Copenhagen S-train has also introduced one-way traffic in the new bike compartments to make it easier and faster to get on and off.
Ten S-Trains are being remodelled with the new compartments, which are in the middle of the train so that there is more space for bikes on the platform.
The train system in the Danish capital is being gradually improved for travellers with bikes as increasing numbers of passengers are combining bike and train for their commute.
The railway is installing bicycle pumps at a number of stations, making bicycle ramps, more and building more bicycle parking.
The remodelled trains have pronounced coloured stripes on the sides of the train indicating the bike compartments. Bikes must be stored only in the bike area, while prams can taken in the passageways.
Research indicates that a third of all passengers have taken advantage of taking their bike on the S-train for free, and 91% are very positive about the idea, whether or not they take their bike on the S-train. Some 27% of the riders said they would not have taken the S-train unless if they had to pay extra for the bike.
Seducing riders with chips
29 June 2011. A competition to 'seduce' riders on to a multi-million dollar bike highway in Holland has been won by a entry offering chipsâ€”chips with electronics rather than carbohydrates.
Riders on the route will be given chips to fit to their bikes which will trigger sensors along the trail, switching on LED lighting along the path ahead as well as recording details of their trips and posting them to a website.
The riders will then be able to assess distances travelled, calories used and reduction in CO2 emissions.
The chip will also activate discounts at bike stores and for products for sale at shopping locations along the route.
The RijnWaalpad competition was for the development of the $23 million, 15.8 kilometre path connecting towns in the Arnhem-Nijmegen metropolitan area.
The design competition went beyond usual transport issues, and the winning bid contained 'seduction strategies' as well as the usual infrastructure components.
For example the LED lighting is not just so riders can see. By incorporating spectacular lighting design the planners anticipate that more riders will take the route, and feel rewarded for doing so.
Website in Dutch
Quake shakes bike sales
16 June 2011. JuneBike sales in Japan have doubled since the devastating earthquake and tsunami of early March.
The worst such event in Japanese history destroyed much road and rail infrastructure, but television pictures showed the population still getting around on bikes.
Even in areas that missed the impact of the tsunami, bike sales have skyrocketed as people realise the susceptibility of car and rail transport to crippling disruption.
Over the course of the year the Japanese bike sector believes sales will taper off, but still show and annual rise of 15 per cent.
Giant-Japan, a wholly-owned unit of Taiwan’s leading bicycle producer Giant, reports a post-March bicycle sales rise of 23%.
The increased interest in bicycles helps also other companies such as component maker Shimano, whose sales sales are up 3.7% since the quake.
Analysts say that although the impact of the earthquake will wear off, bike sales will continue to rise in Japan due to concerns over the costs of fuel.
Wider lanes . . . please sir!
2 June 2011. The bad manners of bike riders has been identified as a key factor holding back the rise of cycling in bike crazy Copenhagen.
A recent survey for the City's annual bike account has found that 55 per cent of non-riders cite bad manners as a reason that are not cycling more. And 25 per cent of those already riding raise the same issue.
The next most mentioned impediment was congestion caused by the lack of space on the cities crowded cycle tracks.
Behaviours that annoyed other riders were failing to use hand signals, running red lights and using mobile phones.
Copenhagen has set an ambitious target of 50 per cent of trips by bike by 2015. The figure is currently 35 per cent.
This amounts to an extra 55,000 people riding in the city each day.
The survey reported that the number one reason new riders took up cycling was that it was fast. Other key reasons were convenience, health and cost.
The Copenhagen Bike Account is published every two years. Now copied around the world, including Melbourne, the accounts measures all aspects of the cycling environment.
The city's riders are generally more satisfied than ever, but they are starting to complain about the adequacy if infrastructure and bike parking.
Perceived safety is on the up, and actual safety has also improved, with just 3 deaths and 92 serious injuries in 2010.
The Account estimates that there are 19,000 cargo bikes in Copenhagen, with a replacement value of $52M.
Strasbourg votes on 30 kph limit
18 April 2010. One of the France's most bike-friendly cities, Strasbourg, is to hold a referendum on imposing a 30 kph limit throughout the city.
Extensive parts of the city are already at 30 kphâ€”one of the reasons why Strasbourg has such a high bike share and 480 kilometres of bike lanes.
Fewer than half of its residents use a car to get around and it has one of the world's biggest tram systems.
City authorities acknowledge that many road crashes occur where drivers speed up when leaving the 30 kph zones. If the whole city is at 30, they expect that safety will improve, and the streets will be more bike and pedestrian friendly.
The City's Mayor Roland Ries says that while the safety aspect of the proposal is important, it also signals that the public roads no longer belong to automobiles alone.
"They must be reimagined to be redistributed in a fairer manner between all forms of transportation. The protection of the most vulnerable is thus reinforced in zones in which all users have access but in which the pedestrian is king."
Fixies skid-start Jakarta bikes
6 April 2011. The fixed gear fad has led to a new generation of bike activists fighting for better conditions for Indonesian riders.
The capital city's subculture of fixie fans is making the bike hip again among Indonesia's youth, once obsessed with owning noisy, polluting scooters and motorcycles.
And the nation's transport planners, desperate to solve choking congestion and pollution problems, are starting to take notice.
According to rider Dede Chandra, Jakarta’s fixie community was determined to change the attitude of both the government and the residents of the capital.
“We want to change people’s ideas about riding and get more people to ride bikes and to choose health and bicycles rather than cars,” Dede said.
“We will to talk to our local government because we want them to pay attention to bicycle riders in Jakarta. We will ask them to build dedicated bike lanes because the cars and motorbikes still don’t respect us on the roads.”
Dede said he hoped that one day Jakarta could also become a bicycle-friendly city.
“This is our movement, we want to help the government solve some of Jakarta’s big issues like population, traffic jams and pollution from emissions.” Dede said.
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo recently rejected a proposal to build bicycle lanes, saying that there are not enough cyclists to justify them.
Disagreeing, Darmaningtyas, executive director of the non-governmental Institute of Transportation Studies, told the Jakarta Globe recently: "Build bicycle lanes first, then more people will use their bikes. Without special lanes, who would want to cycle in the hostile conditions we have today?"
Jakarta has nine million motorcycles and three million cars. Roads are notoriously pot-holed.
Since the city government designated two Sundays a month as Car-Free Daysâ€” clearing the main thoroughfare of Jalan Sudirman and Thamrin of traffic until noonâ€”the number of cyclists has shot up.
On a recent Sunday more than 50,000 cyclists in a festive mood thronged the thoroughfare, which was crammed while street vendors along the entire stretch of road.
The Indonesian cycling community says the trend has caught on, with many people seeing the eco-friendly activity as part of a healthier lifestyle.
Bike groups blossom
As a result, there has been a surge in bike groups. South Jakarta's Mayor Syahrul Effendi, who is also a leader of the Bicycle Congress of Indonesia, said that while there were only 20 bicycle associations in 2005, the number has grown about tenfold now.
One organisation, Bike 2 Work, has seen its membership swelled to 40,000 since it was formed in August 2005.
Bike 2 Work said it has worked with the central government on a master plan that shows how main roads could be linked by bicycle lanes.
But some small victories have been won by the cycling community, such as when the authorities allowed a trial of a 1.5km bike lane in South Jakarta, alongside the main road.
They are studying the models in Japan and Australia, and think can be made to work in Jakarta.
The fixie culture in Jakarta can be traced back to early 2008, when a handful of young people used to gather in Menteng Park to ride their bikes and hang out.
And although they did not know it at the time, their small group would eventually grow into a community of more than 8,000 like-minded cyclists in Jakarta alone.
“We all respect each other and it does not matter if you’re young or old, there are no boundaries, there are no leaders, we are all the same and we all love to ride,” said Dede Chandra.
Fixie riders still gather at the Central Jakarta park on Wednesday and Friday nights for what is known as rabo rabo, an opportunity to display and share tricks or just relax and hang out with friends.
The group has formed a support initiative called Pedal Riot which collects money through fund-raisers to pay hospital if someone is injured in a crash.
A bicycle costs about $250 in Indonesia, about a fifth the cost of a motorcycle.
Toyota gets gospel on bike lanes
23 March 2011. Toyota has proposed that government agencies in Japan build a 250,000 km bike lane network across Japan in a massive five year project.
The concept came from executive Akira Watari, who is working in a special group at Toyota charged with developing intelligent transport systems to reduce congestion and risks to road users.
"The establishment of cycling lanes is the most effective way to enable motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to coexist," Watari said, following research into bike lanes in Europe.
Because Japan currently has no standards for installing cycling lanes, Toyota has proposed nits own standards to the Japan Society of Civil Engineers.
Watari suggested splitting the 1.2 million kilometres of road in Japan into three main categories: roads in urban areas, roads in non-urban areas and community roads with no center line.
He also grouped roads in the first two categories into main and regional roads, and examined measures based on the various speed limits (under 30 km/h, up to 40 km/h, 50 km/h and 60 km/h or above).
Watari concluded that cycling lanes separated from traffic by fences or curbstones were needed to ensure safety on some 6,900 kilometres of city roads where speed limits of 50km/h or 60 km/h and above were implemented.
On the remaining urban roads and roads in non-urban areasâ€”a distance of about 730,000 kilometresâ€”Watari proposed cycling lanes separated with white lines. He also suggested making cycling lanes in urban areas stand out with coloured paving.
Bikes to create road harmony
21 February 2011. A new bike bridge could have a special road surface which creates music as bike wheels roll over it.
The patterned road surface, which has grooves of various dimensions to create the pitch and rhythm of a tune, is proposed for the new Willamette River Bridge in Portland, USA.
The song to be used is Simon and Garfunkel's "Feelin' Groovy".
The sonic bike path is being considered as an arts project which has a practical outcomeâ€”alerting rides to changing road conditions.
The groove pattern is being considered as a way to slow down bike traffic as it exits the bridge on a downhill slope and would stretch for 50 metres.
Architect Bob Hastings said the bumps could help with the mental transition from riding over the river to being dropped into a more crowded, urban environment.
"Our thought was to inform folks that you're making that transition... to subtly inform them that they're headed back into an urban zone".
A working model would be evaluated before the final decision to install the grooves on the bridge. It would need to be tested to ensure that it was not too jarring and was not a slipping hazard.
Taking smoothness to extremes
10 February 2011. Making bike riding attractive is so important to the Danes that they have developed a special vehicle that tests bike lanes for smoothness.
Loaded with laser sensors, blinking yellow lights, a GPS and digital camera, the little Mercedes Smart measures out bike lanes millimetre by millimetre for the bumps, potholes, tree roots and other imperfections that make riding on some bike lanes anything but smooth sailing.
The system was developed by consulting firm COWI in conjunction with Dynatest Denmark.
“Previously, we only conducted a visual scan of bike lane surfacing,” says COWI Project Manager Brian Henriksen. “There are no requirements for how smooth a bike lane needs to be, and these types of measurements will allow local authorities to determine whether they are spending money on bike lane maintenance as wisely as possible.”
Since cyclists experience the condition of asphalt differently than motorists, Henriksen was unable to use the International Roughness Index, the standard reference for measuring how smooth asphalt is.
Instead, he took a look at the asphalt from a different perspective and after a number of tests in 2004, he and a team from Dynatest came up with a new method known as the Bicycle Profile Index, which calculates overall smoothness by measuring the longitudinal profile in 2.5 centimetre sections.
The first measurements were made in 2005 in the city of Odense, which at that time was marketing itself as Denmark’s best city for biking and was looking for new cycling initiatives. The results were presented at the following Road Forum conference and were received positively by road engineers.
Since then COWI and Dynatest have measured the comfort of bike lanes in cities throughout Denmark, as well as Gothenburg and Stockholm, Sweden.
“Local authorities have a history of neglecting bike lanes compared to roads, but that is all changing,” Henriksen says. “More and more people are commuting by bike, and since biking helps reduce healthcare costs, it makes sense from an economic perspective. Beyond that, there is a general interest in making bike lanes a little nicer.”
The next step will be to ask Danish road authorities to approve the BPI. If that happens, it would make it easier to bring the technology to other cycling nations such as the Netherlands, Germany and Australia.
It would also mean that contractors hired to build new bike lanes in Denmark potentially could meet a smoothness requirement in future tender documents. The ultimate goal for Henriksen is the approval of the BPI index as the world wide smoothness index for bike lanes.
$110M for city to city bike network
25 January 2011. The Netherlands is spending $110 million dollars to build 16 long distance bike "highways" to connect cities across the country.
They will be constructed in places where problems are emerging with traffic jams on major roads, in the belief that drivers can be encouraged to switch to bikes where the paths enable quick journeys.
The paths will connect to existing suburban networks.
Existing paths to be integrated into the network will be upgraded with better surfaces, signs and lighting, along with improvements to bridges and tunnels.
In the Netherlands, about 35 per cent of all trips less than 7.5 km are by bike, with 15 per cent of journeys 7.5 km to 15 km on a bicycle. But once trips go beyond 15 km only 3 per cent are on two wheels.
The new fast and convenient inter city links are expected to improve on that figure.
Dutch scratching head over helmets
11 January 2011. The long and proud Dutch tradition of riding without helmets is coming under challenge from trauma surgeons in the Netherlands who want something done about the level of head injuries in children and adolescents.
Each year about 26,000 children and adolescents are treated in hospital emergency departments in the Netherlands after bike crashes. About 2000 are hospitalised and 30 will die.
According to TraumaNet AMC, a joint venture of hospitals in and around Amsterdam, many of these crashes result in head injuries.
The trauma specialists say that helmets would reduce the risk of head injuries by 63 to 88 per cent, particularly in children.
At a recent conference organised by TraumaNet the medical representatives agreed that is was important not to give the impression that cycling is dangerous, as this could deter parents from allowing their children to ride.
Dutch cycle groups are expected to fiercely resists the move. They claim that making helmets compulsory suggests cycling is dangerous, and therefore frightens people away from cycling.
They suggest that it would be useful to point out to parents of children aged 4-8 that wearing a helmet has its advantages, and agree that helmets could be playfully promoted to children.
The conference was told that it was still a matter of concern that wearing a helmet is only useful when it is done correctly, which is quite often not the case with children.
Over the age of 8 it was increasingly hard to motivate children and adolescents to voluntarily wear a helmet, the conference was told.
In some countries almost none of the children between the ages of 10 to 18 rides a bicycle, except for sports and recreation. Children in this age group were extremely opposed to using a helmet. “You look like a fool”, “It is not cool”, “It is awkward”, “No place to store it”, “Feels weird on my head”, “Ruins your hair”, were some of the arguments.
A total of about 180 bike riders die as a result of crashes each year in the Netherlands, and about 60 of those result from single vehicle crashes.
Make that a triple
28 September 2010. Danish cities are planning six-lane bike freewaysâ€”three lanes in each directionâ€”to increase the ease and quality of bike travel.
Copenhagen already has dual bike lanes in some locations to cope with the staggering numbers of riders.
The Government is talking of constructing several hundred kilometres of the new routes on roads taking the most direct connection to the central city in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg.
Work has already started in Copenhagen and Aarhus. The facilities are aimed at people in the middle and outer suburbs, 7-15km from the city centre, who don't currently ride to work.
Lise Bjørg Pedersen, of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation believes the new routes could double the number of people who cycle to work across the nation.
The new routes will have amenity stations with air pumps, water supplies and traffic information, and will be fitted with the Green Wave traffic lights which enable riders who travel at a steady cycle at 20km per hour to get a green light at every intersection.
Standardised signage and, in places, underpasses under the larger main roads are also expected to feature. In Aarhus the plan includes a park and ride station where people can arrive by car on the Djurlands motorway, park and do the last 10km on their bike.
Drivers willing to gives bikes a go
14 September 2010. About 60 per cent of car drivers would think about switching to a bike, especially if the move connected to the hip pocket nerve.
The finding is in new research commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Health, which looked at what policy measures might be effective in promoting commuter cycling, especially among those within cycling distance to work.
The research revealed that financial inducements such as the introduction of road charges, restrictions in parking policy and changes in travel cost reimbursements, would be most effective. But such measure would have to be significantly large, causing something of a shock and leading people to reconsider their travel options.
Improving cycling facilities would also be an effective stimulus to get drivers on a bike, especially when this leads to a reduction in commuter time.
In that case minor factors like fine-tuning traffic lights, mileage allowance for cyclists and the use of weather radar are effective as well. A purchase subsidy and promoting free temporary use of electric bicycles may succeed in winning over the doubters.
Education has only limited effectiveness, but is necessary to support the other measures, according to the research.
Four out of every ten car drivers absolutely refuse to even consider commuting by bicycle.
There is a significant group who does not cycle for very specific reasons, This group encompasses approximately 25% of those surveyed and the reasons stated were: 1) night and/or shift work (safety), 2) parents with children (logistics) and 3) health reasons (physical problems).
Policies intended to induce these groups to switch will require specific measures, for instance measures to increase safety, e.g. cycling in groups (reason nr. 1), logistic support for parents accompanying their children in order to make up for lost time (reason nr. 2), and promoting use of electric bicycles (reason nr. 3).
Apple working on "Smart Bicycle System."
18 August 2010. Details in a patent filed early last year reveals that Apple is working on a sophisticated iPhone application that would make current bike computers old hat.
The patent documentation outlines a number of futuristic capabilities, including the ability to communicate with devices on the bikes of other riders, exchanging information being recorded on rider performance and road conditions.
It would record video, take photographs or record audio. As well it could be part of a projecting system for providing a display of content on a surface remote from the bike.
The system can monitor speed, distance, time, altitude, elevation, incline, decline, heart rate, power, derailleur setting, cadence, wind speed, path completed, expected future path, heart rate, power, and pace.
The electronic device could allow cyclists within a group to transmit and receive communications and to communicate with other people outside of the cycling group. Each electronic device could be operative to perform any suitable type of communications operation, including for example text or visual messages (e.g., e-mail and SMS communications), audio messages (e.g., telephone communications), and combinations of these (e.g., video conferencing).
Input mechanism could include a voice-actuated mechanism (e.g., voice selection of options, or a speech-to-text engine), a movement actuated mechanism (e.g., an accelerometer or other motion detection component), or any other input mechanism for providing hands-free inputs.
Apple has made no comment on whether it has plans to productize the patent.
Paris going bike crazy
10 June 2010. Paris, already bike friendly, is to double its bike lanes to 700km by 2014, and by 2020 to have a bike lane on nearly every street.
The city's mayor has launched the ambitious plan in order to accelerate the use of bikes and overcome the massive traffic congestion choking Paris and its economy.
The city will have two major routes for high density bike use, north-south and east-west, supplemented by lanes serving 65 cycling precincts.
Riders will be allowed both ways down one-way streets and speed limits will be 30kmh. The ring road will be have ten new crossing points to get bikes from the suburbs into the city and a thousand new bike parking spaces will be added to the city’s streets every year.
Parks, some of which had been closed to cyclists, will all open be to bike travel.
Paris’ Sunday street program, which has already resulted in the closing of several neighbourhoods to motor traffic on Sundays and holidays, will be extended throughout the 65 bike precincts.
Netherlands Bicycle Study/Social Tour 2011
29 April 2010. Dutch bike distributor, Gazelle Bicycles Australia is organising a study tour of The Netherlands next year to show how the Dutch have integrated bike riding into everyday life.
Its on from 10th - 23nd May 2011 (13 nights, 14 Days) and there are a maximum of 20 places.
Full details here.
US adopts bike equality creed
14 April 2010. The US government has dropped its 'cars first' policy, declaring that from now on bikes will be considered as equals on the roads of America.
The change echoes the move of the Victorian Government with its 2009 Bicycle Strategy, which regards investment in bike infrastructure to be a 'matter of course' in the everyday management of the transport network.
In a massive switch in direction for the US Department of Transportation, cars are no longer the priority in federal transportation planning: the requirements of bike riders and pedestrians and will be considered along with those of motorists.
Writing in his blog Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said: “This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”
"We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians.
"And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities."
"To set this approach in motion, we have formulated key recommendations for states and communities:
- Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes
- Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities
- Go beyond minimum design standards
- Collect data on walking and biking trips
- Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling
- Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)
- Improve nonmotorized facilities during maintenance projects
LaHood is linking bike infrastructure spending into the Obama Administration's quest for more 'liveable communities', which promote physical exercise and health, and reduced vehicle emissions.
State governments and cities which want priority access to Federal transportation funds will have to include trails and shares path connections in the projects.
"Bike projects are relatively fast and inexpensive to build and are environmentally sustainable; they reduce travel costs, dramatically improve safety and public health, and reconnect citizens with their communities," La Hood said.
Beijing thinks again on bikes
3 February 2010. Massive traffic congestion coupled with choking pollution has forced Chinese authorities to hit the brakes on car expansion and re-introduce incentives for bike transportation.
Beijing has decided to increase bike travel by 5 per cent over the next five years, bringing bikes to 23 per cent of all travel in 2015.
The City government is eliminating current regulations that discourage bikes, and will restrict cars. Bike lanes which were cut to make more room for cars and buses will re be reinstituted.
It will also work to relieve a shortage of secure bicycle parking with
the government building more parking facilities for bikes at bus and subway stations so that riders can easily combine transport modes.
As well Beijing is boosting its bike share scheme and by 2015 will be offering 50,000 bikes for rent from about 1,000 outlets.
The proportion of Beijing residents riding bicycles was only 19.7 percent when measured in 2009, compared with more than 80 percent in the 1980s.
Beijing's new plan is that by 2015, 45 percent of the population will be on public transport, 22 percent in a car, 8 percent by taxi, and 23 riding bikes.
China was once knowb as the "kingdom of bicycles" with some 500 million bikes on the streets. But the number plunged as car ownership took off in the past decade.
Beijing now has 17 million people and four million cars.
World’s largest Global Conference on Cycling
30 November 2009. Central Copenhagen will be the site of the first Velo-city conference next year, bringing together cycling experts, city planners, decision makers, NGOs and researchers from all over the world to discuss the potential and challenges of cycling.,
The conference, from June 22-25, will offer first hand experience of the city’s many innovative initiatives in the field of cycling.
Engagement, interaction and knowledge sharing are integrated throughout the conference programme and attendees will get plenty of opportunities to network and to learn from Danish cycling expertise.
"The European Cyclists Federation has Velo-city conferences since 1980. In 2010 the focus will switch from European to global.
Australians who attended the Bike Futures 09 conference in Melbourne in October, and were inspired by the talks by Neils Torslov and David Sim, can get to see Copenhagen's bike infrastructure first hand at Velo-city 2010.
20,000 bike spaces for NY car parks
12 August 2009. Commercial car parks in New York City will be compelled to provide bike parking, under new laws to take effect in three months.
Commercial garages and parking lots with more than 50 car spaces are required to provide one bike parking space for every ten car parking spaces, up to a threshold of 200 car spaces. Beyond the threshold, one bike spot will be required for every 100 additional car spots.
Aimed at encouraging bike commuting, the law applies to about 1700 locations, mostly in Manhattan. Pricing will be set by the operators.
NYC also introduced regulations requiring new buildings to be provided with bike parking.
The car parking industry has two years to fully comply with the new laws.
Under its Transport Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, New York is taking massive steps to advance the level of bike riding in the metropolis.
Bike based apartments in Vienna
18 June 2009. After decades of building apartment complexes around the needs of the car, the bike has pride of place in this new development in Vienna.
"Bike City" in Vienna is an apartment complex geared around the needs of bike riders. And they responded: more than 5000 people were chasing the 99 apartments available.
While car parking space has been restricted, secure spaces for bikes are available. The building's lifts have been sized especially for bikes.
The ground floor is devoted to a “bike world” including bike rental, bike maintenance service, and fitness and health area.
Access routes to the building are bike friendly and bike parking spaces are close to the building entrances, where there are air and water points.
A total of 300 bike-parking spaces are available inside and outside the building. Only about half the apartments have a car parking space.
A car sharing system is available for occasional car use. Public transport is nearby.
Brits get rail station bike shops
May 21 2009. Combined bike parking and bike shop facilities will be introduced to British rail stations next year.
The facilities will be introduced by Northern Rail, which is run by Ned Rail, the Dutch rail operator. It operates 25 Fiets Point (Bike Point) bike shops at railway stations across the Netherlands which provide bike parking facilities, bike rental, and same-day bike servicing.
Research in Holland has shown that off peak travel is significantly higher from the stations with these facilities.
The first of the Northern Rail Bike Points will be at Leeds Station and expected to break even after two years.
Denmark's big boost to bike budget
21 April 2009. Denmark will spend $171 million on new bike facilities and promotion in a bid to lift commuting by bike to 50% of all workers by 2015.
The country already has one of the highest rates of bike commuting in the world. In Copenhagen about 500,000 people, or 30% of all workers, travel by bike each day.
The money will mainly be spent on improving bike lanes, adding bike parking and producing advertising campaigns.
The new initiatives are part of a massive investment in new transport systems aimed at reducing the nation's CO2 pollution.
"Now we will finally break the CO2 curve, which no previous government has managed," Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard said.
"We are putting far more resources in public transit than into roads. By taxing cars in a climate-friendly way, new emission demands on taxis and new 'green' tolls on roads, we will cut CO2 emissions and reduce traffic jams at the same time."
Car drivers will be subject to road pricing with tolls differentiated according to the amount of pollution each car emits.
Under new rules to make it will be cheaper to buy a new, more environmentally friendly car, but more expensive to use it.
New cars in Denmark are currently subject to 180% tax.