Sunday, May 30, 2010

Paris accepts consequences of more cycling

If Velib’ has changed the face of Paris by providing it the largest bike sharing system in the world with 1,800 stations and more than 20,000 bikes, there’s still plenty of work to be done in the French capital. After nine years of slow but steady improvements originating from an environmentally minded city hall, Paris is about to hit the accelerator pedal. The new plan, to be presented in early June to the city council, where it is virtually guaranteed passage, will increase the number of bike lanes within this 40.7 square mile city from 273 miles today (most built since 2001) to 435 miles in 2014.  Connections to the suburbs will be reinforced through the reconstruction of ten city “gates.” And starting this July, 65 neighborhoods, making up about half the city’s land area, will be converted to 30 kilometer zones, with two-way bike travel allowed also on streets reserved for one-way car traffic. And the city is developing a social strategy to encourage cycling even more. A “House of The Bicycle” will welcome inhabitants who have questions specifically about getting around by bike. By 2020, most of the city’s major streets will have dedicated bike lanes and the network will begin to extend out into the near suburbs. Read more here in French and in English here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

CIVITAS MIMOSA MM Workshop in Berlin

Hear fresh honest solutions and discussions on managing demand for car use, simply by changing travellers’ attitudes and behaviour. This is the 3rd innovative and lively workshop in the highly acclaimed CIVITAS MIMOSA series, given by a range of experts, politicians and key stakeholders. Mobility Management has increasingly become the ‘Make or Break’ factor in a successful city mobility strategy. Soft Measures such as targeted public information campaigns, strategic management of services and key stakeholders relations can often offer a higher benefit cost-ratio compared to other Hard Measures (e.g. new tram lines, roads and bicycle lanes). The workshop will take an open and purposeful look at three specific types of Soft Measures under implementation in MIMOSA cities: Technology oriented approaches to help make better travel choice decisions; Company Mobility management; School Mobility Plan; Open to all, it is an ideal opportunity for politicians, councils, schools, companies and other key stakeholders to learn more about sustainable mobility. Admission is free. Delegates are required to register. For registration and further information please contact: To find a detailed program please visit the website.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lies, big lies and then you have statistics

According to ADFC, the German Cyclists’ Union, people should cycle where they are safest: on the road among cars. Not on separate bike paths, as this would be more dangerous according to various studies. In the United States this news is eagerly distributed by opponents of bike paths. Dutch experts obviously refute this report. The main argument in the German report is that cycling in the Netherlands is dangerous as 40% of all traffic accidents involve cyclists, whereas these only account for 27% of all travel. And this in spite of the number of bike paths. In Germany, on the other hand, there are fewer bike paths, as well as lower numbers of bicycle accidents in relation to the percentage of travel by bicycle. Conclusion: bike paths are dangerous.  A Dutch expert study by SWOV concluded that 80% of all bicycle accidents consists of unilateral accidents and accidents among cyclists. Moreover, this percentage is increasing. A mere 20% of all accidents involving cyclists concerns motorised vehicles, and numbers are falling steadily. The ADFC article emphasises accidents with motorised vehicles, whereas the main problem in the Netherlands consists of these unilateral accidents, instead of collisions with other vehicles, for example cyclists colliding with bollards. Velo Mondial concludes: Seperate Bike Paths are the way to go! Read more here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

2 million free bikes for FIFA World Cup

The HollandBelgium Bid, the joint candidacy of Belgium and Holland for the FIFA World Cup, today presented seven Great Goals as part of its Bid Book. The Bid Book arrived on bicycle, after having visited all participating cities. The Great Goals herald the contribution the HollandBelgium Bid will make to football, as well as to the people, society and the environment. The Bid Book and a magazine which features the Great Goals and the ambassadors of the Bid were handed over to FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter by Ruud Gullit, Paul Van Himst and Johan Cruyff in Zurich today. The HollandBelgium Bid delegation, including co-chairmen Michael van Praag and Francois De Keersmaecker as well as CEO Harry Been, arrived at FIFA House by bicycle. The bicycle ride drew attention to the green ambitions of the Bid. Bid President Ruud Gullit said: “EURO2000 is a showcase for a profitable tournament and a successful standard for joint organisation. Today we offer FIFA all the ingredients for a great football fiesta with a lasting legacy. A guarantee for success.” As a matter of course  offered 2 million bicycles for the transportation needs of visitors to the World Cup in Belgium and The Netherlands in 2018.

South African Ordinary Cyclists - not so ordinary after all

Have a look at this website from SA – so powerful – portraits of ordinary people on their bikes. If you click on individual photos, the story of that person comes up. If you click on individual photos, the story of that person comes up. The Bicycle Portraits project was initiated by Stan Engelbrecht (Cape Town, South Africa) and Nic Grobler (Johannesburg, South Africa) early in 2010. Whenever they can, together or separately, they’re on the lookout for fellow commuters, and people who use bicycles as part of their everyday work, to meet and photograph. They’re finding out who rides bicycles, why they ride bicycles, if and why they love their bicycles, and of course why so few South Africans choose bicycles as a transport option. There is no specific range of questions asked, they'd rather just establish a conversation around the rider’s life and where his or her bicycle fits into it. Please bear in mind that these recordings were transcribed verbatim and that english is not the first language of many of the characters they met. Being avid cyclists themselves, this project is as much an investigation into South African bicycle culture as it is an excuse for them to ride their bikes and take photographs. Follow the project on Twitter or contact them at

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Paris Plage

A few weeks ago, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced a plan to transform his city's waterfront, closing 1.2 miles of expressway on the left bank of the Seine and slowing the highway along the right bank to the speed of a city boulevard. Delanoë's plan is the latest development in an incremental transformation that's been years in the making. Soon after he became mayor in 2002, he instituted Paris Plage -- a month-long transformation into a riverfront beach, complete with sand and swimming -- as a way of bringing summertime recreation to those not able to leave the city for vacation. Paris Plage was itself an expansion of the practice of giving the highway to pedestrians and cyclists for a few hours on summer Sundays. In 2006, it became "Paris Plages," as the popular beaches multiplied along the Seine. Even this permanent highway closing isn't the final word in Paris's rediscovery of its river. "This is only a step," Denis Baupin, Paris's deputy mayor for the environment, told Time Magazine.  The politics of reclaiming so much space from the automobile -- "reconquering the Seine," in Delanoë's words -- were a lot easier thanks to the massive investment in walking, bicycling, busways, and commuter rail that Paris has made over the last decade. The Paris city council votes on the proposal in July.

Safer BraIn; Safety for Vulnerable Road Users

Velo Mondial & Partners invite you cordially to take part in a workshop on the “Safety of vulnerable Road Users”. The international workshop will take place in Rome the 21th of May 2010. The event is part of the project SaferBraIn (Innovative Guidelines and Tools for Vulnerable Road Users Safety in India and Brazil) co-financed by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Program. The agenda highlights interventions by Prof. Mohan, expert of road safety at the Indian Institute of Technology of New Delhi, by Drs. Schneider, director at the Traffic Engineering Company of the Municipality of Sao Paulo. The workshop will be organized in four sessions: 1. the first focusing on approaches to improve the safety of Vulnerable Road Users in the Emerging Economies, 2. the second sessions will present the preliminary results of the project, obtained during the first months of activities, 3. the third will focus on the methodologies to improve safety of Vulnerable Road Users, 4. the fourth will focus on the tools to improve safety of Vulnerable Road Users. Registration free at the door; download flyer here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cycling in New York: Innovative policies at the urban frontier

New York has made impressive progress at improving cycling conditions and raising cycling levels in recent years, especially in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  The number of bike trips has almost doubled since 2000, thanks to vastly expanded cycling infrastructure, including innovative treatments such as cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes, special bike signals, bike boxes at intersections, and bright green lane markings.  Cycling safety has improved, with steady or declining numbers of cyclist injuries and fatalities in spite of rapidly rising cycling volumes.  Some serious deficiencies remain, however.  Integration of bicycling with public transport is almost non-existent.  There is not nearly enough bike parking, and virtually no secure bike parking at all.  Moreover, the police and courts in New York have failed to enforce the many traffic laws intended to protect cyclists.  Comprehensive traffic calming is needed in New York’s residential neighborhoods to reduce travel speeds and thus encourage more cycling, in particular, by children, seniors, and women.  Cycling has come a long way in New York, but it still has a long way to go before it becomes a mainstream way to get around. John Pucher, Lewis Thorwaldson, Ralph Buehler, and Nick Klein, "Cycling in New York:  Policy Innovations at the Urban Frontier," World Transport Policy and Practice, Vol. 16, summer 2010, forthcoming

Monday, May 3, 2010

Road Pricing and more, much more

Road Tolls: Tolls are a common way to fund highway and bridge improvements. Such tolls are a fee-for-service, with revenues dedicated to roadway project costs.  Congestion Pricing: (also called Value Pricing) refers to variable road tolls (higher prices under congested conditions and lower prices at less congested times and locations) intended to reduce peak-period traffic volumes to optimal levels.  Cordon (Area) Tolls: are fees paid by motorists to drive in a particular area, usually a city center. Some cordon tolls only apply during peak periods, such as weekdays.   HOT Lanes: High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes are High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes that also allow use by a limited number of low occupancy vehicles if they pay a toll.  Vehicle Use Fees: Distance-Based Charges such as mileage fees can be used to fund roadways or reduce traffic impacts, including congestion, pollution and accident risk.  Road Space Rationing: A variation of road pricing is to ration peak period vehicle-trips or vehicle-miles using a revenue-neutral credit-based system. Look for more and much more at this page of the TDM Encyclopedia of the Victoria Research Institute.

Amsterdam next 4 years: Wider bicycle paths, fewer cars

The new city administration wants Amsterdam to remain the World's number 1 bicycle city by far. The area within the A10 ring road will have reduced car traffic and there will be more bicycle stands, waiting time indicators and green waves for cyclists. In addition, a ‘moped policy’ will be developed. These measures have been announced in the coalition agreement presented last week by PvdA, GroenLinks and VVD.  On behalf of GroenLinks, Velo Mondial's friend and council member Fjodor Molenaar participated in the negotiations on issues including traffic. Last year, he submitted a policy paper 'Cyclist King', which argues among other things for a moped policy and for ‘bicycle streets’ where cars are guests. At the time, the former City Council responded positively to his proposals. “In part, the bicycle plans of the new administration are a confirmation of the former administration’s response to 'Cyclist King'. The idea that Amsterdam should remain Cycling City Number 1 and the ambition to create more spacious bicycle paths are the most obvious elements that have been included in the agreement. Also, the notion that the inner city area will be expanded to the area within the A10 and that there should be structurally more room for slow traffic in that area, has survived.” “ I expect that bicycle streets will be created in various districts the coming years.” Read more in News from Amsterdam.