Friday, April 22, 2011

Standalone cycling plans: risky enterprise

At a public forum last week at Mission High School in San Francisco, Al Lopez, 71, rested on his cane and addressed a panel of city leaders and department heads, including Mayor Edwin Lee and Nathan Ford, the city’s transit chief.“I’m a cripple,” Mr. Lopez said, and felt endangered by the proliferation of cyclists on streets and sidewalks. Dr. Frank Gilson had a grueling encounter with San Francisco’s bike plan: he found a $65 ticket on his car. The city recently reversed plans to remove 199 automobile parking spaces along 17th Street in the Mission to make way for a bike lane. Some merchants worried that removing parking would hurt business, and they objected to how they had been informed. Instead of notifying residents and businesses by mail — the standard procedure for nearly every other planning matter in the city — many in the neighborhood got the news when someone spotted a nondescript flier taped to a utility pole. Dr. Gilson, a former triathlete, thought the issue was larger. He said that cyclists had become a powerful political force, and that city leaders had forgotten that most people did not bicycle. The debate is fierce and gathers the same type of comments as in New York where cycling policy is under fire.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guide by cities for cities

The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide is based on the experience of the best cycling cities in the world. The designs in this document were developed by cities for cities, since unique urban streets require innovative solutions. Most of these treatments are not directly referenced in the current versions of the AASHTO Guide to Bikeway Facilities or the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), although many of the elements are found within these documents. The Federal Highway Administration has recently posted information regarding approval status of various bicycle related treatments not covered in the MUTCD. To create the Guide, the authors have conducted an extensive worldwide literature search from design guidelines and real-life experience. They have worked closely with a panel of urban bikeway planning professionals from NACTO member cities, as well as traffic engineers, planners, and academics with deep experience in urban bikeway applications. A complete list of participating professionals is included here. The intent of the Guide is to offer substantive guidance for cities seeking to improve bicycle transportation in places with competing demands for the right of way.

A Tsunami of cyclists in Tokyo

Over the past 20 years, more commuters in urban areas like Tokyo have been switching gears and choosing to bicycle to work instead of using trains and cars, citing concerns for health, environment, costs and an escape from packed trains. The catastrophe last month has now converted some of the holdouts by proving one more benefit to cycling: you have a means to go home when the trains stop moving. Since March 11, when an earthquake devastated northern Japan and rattled the Tokyo metropolitan area, the streets of Suginami ward have teemed with wobbly bikers pedaling their way to work. On that fateful day, millions of workers were stranded in the middle of the city when virtually the whole Tokyo train and subway system — which together shuttle nine million people in and out of the megalopolis daily — ground to a halt. Railways stopped trains for fear of aftershocks. While most of the trains and subways resumed service toward midnight, hundreds of thousands walked home or took shelter in their offices or public halls. Recently, electric-powered bicycles have also seen something of a boom in demand, particularly in the aftermath of the March temblor. Read more in NYT.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dutch traffic casulaties down again

640 people were killed in traffic accidents in the Netherlands in 2010. This is 11 percent fewer than the 720 deaths in 2009, and continues the downward trend observed in the last few years. The number of fatalities among people aged under 40 in particular decreased, as well as the number among cyclists and people in cars.  Victims in their twenties do still account for the largest number of traffic deaths. Most of the decrease in the number of traffic deaths is accounted for by cyclists and car drivers and passengers. There were 50 fewer car deaths in 2010; at 246 this was 17 percent lower than in 2009. This group does account for most of traffic deaths however. The number of cyclists killed on Dutch roads fell from 185 in 2009 to 162 in 2010.  Pedestrians were the only group of road users for whom the number of deaths did not decrease. The number of fatal victims in this group has been stable for years now. The number of fatal casualties on Dutch roads has been decreasing since the mid-1970s when it became compulsory to wear a seatbel tand people on mopeds were required to wear a helmet. Since the year with the highest number of traffic deaths, 1972, the number of people killed yearly has fallen by 80 percent. It is anticipated that the number will not go lower than 550 ever. Source: CBS; read more here.


Momo is a European project supported by IEE - Intelligent Energy Europe on car sharing: moreoptions for energy efficient mobility through Car-Sharing. The key objective of Momo is to contribute significantly to sustainable mobility patterns by establishing a mobility culture which is based on using various transport options instead of car ownership. Car-Sharing has a great, but mostly unexploited, potential in Europe. Being a kind of decentralised car-rental service, Car-Sharing complements the sustainable transport modes of walking, cycling and Public Transport – thus giving an alternative to car-ownership without any restriction on individual mobility. With Car-Sharing as a market-based service, transport can be organised more rationally and more resource-efficiently. The European Momo project wants to increase awareness, to improve the service of Car-Sharing and to increase the energy-efficiency within the existing Car-Sharing operations. Momo has the ambitious target of 20,000 new Car-Sharing customers – with significant impacts on transport patterns, energy consumption, CO2emissions and on the reallocation of urban space through the replacement of private cars.

Monday, April 11, 2011


EPOMM is the European Platform on Mobility Management, a network of  European governments engaged in Mobility Management. The network currently consists of Austria, Finland, France, the State of Hessen (Germany), the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Velo Mondial is member of their Quality Assurance Focus Group for evaluation and dissemination. The monthly EPOMM e-update provides actual highlights and topics within the field of Mobility Management in Europe with topics like: “Innovative Mobility Management Solutions”, “Parking Management”, “ECOMM 2011 – Economic Recession: A new dawn for Mobility Management”. The latest newsletter EPOMM addresses the topic of car-sharing and its role as an essential alternative to the individual motorized vehicles for trips that are difficult to make by other modes of sustainable transport. In this e-update many developments and trends are presented, especially by using the example of the European project MOMO. For more information take a look into the latest e-update. Subscribe to e-update for receiving more information each month automatically. Find all the newsletters also in different languages on the EPOMM website.

Bicycling Renaissance in North America

This review by Prof. John Pucher (Rutgers University) of cycling in Chicago, Minneapolis, MontrĂ©al, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington shows that cycling levels have increased in both the USA and Canada, while cyclist fatalities have fallen. There is much spatial variation and socioeconomic inequality in cycling rates. The bike share of work commuters is more than twice as high in Canada as in the USA, and is higher in the western parts of both countries. Cycling is concentrated in central cities, especially near universities and in gentrified neighborhoods near the city center. Almost all the growth in cycling in the USA has been among men between 25–64 years old, while cycling rates have remained steady among women and fallen sharply for children. Cycling rates have risen much faster in the nine case study cities than in their countries as a whole, at least doubling in all the cities since 1990. They have implemented a wide range of infrastructure and programs to promote cycling and increase cycling safety: expanded and improved bike lanes and paths, traffic calming, parking, bike-transit integration, bike sharing, training programs, and promotional events.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cycling in The Netherlands; some useful tips

Cycling is fun and it is something that everyone can learn how! We have different sets of rules in the Netherlands for car drivers and for cyclists. They are presented on this website. Adhere to these, and prevent getting caught in an accident! We will focus on specific (dangerous) traffic situations and elaborate on how a cyclist should best react. Finally, we present you an overview of the most important traffic signs and their meaning. Here you find the most important traffic rules for cyclists. But beware; if you have the right of way it does not mean that you will get the right of way. Always check whether others give you your right! If it is not safe, then do not take your right as you are a vulnerable road user. Cyclists show other road users which direction they want to go by sticking out their hand. The rules for cyclists Alcohol: a cyclist’s blood alcohol content should not exceed 0.5 promille. It is illegal to cycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The police can impose a cycling ban on you for drunk cycling. Music and mobile phone: It is not forbidden by law to use your mobile phone or listen to music while cycling. It can however distract you. Inspection: you are not obliged to have your bicycle inspected. It does however need to have proper brakes and lighting.