When I accepted Mayor Bloomberg’s offer to become Transportation commissioner, I told him I wanted to change the city’s transportation status quo. The DOT had control over more than just concrete, asphalt, steel, and striping lanes. These are the fundamental materials that govern the entire public realm and, if applied slightly differently, could have a radical new impact. I saw no reason why New York couldn’t become one of the world’s great biking cities — or why it wouldn’t want to. But the act of actually achieving it launched the bitterest public fight over transportation in this city since Jane Jacobs held the line against Robert Moses’s Lower Manhattan Expressway half a century earlier. By the time the fight localized — in October 2010, when police attempted to control hundreds of dueling protesters for and against a new bike lane along Prospect Park — The Brooklyn Paper called the proposal “the most controversial slab of cement outside the Gaza Strip.” Read article
Vulnerability and risk. Statistics and ethics. Solutions or fixes. Top-down interventions or individual actions. These are the core issues in the long-running bike-lane (or cycle track)-versus-integration argument and in the book Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (better known for his previous book, The Black Swan). Antifragile is a long and complex read, but the author managed to summarize it while metaphorically standing on one foot: “Everything gains or loses from volatility. Fragility is what loses from volatility and uncertainty.” Read article
A new Danish study shows that cyclists and pedestrians contribute to roughly 50 % of the revenue in retailing in the large cities’ centres and roughly 25 % in the small and medium-sized cities. The bicycle is the preferred means of transportation in city centers, and cyclists visit more shops per trip than car drivers.
The relationship between cycling and commercial life has previously been examined in Copenhagen but not yet in other cities and towns in Denmark. Therefore, the Danish Road Directorate granted funding for such a survey in seven different municipalities in Denmark. The survey was conducted by the consulting company COWI, a member of the Cycling Embassy of Denmark. The results have just been published. Read more
For our February public meeting, we are delighted to be exploring a very different topic – the cycling adventures of Ciaran Hussey and Laura McMorrow through Mongolia and other exotic places as recounted by themselves! Below is a taster they have sent us. We look forward to welcoming a big crowd to this meeting on Monday 8th February.
Two years vying for elbow space in a densely populated Japanese city resulted in daydreams of vast open spaces and rolling hills. Last summer after months of planning we packed our panniers, oiled our chains and headed for Mongolia to begin our journey home by bike. Over the course of the next four and a half months we cycled through 12 countries. We pedaled past camels in Mongolia, Ladas in Russia, stray dogs in Romania and all the while we wondered what we would find around the next bend.
Ciaran Hussey is from Galway and is a mixed media artist. He studied art and design at Limerick School of Art and Design and received a Masters of Fine Art at the University of Ulster, Belfast. He lived and worked in Japan for a number of years where he developed a love for cycle touring. He considers himself a leisurely cyclist rather than a competitive cyclist and enjoys most aspects of bike culture.
Laura McMorrow is a visual artist from Leitrim. She studied art in Limerick School of Art and Design and holds an MA from the University of Ulster in Belfast. She doesn’t have a background in cycling but loves the outdoors and has a good sense of direction!
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Participants were asked to answer three questions proposed by
the Commission, on 27th November 2015.
The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) asked its member organisations to respond. Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the ECF. Our views are represented in this submission to the EU Commission.
- What further commitments/initiatives can your organisation make to contribute to the reduction of serious road traffic crashes?
- How could your organisation contribute to further raise awareness of local authorities about required action for urban road safety?
- How can the Commission support such efforts?
A new report by the Dutch Knowledge Institute of Mobility Management (KiM) gives an in-depth analysis about the status quo of the active transport modes – cycling and walking – in the Netherlands. The report title is very telling: ‘Cycling and Walking: the lubricating oil of our mobility’
See also letter in the Irish Times
A pilot scheme launched by the City of Paris in 2012 had revealed that allowing cyclists to treat red lights as yield signs would ease bike traffic in the city, would not lead to more road accidents, and could even prevent the accidents that sometimes arise due to cyclists in drivers’ blind spots.
A new policy permitting cyclists to ride through red lights under certain conditions will therefore be rolled out between July and the end of September. New signs will indicate when bikes can either turn right or go straight ahead, even when the lights for cars are on red. In all cases, cyclists will still need to yield to pedestrians and any other vehicles that have the right of way.