Friday, April 24, 2015

So much more idylic if only motors and scooters were gone

Why the Dutch cycle

In recent years cycling has taken centre stage as an important political topic for cities around the world. In an age of austerity and increasing oil prices, it is little wonder that cycling has reemerged as a significant form of sustainable transportation. Besides the affordability and inherent health benefits to having an active population, there is a growing body of research suggesting cycling plays a significant role in fostering social belonging and active civic participation. Currently, many municipal leaders and planners are grappling with the challenges of invigorating a new cycling culture or reinventing one that was lost during the past 60 years of car-friendly urbanism. However, there is one country that stands out as the cycling capital of the world—the Netherlands has kept its cycling culture alive despite the pressures of modern industrialisation. Cycling always remained one of the preferred means of transportation and is so entrenched in Dutch society that it is often easy to overlook the reasons for its continued prominence. This animation examines the history and political factors that led to the Netherlands keeping their cycling culture alive and strong for all these years. If you want to know more about the political turning point, you can continue here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Copenhagen to pull plug on pricey city bikes

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Portland New Bike Share, where citizens own the bikes

Launching a citywide bike-share program costs many millions of dollars—taken from taxpayers or corporate sponsors—and often is a bureaucratic nightmare. But maybe it doesn't have to be like that. Spinlister, a platform that lets people rent outdoor sports equipment to nearby enthusiasts, is launching a bike-share program in Portland, Oregon that shirks the traditional hub and spoke model (designated bike parking and rental stations) for a decentralized network that's more akin to what Car2Go offers for cars. There's another twist: Spinlister won't own the bikes. Local cyclists will. With Spinlister's existing rental service, users rent bikes from a specific person at a certain time and location. The bike-share model will be completely differen. Spinlister power users will be given a new bike from manufacturer VanMoof, designed specifically for the bike-share program, with a Bluetooth lock, motion-activated lights, one-size-fits-all seat, lightweight alloy frame, puncture-resistant tires, and all sorts of theft deterrents. 
There's wireless tracking in the bike, and the only way to turn it off is to saw through the frame. Read on here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bicycle streets

What is the definition of a bicycle street? (“Fietsstraat” in Dutch, or ‘bicycle boulevard’ as they are mostly called in the US.) Nowadays a bicycle street is considered to be a route in a residential area that is a main route for cycling, but only a minor route for motor traffic. It is essential that cycle traffic is the dominating form of traffic and that the route looks clearly designed for cycling. This makes it immediately clear to drivers of a motor vehicle that they are guest in a space that is not theirs. (CROW recommendation in publication 216) Note, that we are talking about a route rather than a street. The Dutch always construct cycle routes, never individual streets, even if they call those routes ‘street’. Parking motor vehicles in a cycle street is also possible. The word cycle street does not imply that there are no cars. There are, parked and moving, but they are the minority form of transport. That the streets are in a residential area automatically means that the speed limit for motor traffic is 30km/h. (With the exception of rural cycle roads where that would be 60km/h.) Read more here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The best roundabout design for cyclists

Roundabouts are often disliked by cyclists because using them by bicycle can be fraught with danger. When riding on a roundabout, you rely upon drivers seeing you on your bike. There is a tendency for motorists to look right through cyclists while looking for other motor vehicles, hence the frequency of "SMIDSY" incidents. However none of this has to be the case. The best Dutch roundabout designs do not cause significant danger for cyclists. But note that not all Dutch roundabouts are created equal. There are big differences in the safety of different designs of roundabout used in the Netherlands, and not all advice from this country emphasizes the safest design. In the Netherlands it is not expected that cyclists should be mixed with motorized traffic on roundabouts. There is always a cycle-path or lane of some form. While cycle-lanes around roundabouts are not generally thought to work well.  There are two opposing views on how these cycle-paths should be designed. One view holds that cyclists should have priority across each road leading to the roundabout, the other holds that it is dangerous for cyclists to have this priority. Read on here. Also read this in BicycleDutch.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Amsterdam children in 1972; amazing footage shaping the Amsterdam of today

“This would be a perfect area for a trial with a maximum speed of 30km/h” (18mph) explains a traffic expert of the city of Amsterdam to a child in a film that was broadcast on Dutch national TV almost 42 years ago. The TV documentary was made for a progressive broadcasting corporation and shows the Amsterdam neighbourhood “De Pijp” which was about 100 years old at the time. The homes were run down and small. The streets were never built, nor fit for all the cars brought in by the 40,000 people living in the small area and its many visitors. This led to an overpopulated neighbourhood with a lot of dirt and filth and especially the children suffered. The documentary is one of a series and this particular episode looks at the situation from a child’s perspective. Read much, much more here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Once in a lifetime event in Johannesburg SA

EcoMobility World Festival will transform Sandton into a car-free central business district in October 2015. Arguably, it will be the only car-free CBD in entire Africa! October this year, the world will see a first-of-its-kind experiment to bring about a shift from car-dominated transport to EcoMobility in cities: Johannesburg will close a key part of Sandton Central Business District to cars and encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport for the entire month. The happening is framed as EcoMobility World Festival, the first such event in Africa and the second in the world. Mayor Parks Tau has officially launched the EcoMobility World Festival project on 17 March 2015 at an event attended by key stakeholders in Johannesburg.“We have never imagined Sandton, the economic powerhouse of Joburg, to be a parking lot. We need to redefine mobility in Sandton. The new mobility needs to be an integrated one that serves people. It will happen in October, the future will be seen today. Driven by ICLEI, we will partner with local organizations and stakeholders to make the EcoMobility World Festival a success and a beneficial experience for all those involved,” announced the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Parks Tau.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stockholm steps it up a notch

Stockholm city officials and architects have unveiled plans for a new parking garage catering exclusively to bicycles and their riders. With limited inner city space, Stockholm hopes to encourage ridership by creating something that caters to the needs of cyclists. “The city of the future is not one built around the car as a means of transportation,” says Roger Mogert, city planning commissioner for Stockholm. “This requires that we make it easier to travel by bike, and of course arranging for safe and efficient parking solutions is one step towards that goal.” Belatchew Architects, the firm tasked with the project, says the garage will have the capacity to hold as many as 700 bicycles. It’s located near a major train stop and was designed with all kinds of cyclist needs in mind. Instead of doors with handles, entrances slide open for easy access from the bike path or street. Plans also call for a bike repair shop and changing rooms where commuters can shower, get dressed for work and stow their helmets in lockers. Read on here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A true revolution in bike sharing by VanMoof

Equipped with Bluetooth and GSM technologies, the new generation VANMOOF bikes has attracted the attentions of Silicon Valley. VANMOOF technology is at the heart of Spinlister, a revolutionary new bike-share scheme that’s being launched in the city of Austin, Texas during the 2015 South by Southwest Festival (13-22 March). Imagine being able to locate and rent a state-of-the-art bicycle using just your smartphone, anywhere in the world. Spinlister is a radical departure from all other bike sharing schemes to date. There is no hub or station where bicycles have to be collected or returned. Renters simply locate, book and unlock privately-owned bikes using the Spinlister mobile app. In doing so, they avoid back-and-forth communication with owners, or having to plan trips around fixed-location bicycle hub stations. It’s a new, intuitive and user-friendly system that’s possible thanks to the groundbreaking features of the latest commuter bikes from VANMOOF. Boasting GSM and Bluetooth technologies, these VANMOOF bikes are able to communicate with the Spinlister app. Together, they make to make finding and renting a bicycle convenient and enjoyable. Read more here.