Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Copenhagen live and in perspective

While Streetfilms was in Copenhagen for the Velo-City 2010 conference, of course they wanted to showcase its biking greatness.  But they  were also looking to take a different perspective then all the myriad other videos out there.  Since there was an abundance of advocates, planners, and city transportation officials attending from the U.S. and Canada, they thought it'd be awesome to get their reactions to the city's built environment and compare to bicycling conditions in their own cities. If you've never seen footage of the Copenhagen people riding bikes during rush hour - get ready - it's quite a site, as nearly 38% of  commuting trips in Copenhagen are done by bike.  With plenty of safe, bicycle infrastructure (including hundreds of miles of physically separated cycletracks) its no wonder that you see all kinds of people on bikes everywhere.  55% of all riders are female, and you see kids as young as 3 or 4 riding with packs of adults. The truth about Copenhagen , also on this blog, puts this nice portrait of cycling in Copenhagen in perspective.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No more Anti Dumping Duties for Vietnam

Last week, on July 15, 2010 the 34.5% anti-dumping duty on Vietnam made bikes imported into the European Union was dropped. This prompted A&J Worldwide Group to announce the re-opening of its Vietnam facility based near Ho Chi Minh City. A&J Worldwide Group opened its High Ride Vietnam factory in 2003. At that time the 150,000 sq feet facility had 2 production lines capable of producing 800,000 to 1 million bikes as well as automatic and semi-automatic wet and dry painting lines. The factory produced close to 700,000 bicycles a year in 2004 and 2005, mostly destined for the European market. After the anti-dumping duties on Vietnam made bikes came into force in July 2005, Vietnam’s export numbers dropped heavily. They declined from about 1.5 million bikes in 2004 to less than 7,000 in 2009. It forced A&J to shift their production to Cambodia. In 2006 A&J Worldwide Group opened Atlantic Cycle Co. Ltd. in the Cambodian Svay Rieng province for the export of bicycles to Europe, Canada, Japan, Norway and the USA. The Cambodian plant is the biggest of all the A&J factories at some 200,000 sq feet with 3 production lines providing capacity for around 1 million bikes per year. Next to complete bicycles, Atlantic Cycle also produces alloy frames. Read more in Bike Europe.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Where are we to walk: Pune, India

India and Brazil Green

“Greendex 2010: Consumer Choice and the Environment — A Worldwide Tracking Survey” is a comprehensive measure of consumer behavior in 65 areas relating to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods. Greendex 2010 ranks average consumers in 17 countries according to the environmental impact of their consumption patterns and is the only survey of its kind. As in 2008, the top-scoring consumers of 2010 are in the developing economies of India, Brazil, China, in descending order. American consumers’ behavior still ranks as the least sustainable of all countries surveyed since the inception of the survey three years ago, followed by Canadian, French and British consumers. In the annual survey , India came second in housing behind Brazil. But it topped in other sectors like transportation, food and goods to finish overall first in environmental sustainability behaviour. The year before, Brazil had claimed the first spot. Despite the rosy picture, according to the Greendex 2010 survey, Indians were also the most likely to say that seriousness of environmental problems was exaggerated. Read more in the Times of India. Also visit Safer BraIn on the position of vulnerable road users in emerging economies like India and Brazil.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Europe & Cycling Glamorous Friends

In 2000 Velo Mondial spoke with the European Commission and suggested that cycling could be a crucial mode of transport for the European Commission. We were more or less laughed away. This was for us the argument to adopt the slogan: 'Velo Mondial is going to make cycling glamorous'. Now, after ten years, the transport and Tourism committee of the European Parliament recognised the role of cycling as a crucial mode of transport for urban areas. The Transport and Tourism committee reacted to the Communication by the European Commission entitled “A Sustainable Future for Transport”. Next to recognizing the role of cycling as a crucial mode of transport for urban areas, the final report, drafted by Mathieu Grosch also calls for an increase in funding for transport concepts promoting cycling. Many groups contributed to Velo Mondial's call to make cycling glamorous and some even emerged from a lethargy they had been in for quite some time. Many cities, companies and universities were and still are partners with Velo Mondial in projects like Velo.Info Spicycles, Safer BraIn and CIVITAS MIMOSA that laid the base for this development. Velo Mondial is very pleased and congratulates its partners and the European Commission. Next station will be reached when cycling is integrated in local sustainable mobility plans. Read more in Bike Europe.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The truth about Copenhagen

'A view from the cycle path' is a blog on cycling from a cyclist's perspective. David Hembrow has been filling his blog for some years and now has analyzed cycling in Copenhagen and comes to some remarkable conclusions: Copenhagen's marketing as "the world's cycling capital" has been very successful so far. Nice branding too. However, real growth in cycling comes not from marketing and branding, nor from taking photos of pretty girls on bikes, but from investment in infrastructure. Unfortunately, the effects of the hype now go beyond the residents of just that one city. London, for instance, seems to think that merely painting its cycle paths "copenhagen blue" will lead to success. It won't. To get a really high rate of cycling you need the proper infrastructure. There is one country in the world which has it. His solution is to Groningenize! Groningen in the North of the Netherlands,  has the highest rate of cycling in the world. Nearly 60% of all journeys are made by bicycle in the city. His advise: Other countries wanting to achieve a significant modal share for bicycles really do have to look beyond Copenhagen. Velo Mondial's hart is obviously also with Amsterdam(ize).

Friday, July 9, 2010

Drama in Guadalajara Mexico

During the World CarFree Conference in York, that Velo Mondial attended a video was created asking some experts to comment on the plans of Guadelajara Jalisco Mexico to build a highway. The plans resembled those that Amsterdam had back in the sixties of building a highway through the city; Amsterdammers blocked those plans and now we have the pretty city that Amsterdam is. The video was put on Youtube but the government of Jalisco was not pleased and asked YouTube to bring it down (after around 15,000 hits) claiming misuse of Copyright! That proved to be an action on the same level in communication as the plans are for building the road in the field of mobility. It became a much larger issue, calling even more attention on people worried about censorship and accountability. Two days later another 11,000 saw the video on YouTube. A better quality video is below:

Via Express en el mundo from v.l.a.d. colectivo on Vimeo.

New York: No longer strictly about cycling

SPINNING, the trademarked indoor cycling program created 18 years ago, has obviously surpassed trend status. A staple at many gyms, the music-and-mantra-driven cardio cocktail is particularly appealing to New York cyclists because it provides a safe way to burn calories and ride with abandon without crashing into a U.P.S. truck. Entrepreneurs have taken note: sleek, user-friendly boutique cycling studios, featuring top-of-the-line equipment and instructors, are sprouting up to compete with larger gyms, where cycling classes are often pushed into the corner. All of them offer clip-in shoes, a wipe-down staff (with the job of clearing the area of sweat after each session) and online reservations. And in an effort to stand out from the pack, these chic studios are emphasizing hybrid classes, special technologies or unusual atmospheres. The cycling classes are traditional at the Studio, for instance, but as it’s on the second floor of a brownstone, the setting is an intimate, light-filled room with a chandelier.  With a yoga space connected to its bike room, it is no longer strictly about cycling. Read on in the New York Times.  Picture Chester Higgins, New York Times.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Health benefits of cycling through the city are greater than risks

Despite all of the dangers cyclists face in traffic, it is still considerably healthier to leave the car at home and to commute by bicycle instead. That is the conclusion of a new study conducted by Utrecht University’s Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). Driving less improves the individual cyclist’s health. The advantages of cycling weigh up against the possible health risks, such as traffic accidents or the inhalation of fine particles.  The researchers came to this assessment by calculating the health effects resulting from using a bicycle instead of a car for short distances. Using the results of a previous study on physical activity, they calculated that cycling would result in an increase in life expectancy of three to 14 months. “Encouraging people to walk or cycle a little each day would generally result in a better physical condition. “The advantages for the community are greater than those for the individual cyclist. Riding a bicycle instead of driving a car for short trips reduces the emission of dangerous substances, which in turn means that others will inhale less polluted air”. “Motor vehicles are also often the cause of fatal accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.” Read more here.

European Cycling Lexicon

An illustrated passport-sized booklet, containing key terms for cycling, different types of bikes for different mobility needs, and good cycling infrastructure in 27 languages, including all 23 official EU languages. It also contains information on EU-funding sources for cycling and cycling infrastructure, and statistics on cycling in Europe and economic, health and environmental aspects of cycling.  It is the first publications of its kind and was prepared by the EESC's Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN) to respond to the strong demand from citizens, organisations and public authorities for further copies of the European Cycling Lexicon. The lexicon is indispensable for anyone who wishes to cycle in another European country. It raises awareness, both among citizens and at different levels of governance, about the many advantages of cycling and the need for good cycling infrastructure. A wiki-version, where citizens can further add languages and terms, is planned for fall 2010. Velo Mondial used it as a base for the CIVITAS MIMOSA Search Engine for sustainable mobility.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Commuter Pain Study

IBM surveyed 8,192 motorists in 20 cities on six continents, the majority of whom say that traffic has gotten worse in the past three years. The congestion in many of today's developing cities is a relatively recent phenomenon, having paralleled the rapid economic growth of those cities during the past decade or two. By contrast, the traffic in places like New York, Los Angeles or London has developed gradually over many decades, giving officials more time and resources to address the problem. The index is comprised of 10 issues: 1) commuting time, 2) time stuck in traffic, agreement that: 3) price of gas is already too high, 4) traffic has gotten worse, 5) start-stop traffic is a problem, 6) driving causes stress, 7) driving causes anger, 8) traffic affects work, 9) traffic so bad driving stopped, and 10) decided not to make trip due to traffic. The cities scored as follows: Beijing: 99, Mexico City: 99, Johannesburg: 97, Moscow: 84, New Delhi: 81, Sao Paolo: 75, Milan: 52, Buenos Aires: 50, Madrid: 48, London: 36, Paris: 36, Toronto: 32, Amsterdam: 25, Los Angeles: 25, Berlin: 24, Montreal: 23, New York: 19, Houston: 17, Melbourne: 17, Stockholm: 15. Velo Mondial has not been able to analyse IBM's interest in the issue, but we will come back to you on this one. Read more here.