Monday, November 29, 2010

Moving Slow but Reaching Far

FABIO in Uganda continued its project “Bicycle Credit Scheme” in Kiringa parish Nawandala sub county in Iganga District. The idea is to give away bicycles within a credit scheme in order to increase the number of bicycle users. The recent initiation of the project even included a discount on the initial deposits and the monthly instalments because our donor Barbara Kipke, a mobility consultant from Germany, supports the project. Using this credit-based method it is much easier for people to purchase a bicycle. The project will reduce poverty by improving accessibility to social services and promoting bicycle use as the most affordable and sustainable means of transport. Another positive effect which goes together with poverty reduction is the promotion of the culture and spirit of saving. The target group for the bicycle credits are especially women who use the bicycle for the benefit of the whole family. In Kiringa parish Nawandala sub county, FABIO handed over bicycles to 10 women groups each consisting of about 10 to 30 members – so around 200 women are profiting from the recent project. Each of the groups received one bicycle at 50.000 Uganda Shillings (about 15 Euro), as deposits, additionally they have to pay monthly instalments of 10.000 Uganda Shillings for 5 months. Read More in FABIO's New Letter

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Innovative Head Airbag; cool alternative for bike helmet

Hövding is a bicycle helmet & airbag, unlike any other currently on the market. It's ergonomic, it's practical, it complies with all the safety requirements, and it's also subtle and blends in with what else you are wearing. Hövding is a collar for bicyclists, worn around the neck. The collar contains a folded up airbag that you'll only see if you happen to have an accident. The airbag is shaped like a hood, surrounding and protecting the bicyclist's head. The trigger mechanism is controlled by sensors which pick up the abnormal movements of a bicyclist in an accident. The actual collar is the visible part of the invention. It's covered by a removable shell that you can change to match your outfit, and we'll be launching new designs all the time. Hövding is a practical accessory that's easy to carry around, it's got a great-looking yet subtle design, and it will save your life. The airbag is shaped like a hood that surrounds your head. It's made in an ultra-strong nylon fabric that won't rip when scraped against asphalt. The way the hood is designed and folded into the collar ensures that it will inflate quickly and safely. It takes about 0.1 seconds to inflate and the airbag will be fully inflated before head impact. Hövding protects nearly all of the head while leaving the field of vision open.

Next in line: New York City

The Bloomberg administration is set to move ahead with plans to create a large-scale bike-sharing program that would make hundreds or even thousands of bicycles available for public use throughout New York City — a nimble, novel form of mass transit that has already become mainstream in cities like Washington and Paris. An exhaustive proposal released by the city in 2009 offered a glimpse of how a bike-sharing program might look in New York. The study, by the Department of City Planning, envisioned an initial rollout of about 10,000 bikes that could be placed at automated kiosks below Central Park in Manhattan and in areas of Downtown Brooklyn, with a majority of bikes available in dense business districts. In Paris, the pioneer of bike-sharing, the bikes are used up to 150,000 times a day. Told of the plan late Monday, Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, expressed excitement for the idea. “Bike sharing has rapidly moved cycling into the mainstream in similar big cities,” he said. “The Big Apple will take to it like we’ve never lived without it.” Read on in the NYT.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Protected Bicycle Lanes since 1906

Helmets: the horse behind the cart?

This issue has been a disputed topic for about 20 years and continues to cause problems see Erke and Elvik (Norwegian researchers) 2007: "There is evidence of increased accident risk per cycling-km for cyclists wearing a helmet. In Australia and New Zealand, the increase is estimated to be around 14 per cent. When helmet laws were tried in Australia survey details showed cycling was reduced following legislation. Victoria, 297 extra people wearing helmets and 1110 fewer cyclists. New South Wales, 569 more people wearing helmets and 2658 fewer cyclists. More than 4 people stopped cycling for each extra person wearing a helmet, 866 started wearing a helmet while  3768 gave up cycling. Data published for children in New South Walles, number of injuries increased from 1310 in 1991 to 2083 in 1993. The UK's National Children's Bureau (NCB) provided a detailed review of cycling and helmets in 2005, stating that the case for helmets is far from sound and the benefits of helmets need further investigation before even a policy supporting promotion can be unequivocally supported. The 'Health and safety assessment of state bicycle helmet laws in the USA' provides useful information. Also tead this article from Freakonomics in the NYT. The source for this blog was Nieuws uit Amsterdam.

Downtown from Behind

One is wearing a couture gown, another just a pair of red underwear. One is lugging a huge bouquet of flowering rhododendrons on his shoulder, another a suckling pig. They are all riding bicycles in the middle of streets downtown, and they are all shown from behind, having passed by, headed toward some unknown destination — a party, a garden, a pig roast. The photographs are by Bridget Fleming, 30, who moved to the Lower East Side from Australia in 2008. She is halfway through an ambitious project to capture downtown denizens riding on two wheels down each of the approximately 200 streets below 14th Street. She posts some of the photographs on a blog,  Downtown From Behind, and hopes the project, which she describes as a glamorous ode to “the heartbeat of New York,” will culminate this spring with a gallery exhibition and Web site. The goal is to capture some of the city’s most creative residents — writers, designers, chefs — at the locus of their work or personal life using a mode of transportation they love. “When I see these photographs, I see what New York is to me,” she said. “The diversity, the creativity, the beauty, it’s my vision of downtown.”  Read on in the NYT

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Safety after dark

Long winter nights and autumn leaves can turn a cycle path in to an obstacle course of slippery patches, overgrown weeds and general rubbish. With this in mind, inventor Grant Taylor decided to turn his previous experience with glow-in-the-dark technology into an eco-friendly way to make cycle paths safer. Result: the Traxeye. Bike Radar writes: Traxeyes are round discs which contain the photo luminescent compound GS2000, after just eight minutes of normal daylight they’re good to glow visibly for up to 12 hours. They can be fitted to any concrete or fixed surface using a special tool. Each Traxeye is fitted with a specially capped nail that should avoid punctures and protect the product from all but the most determined of vandals, and their robust design is highly resistant to weather conditions. The Traxeyes cost £2.99 each, around £80 per unit cheaper than some of the light-giving solar competition. The GS2000 compound is non-toxic and has been rated suitable for use in children’s toys, which means that even damaged units pose no threat to wildlife. In addition, no decline in light output is expected over their five year lifespan. TraxEye increases safety after dark and considerably extends the use of the network.

Monday, November 1, 2010

San Francisco joins the main stream

Already one in four San Franciscans bikes regularly -- an impressive number by state and national measures, but what will it take for even more people to try bicycling in our city? What would persuade your boss, your neighbor, or your mother-in-law to choose to bicycle in San Francisco? Will it be a graceful bridge that takes them from Marina Green around Fort Mason and to Fisherman's Wharf? Or a bike lift that helps them up some of the steepest and least avoidable hills? Or a fully separated bikeway in the street on both sides of the Panhandle? Moving this vision to reality, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has launched its boldest initiative to date: Connecting the City. This project presents the stunning idea that our city's bike network should be designed for everyone, from an eight-year-old child to an eighty-year-old grandmother, recognizing that sharrows and bike lanes aren't enough to make everyone feel comfortable and safe. This initiative imagines a complete system of crosstown bike routes, elegantly designed, and filled with all types of people. Connecting the City kicks off with three priority routes that would become the backbone for the city's bicycling network. Read on here.