Friday, June 20, 2014

Should Urban Cycle Hire Schemes be Financially Self-Sustaining?

It’s perhaps not surprising that bike-sharing was born in one of the world’s most prolific transport innovators. France brought us the stylish automobiles of the 1960s, high-speed TGVs, Airbus jetliners – and urban bike-sharing. 40 years ago, the French city of La Rochelle launched what is considered the world’s first successful bike-sharing programme, VĂ©los Jaunes (Yellow Bikes). Incredibly, the bikes were actually free to use at first, and 30 years later ( in 2004) the fellow French city of Lyon would launch the world’s first major bike-share scheme using next-generation, computerized bike racks and memberships cards. Some 600 cities around the world now have a bike-share system, most of them being wildly successful in terms of market penetration and user-rates. In fact, we’re positively hooked on them. New York City’s own Citibike was launched earlier this year and in only a few months the programme has already grown to nearly 100,000 members. User numbers aside, however, the vast majority of these systems have floundered financially, much to the dismay of city governments. But can (or should?) bike-sharing be financially self-sustaining? Read more here, also in Portuguese.

View The Bike-sharing World Map in a larger map

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Draft London Cycling Design Standards Copy/Paste them at will!

Last published in 2005, the revised London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS) is a technical document that should inform design options and promote an integrated and ambitious approach to delivering high quality infrastructure for cycling in all parts of Lond. It has now been comprehensively updated to reflect established and emerging best practice, and to help planners and designers meet the aspirations of the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling. Through this consultation, they welcome your comments on all parts of this draft document. You can view the draft LCDS as a single document here or as individual chapters. These are the chapters: Ch1 Design RequirementCh2 Tools and Techniques, Ch3 Cycle lanes and track, Ch4 Junctions and crossings, Ch5 Cycle friendly street design, Ch6 Sign and markings,  Ch7 Construction including surface, Ch8 Cycle parking, Appendix Cyclists at roadworks. Read on here.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

When there is not enough space people get priority

Utrecht has decided that the dominant types of transport in the old city centre should be cycling and walking. Streets which are due for maintenance are therefore reconstructed to reflect that policy. The newly reconstructed Domstraat and Korte Jansstraat show the city keeps word. These streets, which were clearly designed for the car in a different era, were changed into streets for people. This was done by drastically narrowing the main carriageway so the side walks could be widened significantly. The worn asphalt surface was removed and replaced by a much more friendly brick surface. Most parking spaces were removed as well. The area became a 30km/h zone and that means most traffic signs could be taken away. Before, the streets had priority over every side street and there were signs at every intersection to indicate that. In a 30km/h zone the priority is the default priority, which means that traffic from the right, so traffic coming from the side streets, has the right of way. Signs are not needed to indicate the default priority arrangement. All these measures combined send out the signal: motorists, you are a guest here, this is a people’s place now. The streets are optimised for walking and cycling. Read on on Bicycle Dutch.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Even electric quadricycles are not safe on the road

Euro NCAP has tested four heavy quadricycles in a special safety campaign. All vehicles have performed very poorly and some have shown serious risks of life threatening injuries. In recent years, a new class of sub-compact vehicles has emerged in Europe. Although street-legal, quadricycles do not have to pass any of the rigorous crash tests to which cars are subjected. The tested models were the Club Car Villager 2+2 LSV, the Renault Twizy 80, the Tazzari ZERO and the Ligier IXO J LINE 4 Places. While some vehicles scored better than others, all fourquadricycles showed serious safetyproblems.The vehicles were scored primarily on data from crash dummies but penaltieswere also given for poor performance of the structure or restraints. ‘Our test campaign confirms that quadricycles generally provide a much lower level of safety than regular passenger cars. The poor results, however, urge us to ask ourselves whether consumers should really be satisfied with the protection currently being offered? As quadricycles look set to become more and more popular, Euro NCAP is calling for manufacturers and legislative authorities to ensure a minimum level of crash safety for this vehicle segment’ stated Michiel van Ratingen. Read more here.