This Library Wants You to Ride a Bicycle

An active group of academics want more people to be fit and have fun. The Urban Cycling Institute has set out to educate the average person on the multitude of benefits that riding a bicycle has for people and the communities they live in. One of the initiatives they launched is the library of bicycling marketing material that anyone is free to use to promote cycling. They also have a collection of bicycle documentaries which are worth viewing.

What are you waiting for? Safe your health and protect the environment by supporting two wheels.

Cycling is a simple means that connects to a wide range of very complex problems and challenges of contemporary cities. It is intertwined with many aspects of urban life in all its richness and complexity.

Academic attention for this has been very limited. A more structured approach is needed to map these complex relations, understand best practices and foster reciprocal learning between research and practice.

Check out the cycling library.

Milan’s Massive Mobility Mission

a couple, bicycles

The Cambio project in Milan aims to get more people on two wheels while also improving the cityscape. Milan once had a reputation as an industrial city clogged with traffic, but now with cleaner air and easy streets the city’s attracting more people. To improve life within the city they are building an extensive bicycling network, known as the Cambio project. Not only will this make getting around in the city easier it will also make the air even cleaner. Way to go Milan!

The project aims to ensure that around 80% of homes and services in Milan, such as hospitals, schools and railway and underground links, are located within one kilometre of each bike route. The paths will also feature state-of-the-art infrastructure, including low-impact motion-sensor lighting, digital displays, and a network of fibre optic cables, as well as dedicated bike parking stations.

The first path is scheduled to be ready this summer, while the entire network is due to be completed by 2035.

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We can Save 200,000 Lives a Year Replacing Car Commutes with Bicycles

a couple, bicycles

A simple modification to our cities can save a lot of lives: add more and better bicycling infrastructure. Researchers looked into quantifying how many lives we can save by replacing car journeys with bicycle use and the results aren’t surprising, but will hopefully influence people. The harms vehicular traffic does to our bodies and our communities are well documented so the fact that using car less will save lives isn’t schocking. It’s great to see more evidence and analysis into how getting rid of cars will improve everyone’s well being.

Biking plays a significant role in urban mobility and has been suggested as a tool to promote public health. A recent study has proposed 2050 global biking scenarios based on large shifts from motorized vehicles to bikes. No previous studies have estimated the health impacts of global cycling scenarios, either future car-bike shift substitutions.

We found that, among the urban populations (20–64 y old) of 17 countries, 205,424 annual premature deaths could be prevented if high bike-use scenarios are achieved by 2050 (assuming that 100% of bike trips replace car trips). If only 8% of bike trips replace car trips in a more conservative scenario, 18,589 annual premature deaths could be prevented by 2050 in the same population. In all the countries and scenarios, the mortality benefits related to bike use (rather than car use) outweighed the mortality risks.

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Thanks to Mike!

BIKEPOC Wants You on a Bicycle

a couple, bicycles

Bicycles are the best form of urban transportation and more people should be out there riding on two wheels. In Toronto, like many North American cities, cyclists in the city are predominately white males (for a variety of reasons). With people stuck at home due to the pandemic there has been an increase in interest in cycling, particularly thanks to reduce vehicular traffic. Thanks to safer roads more people who identify as BIPOC are riding, and the group BIKEPOC is there to encourage even more riders. In 2019 Keiren Alam launched the group to create a more welcoming and diverse cycling community!

2021 will hopefully be a turning point for cyclists in Toronto!

Before the pandemic, Alam hosted monthly rides and workshops on skills like fixing flat tires. Her events were put on pause once the pandemic hit, but Alam organized fundraising rides for Black Lives Matter Toronto in July 2020. Shortly afterwards, she launched BIKEPOC’s bike match program to pair donated bikes with people who had difficulty accessing them. “A lot of people need bikes and the demand is clearly there,” Alam says. “We’re in a pandemic and people are still trying to get to work and are avoiding the TTC for safety.”

BIKEPOC partners with local community bike groups like Charlie’s FreeWheels and Bike Chain to build and repair donated bikes. They completed 20 bike matches last year, getting bikes in the hands of women, children and people of colour. After a winter hiatus, Alam relaunched the bike match program in mid-March and, in two days, she received applications from over 25 people in need of a bike. That’s in addition to the people who signed up last year but still haven’t been matched. “We have a lot of demand and not a lot of bikes coming in or getting donated because there’s a massive shortage of bikes right now.”

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Weather Doesn’t Matter Where There’s Good Bicycling Infrastructure

a couple, bicycles

People opposed to multiple transit solutions often argue that it’s not worth building bicycle lanes because nobody rides in the rain. They couldn’t be more wrong. A new study from Germany looked into the use of bikes during poor weather and found that places with good bicycling infrastructure had more cyclists during when it rains compared to cities without safe roads. Now we have scientific evidence that building bike lanes keep people on their bikes, so let’s build more of it!

Between cities and regions, not only cycling levels differ, but also the reactions of cyclists to adverse weather conditions. Using data from 122 automated bicycle counting stations in 30 German cities, and a composite index of adverse weather conditions that consists of air temperature, precipitation, wind speed, relative humidity, and cloud coverage, we calculate city-specific weather elasticities of the level of utilitarian cycling. The results show that these weather elasticities vary significantly between cities. Our next step is to analyze various determinants of weather elasticities, which reveals that the share of young inhabitants and the density of the cycle network have a positive impact on weather resilience. Based on the notion that resilience to adverse weather conditions reflects a revealed part of a city’s bicycle culture, the weather elasticities can be used to create a ranking of bicycle cities. This ranking is positively correlated with a ranking based on the modal share of cycling, as well as with other rankings based on stated preference surveys or external conditions such as infrastructure or cycling safety.

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