Car drivers take up way more road space than they need since the size of their vehicles are disproportionate to their usefulness. Smart countries aim to limit the number of single occupant vehicles on the road for this reason and to ensure that all people can easily get from one place to the next. Traffic is so bad in some places that countries, like France, are now paying people to give up on their car.
France is working hard to push urban drivers out of cars and towards smaller and more environmentally responsible forms of transportation. In large cities like Paris, reduction in traffic from a switch to bicycles and scooters is perhaps just as important to many residents as the environmental effects.
We recently covered the case of anelectric bicycle company that is switching from vans to cargo e-bikesto increase the number of electric bikes it could deliver each day. The company’s delivery vans were simply too slow in Paris traffic, and switching to cargo e-bikes will help ramp up deliveries by using smaller, quicker, and more efficient vehicles.
Road users always complain that other people are breaking the law, every group of road users accuess another of breaking the most traffic rules. Truckers think cars are the worst, car drivers think cyclists are the worse, and cyclists think all vehicles are bad.
When it comes to an objective analysis of which category of road users are the worst: it’s the car. Bicyclists are the least likely to break laws.
Studies elsewhere in Europe have previously found that the image of the law-breaking “Lycra lout”is wrong. ATransport for London studyinvestigated the “hypothesis that the majority of cyclists ride through red lights” and discovered that 84% of cyclists stopped on reds. The study concluded that the “majority of cyclists obey red traffic lights” and that “violation is not endemic.”
There’s a fiction that cars are needed in cities and we should provide parts of our limited land in urban centres so one person can leave their car. This fiction perpetuated by car brains hurts our cities and is really not good, to solve this problem the city of Rotterdam create a parking pad that fits more than one vehicle using the same plot of land. Yes, it’s a bike rack. A special rack. The bicycle rack is placed on a mobile platform that is the size of a single car. The city can then easily trial out new bike rack locations, gauge demand, and get local communities to support a permanent parking solution.
The idea came originally from planners in the city of Rotterdam, who were brainstorming ideas in 2015 to help increase biking in a neighborhood that had extra car parking. “We figured, why couldn’t we develop a bicycle platform in order to just test if there’s demand for bicycle parking in this neighborhood—launch it as a test and experiment to help change the mindset of people in this neighborhood,” says urban planner José Besselink. “We also thought it would help us in accelerating this transition because we know that eliminating car parking is a tough thing anywhere in the world.”
In The Hague, neighbors can request a platform for their own block. On one of the streets where bike parking was installed this spring, the project helped residents realize they wanted to do more, says Schutte. “The residents of the street want to go even further and are investigating whether there could be more greenery in the street and whether the street could be made car-free,” she says. “It has also made residents more aware of their living environment and that you can do something about it, together with other residents and the municipality.”
Bike lanes not only protect cyclists from negligent drivers, they protect drivers and pedestrians too. A longitudinal study reveals that it’s not the cyclists which make the streets safer, rather it’s the infrastructure that separates cyclists from giant metal slabs that matter. Bike lane only made of paint did nothing to change the dangers of driving; rather, physical barricades protecting people from cars are what make the difference.
It’s simple: protected bike lanes = a safer city.
After analyzing traffic crash data over a 13-year period in areas with separated bike lanes on city streets, researches estimated that having a protected bike facility in a city would result in 44 percent fewer deaths and 50 percent fewer serous injuries than an average city.
In Portland, where the population of bike commuters increased from 1.2 to 7 percent between 1990 and 2015, fatality rates fell 75 percent in the same period. Fatal crash rates dropped 60.6 percent in Seattle, 49.3 percent in San Francisco, 40.3 percent in Denver, and 38.2 percent in Chicago over the same period as cities added more protected and separated lanes as part of their Vision Zero plans.
Austin spent millions on improving their infrastructure and now they are looking to citizens to enforce the rules of using that infrastructure. Anybody who reports a vehicle blocking a bicycle lane will now get a bounty when the driver of the vehicle is charged. Yes, it’s a Wild West bounty program in the 21st century.
This program makes sense since police don’t always enforce traffic laws (and in the city I live police refuse to enforce traffic laws) and it encourages more reporting. When drivers block bicycle lanes not only do they endanger every cyclist they are also causing traffic jams, which slow down all vehicles on the road.
“The city spends millions of dollars to make these facilities, and these facilities get blocked all of the time,” said Mario Champion, Urban Transportation Commission chair and author of the proposal. “A successful transportation system doesn’t just move cars, it moves people.”
Champion said the proposal isn’t too dissimilar from other programs already used by the city. One program uses citizens trained by the police to find and cite cars illegally parked in accessible parking spaces around Austin.