What would help you get on a bicycle and ride to the store – yes, you there, the one who hasn’t ridden a bicycle since childhood but might be willing to try it if conditions were right? People for Bikes has a nice series trying to sell cycling to the uncertain “swing voter.” I’m even more curious how the completely committed cyclists react, because the overall message is not about how great cycling is, but how to advocate for better bike facilities which make cycling easier for everyone. No one should be surprised that perceived (lack of) safety is a big obstacle, but more surprising that the safety of better facilities is also not much of a selling point.
And then there’s all the good stuff about cycling:
Building business support for cycling by way of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce. This piece has a great little 7 step guide to advocacy from within.
The only happy commuters are cyclists, or can urban design make people happy? Long commutes and the combined cost of housing and transportation costs, while not about cycling, are getting some attention.
And how Groningen, Netherlands achieved cycling greatness. Spending 15 minutes watching the video is fun and shows real people riding around town. If you don’t want to spend the time, the secrets are: (1) not a piecemeal approach, (2) connecting places, (3) making cycling easier than driving in some locations, (4) separating cyclists from high speed traffic, and (5) political will. The other comment made frequently: cycling costs less. Here’s a comparison of British streets and Dutch streets to see how different places allocated space differently to accommodate cyclists and here are all the myths and excuses about cycling in one place.
Is it OK to kill cyclists? asked Daniel Duane in the New York Times. In the US, if you’re going to kill someone, bumping off a cyclist with your car is a pretty good way to get away with murder. Even here in England, where the cycling climate (and the regular sort of climate) is quite different, killing cyclists goes largely unpunished (though “my” MP Julien Huppert has been working on it). Apparently, we’re expendable.
I blogged earlier about strict liability (where the driver of the motor vehicle is presumed liable for the accident, unless she can prove she is not at fault) and “my” MP Julien Huppert has also raised this issue. In a related development, exposing the “blame the victim” problem with pedestrian and cycling fatalities is on the upswing, see this New York example (police say pedestrians should carry flashlights so cars don’t jump the curb and kill them).
After the NY Times piece, the Economist has a very good summary of the policy and what would happen in a variety of circumstances. To sum up:
This regulatory regime places an extra burden on drivers. That burden can be summed up as follows: before you turn, you have to check carefully in the mirror to see whether there’s a cyclist there. That’s it. When you are driving in the Netherlands, you have to be more careful than you would when driving in America. Does this result in rampant injustice to drivers when accidents occur? No. It results in far fewer accidents.