July 31, 2011
(Image credit: Robin Utrecht/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
Look at all those bikes. Imagine how much space they would take if they were cars. Think of all the other things that cities get to do with that extra spaces, or of all that economic activity that is only possible because bike parking is so compact.
July 18, 2011
Look at the comments on any newspaper story about bicycles and the law, and you see remarks like that, along with “a sense of entitlement”, and “Hey, I’m superior, I’m saving the planet”.
And cyclists read this and think “you are SO right, we do agree.” Yes, we are smug, and somehow we stay smug, no matter how often it is pointed out. If you take the trouble to think it through (quite an imposition for some people, I know) there’s a bunch of good reasons to ride a bicycle, and not too many good reasons for driving a car, mostly boiling down to saving time, avoiding sweat, and worries about the careless way that “other people” drive their cars.
June 30, 2011
May 21, 2011
March 28, 2011
January 29, 2011
I’m trying to find a way to write about this without it turning into a tirade. Mostly, it seems astonishing to me that some many people are willing to assert the impossibility of things that they have not tried, that other people do, all the time. No sense of embarrassment, not even a nod to the American can-do spirit, as if everyone decided that their highest ambition in life, was to ride on one of those flying couches in Wall-E.
And understand, this is about what you can do on a bike; if you wanted to do it, if you had a comfortable route for your bike, you could do it. We “need” cars to feel safe in the company of other cars; they may kill us slowly through lack of exercise, but at least we’ll feel safe while we drive them. We don’t need cars to carry people or groceries, or to ride in snow, or to ride up hills, or if we are merely not as fit as we once were.
So, what can you do on a bicycle?
Post in progress….
January 12, 2011
July 16, 2010
There’s an internet cycling claim, attributed to Mayer Hillman, that not riding a bike (at all) is ten times more dangerous than riding a bike, because it is so unhealthy to be unfit. I haven’t been able to find the statistics that back up this claim, even when I bought the book from which it allegedly came Cycling: Towards Health and Safety. The closest it comes is the statistic that in a group of commuting cyclists, roadway crashes (of all kinds) accounted for only 1.4% of deaths (whereas heart attacks in this group killed 33%, and the known reduction in heart attack risk with exercise suggests a substantial net reduction in mortality).
However, happily, I just found this:
Unless you think a 39% boost in your risk of death is “safe”, a little old unarmored bicycle, no belts, no airbags, no roll cage, is safer than a car, at least for the first 50-100 miles of travel each week.
And there’s more (via UtilityCycling.org):
Conclusions: On average, the estimated health benefits of cycling were substantially larger than the risks relative to car driving for individuals shifting their mode of transport.
May 9, 2010
A standard response, when people compare cycling ride shares between the US and Northern Europe, is that “we’re spread out, they’re not”.
Except, of course, that we’re not.
Update/correction: the census data lists both New York City AND its boroughs, which is a substantial glitch. I found this looking at Wikipedia’s list of cities by density (also uses 2000 Census data), and cross-checking made it clear that there was a big error. The graph, as yet uncorrected, needs to be shifted down by 6 million (minus 8 million for NYC, plus 2 million counting the contribution of the smaller, very-dense places). I would like to incorporate the smaller dense places more generally, but don’t know where that data is yet. Most of the conclusions remain the same; the 10% mark is now at 7600/square mile, and the 1/3 mark is now at 2000/square mile. Read the rest of this entry »