Accidents involving walkers and bicycle riders struck by motor vehicles are a troubling, costly aspect of sprawl. They appear to be built right into the whole matter of community life structured around automobiles and the infrastructure provided for them. This bodily damage really has to be stopped.
More than 1000 cyclists and pedestrians hit on Toronto streets since June 1. New statistics show vulnerable road users struck at rate of one every two and a half hours
The morbid and mortal toll of sprawl. The ‘elephant in the living room’ of rising and preventable US traffic deaths is government funded roads in drive-only places
image: davidd via Flickr/CC
Twenty-four trillion US dollars. An exciting new report finds that would be the money saved between now and 2050 if the world got itself seriously onto bikes. We’d have a stronger shot at actually managing air pollution and climate change. We’d be a lot fitter, too.
Wouldn’t it be a quieter world? And a more fun one? Is this about massive realignment in basically all human living arrangements? You bet it is. Massive change is coming either way.
The report is from UC Davis and the Institute for Transport and Development Policy (42-page .pdf file)
Or we could just demand our entitlement to fossil fuels and internal combustion whatever the cost and outcomes.
The high price of cheap gas
Two cool items from the world of cycling. One, at the micro level, describes a young man’s efforts to cope with his world with his bike as an ally. The second piece is a macro level view of what cycling has added to the economy of an entire continent at a fairly shaky time in its history.
Happier, healthier, and biking to school momentummag.com
The cities that spend the most on bike lanes later reap the most reward. Investing in a network of fully separated bike lanes could save cities huge sums in the long-term. But too little investment in wimpy infrastructure could actually decrease enthusiasm for cycling
image: Internet Archive scanned book image via Flickr
Still looking for that singular, killer-quality item of evidence of why it’s a good idea to integrate cycling into basically everything for business reasons alone? A recent development from the Motor City picked up online relatively widely supports bikes and bike sharing in a rather powerful fashion. General Motors is looking to put its tech staff on two wheels within its campus style suburban technical centre. Amazing!
image: Internet Archive scanned book image via Flickr
One of the delightful things about bicycling is the way that as a body of knowledge it feathers into almost any other topic so easily. This power to cross connect bikes to other realms, namely macro- and microeconomics, community design, human health and well-being, environmental change, political and personal development is well demonstrated by Portland, Oregon resident Elly Blue in Bikenomics. This is a book we urge suburban-poverty.com readers to buy, read and talk widely about. Blue is onto something powerful and she backs up her standpoint with a strong array of arguments supported by citations and lived experience. This is a fine book from a fine mind about a fine thing: that bikes might just save us.
Getting around is a huge topic on this blog and the propositions of suburban poverty are acknowledged and addressed in Blue’s book. Bicycle economics could ease a lot of the strain on nearly all North Americans by improving their health, bolstering local economies, easing the external costs of fossil fuel use and just making us feel good.
A little more encouragement in the form of modest levels of public investment and we could be pedalling past some of the most serious dangers of economic systems based on oil, real estate bubbles, easy credit, debt mechanisms, fiat currencies and global conflict. And why not? Central bankers and their fellow travellers in high finance and government have had their turn at directing things under neoconservative and neoliberal thought regimes for a while now, with rather mixed results.
Blue establishes a pretty sound case for bicycle economics while working through the real and imagined difficulties that hold things back. At family and individual level the costs of automobility are simply getting to be too much. At community and national level the costs are mind boggling: from ugly wars in Central Asia to lethal air pollution, accidents, and public debt. Public health issues from obesity to diabetes and too much sitting in cars and at desks can also be amended by bikenomic approaches.
Bikenomics reflects US experience in several cities and cites a couple of Canadian examples. The latter included this Toronto study supporting the idea that bike infrastructure boosts human health. Also close to Blue’s heart is the remarkably efficient way bike infrastructure lifts local entrepreneurs, especially smaller independent ones linked to each other instead of to corporate systems. While we have a long way to go in Canada and the United States until we see the level of normalization of cycling accepted in the Netherlands or Denmark it looks like we are poised for something of a bicycle renaissance.
Elly Blue’s Bikenomics is almost impossible to argue against given North American reality in 2014; though no doubt those entrenched in the status quo will give it the old college try. Bikenomics is ahead of the curve, yes, but we hope an alignment between the content of this little blue book and lived reality comes about quickly.
It kinda has to!
Elly Blue’s blog is here: takingthelane.com
Cycling Economies torontocycling.org report on bike lanes & local business
14-page .pdf file
See also: (327) Cyclonomics
At a time of economic weirdness, stagnant wages, struggles to increase the minimum wage, middle class decline, the one-percent and the general spectre of poverty it is nice to read something positive. Where the rich ride bikes so do the poor. Both see the benefits and get on with it.
Rich? Poor? Two charts show both know good biking when they see it
peopleforbikes.org – see related links on right hand sidebar as well
image: The Cyclist (1913) by Natalia Goncharova via Wikimedia Commons
Introducing Oulu where even in the depths of a harsh northern European winter the percentage of trips made on bicycles remains high: 22%. That’s better than many North American cities and suburbs in summer.