About

Let’s be clear: I’m not a ‘cyclist’.

I walk, ride the bus, ride a bicycle, take trains, rent a car when I need one, sometimes fly. Whatever’s appropriate.

Importantly, in this transport mix it’s bicycles that suffer the most neglect at the hands of transport planners and engineers. These people regularly cling to 1950s planning concepts that value motor vehicle flows above all other users of our streets and assume that traffic volumes will grow endlessly. Sadly, this often negates the strategic efforts of governments to provide their citizens with attractive alternatives to car dependence. Consequently, most urban streets are dangerous, unpleasant places to be if you are not encased in the metal armour of a motor vehicle. That includes your kids, your grandma, many of your friends and coworkers – also any driver who steps out of the car.

That’s the why of this blog.

 

In the 1970s, the number of motor cars rose quickly. With rising volumes of motor cars, the number of children being hit by motorists became a social issue, as did the increasingly clogged streets of once-vibrant towns. While some countries turned a blind eye, others – eg. the Netherlands and Denmark – reversed their car-first planning policies.

Politicians in these countries understood that motor cars are just a tool for getting around. Not the only one. Certainly not the most efficient one for short distances. Just a tool. Planning policies there now ensure safe bicycle infrastructure is as integral to their streets as safe walking infrastructure (eg. sidewalks). Planners have the know-how and responsibility to provide the safe and pleasant infrastructure needed for normal people be able to get around conveniently by bike.

There’s no logical reason that can’t happen everywhere. Our streets could be better, safer, more sociable places. It just requires the political will to care more about kids and community than cars.

“見義不為,無勇也” – 孔夫子, <论语> (“To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.” – Confucius, The Analects)

 

The safest place in the world to ride a bike is the Netherlands. In the 1960s, roads in the Netherlands looked like the top photo below. Now they look like the bottom one – safe, modern, attractive. Where would you rather use a bicycle for short trips with your kids?

Ri

Riddiford Street, Wellington, New Zealand – Amsterdamized

(In case you need more proof.)

And here’s how it happened:

 

Already a form of everyday transport in many progressive areas of Northern Europe, bicycles are rapidly gaining popularity around the globe as enlightened policy-makers look for long-term, affordable solutions to the complex problems below.

  • obesity and heart disease
  • mental well-being
  • community cohesion and social capital
  • support for local business
  • property values and desirability/livability of the area
  • traffic congestion (and ensuing stress and lost productivity)
  • the effect of the traffic threat on the mobility of children and the elderly
  • car dependence and aggressive driving
  • social inequalities
  • air quality and noise pollution
  • rising petrol prices
  • global climate change

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello

    Did you already have a look at the blog of the World Carfree Network ( http://worldcarfree.wordpress.com ). It is a new space to share information and discuss issues relevant to eliminating car dependency, exploring alternatives and to celebrate carfree living. We hope to provide a rich and diverse content and that you will enjoy following it.

    Would you like to consider a link exchange between your blog and our to facilitate the exchange of information and the navigation of people supporting the carfree movement from one blog to another. (We may have already add your link)

    We also invite you to blog with us if you are interested – please send your letters, articles, news, pictures and videos to blog@worldcarfree.net

    Greetings from Prague! All the best,

    Marko

  2. Hi,

    Any idea where I can get a super lightweight Dahon or Bromptom in Seoul in-person (i.e. at a shop or used from another person) in Seoul?

    Thanks!

    • Sanbada Sports is the local Brompton dealer.

      http://www.sanbadasports.com/

      Address is:
      서울특별시 강남구 삼성동 157-15 구암빌딩 6층
      6th floor, Gu-Am Building, 157-15 Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

      I’ve not been there, so I’d suggest you ask a taxi driver in the Samseong area.

  3. Hi there,

    Love and been following your site. Could you add my blog into
    your ‘blogroll’ section? In exchange, i will add you in my blog too. The following is my blog url:

    http://www.lovepeacecycle.co.cc

    I am a cyclist and always love to get on my bike, i have a passion to promote bike use, urban cycling and
    really really hope to convince the authorities to build bike lanes because there is none in Malaysia.
    Hope to hear from you soon…

  4. hi

    i´m jaime, from spanish brand peSeta
    i couldn´t find an email contact, i hope you don´t mind posting this here…

    i just wanted to share with you this short film we´ve made about our latest collaboration:
    a series of bike caps made by a bicycle attached to a sewing machine for the New Museum of NYC shop…
    we´re really excited about it and thought you might like it as well…

    thank you very much and congratulations for your wonderful blog

    jaime
    http://www.peseta.org
    noviciado 9 · 28015 madrid españa

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