March 1, 2011

Annals of Cycling – 9

An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.




From The Oregonian:

After looking at traffic during peak hours before and after the $80,000 bikeway was built, researchers with PSU’s Center for Transportation Studies say the average driver is delayed only a few seconds more.

 The study, commissioned by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, represents the first comprehensive study of the cycle track and the city’s new buffered bike lanes on Southwest Oak and Stark streets downtown.

Envisioning a city where 25 percent of trips are made on bikes by 2030, transportation officials built the buffered bike lanes and the cycle track simultaneously to determine which configuration might work better for future projects.

And further to the above, in San Francisco drivers are responsible for the majority (57%) of collisions with cyclists. The city is considering more separated bike lanes which bike advocates say solve many safety problems including dooring.

Story here.




Tom Vanderbilt explains the ‘bikelash’:

… the so-called bikelash has little to do with transportation modes. In the late 1960s, a pair of British psychologists set out to understand the ways in which we humans tend to split ourselves into opposing factions. … The boys were then asked to give money to fellow subjects, who were anonymous save for their group affiliation. As it turned out, the schoolboys consistently gave more money to members of their own group, even though these groups had just formed and were essentially meaningless.

“The mere division into groups,” wrote the psychologists, Henri Tajfel and Michael Billig, of the University of Bristol, “might have been sufficient to have produced discriminatory behavior.” … s a demonstration of the power of what’s called “social categorization”—and the penalties inflicted on the “out-group.”

This dynamic appears on the road in all kinds of ways. “We know that merely perceiving someone as an outsider is enough to provoke a whole range of things,” says Ian Walker, a researcher at the University of Bath who specializes in traffic psychology. “All the time, you hear drivers saying things like ‘Cyclists, they’re all running red lights, they’re all riding on sidewalks,’ while completely overlooking the fact that the group they identify with regularly engages in a whole host of negative behaviors as well.” This social categorization is subtle but dominant, he points out.

On the one hand, cyclists have a strong group affiliation, with clubs, group rides, and a flourishing network of bike blogs. And yet the oft-invoked idea of “bike culture” itself betrays cycling’s marginal status in America, observes Eben Weiss, creator of the blog Bike Snob NYC, in his book Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling. “The truth is,” he writes, “real cultures rarely call themselves cultures, just like famous things rarely call themselves famous.”

Full article here.




The usual cities, the usual voices – but a nicely done update on progress in U.S. cities:




2010 has continued a decade of dominance with bicycles outselling cars each year for the past decade by over 2,000,000. Over 11.5 million bikes were sold in that time. Selling over 1.3 million bikes in 2010, the Australian bicycle industry is now showing clear signs of returning to its record levels of 2007. These figures represent a 12% increase from the previous year and a 67% increase from 2001.

The sales of bicycles are supported by figures released by the Australian Government indicating a 32% increase in people choosing to ride a bike in the same period, Australians are choosing the bicycle for transport, recreation, fitness, general health and sport in increasing numbers.

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