Views

Bicycle rush hour at Vredenburg, Utrecht

BicycleDutch - 7 May, 2014 - 23:01
Some weeks ago I had to do a course I didn’t find useful at all. I couldn’t find a good excuse for wriggling out of it, but as it turned … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Bicycle rush hour at Vredenburg, Utrecht

BicycleDutch - 7 May, 2014 - 23:01
Some weeks ago I had to do a course I didn’t find useful at all. I couldn’t find a good excuse for wriggling out of it, but as it turned … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

The possible versus the acceptable

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 6 May, 2014 - 14:26

North Parade in Horsham is a fairly busy distributor road (running north – unsuprisingly) out of the town centre. It has a 30 mph limit, and very narrow cycle lanes, which give up at a couple of awful pinch points.

The local cycle forum are quite rightly pressing to have these sorted out – in fact the picture above shows us with a representative from West Sussex County Council. A good interim solution would be to have the pinch point removed, and replaced with a zebra (this is an important crossing for pedestrians, with access to the park on the left).

Long term, this road desperately needs cycle tracks. There is absolutely no shortage of space here, as you can see, but obviously their construction would involve investment – adjusting the kerb line and drainage, and so on.

The problem is that councils like pinch points. They make it relatively easy for pedestrians to cross roads, without them interfering with ‘traffic flow’ (i.e. motor traffic flow) in ways that zebra or toucan crossings would.
And it is on this kind of issue that Sustrans’ new guidance is really quite unhelpful, because it doesn’t challenge councils’ inclination to continue employing pinch points (or ‘central islands’) like this, at all.

The handbook simply says ‘avoid gaps of 3.1 – 3.9m’. Going by a standard bus width of 2.5m, the pinch point in Horsham probably falls outside this recommendation, and is therefore acceptable, by the terms Sustrans set out. Even if it didn’t, ‘avoid’ is hardly strong enough – likewise the suggestion that a cycle lane of 1.5m ‘should’ continue through the pinch point.

Councils will want to take the easy path, that of least resistance, and do as little as they can. They can paint a bicycle symbol in the middle of the pinch point, and by Sustrans’ terms, that’s acceptable – indeed, even recommended.

I think this is the issue that many people have with the Sustrans’ guidance. It’s not that it doesn’t contain good recommendations (there’s plenty of good stuff in there) – it’s just that it is far, far too weak in opposing the stuff that we all know councils will only be too happy to build, if it means they can get away with doing things on the cheap. This is a real problem if you are presenting your handbook as best practice.

This isn’t a matter of asking for the (currently) impossible, or for those aspects of Dutch or Danish design that would be difficult to implement in the UK, or that are alien to UK highway engineers. It’s about demanding quality where it would be easy and obvious to achieve it. I would like a Sustrans manual that says 3m wide pinch points on a road with a 30mph limit and about 10,000 vehicles a day are completely unacceptable, not one that says ‘consider’ painting a cycle symbol in the middle of the pinch point.

If councils come back and say we can’t build a cycle route to those standards? Nothing has been lost; the road will remain as crap as it was before. And no time and effort has been wasted in half-arsed efforts to present it as a ‘route’.

 


Categories: Views

The possible versus the acceptable

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 6 May, 2014 - 14:26

North Street in Horsham is a fairly busy distributor road (running north – unsuprisingly) out of the town centre. It has a 30 mph limit, and very narrow cycle lanes, which give up at a couple of awful pinch points. The local cycle forum are quite rightly pressing to have these sorted out – in fact the picture above shows us with a representative from West Sussex County Council. A good interim solution would be to have the pinch point removed, and replaced with a zebra (this is an important crossing for pedestrians, with access to the park on the left).

Long term, this road desperately needs cycle tracks. There is absolutely no space issue here, but obviously their construction would involve investment – adjusting the kerb line and drainage, and so on.

The problem is that councils like pinch points. They make it relatively easy for pedestrians to cross roads, without them interfering with ‘traffic flow’ (i.e. motor traffic flow) in ways that zebra or toucan crossings would.
And it is on this kind of issue that Sustrans’ new guidance is really quite unhelpful, because it doesn’t challenge councils’ inclination to continue employing pinch points (or ‘central islands’) like this, at all.

The handbook simply says ‘avoid gaps of 3.1 – 3.9m’. Going by a standard bus width of 2.5m, the pinch point in Horsham probably falls outside this recommendation, and is therefore acceptable, by the terms Sustrans set out. Even if it didn’t, ‘avoid’ is hardly strong enough – likewise the suggestion that a cycle lane of 1.5m ‘should’ continue through the pinch point.

Councils will want to take the easy path, that of least resistance, and do as little as they can. They can paint a bicycle symbol in the middle of the pinch point, and by Sustrans’ terms, that’s acceptable – indeed, even recommended.

I think this is the issue that many people have with the Sustrans’ guidance. It’s not that it doesn’t contain good recommendations (there’s plenty of good stuff in there) – it’s just that it is far, far too weak in opposing the stuff that we all know councils will only be too happy to build, if it means they can get away with doing things on the cheap. This is real problem if you are presenting your handbook as best practice.

This isn’t a matter of asking for the (currently) impossible, or for those aspects of Dutch or Danish design that would be difficult to implement in the UK, or that are alien to UK highway engineers. It’s about demanding quality where it would be easy and obvious to achieve it. I would like a Sustrans manual that says 3m wide pinch points on a road with a 30mph limit and about 10,000 vehicles a day are completely unacceptable, not one that says ‘consider’ painting a cycle symbol in the middle of the pinch point.

If councils come back and say we can’t build a cycle route to those standards? Nothing has been lost; the road will remain as crap as it was before. And no time and effort has been wasted in half-arsed efforts to present it as a ‘route’.

 


Categories: Views

The best traffic light solution for cyclists. Simultaneous Green scales to almost any size of junction. Safe, convenient

A View from the Cycle Path - 4 May, 2014 - 14:25
Imagine if it were possible for cyclists to take their desire line across traffic light junctions, even riding diagonally if that the shortest path. Imagine if this was possible in complete safety because there were never any cars using the junction when cyclists used it. Imagine if cyclists' green traffic lights were twice as frequent as those for drivers so that average delays were shorter if David Hembrowhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/14543024940730663645noreply@blogger.com2http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/05/the-best-traffic-light-solution-for.html
Categories: Views

Sustrans Handbook for cycle friendly design - a poor design manual which sets very low standards

A View from the Cycle Path - 1 May, 2014 - 16:05
Not only does this Sustrans route consist of nothing but loose pebbles, there's a gate on it which I could not pass without removing my bike trailer. Sustrans (the name means sustainable transport) is a high profile campaigning organisation in the UK. They have a long history, having been around for 37 years. It might seem surprising that an organisation which claims to have been working on David Hembrowhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/14543024940730663645noreply@blogger.com16http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/05/sustrans-handbook-for-cycle-friendly.html
Categories: Views

High Speed Cycle Route Hattem – Zwolle

BicycleDutch - 30 April, 2014 - 23:01
The cycle highway from Hattem to Zwolle was festively opened by a class of schoolchildren, the alderman for traffic of the city of Zwolle and a representative of the province … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

High Speed Cycle Route Hattem – Zwolle

BicycleDutch - 30 April, 2014 - 23:01
The cycle highway from Hattem to Zwolle was festively opened by a class of schoolchildren, the alderman for traffic of the city of Zwolle and a representative of the province … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

The benefits of keeping buses and bikes apart

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 30 April, 2014 - 23:00

Putting a cycle track alongside a bus lane is standard practice in the Netherlands. The principles of sustainable safety – specifically, homogeneity – mean you should not mix vehicles that differ greatly in mass. So unless it is completely unavoidable, the Dutch separate cycling from bus traffic, in urban areas.

Cycle and bus routes, in front of Nijmegen station

Cycle corridor, bus corridor, Utrecht city centre

This is completely alien in Britain, where bus lanes are usually presented as ‘cycling infrastructure’ – although this is starting to change, with schemes in Brighton and London (and proposed schemes in Manchester, Bristol and elsewhere) separating cycles from bus traffic on particular roads.

Of course, this does mean that bus stops have to be dealt with – cycle tracks will have to pass behind bus stops, as they are separate from the carriageway. Naturally this is less convenient for bus passengers; instead of stepping straight off onto a footway, they step onto a waiting island, before having to cross the cycle track.

It is easy to overstate this inconvenience. In Britain, “a cyclist” is typically conceived of as a fast, silent vehicle, whistling past in lycra. But in the Netherlands in particular, “a cyclist” is typically more like a wheeled pedestrian, wearing ordinary clothes, and travelling at 10-15mph. It is easy to negotiate your way across a cycle track on foot when people are essentially travelling like you.

Technically, a ‘bus stop bypass’. Very easy to cross this cycle track, to access the bus stop

But what I think is being overlooked in Britain at the moment is how poor a solution it is to place cycling in bus lanes, not just for people cycling, but for people on buses.

The average speed of people cycling, and a bus, is very similar, but the fluctuations in speed are very different. Someone cycling will be travelling at a constant 10 to 20mph, while a bus will be travelling from 0mph to 20-30mph, back down to 0mph again. In practice – as anyone who cycles regularly in bus lanes will tell you – a bus will constantly be overlapping you, while you constantly have to overtake the bus at each stop.

This is not attractive (or indeed safe) for cycling, and it’s not very good for bus passengers either, who will be held up by people cycling in the bus lane.

I’ve made a short video to demonstrate how smoothly cycling and bus traffic can co-exist if they are separated. It was filmed at about 8pm on a Thursday evening on Nachtegaalstraat in Utrecht. Not a particularly busy time, as you can tell from the video, but this is actually a very busy street, carrying well over 10,000 people cycling, and probably at least as many bus passengers, every day. It is one of the main routes from the city centre to the campus of Utrecht University.

As I hope is clear from the video, these arrangements benefit cycling and bus travel, by removing conflict, and preventing each mode from delaying the other.

Towns and cities that take cycling and public transport seriously should not push the two modes into the same space.


Categories: Views

The benefits of keeping buses and bikes apart

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 30 April, 2014 - 23:00

Putting a cycle track alongside a bus lane is standard practice in the Netherlands. The principles of sustainable safety – specifically, homogeneity – mean you should not mix vehicles that differ greatly in mass. So unless it is completely unavoidable, the Dutch separate cycling from bus traffic, in urban areas.

Cycle and bus routes, in front of Nijmegen station

Cycle corridor, bus corridor, Utrecht city centre

This is completely alien in Britain, where bus lanes are usually presented as ‘cycling infrastructure’ – although this is starting to change, with schemes in Brighton and London (and proposed schemes in Manchester, Bristol and elsewhere) separating cycles from bus traffic on particular roads.

Of course, this does mean that bus stops have to be dealt with – cycle tracks will have to pass behind bus stops, as they are separate from the carriageway. Naturally this is less convenient for bus passengers; instead of stepping straight off onto a footway, they step onto a waiting island, before having to cross the cycle track.

It is easy to overstate this inconvenience. In Britain, “a cyclist” is typically conceived of as a fast, silent vehicle, whistling past in lycra. But in the Netherlands in particular, “a cyclist” is typically more like a wheeled pedestrian, wearing ordinary clothes, and travelling at 10-15mph. It is easy to negotiate your way across a cycle track on foot when people are essentially travelling like you.

Technically, a ‘bus stop bypass’. Very easy to cross this cycle track, to access the bus stop

But what I think is being overlooked in Britain at the moment is how poor a solution it is to place cycling in bus lanes, not just for people cycling, but for people on buses.

The average speed of people cycling, and a bus, is very similar, but the fluctuations in speed are very different. Someone cycling will be travelling at a constant 10 to 20mph, while a bus will be travelling from 0mph to 20-30mph, back down to 0mph again. In practice – as anyone who cycles regularly in bus lanes will tell you – a bus will constantly be overlapping you, while you constantly have to overtake the bus at each stop.

This is not attractive (or indeed safe) for cycling, and it’s not very good for bus passengers either, who will be held up by people cycling in the bus lane.

I’ve made a short video to demonstrate how smoothly cycling and bus traffic can co-exist if they are separated. It was filmed at about 8pm on a Thursday evening on Nachtegaalstraat in Utrecht. Not a particularly busy time, as you can tell from the video, but this is actually a very busy street, carrying well over 10,000 people cycling, and probably at least as many bus passengers, every day. It is one of the main routes from the city centre to the campus of Utrecht University.

As I hope is clear from the video, these arrangements benefit cycling and bus travel, by removing conflict, and preventing each mode from delaying the other.

Towns and cities that take cycling and public transport seriously should not push the two modes into the same space.


Categories: Views

Inadequate reply from TfL over “Cyclists stay back” stickers.

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 30 April, 2014 - 21:09

In February 2014 the Road Danger Reduction Forum, along with the London Cycling Campaign; CTC: the national cycling charity; RoadPeace: the national charity for road crash victims; and TABS: the Association of Bikeability Schemes came together to explain our concerns to, and ask for action from, Transport for London.  Last week we received a reply from TfL (see below). Because we think that this reply misunderstood the basis of our concerns, our organisations sent a reply today repeating them and suggesting ways forward, as follows:

LD-30April-stayback

This is the kind of thing we are concerned about:

and here is the TfL response we are replying to:

140408cycliststaybackstickeRECAPRIL22
The RDRF view is that a sensible initiative – the warning to cyclists to avoid overtaking and being the nearside of lorries about to move or turn left – has been mishandled in the ways the organisations above have described. Hopefully TfL will listen to these concerns now. As important, we hope TfL will consult with its partners and stakeholders who have a concern with danger reduction and think properly through future schemes.


Categories: Views

Once in every 73 lifetimes - How often the Dutch are injured by another cyclist while cycling

A View from the Cycle Path - 29 April, 2014 - 14:37
Dr Jon Rogers and Walker Angell were interviewed as well as myself Fatalities on Dutch roads and cycle-paths dropped last year but a small rise in injuries to cyclists made the news. A film crew joined us for a few minutes during the study tour last week, interviewing two of the participants on the tour as well as myself. You can watch the resulting news report, with subtitles in English, David Hembrowhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/14543024940730663645noreply@blogger.com0http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/04/once-in-every-73-lifetimes-how-often.html
Categories: Views

Priorities

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 28 April, 2014 - 09:35

We’re all familiar with those situations where cycling provision just gives up.

Places where the designer couldn’t be bothered; places where it was too expensive to do things properly; places where space was a bit tight; or a combination of the above.

‘END’

Direct, safe, and continuous

That’ll do

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here

But in all these cases, and in others like them, the difficulties are not insuperable. These awful outcomes are the result of political choices. For example, an insufficient allocation of funding means that cycle lanes painted on a road just give up at the places where physical changes to the road layout are necessary for continuity. Or the flow of motor traffic is prioritised over safe continuous provision for cycling.

I found an interesting counterpoint to these awful British examples in the town of Wageningen, in the Netherlands.

Churchwillweg is a distributor road, running north out of the town centre. What initially struck me about this street is just how narrow the carriageway is, for motor vehicles.

A van and a car squeak past each other

Closer to the centre of town, there is a difficulty – a building (oddly, quite a new building) juts out some distance, meaning that the available space between the buildings for footway, cycle track and road is lessened considerably.

In Britain, it’s most likely that whatever cycle provision there was here would just give up, but in Wageningen, the footway and cycle tracks continue at the same width, and it is the road that gets squeezed.

From Google Streetview

For about twenty metres, the road becomes single carriageway, meaning drivers have to negotiate with one another, while people cycling and walking pass by serenely.

Vehicles queuing, while people cycling have uninterrupted progress

Amazingly (to my British eyes) there aren’t any signs here at all, warning drivers that this is about to happen, or telling them who should give way to whom. The cycle track just juts out into the road, and drivers have to deal with it, as best they can.

Negotiation

More negotiation

I was fascinated by this design example, because it seems to encapsulate the Dutch approach. When things get difficult, or space gets tight, it is the cycling and walking infrastructure that is maintained, while space for driving is (momentarily) sacrificed.

In Britain the complete opposite is true. At difficult places, driving has continuity, and the cycle lanes are just painted between these pinch points, essentially reinforcing their uselessness, because they are not present at the places where they are most needed.

So it’s not really a question of whether space is available for cycling; it’s a question of priorities, and how that space gets allocated.


Categories: Views

Priorities

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 28 April, 2014 - 09:35

We’re all familiar with those situations where cycling provision just gives up.

Places where the designer couldn’t be bothered; places where it was too expensive to do things properly; places where space was a bit tight; or a combination of the above.

‘END’

Direct, safe, and continuous

That’ll do

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here

But in all these cases, and in others like them, the difficulties are not insuperable. These awful outcomes are the result of political choices. For example, an insufficient allocation of funding means that cycle lanes painted on a road just give up at the places where physical changes to the road layout are necessary for continuity. Or the flow of motor traffic is prioritised over safe continuous provision for cycling.

I found an interesting counterpoint to these awful British examples in the town of Wageningen, in the Netherlands.

Churchwillweg is a distributor road, running north out of the town centre. What initially struck me about this street is just how narrow the carriageway is, for motor vehicles.

A van and a car squeak past each other

Closer to the centre of town, there is a difficulty – a building (oddly, quite a new building) juts out some distance, meaning that the available space between the buildings for footway, cycle track and road is lessened considerably.

In Britain, it’s most likely that whatever cycle provision there was here would just give up, but in Wageningen, the footway and cycle tracks continue at the same width, and it is the road that gets squeezed.

From Google Streetview

For about twenty metres, the road becomes single carriageway, meaning drivers have to negotiate with one another, while people cycling and walking pass by serenely.

Vehicles queuing, while people cycling have uninterrupted progress

Amazingly (to my British eyes) there aren’t any signs here at all, warning drivers that this is about to happen, or telling them who should give way to whom. The cycle track just juts out into the road, and drivers have to deal with it, as best they can.

Negotiation

More negotiation

I was fascinated by this design example, because it seems to encapsulate the Dutch approach. When things get difficult, or space gets tight, it is the cycling and walking infrastructure that is maintained, while space for driving is (momentarily) sacrificed.

In Britain the complete opposite is true. At difficult places, driving has continuity, and the cycle lanes are just painted between these pinch points, essentially reinforcing their uselessness, because they are not present at the places where they are most needed.

So it’s not really a question of whether space is available for cycling; it’s a question of priorities, and how that space gets allocated.


Categories: Views

Want things to change for cyclists in London? Then ask for it!

ibikelondon - 28 April, 2014 - 08:30

There used to be a time when cycle campaigning in London had a somewhat meek approach to making demands.  A fluster here about cycle parking, a flap there about cycle route signs...  Whilst well-meaning, there was little to engage the wider public - and their politicians - to really dare them to dream big.


Times have changed, and a resurgent London Cycling Campaign has led the way with bold and exciting campaigning that everyday and ordinary Londoners can get involved with and really care about.  In 2012 their "Love London, Go Dutch" election push saw 10,000 people take to the streets in protest in London's biggest ever cycling demonstration.  That led directly to the newly elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, pledging to spend nearly a BILLION pounds on making London's streets safe for cycling over the next ten years, and the construction of the first section of fully segregated Cycle Superhighway in Stratford.  On other fronts, campaigning at Blackfriars Bridge led to the speed limit being reduced to 20mph to keep people safe, and plans to completely re-design the northern junction of the bridge.  A 20mph limit shortly to be introduced across the whole of the "Square Mile", the City of London, was a direct consequence of a letter writing campaign by concerned cyclists.  A new junction proposed in Camden that will design out the possibility of left-hooking cyclists, whilst the opening up of the Docklands Light Railway network to passengers with bikes are both responses to campaigner's efforts.

In short, campaigning works.





But politically, London is a complicated beast.  In addition to the Mayor (who as the Chair of TfL controls the city's biggest and busiest roads) we also have MPs who represent local boroughs in our national Parliament.  And within each borough, local Councillors look after separate wards, and help to control how money is spent from one authority to another.  Whilst the "Love London, Go Dutch" campaign of 2012 has helped to ensure that safe space for cycling will be created on our busiest roads, this is just part of the jigsaw.  There are 33 local authorities across our city, who control 90% of London's streets.  The Councillors who will lead these areas are running for election very soon, on May 22nd 2014.  (You have till the 6th of May to register if you're not yet on the electoral roll where you live.)

The London Cycling Campaign are once again on the ball, running an incredible campaign across all of Greater London in an effort to get every political candidate standing in the May 22nd local elections to sign up to demands for space for cycling in their ward.

Local authorities control whether resident's streets are rat runs or family-friendly environments.  They can bring in 20mph zones, or close off unnecessary through roads to help create quiet routes for cycling.  School runs, town centre cycle parking, routes through local parks, which street to resurface next... all this, and more, will fall under the control of the politicians elected in May.

A perfect example of why these local elections are so important to cyclists on the ground can be seen by comparing the neighbouring boroughs of Camden and Westminster.  In Camden there's been cycle-friendly Councillors and cycle-friendly policy for many years, meaning most roads have cycle lanes, there's ample cycle parking and you can find some of the best cycle infrastructure in the city.  In neighbouring Westminster, bicycles have not been the same concern for politicians long enthral to the demands of motorists, and you'd be lucky to find an Advanced Stop Line, let alone somewhere to park your bike.  To put it in a nutshell, these elections could decide whether your ride to work is a pleasure or a pain.


London Cycling Campaign are asking people across London to use their simple and easy to use tool to find out what the space for cycling demands are in your area, and to contact election hopefuls.  It takes just a few seconds, but in local elections where turnouts are traditionally low and every vote counts, contacting prospective Councillors like this can really help to make a difference and secure pledges for cycle-friendly change in the future.

Over 600 ward-specific cycling improvements have been mapped across London by LCC's local volunteers, and 20,000 messages have already been sent to election hopefuls, with more than 400 election candidates signing up to the demands of the Space for Cycling campaign and committing to change on the ground in the future.

But as the elections approach, the LCC are asking for more people to come on board.  Signing up takes just a few seconds, and could help secure change where you live.  If we want Space For Cycling, we've got to ask for it!

You can sign up to the London Cycling Campaign's #SpaceForCycling campaign on their website in just a few moments, and follow updates via their Facebook and Twitter pages.  And keep Saturday 17th May free in your diaries, when the campaign will culminate in a Big Ride through central London, just days before the city goes to the polls.
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Categories: Views

School trips by bike. An everyday occurrence where cycling is pleasant and safe

A View from the Cycle Path - 26 April, 2014 - 11:16
Dutch schools, especially primary schools (age 5-12) make a lot of trips. They do so to access sport facilities, to visit museums, city centres or the countryside. Actually, they go more or less anywhere by bike unless distances are very long in which case a coach will be hired. As a result, school bike trips are a very common sight in the Netherlands. This video was made on the last day of theDavid Hembrowhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/14543024940730663645noreply@blogger.com4http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/04/school-trips-by-bike-everyday.html
Categories: Views

Do Copenhagen Police Make it Up As They Go Along?

Copenhagenize - 25 April, 2014 - 20:36
You know you live in a a car-centric city when it's not allowed for bicycle users to turn right on red. Despite the fact that it's legal in many European cities in France, Belgium and be tested in many others, like Basel. Despite the fact that it is one of the most obvious things to implement to encourage cycling and keep bicycle users safe.

A French friend new to Copenhagen had seen that a few Copenhageners turned right on red - only a small number, of course, as we've figured out - but one day in April he was stopped by Torben. Torben is a civil servant - a policeman - and that day he was out trying to meet the quotas necessary to please his boss.

Bicycle users are the low-hanging fruit for such situations. Going after motorists is time-consuming and tiring. Just stand at the usual spots and hand out fines for minor infractions - many of which that don't have a place in the law books in a modern city.

So Torben was just doing his job, as dictated by his superiors. It isn't known whether Torben was one of the many police officers who have publicly criticized the fact that they are forced to hand out traffic tickets to meet quotas.

Torben, however, seems to have some issues with understanding the basic rules about cycling. Fine, turning right on red isn't allowed at the intersection in question - Store Kongensgade/Gothersgade - so stopping my friend Romain is fair enough. A newcomer to Copenhagen - from a city where right turns on red for bicycle users is allowed at a number of intersections - could be forgiven for not knowing that Copenhagen hasn't yet removed this archaeic law. You'd think some respect and flexibility for foreigners navigating the city would be in its place, especially since Romain rolled calmly around the corner without bothering any pedestrians or other traffic users.

Torben informed Romain that his bicycle is required to have two brakes. The coaster brake on its own wasn't enough. Again, how are visitors supposed to know that Denmark has many obscure laws like this? Flexibility for visitors, please. You'll still make your quotas if you put your mind to it, Torben.

Then it all got a bit strange. Torben informed our visitor that his bicycle was also required to have magnetic lights and fenders. That it was illegal to ride it in Copenhagen. Magnetic lights are well-known in Denmark, but how on earth should a Frenchman have heard of them? And fenders? It's a no-brainer that fenders make sense for city cycling, sure, but you know what? It is not required by any law that a bicycle be equipped with magnetic lights (it was also broad daylight) or fenders.

The fine ($200) only covered the right turn on red but it left Romain very confused.

Romain emailed me to ask about these bizarre claims by Torben and I explained it to him. I also explained that he join the Cykelrazzia Facebook group in order to coordinate with almost 2000 other bicycle users in Copenhagen about the placement of the police's quota traps each day.

Can somebody tell our dear civil servant Torben the facts? And make sure his colleagues are in the same loop?

It's no secret that the Copenhagen Police are among the most bicycle unfriendly in Europe, but when it gets this silly, it doesn't help anyone.Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

Friday throwback: every time you fly, thank a cyclist

ibikelondon - 25 April, 2014 - 08:30

Next time you're stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the airport and cursing all those cars ahead of you keeping you from your flight, don't just thank the cyclists riding alongside you who are keeping the congestion down, but thank a cyclist that you're even able to fly at all...

On December 17th 1903 the Wright brothers - Orville and Wilbur - completed the first successful heavier-than-air powered flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  The flight was the culmination of years of experiments with gliders, kites, geared propulsion systems and chain-cranked flyers, all supported financially by their work as proprietors of a bicycle shop.  Here, in a photo from the Library of Congress collection, you can see the brothers at work; their hand made bicycle frames on the floor and gears on the wall behind them.


That first flight was 130 feet (approximately 40 metres) and lasted just 12 seconds, but it paved the way for rapid advances in aeronautical engineering.  Their work on triple-axis control (moving wings up and down, rudder left and right, and "warping" wings) is the basis for manoeuvring all modern aeroplanes, even today.  From the humble beginnings of a plane made of a wooden frame, paper and glue assembled in a bicycle workshop, within 73 years members of the public were able to fly around the world at supersonic speeds in luxury on board Concorde. (New York to London in under three hours).



We don't fly in planes made of paper anymore, and we don't fly supersonic passenger jets either, but coming the full circle we do still ride bicycles, sometimes even in space, as demonstrated here by astronaut Paul J Weitz onboard Skylab, the precursor to the International Space Station:



So next time you're late for a flight (or a rocket launch), thank a cyclist!

The Friday Throwback is our ongoing series of posts looking at images of cyclists from The Commons on Flickr. You can catch every post from ibikelondon by connecting with us online; join the conversation with us on Twitter @markbikeslondon, or give us a "Like!" on our Facebook page.

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Categories: Views

Traffic fatalities fell significantly in 2013

BicycleDutch - 24 April, 2014 - 23:01
Yesterday, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment published the latest road traffic fatality figures for the Netherlands. The press release reads as … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Traffic fatalities decreased significantly in 2013

BicycleDutch - 24 April, 2014 - 23:01
Yesterday, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment published the latest road traffic fatality figures for the Netherlands. The press release reads as … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

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