Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Creating Bike Cities

Over at Grist I came across this article "Here comes everybody: Number of bicycle-friendly cities soars".  The article highlights an announcement by the League of American Cyclists that the number of Bicycle Friendly Communities in the United States has grown. Good to hear.

The league hands down its Bicycle Friendly Certification, according to assessment of 5 elements Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning. You can read more about these elements here. In many ways it is an assessment of how pro-active communities are in encouraging cycling, rather than a reflection of how many people are actually cycling in those communities.

According to American Bicyclists President Andy Clark "the best cities, have action plans in place to ensure that residents have opportunities to ride".

I totally agree with this. Events are a great catalyst for kickstarting regular cycling activity. In Sydney I think the "Sydney to Gong" ride has got many people onto bikes, Just like the "City to Surf" gets people running. Many people I know have decided to do the Sydney to Gong, and have used commuting as a means of training for the event, or after the event have decided that it would be good to ride to work.

Having all the infrastructure for cycling is excellent, but getting "bums on bikes" is perhaps more important. I don't think many people get on a bike for a short ride, and hate it. Most people think will think they should do it more often.

For all cities hoping to increase cycling, I'd encourage you to implement more cycling events such as  Ciclavia, where streets are closed to cars, and people can enjoy riding, without the hassle of cars, or Ride2Work Day, which has the objective of giving people the "perfect opportunity for you to have a go at riding to work".

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