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Utility cycling

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File:Bicycle-taxi-2.jpg
Ugandan bicycle taxi or bodaboda
Cargo-bicycle and Trike for rent Bremen.

Utility cycling encompasses any cycling not done primarily for fitness, recreation such as cycle touring, or sport such as cycle racing, but simply as a means of transport. It is the most common type of cycling in the world. In the Chinese city of Beijing alone, there are an estimated four million bicycles in use (it has been estimated that in the early-1980s there were approximately 500 million cyclists in China).[1][2] As of 2000, there were an estimated 80 million bicycles in Japan, accounting for 17% of commuter trips[3]. Utility or "transportational" cycling generally involves travelling short and medium distances (several kilometres). It includes commuting, going to school, high school or college, making errands, and delivering goods or services. In cities, the bicycle courier is often a familiar feature, and freight bicycles are capable of competing with trucks and vans particularly where many small deliveries are required, especially in congested areas. Velotaxis can also provide a public transport service like buses and taxicabs.

Contents

[edit] A cyclists' equipment and the bicycle

a Dutch utility bicycle.
File:P1010084.JPG
Last mile distribution using a bicycle.
Commuter cyclist in Vienna, Austria.

Utility bicycles have many standard features to enhance their usefulness and comfort. Chain-guards and mudguards, or fenders, protect clothes and moving parts from oil and spray. Kick stands help with parking. Front-mounted wicker or steel baskets for carrying goods are often used. Rear racks or carriers can be used to carry items such as school satchels. Panniers or special luggage racks (including waterproof packing bags) enable the transport of goods and are useful for shopping.

Parents sometimes add rear-mounted child seats and/or an auxiliary saddle fitted to the crossbar to transport children. Trailers of various types and load capacities may be towed to greatly increase cargo capacity. In many jurisdictions, bicycles must be fitted with a bell, reflectors, and, after dark, front and rear lights. A fluorescent or reflective vest or armbands can also be very useful for night-time journeys, although these are not an alternative to a legally compliant lighting system. Protective rain gear is often an essential part of the utility cyclists' wardrobe, especially in countries with high rainfall levels.

[edit] Factors that influence levels of utility cycling

Many different factors combine to influence levels of utility cycling. In developing economies, a large amount of utility cycling may be seen simply because the bicycle is the most affordable form of vehicular transport available to many people. In richer countries, where people can have the choice of a mixture of transport types, a complex interplay of other factors influences the level of bicycle use. In developed countries cycling has to compete with, and work with, alternative transport modes: walking, public transport of various sorts and the usually dominant private car use. Thus cycling levels are not influenced just by the attractiveness of cycling alone, but also by what makes the competing modes more or less attractive.

In developed countries with high utility cycling levels, utility cyclists tend to undertake relatively short journeys. According to Irish 1996 Census data, over 55% of cycling workers travelled 3 miles (4.8 km) or less, 27% 5 miles (8 km) or less and only 17% travelled more than 5 miles in their daily commute. It can be argued that factors that directly influence trip length or journey time are among the most important in making cycling a competitive transport mode. Car ownership rates can also be influential. In New York City, more than half of all households do not own a car (the figure is even higher in Manhattan, over 75%), and walk/bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city.[4]

Decisions taken by various levels of government, as well as local groups, residents' organisations and public- and private-sector employers, can all have an impact on the so-called "modal choice" or "modal split" in daily transport. In some cases various factors may be manipulated in a manner that deliberately seeks to encourage or discourage various transport modes, including cycling.

Factors affecting cycling levels may include:

  • Town planning, including quality of infrastructure: cyclist "friendly" vs. cyclist "hostile"
  • Trip-end facilities, particularly secure parking, providing measures against theft
  • Retail policy
  • Marketing; the public image of cycling
  • Integration with other transport modes
  • Cycle training
  • Terrain (hilly vs. flat)
  • Climate


[edit] Town planning

Trip length and journey times are argued to be key factors affecting cycle use. Therefore, town planning may have a key impact in deciding whether key destinations, schools, shops, colleges, health clinics, public transport interchanges remain within a reasonable cycling distance of the areas where people live. It is argued that the urban form can influence these issues, compact and circular settlement patterns tending to promote cycling. Alternatively, the low-density, non-circular (i.e., linear) settlement patterns characteristic of urban sprawl tends to discourage cycling. In 1990, the Dutch adopted the "ABC" guidelines, specifically limiting developments that are major attractants to locations that are readily accessible by non-car users.[5]

US-style housing division.

[edit] Cycling infrastructure

The cycling infrastructure comprises all the public ways that are available to cyclists traveling from one destination to another. This includes the same network of public roads that is used by drivers of motor vehicles minus those roads from which every cyclist has been banned (most freeways) and plus additional routes that are not available to motorised traffic, such as cycle tracks and (in some jurisdictions) sidewalks.

The manner in which the public roads network is designed, built and managed can have a significant effect on the utility and safety of cycling as a form of transport. The key issue is whether the cycling network provides the users with direct, convenient routes minimising unnecessary delay and effort in reaching key destinations. Here it is argued that settlements that provide a dense roads network consisting of interconnected streets will tend to be viable utility cycling environments.

In contrast, other communities may use a cul-de-sac based, housing estate/housing subdivision model where minor roads are disconnected and only feed into a street hierarchy of progressively more "arterial" type roads. It is arguable that such communities discourage cycling by imposing unnecessary detours and forcing all cyclists onto busy and dangerous arterial roads for all trips regardless of destination or purpose. It is also reported that the extra motor-traffic such communities generate tends to increase overall per-capita traffic casualty rates. Designs that propose to resolve the contradiction between the cul-de-sac and the traditional interconnected network, such as the Fused Grid, have been proposed and built with varying levels of success.[6] Particular issues have arisen with personal security and public order problems in some housing schemes using "back alley" type links.

Aspects of the cycling infrastructure may be viewed as either cyclist-hostile or as cyclist-friendly. In general, roads infrastructure based on prioritising motoring and attempting to create a state of constant "flow" for cars will tend to be hostile to non-car users. In 1996, the British Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) and the Institute for Highways and Transportation jointly produced the document "Cycle-friendly infrastructure: Guidelines for planning and design".[7] This defined a hierarchy of measures for cycling promotion in which the goal is to convert a more or less cyclist-hostile roads infrastructure into one which encourages and facilitates cycling.

[edit] The CTC/IHT hierarchy

  1. Traffic reduction. Can traffic levels particularly that of heavy vehicles be reduced?
  2. Traffic calming. Can speed be reduced and driver behaviour modified?
  3. Junction treatment and traffic management. These measures include:
    • Urban traffic control systems designed to recognise cyclists and give them priority.
    • Exempt cyclists from banned turns and access restrictions.
    • Provide contra-flow cycle lanes on one-way streets.
    • Implement on-street parking restrictions.
    • Provide advanced stop lines/bypasses for cyclists at traffic signals.
    • Junction alterations, signalise roundabouts, cycle-friendly junction design.
  4. Redistribution of the carriageway. Such as by marking wide kerb lanes or shared bus/cycle lanes.
  5. Cycle lanes and cycle tracks. Having considered and implemented all the above, what cycle tracks or cycle lanes are considered necessary?

[edit] Examples: Traffic reduction

Removing traffic can be achieved by straightforward diversion or alternatively reduction. Diversion involves routing heavy traffic away from roads used by high numbers of cyclists and pedestrians. Examples of diversion include the construction of arterial bypasses and ring roads around urban centres.

Traffic reduction can involve direct or indirect methods. Indirect methods involve reducing the infrastructural capacity dedicated to moving or storing cars. This can involve reducing the number of lanes for cars, closing bridges to motorised traffic and creating vehicle restricted zones or environmental traffic cells. In the 1970s the Dutch city of Delft began restricting private car traffic from crossing the city centre[8]. Similarly, Groningen is divided in to four zones that cannot be crossed by private motor-traffic, (private cars must use the ring road instead).[9] Cyclists and other traffic can pass between the zones and cycling accounts for 50%+ of trips in Groningen (which reputedly has the third highest proportion of cycle traffic of any city). The Swedish city of Gothenburg uses a similar system of traffic cells.[10]

Reducing car parking capacity is an associated method. Starting in the 1970s, the city of Copenhagen, which is now noted for high cycling levels, adopted a policy of reducing available car parking capacity by several per cent a year. The city of Amsterdam, where around 40% of all trips are by bicycle,[11] adopted similar parking reduction policies in the 80s and 90s. Direct traffic reduction methods can involve straightforward bans or more subtle methods like road pricing schemes or road diets. The London congestion charge reportedly resulted in a significant increase in cycle use within the affected area.

[edit] Examples: Speed reduction

Gatso speed camera

Some cycling experts argue for placing direct restrictions on motor-vehicle speed and acceleration performance[12]. However, speed reduction has traditionally been attempted by either education, enforcement or road engineering. Education can mean publicity campaigns or targeted road user training. Enforcement in this context generally means the enforcement of statutory speed limits. Speed limit enforcement techniques include: direct police action, automated systems such as speed cameras or vehicle activated signs or traffic lights triggered by traffic exceeding a preset speed threshold. In addition to enforcement of the standard speed limits it is argued that limits of 30 km/h (20 mph) and lower are more appropriate for urban roads with mixed traffic[13]. The Austrian city of Graz has achieved steady growth in cycling and has applied 30 km/h limits to 75% its streets since 1994[14]. An EU report on promoting walking and cycling specifies as one of its top measures comprehensive camera-based speed control using mainly movable equipment at unexpected spots[15]. The Netherlands has an estimated 1,500 speed/red-light camera installations and has set a target for 30 km/h limits on 70% of urban roads. By contrast, the recent use in the UK of a substantial number of visible speed-cameras primarily at fixed locations on arterial routes has had a questionable impact on general motorist behaviour and has been accompanied by a decrease in cycling[16]. Engineering measures involve physically altering the road layout or appearance to actively, or passively slow traffic down. Measures include speed humps, chicanes, curb extensions, and living street and shared space type schemes. The town of Hilden in Germany has achieved a rate of 24% of trips being on two wheels, mainly via traffic calming and the use of 30 km/h (20 mph) zones.[17] As of 1999, the Netherlands had over 6000 woonerven where cyclists and pedestrians have legal priority over cars and where a motorised speed limit of "walking speed" applies.[18] However, some UK and Irish "traffic calming" schemes, particularly involving road narrowings, are viewed as extremely hostile and have been implicated directly in death and injury to cyclists.[19][20]

[edit] Examples: One-way streets

One-way street systems are viewed as a product of urban management that focuses on trying to keep motorised vehicles moving at all costs. If applied to cyclists, they are argued to impose unnecessary trip length and inconvenience. It is argued that there are rarely any traffic management justifications for imposing this restriction on cyclists. In northern Europe, cyclists are frequently granted exemptions from one-way street restrictions. In Belgium, all one-way streets in 50 km/h zones are by default two-way for cyclists.[21] Denmark, a country with high cycling levels, makes no use of such traffic-flow focused one-way systems.[22] Some commentators from cyclist-hostile/car-focused jurisdictions argue that the initial goal should be to dismantle large one-way street systems as a traffic calming/traffic reduction measure, followed by the provision of two-way cyclist access on any one-way streets that remain.[23]

[edit] Examples: Junction design

In general, junction designs that favour higher-speed turning, weaving and merging movements by motorists will tend to be hostile for cyclists. Features such as large entry curvature, slip-roads and high flow roundabouts are associated with increased risk of car–cyclist collisions. On large roundabouts of the design typically used in the UK and Ireland, cyclists have an injury accident rate that is 14-16 times that of motorists.[24] Research indicates that excessive sightlines at uncontrolled intersections compound these effects.[25][26] In the UK, a survey of over 8,000 highly experienced and mainly adult male Cyclists Touring Club members found that 28% avoided roundabouts on their regular journey if at all possible.[27] Cycling advocates argue for modifications and alternative junction types that resolve these issues such as reducing kerb radii on street corners, eliminating slip roads and replacing large roundabouts with signalised intersections.

[edit] Examples: Traffic signals/Traffic control systems

Cyclists use a segregated cut through of a busy interchange in London at rush hour.

How traffic signals are designed and implemented directly impacts cyclists[28]. For instance where vehicle detector systems are used to trigger signal changes, some may not detect cyclists at all or must be carefully adjusted to do so. This can leave cyclists in the position of having to "run" red lights if no motorised vehicle arrives to trigger a signal change. Some cities use urban adaptive traffic control systems (UTC's), which use linked traffic signals to manage traffic in response to changes in demand. There is an argument that using a UTC system merely to provide for increased capacity for private motor traffic will simply drive growth in such traffic. However, there are more direct negative impacts. For instance, where signals are arranged to provide private motor traffic with so called green waves, this can create "red waves" for other road users such as cyclists and public transport services. Traffic managers in Copenhagen have now turned this approach on its head and are linking cyclist-specific traffic signals on a major arterial bike lane to provide green waves for rush hour cycle-traffic.[29] Cycling-specific measures that can be applied at traffic signals include the use of advanced stop lines and/or bypasses. In some cases cyclists might be given a free-turn or a signal bypass if turning into a road on the nearside.

[edit] Examples: Redistribution of the carriageway

One method for reducing potential friction between cyclists and motorised vehicles is to provide Wide Kerb (nearside) lanes (UK) or Wide outside through lanes (USA). These extra wide lanes increase the probability that motorists will be able to pass cyclists at a safe distance without having to change lanes.[30] This is held to be particularly important on routes with a high proportion of wide vehicles such as buses or HGVs. They also provide more room for cyclists to filter past queues of cars in congested conditions.
A bus and cycle lane in Mannheim, Germany
Cycle friendly infrastructure argues for a marked lane width of 4.25 m.[7] It is argued that, on undivided roads, this width provides cyclists with adequate clearance from passing HGVs while being sufficiently narrow to deter car users from attempting to “double up” and form two lanes. This “doubling up” effect may be related to junctions. At non-junction locations, greater width might be preferable if this effect can be avoided. The use of such wide lanes is specifically endorsed by Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities, the European Commission policy document on cycle promotion.[31]

Shared Bus and Cycle lanes are also a widely endorsed method for providing for cyclists. Many cycling activists view these as being more attractive than cycle lanes or paths. In addition, it is arguably easier, politically speaking, to argue for funding of joint facilities rather than expensive and controversial segregated cycling facilities.

[edit] Cycle lanes and cycle tracks

The use of segregated cycle facilities such as cycle lanes and cycle tracks is often advocated as a means of promoting utility cycling. However, the use of such devices is highly controversial both in terms of safety and cycling promotion. In terms of safety, separate cycle lanes or cycle tracks can seriously undermine safety if inappropriately designed or if used at inappropriate locations. Similarly, while it is possible to use separate facilities to promote cycling, it is also possible to use them for the opposite purpose: for removing priority from cyclists and giving it to motorists. Thus it is argued that the use and potential effects of segregated facilities for cyclists cannot be viewed in isolation from the underlying design, management and legal philosophies that govern the overall transportation infrastructure.

[edit] Trip-end facilities

[edit] Bicycle parking/storage arrangements

Bicycle parking at the Alewife subway station in Cambridge, Massachusetts, located at the intersection of three cycle paths.
Bicycle parking lot in Amsterdam.

Secure parking is argued to be a key factor influencing the decision to cycle. To be considered secure, the parking must be of a suitable design: allowing the bicycle to be locked via the frame. In addition, the bike parking must be located in a readily observable location permitting so-called passive security from passers-by. Weather protection is also desirable. As a rule, where cycling is being encouraged as an alternative to motoring, efforts are made to make bicycle parking more convenient and attractive to use than the equivalent car parking arrangements. This usually means providing a wide distribution of visible, well-signed, parking as close as possible to the entrances of the destinations being served. Storage rooms or bicycle lockers may also be provided. In some cases large concentrations of bike parking may be more appropriate. These storage facilities can sometimes be supervised and sometimes charge a fee. Examples include large bike parks at public transport interchanges such as railway, subway, tram or bus stations.

Conversely, at particular destinations, or in cultures, where cycling is seen as an unwelcome or inappropriate activity, bicycle parking may simply not be provided or else deliberately placed at awkward, out-of-sight, locations away from public view. In such cultural situations, cyclists may even be expressly forbidden from parking their bicycles at the most obvious and convenient locations. This is the case, for example, in much of Central London; the reasoning is unclear, as bicycle parking may be forbidden due to perceived aesthetic reasons, or as a security precaution against explosives being hidden in the frame.

[edit] Other trip end facilities

Some people need to wear special clothes such as business suits or uniforms in their daily work. In some cases the nature of the cycling infrastructure and the prevailing weather conditions may make it very hard to both cycle and maintain the work clothes in a presentable condition. It is argued that such workers can be encouraged to cycle by providing lockers, changing rooms and shower facilities where they can change before starting work.

[edit] Active theft reduction measures

The theft of bicycles is one of the major problems that slow the development of urban cycling. Bicycle theft discourages regular cyclists from buying new bicycles, as well as putting off people who might want to invest in a bicycle.

Several measures can help reduce bicycle theft:

  • making cyclists aware of antitheft devices and their effective use
  • promoting devices to enable remote tracking of a bicycle's location
  • registration of bicycles to enable recovery if stolen
  • targeting cycle thieves
  • mounting sting operations to catch thieves
  • using Folding bicycles which can be safely stored (for example) in cloakrooms or under desks

Certain European countries apply such measures with success, such as the Netherlands or certain German cities using registration and recovery. Since mid-2004, France has instituted a system of registration, in some places allowing stolen bicycles to be put on file in partnership with the urban cyclists' associations. This approach has reputedly increased the stolen bicycle recovery rate to more than 40%. By comparison, before the commencement of registration, the recovery rate in France was about 2%.

In some areas of the United Kingdom, bicycles fitted with location tracking devices are left poorly secured in theft hot-spots. When the bike is stolen, the police can locate it and arrest the thieves. This sometimes leads to the dismantling of organised bicycle theft rings.

[edit] Integration with other transport modes

Bicycles in the Netherlands

Cycling can often be intregrated successfully with other transport modes. For example, in the Netherlands and Denmark a large number of train journeys may start by bicycle. In 1991, 44% of Dutch train travellers went to their local station by bicycle and 14% used a bicycle at their destinations. [32] The key ingredients for this are claimed to be:

  • an efficient, attractive and affordable train service
  • secure bike parking at train stations
  • a town planning policy that results in a sufficient proportion of the potential commuter population (eg 44%) living/working within a reasonable cycling distance of the train stations.

It has been argued in relation to this aspect of Dutch or Danish policy that ongoing investment in rail services is vital to maintaining their levels of cycle use. An often forgotten major success story is the integration of cycling and public transport is Japan.[33] Its historically compact and relatively flat towns and cities, with mostly narrow roads and lanes, has meant a very high rate of bicycle use that continues today. In January 2007, the European parliament adopted a motion decreeing that all international trains must carry bicycles[34]. In some cities, bicycles may also be carried on local trains, trams and buses so that they may be used at either end of the trip. The Rheinbahn transit company in Düsseldorf permits bicycle carriage on all its bus, tram and train services at any time of the day[35]. In France, the prestigious TGV high-speed trains are even having some of their first class capacity converted to store bicycles [36]. There have also been schemes, such as in Victoria, British Columbia, and Acadia to provide bicycle carriage on buses using externally mounted racks.[37][38] In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, three bus routes have externally mounted racks for bicycles.[39] All public transit buses in Chicago and suburbs allows up to two bikes at all times.[40][41] Trains allow bikes with some restrictions.[42] Where such services are not available, some cyclists get around this restriction by using folding bikes that can be brought onto the train or bus like a piece of luggage.

However, there are strong cultural variations in how cycling is treated in such situations. For instance in the Irish university city of Galway the secure parking of bikes is forbidden within the grounds of the central train station. However, cut-price car parking is available for motorists holding a valid train ticket.

[edit] Marketing: The public image of cycling

An individual's perception of cycling and their expectations of how they might be perceived if they are seen cycling can affect their decision to cycle or not. Thus cycling might be marketed positively by interests that wish to promote it. Alternatively, other interests might seek to market cycling negatively for their own purposes. Thus interests from the car lobby may seek to belittle cyclists in an attempt to enhance their own status as motorists. As with other areas of competition a marketing or propaganda conflict takes place between both sides.

[edit] Positive marketing of cycling

Two themes predominate in cycling promotion 1) the benefits for the cyclist and 2) the benefits for society and the environment that may occur if more people choose to cycle. The benefits for the cyclist tend to focus issues like reduced journey times in congested urban conditions and the health benefits which the cyclist obtains through regular exercise. Societal benefits focus on general environmental and public health issues. Promotional messages and tactics may include:

  • financial savings on transportation
  • keeping travel times predictable; in peak traffic, cycling can be the fastest way of moving around town
  • ensuring best use of the space available (during trips and also while parked), therefore reducing congestion on the roads
  • lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease (when practised for more than a quarter of an hour a day at a moderate pace) and therefore improvement of individual and public health
  • using cycling to tackle the obesity crisis facing more and more countries
  • the financial savings for society if general health improves
  • reminding people of the advantages in terms of health and of effectiveness of using the bicycle
  • making maps of journeys that can be completed by bicycle
  • potential reduction of harmful emissions by fewer people driving motor vehicles
  • reducing demand for oil-based fuels
  • the safety in numbers effect if more people cycle
  • Fun!

[edit] Negative marketing of utility cycling

Various interests may wish to portray a negative image of utility cycling on public roads for various reasons. Some governments, wishing to promote private car use, have organized and funded publicity designed to discourage road cycling. Official road safety organisations have distributed literature that emphasizes the danger of cycling on roads while failing to mention that drivers of heavy motor vehicles are the source of the danger. Some road safety authorities have been accused of having a deliberate policy of discouraging cycling as a means of reducing bicyclist casualty statistics.

The car industry's marketing efforts frequently try to associate car use with a perception of increased social status. The flip side of this tactic implies efforts to portray alternative transport modes, such as cycling, as indicators of reduced social status and/or poverty.

Most controversially, negative images may also be promoted by people who claim to be representing the interests of cyclists. Promoters of bicycle helmets may seek to ridicule cyclists who choose not to use them, and are frequently accused of significantly overstating and exaggerating both the risks posed to cyclists and the protective benefits of helmets.

Similar accusations have been made against some proponents of segregated cycle facilities. Once again, the risks experienced by cyclists are alleged to have been overstated and deliberately exaggerated. Simultaneously it may be alleged that the safety impacts of cycle facilities have been overstated and/or misrepresented. The accusation has been made that the object is to impose on the public mind a perception that cycling by the public on public roads is too "dangerous" or "impossible" to do unless cycle facilities are provided first.

[edit] Retail policy

If significant use of bicycles for shopping trips is to be achieved, sufficient retail services must be maintained within reasonable cycling distances of residential areas. Countries like Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany are noted for high levels of cycling. It is arguable that this is related to policies that favour access to retail services by non-motorised modes. The Danish 1997 Planning Act requires that planning shall encourage a diverse mix of retail shops in small and medium-sized towns and in individual districts of large cities and ensure that retail trade uses will be placed in locations to which people have good access by walking, bicycling and public transport. From the mid-1970s the Netherlands has had policies in place to severely restrict the growth of large out-of-town retail developments.[5] Germany has had federal planning regulations in place to restrict retail uses to designated areas since the 1960s. In addition, since the 1970s federal regulations have been in place specifying that developments above a certain size (1,200 m²) be assessed regarding potential adverse impacts. These federal regulations are further strengthened by regionally adopted regulations. This includes regulations specifying that new retail centres be limited to selling products not readily provided by shops at inner city/town centre locations.[5] In Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany, this approach not restricted to planning guidelines and is also supported by a ban on below cost selling.[43] This supports smaller shops by preventing large multiples from engaging in predatory pricing practices by aggressively discounting key goods to use as so called loss leaders.

[edit] Alternative retail policies

From the 1980s to mid-1990s the UK operated a system of laissez-faire with regard to retail policy. The "great car economy" philosophy of the Thatcher government directly favoured the growth of out-of-town retail centres at the expense of established retail services in British towns and cities. The UK Town and Country Planning Association cites research by the New Economics Foundation that throws stark light on what occurred and is continuing to occur to this day.[44]

  • General stores are closing at the rate of one per day.
  • Between 1997-2002, specialised stores, including butchers, bakers, fishmongers, and newsagents, closed at the rate of 50 per week.
  • Nearly 30,000 independent food, drink, and tobacco retailers, or over 40%, have been lost over the past decade.

It is arguable that in such a retail/planning policy environment use of bicycles ceases to be a viable option for many shoppers and access to a private motor-car or public transport becomes a necessary prerequisite for access to basic services.

[edit] Cycle training

Cycle training is another measure that is advocated as a means of maintaining or increasing levels of cycle use. The training involves teaching existing or potential cyclists bike handling, various roadcraft or "cyclecraft" skills and educating them on the safe, lawful use of the roads. Bicycle training schemes can be differentiated according to whether they are aimed at children or adults.

In the UK, the now superseded National Cycle Proficiency scheme was focused on primary schoolchildren aged 8 and above. In this, children would start by gaining an off-road certificate working up to their on-road certificate by the age of ten. Initial training and examination took place on simulated road layouts within school playgrounds. This approach has now been supplemented by the new National Standard for cycle training which is more focussed on practical on-road training[45]. This is part of Cycling England's portfolio of practical assistance to local authorities and other bodies, aimed at achieving their aim of "More cycling, more safely, more often"[46].

In the United States, the League of American Bicyclists Road 1/2 courses, based on the Effective Cycling program, has modules aimed at all ages from children to adult beginners to more experienced adults. It is argued that such schemes do not just build confidence in the students but also make it more likely that parents will let their children cycle to school. Cycle training may also be offered in an attempt to overcome cultural unfamiliarity with cycling or perceived cultural obstacles to bicycle use. In the Netherlands, some cycle training courses are targeted at women from immigrant communities, as a means of overcoming such obstacles to cycling by women from developing countries.[47]

[edit] User associations

As with other walks of life, utility cyclists may form associations in order to promote and develop cycling as an everyday form of transport. The European Cyclists' Federation is the umbrella body for such groups in Europe. These associations may lobby various institutions to encourage political support or to oppose measures that they judge counter-productive, such as to oppose the introduction of compulsory bicycle helmet legislation.

[edit] Free bicycle/Short term hire schemes

Copenhagen has a free bike scheme called City Bikes. Riders pay a refundable deposit at one of 100 special bike racks and have unlimited use of a bike within a specified area[48]. The scheme is funded by commercial sponsors. In return, the bikes carry advertisements, which appear on the bike frame and the solid-disk type wheels. Helsinki has a similar scheme, using bicycles available at over 26 stands for a €2 deposit, which is refundable at any other stand.

The advertising company JCDecaux has launched its "Cyclocity" programs in Lyon, Córdoba and Vienna. Here hundreds of bikes are made available for hire from special, widely-dispersed bicycle racks. Payment for using the bikes is done with special smart cards.

A similar scheme is offered by competitor Clear Channel Adshel in Barcelona called bicing, although there it´s paid by car owners parking on public streets and not by advertising. [49]

In some German cities, the national rail company Deutsche Bahn offers a convenient bike rental service: "Call a Bike". The Call a Bike principle is very simple, the bikes are locked electronically and again left in the open at widely distributed locations. A potential user phones an operator with the number of the bike he or she wishes to use. The operator confirms the customer's account details and unlocks the bicycle remotely. If desired, billing can be done directly to the users mobile phone account.

In Charleston, WV, a joint ministry of St. John's Episcopal Church, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Mountain State Wheelers bicycle club is 'Spokes4Folks', which collects used bicycles, refurbishes them, and then distributes them to clients at the Manna Meals Soup Kitchen two or three times per year. They are considering expanding their services to include encouragement of bicycle-based entrepreneuership and bicycle-related youth development services.

[edit] Influence of technology

Modern bicycle technology supports the shift towards utility cycling:

  • easy-running thick tires or damped springs allow cycling over kerbs
  • dynamo, brakes and gears improved and increased the riding safety, allowing usage also for elderly
  • electric support was further developed in motorized bicycle or electric power-assist system and eases the take up for untrained

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. China ends 'bicycle kingdom' as embracing cars, China Daily, 2004-11-11 (Accessed 2007-01-26)
  2. Chinese look to bicycle to cure car headache, Irish Times 2006-06-17
  3. A Study on Measures to Promote Bicycle Usage in Japan, Hirotaka Koike, Akinori Morimoto, Kaoru Itoh, Department of Civil Engineering, Utsunomiya University Velomondial Conference Proceedings, Amsterdam 2000
  4. Putative source according to the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Legislative Tools for Preserving Town Centres and Halting the Spread of Hypermarkets and Malls Outside of Cities: Land Use Legislation and Controls of Conflicts of Interest in Land Use Decision Making, by Ken Baar, Ph.D. Institute for Transport and Development Policy, New York NY 10001, 2002
  6. Durning 1996 cited in Safe Travels, Evaluating Mobility Management Traffic Safety Impacts by Todd Litman & Steven Fitzroy Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA
  7. 7.0 7.1 Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure: Guidelines for Planning and Design, Institution of Highways and Transportation, Cyclists Touring Club, 1996.
  8. Woonerf revisited Delft as an example, Steven Schepel, Childstreet2005 conference, Delft 2005 (Accessed 2007-02-21
  9. Transport Planning in Groningen, Holland Bicycle Fixation (Accessed 2007-01-27)
  10. The Impacts of Reallocating Roadspace on Accident Rates: Some Initial Evidence Sally Cairns Note from Road Danger Reduction Forum conference, Leicester, 16 February 1999. (Accessed 2007-02-02)
  11. [1]
  12. Enabling and encouraging people to cycle, John Franklin, Paper presented to the Cambridge Cycling Campaign AGM, 5 October 1999
  13. Speed reduction, traffic calming or cycling facilities: a question of what best achieves the goals?, Michael Yeates, Convenor, Cyclists Urban Speed limit Taskforce, Bicycle Federation of Australia, Velomondial Conference Proceedings, Amsterdam 2000
  14. The Graz traffic calming model and its consequences for cyclists, Manfred Hoenig, Department of transportation, City Council Graz, Velomondial Conference Proceedings, Amsterdam 2000
  15. How to enhance WALking and CYcliNG instead of shorter car trips and to make these modes safer, Deliverable D6 WALCYNG Contract No: UR-96-SC.099, Department of Traffic Planning and Engineering, University of Lund, Sweden 1999
  16. Cycling: Personal travel factsheet. UK Department for Transport (January 2007).
  17. Learning from Hilden’s Successes, Rod King, Warrington Cycle Campaign, August 2004 (Accessed 2007-01-24)
  18. Home Zones briefing sheet, Robert Huxford, Proceedings, Institution of Civil Engineers, Transport, 135, 45-46, February 1999
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  49. http://www.adshel.com/content.asp?ID=31&ParentID=27&MicrositeID=0&Page=1

[edit] Notes

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