Friday 8 May 2009

Reduce CO2 emissions by increasing cycling

The Fietsberaad recently published a story about how the ten most likely measures to decrease short car journeys made in towns involve promoting cycling. The ten top measures (with links to examples of each) are as follows:
  1. priority for cyclists at traffic lights
  2. make a town impossible to traverse by car (segmentation)
  3. providing good and safe bicycle routes
  4. improve accessibility of schools for cyclists in comparison to motorists
  5. decrease number of parking places
  6. parking at a fee/higher parking fees
  7. maintenance of bicycle parking facilities
  8. free/high-quality bicycle parking
  9. delivery services
  10. promote independent cycling by children
Note that the examples pointed to are all real. This isn't just hot air, but policy which is already being implemented and which already has demonstrated success in this country.

Of course, it's not just about CO2. There are various other benefits to society, such as lower cost of sickness, and not being so reliant on foreign oil.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, driving is getting cheaper, encouraging higher car usage.


Unknown said...

"Meanwhile, back in the UK, driving is getting cheaper, encouraging higher car usage."
Ironic, because last night I was watching this panel show on TV (TVO, Ontario TV station) and it was all about transportation.
They had one person for pedestrians one for cyclists, one for transit users and one for cars.
There was also someone there from the University of Waterloo.

I find it ironic because the person from the University said that driving a car is FAR too cheap in the city of Toronto.
The stats the host showed said that something like 72% drive a car, 22% transit, 5% walk and 1% bike. (old stats though. I'd say Toronto is around 1.7%)

Of course the car guy complained that we should not be spending money or taking away car lanes for bikes when only 1% ride.

So it's an evil cycle over here (in most cities). People won't ride if there aren't proper bike lanes, however people fight the cities on putting them in.
I don't live in Toronto, however I give the mayor and many in city hall credit. They've been dubbed an "anti-car" city hall. All because they do more to encourage walking, transit use and bicycle riding.

Anonymous said...

In most western cities, metered parking trumps cycling lanes. Parked cars mean greater dooring risks, more demands on cyclist to take the lane and thus less demand for cycling as a solution.

Anyone who tries to detail these facts is immediately labeled "anti-car".

Anonymous said...

In the US, most transportation funding is still handled in terms of "Highway" funds, and those are often not even available for non-automobile transportation projects.

As an indicator of just how cheap it can be to put in some cycling infrastructure, for the cost of one mile of highway, Portland has facilitated something like 275 miles of bike paths and bike boulevards (speed controlled streets where bikes are meant to be the primary traffic), and our bicycle ridership has gone up 500% in the last 10 years or so.

The problem is, you get the same kind of argument - "well, if you can do that much with 1% of transportation funding, why do you need any more?"

It's clear that in the US, there are some major political ties to the automotive industry that are clearly not in the best interest of most people.

Karl McCracken (twitter: @karlonsea) said...

Dave -
Lovely pithy and to the point!

I've got to figure out how to persuade the North Tyneside Council to come on one of your fact-finding missions!


Mike said...

Here in Darlington, according to recent studies, we've had a reduction in car use and a 120% increase in bike trips. So, I've had a quick look at the list and tried to think of examples here in this UK Cycling Demonstration Town.

My verdict: 2/10, could do better

anna said...

I can see how many of these measures make sense. For me, especially priority at traffic lights and enough (and safe) bicycle parking are the most important. Decreasing car parking possibilities would also make cycling in Vienna much safer. Most bike lanes are far too close to parking lanes (problems with opening car doors) as they just didn't feel the need to really improve bicycle infrastructure by closing them down and designing a bike lane of reasonable width.. Sadly, I hardly ever see children cycling in Vienna, and I know why.