Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Advocacy & Safety
Reload this Page >

A Week of Biking Joyously

Notices
Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

A Week of Biking Joyously

Old 07-02-11, 08:50 PM
  #1  
LET'S ROLL
Thread Starter
 
1nterceptor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NEW YORK, NY - USA
Posts: 4,782

Bikes: 2014 BMC Gran Fondo, 2013 Brompton S6L-X

Liked 45 Times in 34 Posts
A Week of Biking Joyously

Read the full article here:
https://www.bicycletimesmag.com/conte...iking-joyously

On a fact-finding mission to the Netherlands, a delegation of California public officials marvel at the promise of bicycles for 21st century transportation.

Of course, the bicycle enjoys certain advantages in the Netherlands, notably a flat landscape and a long cycling tradition. But the idea of learning from the success of the Dutch is not far-fetched. The Netherlands resembles the United States as a prosperous, technologically advanced nation where a huge share of the population owns automobiles. The Dutch simply don’t drive them each and every time they leave home, thanks to commonsense transportation policies where biking and public transit are promoted as an attractive alternative to the car. Indeed, millions of Dutch commuters combine bike and train trips, which offers the point-to-point convenience of the automobile and the speed of mass transit.

Seidler noted that a delegation of public officials from Madison, Wisconsin returned home from a similar tour of the Netherlands last spring, and within three weeks was implementing what they learned on the streets of the city. Bikes Belong, a non-profit group dedicated to getting more people on bikes more often, regularly takes public officials on tours of cities where cycling is popular.

One question popping up all over the group: how to reconcile our amazing experience of cycling in the Netherlands with the autochoked streets of San Francisco, San Jose and Marin County? But as Hillie Talens of C.R.O.W. (a transportation organization focusing on infrastructure and public space) reminded us, it took the Dutch 35 years to construct the ambitious bicycle system we were now enjoying. In the mid-1970s, biking was at a low point in the country and declining fast. Even Amsterdam turned to an American for a plan to rip an expressway through its beautiful central city. But the oil crises of that time convinced the country that they needed to lessen their dependence on imported oil.

The Dutch gradually turned things around by embracing a different vision for their cities. While the country’s wealth, population and levels of car ownership have continued to grow through the decades, the share of trips made by cars has not. We could accomplish something similar in the United States, by enacting new plans to make urban cycling safer, easier and more convenient.

Following the Dutch model will make cycling mainstream in America. The morning and evening rush hour of cyclists you see on the streets in the Netherlands are not all the young, white, male, ultra-fit athletes in Spandex we are accustomed to seeing in the U.S.—people of all ages and income levels use bikes for everyday transportation, with women cycling more than men.

Of course, we won’t do everything the same as the Dutch— there are considerable differences between the two countries geographically, politically and culturally. This was reflected in the questions our team posed to the numerous transportation experts we met during the week. Where did you find the money to do that? How did you overcome the opposition of motorists, merchants, developers etc.?

And, inevitably, American ingenuity will envision solutions the Dutch, the Danish, the Germans or the Chinese never thought of.
1nterceptor is offline  
Old 07-02-11, 09:12 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 7,048
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Infrastructure is only a small part of the story. We have cultural hurdles to overcome; most notably the fact that we have now raised a complete generation of couch potatoes for whom walking even one mile is a formidable task. The Dutch have strict liability wherein a motorist is at fault in a wreck; we have no liability for motorists (see single-survivor suicide swerve reports). In Northern Europe, drivers' licenses are expensive to obtain, require training and are easy to lose. Here, licenses are nearly free, require minimal training and are next to impossible to lose. Need I mention their use of technology to perform traffic enforcement?

The history of bike use in Davis, CA is a cautionary tale for those who think infrastructure is the answer. Cycling boomed in Davis during the '70s, like many other places. In response, the people of Davis made it part of the city's identity and put in a fair amount of bike lanes and bike paths. Along came the '80s and the bikes began disappearing. Undaunted, the city put in even more bike paths and bike lanes. By the time the '90s ended, there were very few bikes being ridden in Davis that didn't have one of my family members on them (not counting bikes that were stored on campus and only ridden on campus). Still more bike infrastructure went in, but it sat empty. Then, in 2005, a small number of citizens set out to renew the bike in Davis. Helped along by exactly what spurred on the booms of the '70s (gasoline price increases and a sense of the downside of car-dependence), the bike has begun to return to Davis. Recently, the Davis Police Department has begun to focus on traffic violations. During the Bike Capital days of Davis, the DPD had a zero-tolerance policy towards moving violations (even for cyclists). There are still very few bikes in Davis compared to its glory years even though the bike infrastructure has continuously expanded.

The point is, infrastructure is not enough to get people on bikes. I'm not saying it isn't necessary, only that it isn't sufficient.
B. Carfree is offline  
Old 07-02-11, 10:01 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Tampa/St. Pete, Florida
Posts: 9,352

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock Mountain (Stolen); Giant Seek 2 (Stolen); Diamondback Ascent mid 1980 - 1997

Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by B. Carfree
Infrastructure is only a small part of the story. We have cultural hurdles to overcome; most notably the fact that we have now raised a complete generation of couch potatoes for whom walking even one mile is a formidable task. The Dutch have strict liability wherein a motorist is at fault in a wreck; we have no liability for motorists (see single-survivor suicide swerve reports). In Northern Europe, drivers' licenses are expensive to obtain, require training and are easy to lose. Here, licenses are nearly free, require minimal training and are next to impossible to lose. Need I mention their use of technology to perform traffic enforcement?

The history of bike use in Davis, CA is a cautionary tale for those who think infrastructure is the answer. Cycling boomed in Davis during the '70s, like many other places. In response, the people of Davis made it part of the city's identity and put in a fair amount of bike lanes and bike paths. Along came the '80s and the bikes began disappearing. Undaunted, the city put in even more bike paths and bike lanes. By the time the '90s ended, there were very few bikes being ridden in Davis that didn't have one of my family members on them (not counting bikes that were stored on campus and only ridden on campus). Still more bike infrastructure went in, but it sat empty. Then, in 2005, a small number of citizens set out to renew the bike in Davis. Helped along by exactly what spurred on the booms of the '70s (gasoline price increases and a sense of the downside of car-dependence), the bike has begun to return to Davis. Recently, the Davis Police Department has begun to focus on traffic violations. During the Bike Capital days of Davis, the DPD had a zero-tolerance policy towards moving violations (even for cyclists). There are still very few bikes in Davis compared to its glory years even though the bike infrastructure has continuously expanded.

The point is, infrastructure is not enough to get people on bikes. I'm not saying it isn't necessary, only that it isn't sufficient.
Exactly, and sadly there are TOO many people on both sides of the road that think that ANY infrastructure is better than no infrastructure. And given that sadly, way too many motorists think that if there aren't signs or bike lanes on a road that somehow means that cyclists are "not" allowed those roads. And that we are ONLY allowed on those roads with bike lanes or signs that say "share the road" or "bike may use full lane."

We need to convince those people that that isn't true. Failing that than what we need to do is to insist on separate infrastructure that does take us everywhere that we need/want to go. And to those who argue that the intrastate system doesn't go "everywhere," that is true. But motorists have the option of using a combination of the interstate system, the freeway system, and surface roads.

But sadly, as we know way too many motorists as we've said feel that unless the road(s) have bike lanes or signs spelling out that cyclists are allowed there that they think/feel that we are not allowed on "their" roads. So given that mentality in order for dedicated biking facilities to truly work they do in fact need to go everywhere that we want/need to go. Otherwise what would be the point of installing them?
Digital_Cowboy is offline  
Old 07-02-11, 10:16 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Northwestrider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Posts: 2,470

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo, Dahon Mu P 24 , Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Rodriguez Tandem, Wheeler MTB

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Of course it'll take time for the car culture to modify here, but this is a great start. I wish a few of our "leaders" from Washington State would make a trip to Amsterdam
Northwestrider is offline  
Old 07-03-11, 01:25 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Stubby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Madison WI, USA
Posts: 75
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A few folks here are misrepresenting what has and is happening in Davis California. The population has grown to a hugh extent from the 50's as it has in most places in Cal. More recently many people from San Francisco and Sacramento have moved to Davis. This has decreased their overall cycling percentage as the new folks haven't immediately taken to the cycle culture of Davis.

A few things should be noted though. Davis still has the highest rate of trips made by bikes in the country at 18%. There are no school buses in Davis as kids bike to school. This is Likely the only city in the country where this happens.This bodes well for the future of the bike culture of Davis. There are a few folks who point to Davis as a warning and failure but that's really a bogus attack when you look at the facts.
Stubby is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
bragi
Living Car Free
35
08-17-14 11:50 PM
cyclezealot
Advocacy & Safety
21
06-10-10 06:03 PM
artimus
Advocacy & Safety
1
06-05-10 09:50 AM
cyclezealot
Advocacy & Safety
29
02-18-10 04:37 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.