Saturday, February 21, 2009

CO2 Reduction More feasible With More Cycling Infrastructure

According to research bureau CE it is much more effective to reduce CO2 by improving bicycle infrastructure than by investing in a better flow of motor vehicles. It is however unknown how much CO2 benefit bicycle measures would provide. Therefore effects should be better monitored.

The CE-study 'Minder emissies door investeren in infrastructuur' has investigated several options to reduce CO2 emissions. These are measures to improve traffic circulation, change the modal shift and reduce energy use of vehicles. According to CE improving bicycle infrastructure provides the highest return of all 'mobility measures' studied.

Investments in (car) infrastructure primarily aimed at improving traffic flow prove to be ineffective in fighting climate change. Improved traffic flow does cause lower emissions per vehicle kilometre but in the long term also an increase in overall traffic, states CE.

A better bicycle infrastructure may contribute to a substantial CO2 reduction according to CE. CE works out that if, for example, bicycle policy in a town results in 2,500 people driving 5 kilometres less a day that would save 1 kilotonne of CO2. The maximum potential for the Netherlands might possibly be in the range of 100 to 250 kilotonnes a year. Improving bicycle infrastructure has many positive side effects on air quality, noise pollution and public health, besides climate effects. Various measures are feasible to improve bicycle friendliness by adapting infrastructure, like:
- construction and/or improvement of bicycle parking facilities;
- construction of bike paths or e.g. bicycle routes through residential neighbourhoods or town centres, preferably separate from car traffic;
- construction of bicycle tunnels;
- adjusting traffic lights and adapting priority arrangements at intersections and roundabouts. It is however hard to quantify the potential of these measures as there are insufficient evaluations which quantify the effects of improved bicycle facilities on the decrease in car use, CE states. Better monitoring of the effects on investments in bicycle infrastructure is therefore recommended.

A wealth of information about Dutch cycling initiatives and research available here, the website of Dutch cycling consultancy company Fietsberaad.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Velodarlo: Dutch bike loan in Darlington

A FASHION show on bikes will launch a cycle sharing scheme tomorrow.

Velodarlo will make stylish Dutch city bikes available for use by Darlington residents for a small weekly charge as part of Darlington Media Group's Beauty and the Bike project.

The project involves a film crew and photographer following a group of young women as they cycle around Darlington, showing that cycling can by stylish and has raised grants needed to fund Velodarlo.

To launch the bike hire scheme, members of the Beauty and the Bike project will be on their bikes modeling clothes from the Leggs, in Skinnergate, in the town centre at noon tomorrow.

If you are interested in joining Velodarlo call Darlington Media Workshop on 01325-488139 or e-mail

- The Northern Echo: Beauties show model behaviour on bikes

The event will be held in Pease Place (below the statue) at 12noon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Had a Boardman hybrid nicked in or near Darlington?

The stolen bike is described as an 18 speed Chris Boardman hybrid with a 49cm frame. Its frame number is SA61190771.

- The Northern Echo: Police seek owner of stolen bike

Statistics v Anecdotal Evidence – An Explanation

Why have there been so many reported “near misses” between cyclists and pedestrians in the pedestrian heart? When the Cycling Campaign’s own documented video evidence has found these incidents to be extremely rare?

Perhaps my experience on the way to the railway station this morning is one explanation. As usual I cycled into the town centre from Woodland Road and, on reaching the top of Priestgate, slowed down to walking pace (Bondgate was still relatively empty) to prepare to push my bike down the narrow pavement on the one-way part of that street. Nobody on the pavement, so a short one legged scooter to the first obstruction (a traffic sign) a few metres down and I stopped to get off. An elderly couple were slowly approaching from the other direction. I waited 15 seconds or so for them to approach, did my usual pleasant “good morning” (Code of Conduct rule 3?) to let them pass, and got an immediate earful of complaints.

“Why are you not on the road?” they complained to this stationery cyclist?

“Well, because it is a narrow, one-way street full of buses”, I replied. “Could you show me the cycle path, please?”

“You’re just totally selfish. You shouldn’t be on the pavement. You only think of yourselves”, and off they went, perhaps ready to announce another “near miss”. Certainly it was an unpleasant encounter.

But it also points to the problems inherent in definitions of “pavement cycling”. I scootered the first few metres (one leg on ground, the other on a pedal) simply to reach a point where I could fully dismount. If I had dismounted and pushed before these elderly people passed me, as opposed to stopped, I suspect the space was too narrow (two elderly people, a bike and a dismounted cyclist) for us all to comfortably pass. Better, I thought, to stop altogether behind the obstruction, take up less space, and allow them to pass. Was I breaking the law because I was not fully dismounted?

I have always felt that consideration for others should take precedence over strict legal concepts. Good cycling always involves judgement and interpretation on the road. With so little dedicated cycling space on Darlington’s streets, it is also needed on pavements. And the Home Office agrees.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Darlington Pedestrian Heart: Yes! You can ride your bike

Just over four years since Darlington Council agreed in principle to allowing cycling in the then to-be-created pedestrianised town centre, more than two years after work began and after two separate six month trial periods, the Cabinet of Darlington Borough Council this evening grasped the nettle and made cycling in the pedestrianised area a permanent arrangement.

By all accounts, just eight months ago in the wake of a lot of vocal opposition (despite the majority of residents being in favour), it was a very close run thing getting the trial extended for another six months. A lot of work has been carried out in the last few months to try to secure access. The town centre is a vital link in the cross-town cycle routes and having it closed to cycling would have been a major blow to cycling in the town.

The Council's officers had produced a fantastic, comprehensive report setting out all the evidence in favour of allowing cycling permanently and, thankfully, the Cabinet made their decision based upon the evidence available to them.

Darlington Cycling Campaign are overjoyed at this result.