Utility cycling

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Ugandan bicycle taxi or bodaboda
Cargo-bicycle and Trike in Bremen
Mangoes loaded on a Bicycle for sale at Guntur, India
Utility cyclists in Beijing

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] and in the Netherlands, 27% of all trips are made by bicycle[4][5]. Utility or "transportational" cycling generally involves travelling short and medium distances (several kilometres, not uncommonly 3-15 kilometers one way, or somewhat longer). It includes commuting, going to school, high school or college, running 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.

Utility cycling is believed to have several social and economic benefits. Policies that encourage utility cycling have been proposed and implemented for reasons including: improved public health [4][6], individual health and employers' profits[7] a reduction in traffic congestion and air pollution[6], improvements in road-traffic safety[6], improved quality of life[4], improved mobility and social inclusiveness[4], and benefits to child development.[4]


[edit] The bicycle and the cyclist's equipment

A Dutch utility bicycle
Utility bicycles in Changping District, Beijing

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 luggage carriers can be used to carry items such as school satchels. Panniers or special luggage carriers (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.

The use by cyclists of vests or armbands fluorescent in daylight or reflective at night can increase a cyclist's conspicuity, although these are not an alternative to a legally compliant lighting system. A report on the promotion of walking and cycling (Hydén, et al., 1999) discussed safety clothing and equipment and stated that "there is no doubt that both pedestrian reflectors and bicycle helmets are reducing the injury risk of their users quite considerably."[8] Protective rain gear is often an essential part of the utility cyclist's 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. Factors affecting cycling levels may include: town planning (including quality of infrastructure: cyclist "friendly" vs. cyclist "hostile"), trip-end facilities (particularly secure parking), retail policy, marketing the public image of cycling, integration with other transport modes, cycle training, terrain (hilly vs. flat), and climate. In developed countries cycling has to compete with, and work with, alternative transport modes such as private cars, public transport and walking. 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.

Urban cyclist in Guadalajara, Spain

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.[9]

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.

Last mile distribution using a bicycle in Vienna, Austria [7] .

The League of American Bicyclists has designated a set of five criteria[10][11] for evaluating the friendliness of a town or city to bicycles. These criteria are classified under the headings of: Engineering, Encouragement, Evaluation and Planning, Education, Enforcement.

[edit] Town planning

Trip length and journey times are key factors affecting cycle use.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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.[12]

US-style housing division.

Settlements that provide a dense road 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. Such communities may discourage cycling by imposing unnecessary detours and forcing all cyclists onto arterial roads, which may be perceived as busy and dangerous, for all trips regardless of destination or purpose.[citation needed] There is evidence that people who live in such estates are heavier than people who live in places where walking and cycling are more convenient.[citation needed] It is also reported that the extra motor-traffic such communities generate tends to increase overall per-capita traffic casualty rates.[citation needed] 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.[13] Particular issues have arisen with personal security and public order problems in some housing schemes using "back alley" type links. [14]

[edit] Cycling infrastructure

Plus additional routes that are not available to other types of vehicle, such as cycle tracks and (in some jurisdictions) sidewalks.

The cycling infrastructure comprises all the public ways that are available to cyclists travelling from one destination to another. This includes the same network of public roads that is available for other road vehicle users, minus those roads from which cyclists have been banned (most freeways), plus additional routes that are not available to other types of vehicle, 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.[citation needed] Settlements that provide a dense roads network consisting of interconnected streets will tend to be viable utility cycling environments.

Aspects of the cycling infrastructure may be viewed as either cyclist-hostile or as cyclist-friendly. In general, roads infrastructure based on prioritising certain routes in an attempt to create a state of constant "flow" for vehicles on that route, will tend to be hostile to those not on that route. 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" (CFI).[15] 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:

  1. Traffic reduction. Can traffic levels, particularly 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?

Summaries of the actions that have been successful in the Netherlands are available in English.[16] Guided tours are available to demonstrate good practice. [17]

[edit] Traffic reduction

Removing traffic can be achieved by straightforward diversion or alternatively reduction. Diversion involves routing through-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.

New Road, Brighton - Shared Space scheme reduced motor traffic by 93%.

Traffic reduction can involve direct or indirect methods. A highly effective indirect method of reducing motor traffic, and facilitating cyclist and pedestrian use, is to adopt the shared space system. This system, by giving equal priority to all road users, and by removing conventional road markings, road signs and road conventions, capitalises on the tendency for all road users to respect and trust each other when they are interacting on an equal basis. No explicit, or even implicit priority is given to traffic travelling along the road, so with no assumptions of priority being possible, all road users need to be aware of all other road users at all times. New Road in Brighton was remodelled using this philosophy, and the results were a 93% reduction in motor traffic and a 22% increase in cycling traffic.[18] Other indirect methods involve reducing the infrastructural capacity dedicated to moving or storing road vehicles. This can involve reducing the number of road lanes, closing bridges to certain vehicle types 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.[19] Similarly, Groningen is divided in to four zones that cannot be crossed by private motor-traffic, (private cars must use the ring road instead).[20] 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.[21] 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,[22] 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.[23]

[edit] Traffic calming

UK speed camera

Reduction of the speed of motor traffic has traditionally been attempted by the introduction of statutory speed limits. In the late 20th century more comprehensive programs of education, enforcement and engineering have been undertaken.

[edit] One-way streets

Some campaigners view one-way street systems as a product of traffic management that focuses on trying to keep motorised vehicles moving regardless of the social and other impacts.[24] On the other hand, some UK traffic planners state that one-way streets are a useful tool for traffic calming, and for eliminating rat runs.[25] CFI states that one-way streets can seriously disadvantage cyclists on the grounds that they introduce additional trip-length, delay and hazards associated with weaving manoeuvres at junctions.[15] CFI refers to other research indicating that in almost every case it is possible to exempt cyclists from one-way restrictions.[15] In northern Europe, cyclists are frequently granted exemptions from one-way street restrictions.[citation needed] German research indicates that making one-way streets two-way for cyclists results in a reduction in the total number of collisions.[26] It is also argued[who?] that contraflow cyclists may be at reduced risk of certain types of accident - particularly so called "dooring" type incidents. In Belgium road authorities can in principle allow any one-way streets in 50 km/h zones to be two-way for cyclists if the available lane is at least 3 m wide (area free from parking) and no specific local circumstances prevent it.[27] Denmark, a country with high cycling levels, does not use one-way systems to improve traffic flow.[28] Some commentators 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.[29]

[edit] Junction design

In general, junction designs that favour higher-speed turning, weaving and merging movements by motorists tend to be hostile for cyclists. CFI states that free-flowing arrangements are hazardous for cyclists and should be avoided.[15] Features such as large entry curvature, slip-roads and high flow roundabouts are associated with increased risk of car–cyclist collisions.[30][31] 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.[31] Research indicates that excessive sightlines at uncontrolled intersections compound these effects.[30][32] 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.[33] 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.[29][34]

[edit] 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.[35] For instance, poorly adjusted vehicle detector systems, used to trigger signal changes, may not correctly detect cyclists. This can leave cyclists in the position of having to "run" red lights if no motorised vehicle arrives to trigger a signal change.[36] Some cities use urban adaptive traffic control systems (UTC's), which use linked traffic signals to manage traffic in response to changes in demand.[35] There is an argument that using a UTC system merely to provide for increased capacity for motor traffic will simply drive growth in such traffic.[37] However, there are more direct negative impacts. For instance, where signals are arranged to provide motor traffic with so called green waves, this can create "red waves" for other road users such as cyclists and public transport services.[35] 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.[38] 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.[15]

[edit] 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.[39] 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.

Shared space schemes extend this principle further by removing the reliance on lane markings altogether, and also removing road signs and signals, allowing all road users to use any part of the road, and giving all road users equal priority and equal responsibility for each others safety. Experiences where these schemes are in use show that road users, particularly motorists, undirected by signs, kerbs or road markings, reduce their speed and establish eye contact with other users. Results from the thousands of such implementations worldwide all show casualty reductions and most also show reduced journey times.[40] Following the partial conversion of London's Kensington High Street to shared space, accidents were reduced there by 44% (the London average was 17%).[40]

A bus and cycle lane in Mannheim, Germany

CFI argues for a marked lane width of 4.25 m.[15] 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.[41]

Shared Bus and Cycle lanes are also a widely endorsed method for providing for cyclists. Research carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory describes shared bus cycle lanes as "generally very popular" with cyclists[42] Guidance produced for Cycling England endorses bus lanes as providing cyclists with a direct and barrier free route into town centres and as avoiding the difficulties associated with other provisions such as shared-use footways.[43] According to a French survey 42% of cyclists described themselves as "enthusiasts" for shared bus bike lanes versus 33% who were of mixed opinion and 27% who were opposed.[44] Many cycling activists view these as being more attractive than cycle paths, while others object to being in close proximity to bus exhausts.[44]

As of 2003, mixed bus/cycle lanes accounted for 118 km of the 260 km of cycling facilities in Paris.[45] The French city of Bordeaux has 40 km of shared bus cycle lanes.[46] It is reported that that in the city of Bristol, a showcase bus priority corridor, where road space was re-allocated along a 14 km stretch also resulted in more space for cyclists and had the effect of increasing cycling.[47] The reverse effect has also been suggested, a review carried out in London reports that cycling levels fell across Kew bridge following the removal of a bus lane - this was despite a general increase in cycling level in the city generally.[48] In addition, it is arguably easier, politically speaking, to argue for funding of joint facilities rather than the additional expense of both segregated cycling facilities and bus-only lanes.[49][50] In some instances. bus lane proposals have run into vehement opposition from cyclists reps - a typical theme is the perceived generation of conflict due to the narrowing of other lanes already shared by cars/cyclists so as to create space for the bus lanes[51] The TRL reports that cyclists and bus drivers tend to have low opinions of each other[42] There have been reports in Dublin of conflict as cyclists choose to cycle in the bus lanes and a bus driver apparently expected them to use adjacent cycle tracks instead.[52] In other cities the arrangements seem to work successfully with bus companies and cyclists' groups taking active steps to ensure that understanding is improved between the two groups of road users.[50][53][54]

[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. A pro-cycling paper, stated to have been accepted for publication in the Transport Reviews journal, states that "the provision of separate cycling facilities" appears to be one of the keys to the achieving of high levels of cycling in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany.[55] Roads or paths that are open to cyclists but not motorists can benefit cyclists where they provide links that are more convenient than the main road network, or help resolve obstacles. Examples include routes through pedestrian precincts etc. However, the use of such devices alongside, or within, existing roads 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.[56] 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.[57]

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.[58] In such cultural situations cyclists may even be expressly forbidden from parking their bicycles at the most obvious and convenient locations. In April 2007 the authorities at the University of California's Santa Barbara campus started confiscating bicycles not parked at the allegedly inconvenient official bike stands[59]

[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.[60]

[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.[61] 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.[62] Starting in 1978, Japan expanded bicycle parking supply at railway stations from 598,000 spaces in 1977 to 2,382,000 spaces in 1987. As of 1987, Japanese provisions included 516 multi-story garages for bicycle parking.[57]

In January 2007, the European parliament adopted a motion decreeing that all international trains must carry bicycles.[63] 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.[64] In France, the prestigious TGV high-speed trains are even having some of their first class capacity converted to store bicycles.[65] There have also been schemes, such as in Victoria, British Columbia, Acadia, and Canberra, Australia to provide bicycle carriage on buses using externally mounted bike carriers.[66][67] [68]

In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, three bus routes have externally mounted carriers for bicycles.[69] All public transit buses in Chicago and suburbs allow up to two bikes at all times.[70][71] Trains allow bikes with some restrictions.[72] 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 been accused of distributing literature that emphasizes the danger of cycling on roads while failing to address attitudinal issues among the drivers of motor vehicles who are the main source of road danger.[73][74][75] Some road safety authorities have been accused of having a deliberate policy of discouraging cycling as a means of reducing bicyclist casualty statistics. In 2003, Shanghai police officials released statements blaming cyclists as the cause of "gridlock" in the city and promoting plans to ban cyclists from the city streets.[76] Starting in the 1970s, the authorities in the city of Jakarta declared "war" on the "becak" or Indonesian cycle rickshaw blaming them for traffic congestion among other things.[77]

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. Observers in some car-focused cultures have noted a tendency to perceive or portray people who use bicycles as members of a social "out-group" with attributed negative connotations.[78] The attitudes displayed have been characterised as resembling racist attitudes to ethnic minorities.[79][80] In such cultures, such attitudes are displayed in attacks on cyclists in the media. Common themes include blanket descriptions of cyclists as a group who do not pay taxes, who break the law and who have no, or reduced, "right" to use public roads.[81]

Most controversially, negative images may also be promoted by people who claim to be representing the interests of cyclists. Promoters of bicycle helmets may seem to ridicule cyclists who choose not to use them, and are accused of significantly overstating and exaggerating both the risks posed to cyclists and the protective benefits of helmets.[82]

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.[citation needed]

[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. In countries like Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany the high levels of utility cycling also includes shopping trips e.g. 9% of all shopping trips in Germany are by bicycle.[83] 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.[12] 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.[12] In Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany, this approach not restricted to planning guidelines and is also supported by a ban on below cost selling.[84] 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 notes a continuing process of change in retail provision.[85]

  • 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.[86] 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".[87]

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.[88]

[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, paid by advertising on the bikes.

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

Competitor Clear Channel then operating as Adshel opened the first example of this in Rennes in 1997, and has several other sites including Oslo, Stockholm, Sandnes & Trondheim, most generally similar to that offered by their competitor. A different financial model called bicing is used in Barcelona, which is paid for by car owners parking on public streets and not by advertising - which rather ironically is contracted to JC Decaux in some places.[89]

Cemusa, another street media company have a system running in Pamplona and are believed to be pursuing some US sites (they have the street media contract in New York City)

[edit] Influence of technology

Modern bicycle technology supports the shift towards utility cycling:

  • easy-running thick tires or damped springs allow cycling over curbs
  • 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. ^ a b c d e "Cycling in the Netherlands" (in English) (PDF). Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management). http://www.fietsberaad.nl/library/repository/bestanden/Cycling%20in%20the%20Netherlands%20VenW.pdf. 
  5. ^ Rietveld, Piet; Vanessa Daniel (August 2004). "Determinants of bicycle use: do municipal policies matter?". Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice (Elsevier) 38 (7): 531–550. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2004.05.003. 
  6. ^ a b c Ogilvie, David; Matt Egan, Val Hamilton, Mark Petticrew (2004-09-22). "Promoting walking and cycling as an alternative to using cars: systematic review". British Medical Journal (BMJ Publishing Group) 329 (7469): 763. doi:10.1136/bmj.38216.714560.55. PMID 15385407. 
  7. ^ TNO, the Dutch institute for applied scientific research. More bicycling to work lowers sickness absence and saves employers 27 millions euro [1] accessed 1st February 2009
  8. ^ Hydén, C., Nilsson, A. & Risser, R. (1999-01-15). WALCYNG:How to enhance WALking and CYcliNG instead of shorter car trips and to make these modes safer. University of Lund, Sweden & FACTUM Chaloupka, Praschl & Risser OHG, Austria. 
  9. ^ Putative source according to the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey
  10. ^ LAB Bicycle-friendliness criteria
  11. ^ Five E's of Bicycle Friendliness
  12. ^ a b c 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
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ Manual for Streets, ISBN 978-0-7277-3501-0 UK Department for Transport, 2007
  15. ^ a b c d e f Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure: Guidelines for Planning and Design, Institution of Highways and Transportation, Cyclists Touring Club, 1996.
  16. ^ Cycling in the Netherlands. Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat[2], accessed 14th February 2009
  17. ^ Assen Transport Infrastructure / Cycling Study Tour 2009 [3]
  18. ^ "New Road City Centre Shared Space, Brighton (December 2007)". Scheme of the Month: January 2008. Cycling England. http://www.cyclingengland.co.uk/scheme-of-the-month.php. Retrieved on 2008-03-18. 
  19. ^ Woonerf revisited Delft as an example, Steven Schepel, Childstreet2005 conference, Delft 2005 (Accessed 2007-02-21
  20. ^ Transport Planning in Groningen, Holland Bicycle Fixation (Accessed 2007-01-27)
  21. ^ 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)
  22. ^ DIVV Amsterdam
  23. ^ Cycling in London Report, May 2008 section 4.6
  24. ^ Matt Hanka and John Gilderbloom (2008-02-01). "Opinion: Time to end one-way thinking". Courier Journal. http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080201/OPINION04/802010386. Retrieved on 2008-03-26. 
  25. ^ way streets "Traffic calming schemes: One way streets, banned turning movements and no entry restrictions". Bury Metropolitan Borough Council. http://www.bury.gov.uk/TransportAndStreets/MotorVehiclesRoadsAndParking/TrafficCalming/default.htm#One way streets. Retrieved on 2008-03-26. 
  26. ^ Verkehrssicherheit in Einbahnstraßen mit gegengerichtetem Radverkehr, Alrutz, D., Angenendt, W., Draeger, W., Gündel, D., Straßenverkehrstechnik, 6/2002
  27. ^ Le SUL Cyclistes a contresens dans les sens uniques Groupe de Recherche et d’Action des Cyclistes Quotidiens, Brussels 2006, (Accessed 2007-01-27)
  28. ^ Collection of Cycle Concepts, Danish Roads Directorate, Copenhagen, 2000
  29. ^ a b Infrastructure position document, Dublin Cycling Campaign (Accessed 2007-01-27)
  30. ^ a b Layout and Design Factors Affecting Cycle Safety at T-Junctions, Henson R. and Whelan N., Traffic Engineering and Control, October 1992
  31. ^ a b Pedal cyclists at dual carriage-way slip roads, M.C. Williams and R.E. Layfield, Traffic Engineering and Control, pp. 597-600, November, 1987
  32. ^ Accidents at Three Arm Priority Junctions on Urban Single Carriageway Roads Summersgill I., Kennedy J.V. and Baynes D. TRL Report 184, Transport Research Laboratory, 1996.
  33. ^ Cyclists and Roundabouts-A review of literature, Allot and Lomax, 1991
  34. ^ Multilane Roundabouts, An Information Sheet, Galway Cycling Campaign, February 2001
  35. ^ a b c Priority for cycling in an urban traffic control system, Stephen D. Clark, Matthew W. Page, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, Velomondial Conference Proceedings, Amsterdam 2000
  36. ^ Traffic Signal Actuators: Am I Paranoid? John S. Allen, 2003 (Accessed March 25 2008)
  37. ^ Assessing the Impact of Local Transport Policy Instruments Susan Grant-Muller (Editor), ITS Working Paper 549, Institute of Transportat Studies, Leeds University, April 2000
  38. ^ Green wave for cycles, Cycle Campaign Network News, No 85, November 2006
  39. ^ Legally Speaking - with Bob Mionske: Law of the land
  40. ^ a b Simon Jenkins (2008-02-29). "Rip out the traffic lights and railings. Our streets are better without them". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/feb/29/guardiancolumnists. Retrieved on 2008-03-18. 
  41. ^ Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities, European Commission, 1999
  42. ^ a b Cycling in bus lanes, Reid S and Guthrie N TRL Report 610, Transport Research Laboratory 2004
  43. ^ A.10 Bus Lanes and Bus Stops Cycling England design guidelines 2007
  44. ^ a b [http://www.fubicy.org/ancien_site/velocite/articles/velocite-80-tc&velo-1.pdf La complémentarité entre vélo et transport public] Vélocité - la revue du cycliste urbain N° 79, janv. / fév. 2005
  45. ^ The bicycle's place in town Seminar organised by the Mayor's Office of the 18th District, Paris, September 2004
  46. ^ [http://www.bordeaux.fr/ebx/portals/ebx.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pgPresStand8&classofcontent=presentationStandard&id=1243 A vélo], Mairie de Bordeaux (Accessed 28 October 2007)
  47. ^ [http://www.dft.gov.uk/pdf/pgr/sustainable/cycling/deliveryofthenationalcycling5738 Delivery of the National Cycling Strategy: A review] UK Department for Transport March 2005
  48. ^ Review of procedures associated with the development and delivery of measures designed to improve safety and convenience for cyclists Transport for London, January 2005
  49. ^ Cycle Network and Route Planning Guide, Land Transport Safety Authority, New Zealand
  50. ^ a b Mitbenutzung von Busspuren durch Radfahrer, Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club e.V./Bundesministeriums für Verkehr, January 2005. Translated here [4]
  51. ^ [ http://www.camcycle.org.uk/campaigning/letters/2003/L03007MiltonRoadBusLaneObjection.pdf Letter of Objection to Bus lanes on Wilton Road] Cambridge Cycle Campaign, September 2003
  52. ^ Cyclists In Dublin, Irish Times Letters, Tue, Oct 31, 2000
  53. ^ Bus Drivers and Cyclists in Harmony, Warrington Cycle Campaign Leaflet, 2006
  54. ^ Les couloirs bus + vélos VeloBuc (Accessed 22nd October 2007)
  55. ^ Pucher and Buehler (2007-11-12) (PDF). "Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany". http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/Irresistible.pdf. 
  56. ^ Lesson 17: Bicycle Parking and Storage, Federal Highway Administration University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Publication No. FHWA-HRT-05-133 July 2006
  57. ^ a b Bicycle Access to Public Transportation: Learning from Abroad by Michael Replogle, Journal of the Institute for Transportation Engineers, December 1992
  58. ^ Report: Ashcroft High School, Crawley Green Road. Discharge condition 3 (school travel plan), Report by: Development Control Manager, Luton Borough Council 14 July 2004
  59. ^ CSO To Proceed With Impoundment of Bikes, by Benjamin Gottlieb Daily Nexus, University of California - Santa Barbara News, April 20, 2007 (Accessed 28 October 2007)
  60. ^ Guide for Employers: Showers, lockers and drying room, London Cycling Campaign, 13 September 2006 (Accessed 16 August 2007)
  61. ^ Ton Welleman: The autumn of the Bicycle Master Plan: after the plans, the products in: Proceedings of the 8th VELO-CITY Conference, Basel, 26-30 September 1995
  62. ^ Cycling for Transportation: The Japanese Example By Paul Dorn (Accessed 2007-01-27)
  63. ^ Article 4a European Parliament legislative resolution on the Council common position on international rail passengers' rights and obligations (5892/1/2006 – C6-0311/2006 – 2004/0049(COD)) January 2007
  64. ^ Taking bicycles on the VRR Rheinische Bahngesellschaft AG (Accessed 2007-02-23)
  65. ^ First class to bike class Cycle Campaign Network News Archive 2006 (Accessed 2007-02-23)
  66. ^ Bike and Ride
  67. ^ New Ways to Explore Acadia
  68. ^ ACTION Buses: Bike and Ride
  69. ^ City of Edmonton
  70. ^ http://www.yourcta.com/downloads/brochures/biketran.pdf
  71. ^ Pace Bus - Bicycle Racks
  72. ^ [5][6]
  73. ^ Government helmet campaign could frighten cyclists off the road, Cheltenham cyclist, Summer 2003
  74. ^ Two-headed ministry threatens future of cycling Cycle Campaign Network News, Issue No. 65 July 2003
  75. ^ CTC submission to Choosing Health? A consultation on action to improve people’s health, CTC submission to the Wanless review, Cyclists Touring Club, 2004
  76. ^ Travel: Bike ban for Shanghai, CNN.Com Tuesday, December 9, 2003 (Accessed 28 October 2007)
  77. ^ The Becak: A Re(d)ordered Cycle Rebecca Lemaire, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, April 2000
  78. ^ Drivers' perceptions of cyclists, Basford, Reid, Lester, Thomson and Tolmie, TRL Report TRL549, Transport Research Laboratory, 2002
  79. ^ Cyclism, by David Earl, Newsletter 53 Cambridge Cycling Campaign April/May 2004
  80. ^ Animosity toward cyclists, Tadhg O'Higgins, 17 September 2007
  81. ^ Anti-cyclist media bias Wheels of Justice (Accessed 2nd December 2007)
  82. ^ Claims by BHIT (the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust), Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation (Accessed 28 October 2007)
  83. ^ Shopping by bike, BUND Freunde der erde, Landesverband Berlin e.V (Accessed 28 October 2007)
  84. ^ The Groceries Order - Essential for Competition, Consumer Choice and Value, The Retail Grocery, Dairy And Allied Trades' Association, RGDATA, Dublin, Ireland, 2005
  85. ^ Planning for Accessible and Sustainable Retail, The Town and Country Planning Association, July 2005
  86. ^ Bikeability - The new National Standard for Cycle Training, Cycling England, 2006 (Accessed 2007-02-22)
  87. ^ More people cycling, more safely, more often, Cycling England, 2006 (Accessed 2007-02-22)
  88. ^ Get on your bike! Bicycle- and traffic lessons for foreigners in Tilburg, the Netherlands, Angela van der Kloof, Centre for Foreign Women, Velomondial Conference Proceedings, Amsterdam 2000
  89. ^ Adshel

[edit] Notes

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