New Orleans, Louisiana - Geoff Coats still remembers how he felt when, in May 2020, all 1,350 bicycles in New Orleans’s popular bike-share program vanished. “It was horrible,” says Coats, who managed the service, called Blue Bikes, for its owner, Uber. “For a lot of people, it was a little bit of PTSD from Hurricane Katrina, when the national chains could have reopened weeks after the storm but stayed away. It felt like, once again, when we’re down, we get kicked.” Blue Bikes, which New Orleans launched in 2017 to reduce emissions and offer reliable transportation to low-income residents, was flourishing before COVID shut down the city.
Youngstown, Ohio - From protecting the planet to serving the public of entire cities with accessible and affordable transportation options, the missions of bike share services across the country and around the world are often broad. They’re intended to serve large swaths of a population, yet people of color, low-income folks, and others from marginalized communities are often left out as services bend toward wealthier and whiter neighborhoods and urban centers. Most bike shares also rely on corporate sponsorships for their existence. When this critical financial support evaporates at the whims of said corporation, as has recently happened in the Twin Cities, the service itself is jeopardized. In Youngstown, Ohio, a local family is looking to do things differently in their hometown.
A new report by the Green Alliance published under the banner Sharing the load: the potential of e-cargo bikes has found that it is lack of suitable infrastructure deterring drivers of vans from making a consideration for cargo bikes in their next fleet vehicle choice. To bring about a change in how businesses move goods the report writes that “All road infrastructure changes should consider e-cargo bikes, as some existing cycling provision is still inaccessible to them. Concerns around accessibility and safety were highlighted by our focus groups. Improvements needed include cycle lane widening and junction upgrades. Suitable parking will also reduce these concerns, so councils should delineate specific cargo bike parking spaces.”
It's fun, it's green and it's becoming more popular by the day. Barcelona's bike bus, or "bicibus", as the scheme is known locally, allows hundreds of children to cycle safely to school in a convoy, taking over entire streets in Spain's second largest city. The citizen-led project, supported by Barcelona City Council, began in March 2021 with one route in the Sarria neighbourhood. It now has 15 routes and has inspired similar schemes in the Scottish city of Glasgow and in Portland in the United States. Eight-year-old Lena Xirinacs joins the Eixemple route every Friday with her father, who is one of the volunteers ensuring that the children are safe on the road. "She wakes up with joy. I could use it as an excuse every day so that she jumps out of bed," Pablo Xirinacs said.
Madison, Wisconsin - At Madison, Wisconsin’s nine public libraries, residents can check out books of all kinds, from hardbacks and paperbacks to ebooks and audiobooks. They can check out movies as DVDs and Blu-rays. And since last year, library card holders can also check out electric bicycles. Madison’s public libraries are part of a growing number of bike libraries in cities and towns from coast to coast. A list of U.S. bike lending libraries curated by StreetsblogMASS reporter Grecia White documents 35 such programs, from Vermont to Texas. While they all look a little different and work a little differently, they all do the same thing — increase free access to bikes.
In North America we think in extreme terms when it comes to last-mile freight delivery. Whether the cargo is a couple of bags of groceries, a small parcel, a large-screen TV or a small load of lumber, we routinely dispatch vehicles with hundreds-of-horsepower engines. This practice has never made sense, and there have always been niche markets where some products and parcels have been delivered by bicycle couriers instead of truck drivers. Historically, cargo bikes were in wide use in many cities in the decades before cars and trucks cemented their death grip on most urban traffic lanes. Today the cargo bike industry is growing rapidly due to several factors.
In the Netherlands, cycling is a way of life and is so common that there are more bikes than people, according to BBC News. As many as 70 percent of journeys are by bike in cities like The Hague and Amsterdam. Cycling can be a significant way to reduce a person’s carbon footprint, as using a bike instead of a car as little as once per day reduces an average person’s transportation emissions by 67 percent, according to University of Oxford researchers, reported Bloomberg. An international research team has recently shown that almost 700 million metric tons of carbon pollution would be saved each year if everyone rode their bikes every day like the Dutch, Phys.org reported. That’s more than the annual emissions of Canada.
A bike kitchen is a place for people to repair their bikes, learn safe cycling, make bicycling more accessible, build community, and support sustainable transportation by getting more people on bikes. Most bike kitchens have tools, parts, mechanics, and a community of knowledgeable cyclists. Around the world there are thousands of bike kitchens — also known as bike churches, bike collectives and bike coops — and more popping up all the time (see maps here). For those interested in starting a bike kitchen in your town, we’ve rounded up the essentials of getting started, from finding the right space and volunteers, to raising money, getting the word out, defining community guidelines, and creating a space that is accessible and welcoming to all.
The demand of social distancing is forcing cities across Latin America and the world to rethink public life. That includes a reconsideration of mass transit, with a number of public sector initiatives encouraging biking as a safer alternative. Already, city leaders in Bogotá, Lima, Buenos Aires and elsewhere have taken steps to promote biking as a reliable form of transportation for essential workers without the risks of spreading the coronavirus in a crowded train or bus. The pivot to bikes presents an opportunity that biking activists and enthusiasts hope could lead to lasting changes in urban mobility. “The health crisis is an opportunity to promote the use of the bike not only as a temporary solution, but to become a permanent part of our future transportation systems,” Juan Carlos Silva, vice president of Peru’s cyclists association Aciper told AQ.
By Andrew Gilligan for The Guardian - Cycle lanes reduce pollution, improve health and are incredibly popular. But forget common sense: getting the go-ahead on new schemes is all about politics. Almost four-fifths of people in some of Britain’s largest cities want road space taken away from cars and given to bikes, according to a new poll from Sustrans. I’m not at all surprised. Whenever we proposed the same thing in London, where I was cycling commissioner until last year, we got the same response. Every single one of the cycle superhighway schemes now open in the capital got between 60% and 85% public support, in our own statutory consultations and in independent, professional opinion polls. Once the new routes opened, that support translated into astonishing levels of usage. In the first six months, the number of cyclists on the roads served by the new separated lanes went up by more than half. The bike lane on Blackfriars bridge, which takes up a fifth of the roadspace, now carries 70% of the bridge’s rush-hour traffic. There’s an Eiger of evidence that cycling improvements are popular. Why, then, do they so seldom happen? Partly it’s because politicians confuse noise with numbers. Cycling schemes create a lot of noise. Our opponents would spend busy weeks organising petitions, holding demonstrations and comparing bike lanes to the Luftwaffe in their effects on the capital.
By Alex Bowden for Road.CC - Earlier this year we reported on the San Francisco Transformation Agency (SFMTrA), a group of cyclists who have been creating mock-protected bike lines with cones as a means of pleading for better infrastructure. As often as not, this kind of campaigning appears to have little impact, but the city has reacted to several of SFMTrA’s recent interventions by making them permanent. Folsom Street has a bike lane that SFMTrA has returned to multiple times.
By Katie Pohlman for Eco Watch - The East Coast Greenway will stretch from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida, a 2,900-mile distance. The project will provide non-motorized users a unique way to travel up and down the East Coast through 25 cities and 16 states. Walkers, cyclists, runners and other active-transportation users will be able to travel on a continuous, firm and paved greenway with a route specifically designed to give travelers a traffic-free experience, East Coast Greenway Alliance, the non-profit organization behind the project.
By Adele Peters for Fast Company - Norway is trying to get rid of as many cars as it can. By 2030, though the country's population is quickly growing, the government is aiming for zero growth in private car use. Downtown Oslo will be car-free in three years. And now as another step towards its goal, Norway plans to spend almost $1 billion on a new network of bike highways. The two-lane bike highways will link suburbs to nine Norwegian cities on the shortest, flattest path possible.
By Ice Bike - Our climate is changing, and time is running out to take thoughtful action. If you’re like me, you may feel powerless in defending yourself and those that you love from the negative impacts of climate change. A handful of smaller communities embrace the concept of driving less by banning personal carswithin their city limits – granted, most of these communities are small island towns that thrive on tourism. While most of the world’s major cities aren’t quite ready to embrace emission-cutting tactics like banning personal cars, this article presents 10 reasons why they should. Getting to know our neighbors, and getting more engaged with our communities limits feelings of isolation, and develops more connected and stronger communities.
Some call it "stop-and-frisk by another name." Others say it's an excuse for cops to up the number of outstanding arrest warrants. But the facts in a recent CUNY Law School study show that from 2008 to 2011, the New York City Police Department issued more tickets in minority than in other neighborhoods to cyclists who rode their bikes on the sidewalk. Of the 15 neighborhoods with the greatest number of summonses for the crime of bicycling on the sidewalk, 12 consist mainly of blacks and Latinos. The research was coordinated by City University of New York sociology professor Harry Levine and members of his Marijuana Arrest Research Project, a program that keeps track of victimless crimes in large U.S. cities, and NYC in particular. The neighborhood with the highest number of bicycle-on-sidewalk summonses was Bedford-Stuyvesant (West) in Brooklyn, which averaged 2,050 per year. The area's population numbers about 90,000 and is 79 percent black and Latino.