08 June 2008

A Rolling Bike Gathers No Trash and other news

Use Your Bike Or Others Will Use it For You
Copenhagen Proverb: A rolling bike gathers no trash. If you don't use your bike, others will use it for you. This bike has been parked here for ages. It's like the rings of trees determining how the age of the tree. You can almost tell the parking age of a bike by the trash in the basket. I'll guess about a month.

Federal Funding
Funding for cycling infrastructure and what not is traditionally the domain of municipal governments. However, the Socialist People's Party - one of the largest parties in the Danish parliament - have secured a majority for better conditions for cyclists.

This means that the government has to propose a plan, by the end of 2008, for how the traffic laws can be changed so that they are more cyclist-friendly. In Denmark, for example, traffic can't turn right on a red light like they can in Germany and North America. One proposal is allowing cyclists to do so. The government also has to research which types of road markings create a safe environment for cyclists.

Other initiatives include a routefinder for bike paths and figuring out how to tackle bike theft. Nice to see some federal funds being chucked into the pool - as well to see the government being forced to act green - not something they're known for.

Danish Delight in Portland
Via Portland Mercury Newspaper with a couple of minor edits. See the orginal blog post at the link above.
Svend Auken
One of Denmark's finest politicians and environmental warriors, Svend Auken, was invited to speak at the kickoff of the Portland Plan and gave an hour-long speech.

"Detailing life in Copenhagen, Auken told great stories about biking, building walkable cities, universal health care (“when you get sick, you just have to worry about getting well, not about paying the bill”), quality and free public education, and paid family leave. His daughter and her husband just got a combined paid year off to care for their newborn twins. Then they’ll go on a six week family vacation, then return to work."

"It was an inspiration speech, and it certainly did the job—several people I spoke with afterwards (including city council candidate Charles Lewis) were clearly jazzed about moving Portland in the direction of Denmark and Copenhagen—or at least adapting their “quality of life” ideas for use here."

"Auken got lots of laughs when he illustrated his city’s great biking rates— 40 percent of business movement, like deliveries, are done by bike, and 35 percent of people commute by bike, he said — with a personal anecdote. In Copenhagen, it’s usually just women who use a bike basket. But as a member of Parliament, he has all sorts of files and paperwork to carry. So he has a bike basket. Which makes him, he said, a “metro.” As in, metrosexual… too cute, coming from this man."


Mark said...

Trash in the bike basket:

Well at least it doesn't just happen to me! I don't understand why people thing my pannier is for their trash!

David Hembrow said...

Turn right on red is a great idea for cyclists. You'll like it, I'm sure.

Dutch road signs show this as "rechtsaf voor fietsers vrij" on junctions where this is allowed. This is for cyclists only. Motorists cannot turn right on red. You do have to look out for cycle traffic approaching from the left and merge carefully, but it's a great time saver.

Another interesting idea at traffic lights is the "tegelijk groen" or "simultaneous green" sign. Where these exist on Dutch If there is one of these then when you get a green cycle light you can go in any direction, including diagonally, across the junction. The cars are held behind a red light in all directions while this happens. It makes left turns much easier and faster, especially as cyclists frequently get two greens in each sequence of the traffic lights.

This idea exists in some parts of the US as the "Barnes Dance" for pedestrians, but I'm not sure other places have it for bikes.

Finally, good on Svend Auken for using a basket.

Philboy said...

Well thats just great, a wire basket on the handlebars makes me a metrosexual. Either that or a bureaucrat, I don't know which is worse. I guess I'll have to put a NRA sticker on my fender just to counterbalance that, maybe some knobby tires too. And I can forget about the step through frame (not a girl's bike) for trips to the store, guess I'll have to buy a mountain bike for that. This style stuff is too much for a simple engineer.

Zakkaliciousness said...

thanks, David, for that Nederlands Update.

philboy... you missed the irony... :-)