30 September 2008

Dots and Bikes and Bondam

Traffic Dots
One of the most talked about intiatives in Copenhagen is now underway. Nørrebrogade is a main street running through a densely populated neighbourhood and it has had problems thriving for many years. Many of the side streets are lovely, cosy shopping streets but the main drag is dreary.

It is the busiest bike stretch in the nation, with 30,000 cyclists each day. 10,000 cars a day make their way down the street towards the city centre, despite the fact that only about 35% of the locals own cars.

Vice-Mayor Klaus Bondam secured a majority at City Hall for a radical project. Closing off the street to cars. It was meant to be a permanent project but he had to compromise and make it a 'test' for a period of three months. Here's a previous post about, after it was announced. This is also the stretch that features the Green Wave - cycle 20 km/h and hit green lights all the way.

Anyway, the work has begun.
Goodness
I got a text message the other day from a friend who uses the route. He said that overnight the bike lanes were doubled in width, with the new half occupying a former car lane, as seen above. He was thrilled. Often in the morning rush hour you'll wait for a red light to change with hundreds of other cyclists. This widened bike lane will improve the flow of bike traffic towards the city centre.

Traffic Dots2
The city has chosen funky street markings to alert everyone to the new system. The red dots pictured are funky and functional, letting people know that this is a bus stop zone. At the moment cars still drive down the street, until everything is set up, and I stood there watching the traffic. Cars slowed and let busses go first - always a bit of a rarity. It was petrol poetry in motion.

Traffic Test
Other markings are on the way and I'll post them as I see them show up. There are signs on the streets telling people about the new system. There will be the red dots, which denotes Busses. Then there are cool stripes that denote a FlexZone - where car lanes are reconquered in order to create space for cafés or restaurants to place outdoor tables or for shops to place displays of the goods they sell. All in order to create a dynamic shopping area and a liveable space for everyone.

Lastly there are Loading Zones on side streets for goods that are to be delivered to shops or homes. They feature the word Laes af/Laes paa - Load off/Load on, painted on the asphalt.

It's all very exciting. I'll post more as it happens.

29 September 2008

Egon The Cycling Mosquito

Egon the Cycling Mosquito
While in the waiting room at the doctor's office I picked up this classic childrens' book - Egon The Cycling Mosquito - Cykelmyggen Egon. Written in 1967, it is still a popular book.

"When all the baby mosquitos hatched, they flew out of the water, but Egon rode his bike."

Egon loves to ride his bike, everywhere. And above he helps the bees transport honey on... what else... a Danish Long John cargo bike.

Egon The Cycling Mosquito
But it is worth remembering that Egon loved racing, too. The text above reads, "But Egon loved a hard sprint more than anything else..."

As does Matti Breschel - who won a bronze medal in the World Championships yesterday, which has thrilled the pants of the nation.

There are so many books and songs for kids featuring bikes in Danish literature and music. The mere thought of starting to catalogue them for inclusion on the blog makes my ears bleed.

27 September 2008

Good-bye, Mr Newman. And thank you.

26 September 2008

Politics and Bikes... well, just bikes

Fogh Rasmussen and George Bush
While people discussing bikes is generally a good thing, I think that there are maybe more important issues for both the American president as well as the Danish prime minister to be dealing with.

The Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and George Bush met up a few days ago. The meeting should have been all about the Iraq War but it ended up being mostly about bikes.

The formal reason for the meeting was a extremely private reception for the 'coalition' partners behind the Iraq War, hosted by George Bush and the Iraqi president Jalal Talabani.

"President Talabani thanked the countries involved for the liberation and the stabilisation of Iraq under difficult circumstances. He expressed, on behalf of the Iraqi people, gratitude for those who undertook such a project", said Fogh Rasmussen at a press conference at the Danish Consulate General in New York today.

The Iraq War was far from the most important subject during Fogh Rasmussen's short meeting with the president.

"I can tell you that Bush and I mostly talked about cycling. I filled him in about my ride up Alpe d'Huez last summer and he told me that he had recently acquired a new mountain bike", said Fogh Rasmussen.

Earlier this year the prime minister visited the president's ranch near Crawford, Texas where the two men raced against each other on their bikes. Bush praised Fogh Rasmussen for being in 'indescribably good shape'.

When the president steps down in January, there may be time for a new race in Crawford.

"If I can find the time, he will try to do the same after January", said Fogh Rasmussen in New York.

Source
.

In other news involving Danish civil servants, the Danish ambassador to Australia has signed up to be an ... ambassador... for Bicycle Victoria's National Ride to Work Day on October 15, 2008.

Bicycle Victoria
reports:
The Ambassador of Denmark, Mrs Susanne Shine, has announced the Danish Embassy and Consulate will take part in National Ride to Work Day this year.

Mrs Shine will be our first National Ride to Work Day Ambassador who actually will be an Ambassador. Official diplomatic participation in the event is a first.

Denmark has a powerful bicycle culture and Mrs Shine hopes to demonstrate this by committing her staff to the Ride to Work event.

Her nation sets an outstanding example for Australia to follow: everyday one in three in Copenhagen gets on their bike to go to work. This adds up to 1.2 million kilometres on bikes each day.

Australian cities are now utilising Danish expertise to "Copenhagenize" Australia's urban landscapes.

22 September 2008

CPH - NYC Love

Cyclists on Governors Island by Hiroko Misuiki / NY Times
One of our readers, Ellen, is Project Manager for Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation and we were excited to hear how GIPEC is 'Copenhagenizing' Governors Island, off the southern tip of Manhattan.

We’re 'Copenhagenizing' a 172-acre island in the middle of New York Harbor by banning private cars, being super welcoming to cyclists and letting people borrow bikes for free. By “we”, I mean GIPEC, the state agency responsible for planning and operations on this former military base. Our official mission really isn’t to Copenhagenize Governors Island, but a huge increase in our bike numbers has been a very cool by-product of our efforts to bring the Island back to life. So, far it’s working. We’ve doubled the number of visitors over last year and quadrupled over the year before. The New York Times had a great piece about us recently.

On an average day here, more than 20% of our visitors are riding bikes, and on a Friday, when our bikes are free, 36% of our visitors ride bikes. The folks who ride here are mostly normal people (for New Yorkers anyway), riding cruisers in their street clothes.

They come for our arts programs, concerts, festivals and views. We have a great program called “Free Bike Fridays,” sponsored by Transportation Alternatives, which lets people borrow a bike from a Bike and Roll bike rental station for free, for up to one hour. After the first hour, the bikes are $5 for ½ hour, $10 up to two and $15 all day. It’s been hugely popular and we’re expanding it this weekend (9/19-9/21) so more people have a chance to ride bikes on our car-free streets.

Here’s a little more info about Free Bike Weekend on the Governors Island Blog.


Thanks to Ellen for letting us know about this great initiative in NYC. If any of our readers get to the island, please take some photos and mail them to Copenhagenize.com.

Adrian Benepe - NYC Parks Commissioner
We think he's the guy in the middle, betwen the flags.
The NYC Parks Commissioner, Adrian Benepe, has just been in Copenhagen to get inspiration for more bicycle traffic in New York. Adrian Benepe intends to use a part of the city’s one billion budget to bring the bicycle traffic in his town on the same level as in Copenhagen.

He has just visited Copenhagen invited by the Forest and Landscape unit at the University of Copenhagen with the aim of exchanging experiences within public and private park management.

"My goal is to create as good conditions for cyclists in my town as those you have here in Copenhagen. It will not be easy because although the New Yorkers are beginning to consider the bicycle as a mean of transport there is still much to wish for with regard to our bike culture.", says Benepe.

Read more about his visit and observations on the Copenhagen Capacity website. And keep us posted on whether or not he is on track towards his stated goals, as above.

I Heart NYC.


Nothing to do with NYC, but here's a little youtube advert for Cykeltaxa - cycle taxi - in Copenhagen.

20 September 2008

Hallucinations in NYC

Midtown Manhattan??!!
Michael over at Drunk and In Charge of a Bicycle blogged this photo he took in... wait for it... Midtown Manhattan.

My first reaction was to look for signs of photoshopping. Then I looked at the signs and buildings to see what city it REALLY was. Nope. Michael assures me that it is Manhattan. Quite remarkable. The green bike lane looks like French bike lanes, especially in Nice.
Piste
While the scene above is progressive and admirable, Michael says that it is far from perfect in New York.
"The problem is that, while it might be part of a larger longer term plan - for the moment, there are just islands of little bicycle lanes - which barely connect to one another. So you can ride very safely for a few blocks and then suddenly it stops and you're thrown out into 5 lanes of traffic and no bicycle lane for 20 blocks until you get to the next nice little corner like this..."

Fair enough, but just the mere fact that the above scene exists and isn't a futuristic photoshopped 'artist's rendition' is good news.

19 September 2008

Promoting Cycling - Worlds Collide


In the Blue Corner...
Here's a new ad for, I assume, some kind of all-round supermarket store called Target [am i right, readers abroad?] wherein they feature a cyclist in this It's a New Day advert. At the beginning, anyway. Great he's wearing a suit but he looks a little too corny for my liking. Why not a suave, cool guy looking at ease with himself and his place in the world instead of that geeky, "Gee whiz! I haven't ridden a bike for 25 years [giggle]!" look on his face. But hey. Isn't it a step in the right direction? Towards promoting cycling?


In the Red Corner: [SPEAKERS OFF FOR AMERICAN WORKPLACES! TURN SPEAKERS UP AND GET YOUR COLLEAGUES OVER FOR EUROPEAN WORKPLACES! :-)]
This is an excerpt from a German feature film called "Mädchen, Mädchen". It's a teen comedy about some girlfriends who haven't yet experienced an orgasm. The older lady in the car, with her husband, says something like "Next time we're taking our bikes...". Sure, it's not an advert but it does feature a cyclist that looks like any other on this side of the pond and she is enjoying the ride. Promoting cycling?

17 September 2008

Accessories - Danish Bicycle Design Classics from Sögreni

Sögreni Bicycle Bell
We wrote a piece in the Bikes We Like category a while back about the bespoke bicycles of Søren Sögreni. I was riding past his shop the other day and popped in for a coffee and a chat. If you write about bicycles and Copenhagenizing and suchlike pandemonium, a visit with Søren is a must.

He's been referred to as the Grandfather of Modern Danish Bicycle Design. With 28 years of experience in his back pocket, it's a fair description. It's hard to figure out where the emphasis is - on Bicycle or on Design.
Sögreni Bicycle Light
Bicycle Light by Søren Sögreni.
Copper/Alloy/Brass: €100.00

Looking at his bikes and accessories you find yourself feeling giddy at the simplicity, the smooth lines, the attention to detail. The very essence of Danish design can be summed up like this: simplicity, functionality, informal elegance and a respect for materials and resources. The design products of Sögreni fit this description to a T. There is little surprise that his designs are often copied by other bike brands. They are, however, never matched. There is too much thought gone into them. Each object has been on a long, creative journey from idea to final product. Not everyone possesses this dedication so it's easier to 'borrow'.
Sögreni Bicycle Bell02 Sögreni bell
Brass Bicycle Bell on Handlebars by Søren Sögreni.
Stainless Steel/Zink Finish/Brass/Copper: €30.00

I thought I'd do a piece about his accessories, after having covered the bikes in the earlier piece. Søren comes across as passionate and welcoming but with a gruff edge. It is clear that he loves the creative design aspect of his work. He is constantly playing around with designs and prototypes and new ideas. His bike shop is dimly lit and messy in an eccentric mad scientist sort of way - except for the fact that the bikes on sale in the shop are design icons with hefty pricetags.
Sögreni Bicycle Rack
Bicycle Rack by Søren Sögreni.
Brass & Alloy: €180.00

We bang on about how the bicycle is demystified in Copenhagen. How the average Copenhagener has little regard for 'gear'. It's all true, of course, but we do have a long history of design excellence and this passion for design is a part of most of us over here.
Sögreni Bicycle Rack02
Bicycle Rack Strap by Søren Sögreni.
So that's why the simple, gorgeous accessories that Sögreni produces are an exception to the 'no gear' rule. They are design pieces - 'objets d'art' - and for that reason they are worth saving up for.
Sögreni Bicycle Chain Guard
Bicycle Chain Guard by Søren Sögreni.
Alloy: €52.50. Brass: €60.00.

And if you look at these accessories through 'bicycle gear glasses', they may not make sense. Looking at them as aesthetic additions to the bicycle, however, they fall into place in the grand scheme of things. Let's demystify the bicycle, but let's keep on making it gorgeous. Nothing wrong with that.
Sögreni Bicycle Pedal
Bicycle Pedal in Brass by Søren Sögreni.
Brass: €79.00. Copper: €79.00. Aluminium: €66.00

Sögreni Bicycle Trouser Clip
Trouser Clip by Søren Sögreni.
€30.00

Sögreni Bicycle Brass
Back end of a Bicycle by Søren Sögreni.
Brass fenders: €144.00


If you're ever in Copenhagen, pop into the shop for a sensory experience. There's a shop in Malmø, Sweden as well. Sögreni's website is in English and if you live in the States, the good people at The Dutch Bicycle Company distributes Sögreni and other fine Danish bicycle products.

15 September 2008

Book Review: Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt

Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt
It is with absolute enthusiasm that I can highly recommend the book
- Traffic - Why We Drive the Way We Do (and what it says about us) by Tom Vanderbilt.

Carlton Reid over at Quickrelease.tv recommended it and I promptly ordered it from Amazon. I'm glad I did. It may not have been the author's intention, but I'm left with the sense that this is the greatest bicycle advocacy book ever written.

It's all about cars and how motor vechicles affect those who drive them - or those who walk/ride next to them. Filled with references to countless studies and research, Traffic will make you think differently the next time you hop into a car. It also helps cyclists and pedestrian understand the intricate happenings in the heads of motorists. I've had a driving licence for about 25 years and enjoy driving. I don't do much of it now that I live in Copenhagen but on every single page of the book I found myself muttering an inner 'wow' or 'hmm'.

So many people take driving for granted and they don't take it seriously enough. Not good ideas considering how taxing the task of driving is on the human brain.

After finishing the book I found myself looking at the traffic in a different light. A more sympathetic light. Stupid driver does stupid move? Hey... driving is hard. A sea of signals and signs and other moving vehicles are distracting.

There is a great chapter on Shared Space and many references to cyclists and pedestrians and how they interact with the traffic.

At the end of the day I think that everyone who drives and/or bikes should read it, especially those who work in traffic departments. Bike advocates should definately have a read, in order to understand not only how or why cars are such an integral part of our culture but also to stripmine the book for good reasons to get more people onto bikes.

What's more, Tom Vanderbilt has a great blog called How We Drive.

You can hear a radio broadcast with Tom on this website, along with another review of the book. The radio link is at the top of the page.

- Traffic on Amazon USA
- Traffic on Amazon UK

14 September 2008

Thanks for the Ride, Mr Hibell


On occasion we're hopelessly out of the loop. Legendary long-distance cyclist Ian Hibell died on 23 August 23, 2008, hit by a car in Greece. I read his book back in the 1980's - Into the Remote Places - and have always been amazed at his love of riding his bike - from the Arctic Ocean to Cape Horn, from Nordkap to Cape of Good Hope, from Bangkok to Vladivostok. And so on.

I learned of his death by motorised traffic in The Economist and their obituary is moving.

... he described his bike as a companion, a crutch and a friend. Setting off in the morning light with “the quiet hum of the wheels, the creak of strap against load, the clink of something in the pannier”, was “delicious”.


...on a good smooth downhill run, the wind in his face, the landscape pelting past, he felt “oneness with everything”, like “a god almost”.

He should have been a guest blogger over at Copenhagen Cycle Chic. I hope that wherever he is he has a good, smooth downhill run.

Thanks for the ride, Mr Hibell

Promoting Cycling & Beer ... again


What is it with beer and bicycles? Okay, some may argue that Guiness is more tar than beer, but all the same? I suppose since beer companies can't use images of happy motorists - or any other operators of motorised vehicles - and associate it with beer, bikes are a good option.

Normal man, normal bike. Enjoying the ride. And the adrenaline of riding away from rabid canines... which doesn't hurt.

13 September 2008

Promoting Bikes and... um... bike racks


It's hard to gauge this 'Safe for Work' concept prevalent in North America. Here it's 'anything goes - anywhere' so I don't know if this German bicycle advert is considered rude, offensive or pinko commie subversive by your Employment Lords. The 'shocking' bit is at the end, anyway and speakers are fine.

It's a funny German advert for a bicycle sales website called Bikie.de. The text at the end reads:

"A wheel for each and every arse." Wheel being the slang for bike in German.

I recall reading an article recently about a Danish company that bought subscriptions to the porn website of their employees choice as one of the company's perks and in order to stop virus attacks and spam from unreliable porn sites that the employees wandered into during the course of the day. A rather different approach.

Copenhagen Cycle Chic and Copenhagenize.com were, surprisingly, nominated for the Copenhagen Environment Award 2008. One of our readers in Copenhagen surprised us by sending in a nomination. Thanks, Claus! We didn't win - a small environmental intiative called Vestergror did, but the jury had only nice things to say. They wished they could have seen stats about whether or not the blogs have encouraged more people to ride their bikes in urban settings.

So, here's a poll, so we can win the facker next year:

12 September 2008

Promoting Cycling - London


This is quite a brilliant advert for cycling, made for Transport for London. Say what you want about the actual infrastructure in the city, this advert really makes it look enjoyable and effortless, which is the point when promoting cycling.

And if you live in a region that is torn about the helmet issue, this advert shows how to promote cycling without touching on the issue. Really well made and gorgeously shot.


Oooh. These are cool. Anybody else remember these? The advert is from 1966, but I remember them from my early childhood in the early 1970's. Man, I want one bad. My son and I would have a blast.

IF YOU CAN'T SEE THE VIDEO, HERE'S THE LINK.

Boston ANTI-Promotion
And then in Boston, the coppers will nick your ride if you're caught without... shockhorror... a helmet.

"If you're young and ride a bicycle through town without a helmet, you may end up walking back home. Police here are looking for scofflaws and will snatch the pedals from your feet if you've been warned numerous times but still forgo headgear.

Holliston police, frustrated in trying to drive home the point that riding without a helmet is dangerous and illegal, are hoping the tactic will finally get the attention of young riders."

Musical Bicycles


There are scores of songs outside of Denmark that include the bicycle and one of our readers, Ronald, started this little series by suggesting The Descendants. They're a punkrocky kind of band, a kind of poor man's Blink 182 or Green Day. But there are bicycle-related lyrics:

"What will it be like when I get old? Will I still hop on my bike and ride around town?"


Two-thirds of the way into the video there are some shots of the band riding normal bikes in normal clothes.


Then you have The Red Hot Chili Peppers and their Bicycle Song featuring these lyrics in the chorus:

"How could I forget to mention, the bicycle is a good invention..."

Disclaimer: The inclusion of these videos does not necessarily reflect my own musical tastes.

Japanese Bike Culture - Mamachari


Following up on a few posts about the Power of Japanese Cycling Mothers and a review of the classic bicycle used for kid transport in Japan, here's a little youtube video showing the Japanese mothers in action on their 'mamachari' bicycles.

The tourist who appears at the beginning disappears at 1:18 in the video, so just scoot past him since he doesn't really say anything interesting. The images of the cyclists speak louder than words.

Here's an article about how Japan needs more segregated bike lanes like in Europe. It's worth mentioning that while cyclists in Japan use the sidewalks and interpret the traffic laws rather liberally, it is Japanese chaos, which is still 1000 times more civilised and orderly than in Europe or North America.

I saw a funny comment somewhere... can't remember where... about how a foreigner living in Japan heard the receptionist say, while pointing at a cyclist riding past with a helmet, "Look! A Jehovas Witness!". The reason being that in that town the only people who ride with helmets are American JayDub (JWs) missionaries.

11 September 2008

Bicycle Courses Geared for Immigrants

Copenhagen
I don't wish to suggest that the cyclist above is a recent immigrant. She is probably born and raised here and can speak better Danish than me. The photo is for illustration only.

Immigrants from an OECD country who move to Denmark face cultural and linguistic challenges, just as they would moving anywhere else. An Australian or a Spaniard moving here will have to adjust to the mentality of the Danes and try to learn the unintelligible language.

For immigrants from other regions the challenges are often greater due to vastly diffent cultural norms. While an Australian or a Spaniard, as a rule, have probably learned to ride a bicycle in their childhood, many new arrivals from Arab countries or Africa have not.

We've had many bicycle courses for immigrants over the years and learning to ride a bicycle is a great way to integrate in Danish society. You'll get up close and personal with your new fellow citizens on the bike lanes but you'll also be given the freedom of movement that is so important. Busses and trains serve a great purpose, but signage and timetables are a hurdle to overcome as well. Riding a bike around lets you discover your town or city and increases your mobility.

Aalborg County has enjoyed success with their bicycle courses for immigrants.

- "I would like to learn to ride a bicycle so I can ride around with my children".
- "I would like to learn to ride a bicycle so I can ride to work".
- "I would like to learn to ride a bicycle because it's healthy and because I can save money on bus fares".

These are some of the explanations from 12 female immigrants as to why they took part in the bicycle course offered by Aalborg County in Northern Denmark.

The course offers eight classes lasting 1 1/2 hours each and the participants start by learning to balance on a bicycle

"In our experience, many adults have a hard time learning to balance on a bike when they get on one for the first time. Fortunately, all of our participants learn it and then it's a question of just continuing their training", explains Helene Holm, Jane Broen Jensen and Bewag Ahmad, project leaders at a refugee project at the Family and Employment Department in Aalborg.

Apart from the art of balancing, learning to cycle is all about learning the traffic regulations. Aalborg County works with the Aalborg Police on this angle.

Policeman Bjarne Maeng Pedersen says, "It's a great intiative that will mean a lot for integration. These women will be role models for their daughters and other young girls in their neighbourhood. We often see that it is only boys who are allowed to learn to ride a bicycle. But the bicycle course may help many immigrant girls to learn it, too."

Cycling and Self-Confidence

"Self-confidence among the participants grows when they experience that they can learn to ride quickly. This self-confidence gives them loads of energy and courage to learn new things in general", explains Helene Holm.

Apart from self-confidence, the bicycle courses can also be the key to getting a new job for the cycling immigrants. Many jobs require that they start earlier than the busses run, like cleaning jobs. That means they either need a driving licence or a bicycle.

Many of the partipants look forward to riding a bicycle because they want to live healthier, lose weight and enjoy a greater freedom of mobility in their local environment.

During the summer of 2008, 12 cyclist graduates rolled out into the traffic. The next course will take place in the autumn. Aalborg County have no doubts about the initiative. The bicycle courses are a success that strengthen the immigrant women's integration in their new land.

Aalborg County's press release
, in Danish, with contact information.

10 September 2008

See, I'm Cycling and Good News from Norway

Eye-Girl
A new Danish study suggests that physical activity reduces the risk of becoming near-sighted.

The Danish doctor Nina Jacobsen, as part of her Ph.d, researched a group of students from Copenhagen Uni over two years and the ones that got more exercise will retain their good vision.

The students who skip excerise and bury themselves in books have a greater chance of requiring eyeglasses later in life. There is already science that proves that there is a connection between intense reading and near-sightedness but now there may be an easy way to prevent it.

"My research shows that one hour of physical activity each day can counter the negative effect of three hours of reading. If you multiply the results it suggests that two hours of daily excercise eliminates the strain on the eyes", said Nina Jacobsen to MetroXpress.

Fresh Air
Don't run down to the gym right away, though. Research from Australia shows that fresh air has a positive effect on the eyes.

"The Danish students were good at cycling to and from school and that has had a positive effect on their vision", said Nina Jacobsen.

A Mystery
The biological explanation for WHY excercise is good for the eyes isn't clear and is only shown statistically. What happens to the eye; whether it is the quick pulse or that you focus on something else or the sunlight, is unknown.

The scorecard between cyclists and motorists gets more and more uneven in favour of the cyclists each day.

Sykling is Good!
The fearmongerers here in Denmark should look north to the positive message the head of the Norwegian Cyclists' Federation writes on his blog.

"The following 'news story' is much more relevant! [Ed.: than negative focus on safety]... 'Last week 10 cyclists saved their lives by cycling to work! Together with thousands of other cyclists, they arrived awake and fresh at their jobs and started the day in good form and good spirits!'"

He goes on: "In Denmark about 50 cyclists are killed each year. A higher number than here in Norway. But in Denmark they have also calculated that over 600 lives a year are saved because of the high number of cyclists and the health benefits involved."

THAT is the way to promote cycling. The relevant parties in Denmark have completely dropped the ball.

This study [.pdf] from the Norwegian Center for Transport Research [TØI] also states:

"There is evidence of increased accident risk per cycling-km for cyclists wearing a helmet. In Australia and New Zealand the increase is estimated to be around 14%. The introduction of a bicycle helmet law in these countries has additionally lead to a reduction of cycling-kilometres of 22%. This effect is likely to be larger for adolescents than for adults, and smallest for children."

Oh, those lovely Norwegians. So clever and wise.

09 September 2008

Another Advert Promoting Cycling


And what does the esteemed panel think of this one?
Is is a corporation trying to win brownie points by getting on the bicycle trend or is it a good, pure message? I like the fact that it's normal people on normal bikes in normal clothes. People looking happy as they ride and transporting stuff around, including pets.

Generally a thumbs up from me. Although the right-wing pro-helmet website Helmets.org wants you to put helmets on your dogs if you cycle with them, so Kaiser Permanente must hate animals. :-)

And that shot of people running in the street without helmets seems a little irresponsible. They're in the street for god's sake. They're running faster than the bike. :-)

Okay, I'll shut up now. Although since this video has a feeling of bike share to it, at the beginning anyway, I'll mention the hurdle faced by cities - especially those with helmet laws - who wish to implement bike share programmes like the one in Copenhagen, Paris or 60 other European cities. They don't know what to do about helmets. You can't share helmets for obvious hygiene reasons. The whole idea about bike share programmes is the 'ease of use' and the spontaneity factor. Here's an article about it at The Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. It's an interesting point.

Safety in Numbers
Daniel sent us this link to an article at Science Daily about the Safety in Numbers concept regarding cycling.

Dr Rissel says transport authorities should highlight the fun, convenience and health and environmental benefits of cycling, rather than what he views as an undue emphasis on danger and safety messages, which can deter cyclists: "We should create a cycling friendly environment and accentuate cycling's positives rather than stress negatives with 'safety campaigns' that focus on cyclists without addressing drivers and road conditions. Reminding people of injury rates and risks, to wear helmets and reflective visible clothes has the unintended effect of reinforcing fears of cycling which discourages people from cycling."

08 September 2008

Promoting Cycling - Follow Your Folly


Another lovely advert blending bikes and beer. What a great mood. It's a brewery in the States called New Belgium and their Fat Tire Beer.

Important Issues Facing Copenhageners
I had a quick look through my photo archives for "beer, bike" and found these photos I've taken. Which has nothing to do with anything, really. But beer and bikes are big in Denmark. Separately or together.
Beer

Copenhagen Summer: Beer

Party Prep

Style Over Speed

06 September 2008

Signage

Cyklister paa kørebanen
I love this sign. See it all the time. "Cyclists in the driving lane". It is usually posted when there new segregated bike lanes are being built and the cyclists are redirected into traffic. Don't worry. It's not dangerous. We're used to it, motorists and cyclists alike.

I like the tone. There are cyclists in the driving lane. Period. Adjust accordingly to this fact.
Det er for vildt
A bike sticker. "This is too wild." Indeed.

05 September 2008

Promoting Cycling in America - Yes, You Read That Correctly


What a fantastic ad for beer and cycling. I thought the whole 'patriot' thing was a tad cheesy the first time I saw it, but upon watching it a couple of times I realised it works so well with the images and the mood. Splendid stuff. That could be a Danish street in the winter and the constant sound of rattling glass is an urban Copenhagen soundtrack on weekends here. Bottles of beer and wine jingle jangling their way to parties on bikes.

The Miller advert really presents 'freedom' well. Freedom of movement that the bicycle provides, and has always provided. The advent of the 'safety' bicycle in the late 1800's launched a liberation of the working classes by providing them with a cheap, flexible form of transport. This advert follows that tradition. The character is Blue Collar USA. All he wants to do is get home from work and have a beer afting working hard all day. Why should people he'll never meet dictate how he does that? Whether it's 'the OPECS' or his own government? Manpower indeed.

Back in the early 1960's a few filmmakers - Pennebaker, Leacock and Drew - started what we in the film industry call 'One man, one camera' - an extension of Cinéma Vérité. They made documentaries and did so without the usual film crew entourage. It gave them a freedom of movement and a new intimacy with their subject matter. Much the same as the bicycle.

One man. One bike.


Here's another one that is considerbly more corny, but it is right 'in your face' about bikes being affordable and feasible transport options. I'm loving the guy's bike.

So exciting to have recieved these two films from readers in the same week. Keep them coming, from all round the world.

04 September 2008

Copenthings

Cycle Mural
A famous [locally] wall mural on Nørrebrogade featuring that iconic figure of a cycling girl. Appropriately, this is the street that will be closed off to through traffic in order to A. create a more liveable area and B. accomodate more bikes and busses. 75,000 use this stretch each day. 35,000 are bikes and 15,000 are cars. For a three month trial period from October cars and trucks will not be welcome. Read an earlier blog post about it.

The Green Wave
It's the same street that currently features the Green Wave. Ride 20 km/h and hit green all the way... on your bike.

Copenhagen Bike Gear
I just love this. This is from a free magazine called Kiwi, published by a supermarket. It's mostly for women and in the Readers' Tips and Tricks section, a woman sent this tip in.

"When it rains I just wrap a thick elastic around my pedal. It helps keep my feet from slipping."


Wonderful. In one of the world's wealthiest countries and a nation with proud design traditions all you need is a thick elastic on your pedals when it rains. No fancy, expensive gear. Just be practical and sensible and off you go.

Lulu-Sophia's Birthday Present
Lulu-Sophia turns one on Saturday and I to transport a present home on the Velorbis Scrap Deluxe. A strap. A bit of string and off I went.
Renovations
Here's an example of how bike lanes are respected. The cables leading to the scaffolding are draped high over the bike lane so as not to disrupt the bicycle traffic. It's the law but what's more, it's nice.

Sex og Samfund
Publication from August 1938 called Sex & Society - Publication for Sexual Health.

Featuring two bikes - a lady's and a gents - parked outside a tent wherein they are assumed to be 'getting busy'. :-) Click on the photo to see the Flickr page where I translate the text.

03 September 2008

Helmets for Pedestrians and Motorists

Helmets for Pedestrians
I actually saw this yesterday here in Copenhagen.

In Denmark we have the Danish Pedestrians' Union [Dansk Fodgænger Forbund] who do everything they can to fight for the pedestrians rightful place in the traffic.

I figured that with the current fanaticism coming out of the Danish Cyclists' Union, the Danish Traffic Safety Board and the Danish media at large, they would be interested in saving pedestrians' lives, too. It is the logical continuation of their ideology and lack of respect for science.

So I asked the head of the Pedestrians' Union a couple of questions in an email interview:

Question: I can see that the statistics show that pedestrians are at risk from head injury. I can also see that the Danish Traffic Safety Board and Danish Cyclists' Union are currently attempting to promote bike helmets. Does the Danish Pedestrians' Union have plans for promoting helmets for pedestrians so we can reduce the number of injuries in traffic? Pedestrians are at a higher risk than cyclists. Wouldn't it be a good idea?

Answer: Hi, Mikael. No, we haven't considered promoting helmets for pedestrians on the street. There are several reasons [choose freely];

1) We haven't even thought about it.

2) People who are injured in solo-accidents usually get injured in their home instead of the traffic. So people should probably wear helmets in the shower, instead.

3) Our primary goal is to get all the different players in traffic to obey the traffic laws so that traffic accidents become, in theory, impossible.

4) It ruins your hairdo.

5) You can't pull your rain hood over the helmet.

6) We risk changing peoples' attitudes and making it look like it isn't that dangerous to hit pedestrians - "But they have helmets on!"

In the big picture you shouldn't expect us to inconvienence pedestrians with this kind of promotion in order to 'save' them from the stupid mistakes made by drivers/riders of vehicles in traffic.

Actually, I think that motorists would stop hitting pedestrians immediately if it became widely known that pedestrians will explode with a large BANG and scratch the paint job on the car.

Best regards,

Dansk Fodgænger Forbund - www.fodtrafik.dk
Mikael le Dous

Nice to see that he is A. rather well informed about helmets and B. able to see the irony. As Wifealiciousness said, "Now there's a man you would enjoy having a beer with."

Indeed.

Helmets for Motorists
Here's an interesting article about saving the lives of motorists, by Nigel Perry in New Zealand. If the ideological fundamentalists wish to save lives, they will read this and act accordingly and immediately.

We were sent a couple of links by readers;
- Forbes has an article on their site from a previous issue about motorcycle helmets.
- This guy doesn't like Bell Helmets - the company - at ALL.

Fakta om cykelhjelm
Fakta om sykkelhjelm
Fakta om cykelhjälm

02 September 2008

International Bicycle Infrastructure: Ferrara and Bologna

Bike Lane and Cyclists in Bologna, Italy
Here's another bike lane, this time in Ferrara, Italy, where 31% of all trips are made by bike. Ferrara is about 50 km from Bologna and is one of the great cycling cities in Europe.

Bike Lane in Ferrara, Italy
And here's Bologna. Bike usage is at about 20% here. It's great to see that they have a separated bike lane but on this, a car free day, the Citizen Cyclists take to the road. Style over speed. No rush. Just pedalling casually to work or school.