17 October 2010

Bicycles by Night

As a follow up to the previous post about the live updated bike share tracker, I thought I'd have a look at the action at 22:30 on a Saturday evening.

Here's the screengrab from the Bike-o-meter. I realise that in a few countries there is an awful lot of focus on 'commuting'. The act of riding a bicycle for transport often only gets mentioned as a way to get from home to work and back again in North America, Australasia and Britain.

This is a far too narrow way to sell urban cycling. The cities that are booming - thanks to the bike share systems but also a whole slough of of initiatives - are working to firmly re-plant the bicycle on the urban landscape. Making the bicycle the way to get around the city all all times. Down to the shops. To a café. The supermarket. Et cetera. Getting to and from work is only one aspect of it but it gets too much press.

Look at Barcelona. From no bikes three years ago to almost 5% modal split. The bicycles are on the move all day long. At 22:30 in Barcelona 13% of their bike share bikes are in action. Impressive.

When the bicycle returns to a city it becomes an intergal part of life. Not least nightlife, now that we're talking about a Saturday night. This is a good idea of the bicycle in use at night in Copenhagen. And here's another post about the Nocturnal Life of Copenhagen Bicycles.

In Barcelona, Dublin, Seville, Valencia, Milan the bicycles are moving people about on their Saturday night social activities.

(And now that it's daytime in North America, it's nice to see some respectable numbers from the cities 'over there')


Lucas Jerzy Portela said...

still, no Rio de Janeiro and no Bogotá.

aparantely the Olimpic City 2016, the first with bike-share sistem in Latin America, does not exist. Ain't it?!

bikeolounger said...

I find that many of my friends who commute by bike also use bikes instead of cars for errands, social trips and the like. Many of us use the term commuter cycling to give name to our practice of "cycling by default" instead of "using a car by default."

Mike Shoup said...

The disappointing thing is Denver's B-Cycle gets shut down at night and they're preparing to shut it down from Nov 1 to Mar 1 due to winter... Winter isn't that bad here.

Until they keep B-Cycle open 24/7, it makes it difficult to rely on one for transportation.

Ryan said...

Unfortunately for Montréal, they have only about another month left until they remove the stations for winter, then convert some of the separated bike lanes into parking spots.

Should be interesting to see when Toronto gets their own Bixi system next year, whether or not they keep it going year round.

kfg said...

bikeolounger: It's quite likely that you also refer to yourselves as "consumers" and stories as "franchises."

These are all symptoms of the same disease, which, while no longer uniquely
American at least got its start here. Other people from other places may well find it peculiar how The People have adopted the intentionally dehumanizing technical language (people do not exist in this language; only demographics, market share and other like statistics) of the social planers, accountants and marketing executives as their own common tongue of the street.

In the minds of the latter there are only two transportational needs - commuting and shopping.

Language tends to control thought. Keep using this language long enough and soon you will only be able to think of the bicycle as transportation in those terms. You really ought to quit it.