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')