09 March 2011

The Bicing Bike Share Story in Barcelona


Filmmaker and bicycle advocate Mike Rubbo continues his series on bike share programmes with this film about the success of the Bicing programme in Barcelona.

Here is our collection of Bicing shots in Barcelona on Flickr.

10 comments:

Marc B. said...

Here you have de "success" of bike policy in Barcelona (bike lanes examples):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcbel/sets/72157594234494775/with/213546031/

I enjoyed my rides in Copenhaguen, but not very much in Barcelona.

I disagree the 30 km/h bike policy. It's a mobility policy not a bike one. A normal cyclist goes about 15 km/h...

Kim said...

What a great message, make cycling safe by telling people it is not dangerous! If you tell people to wear helmets, you make cycling more dangerous. The power of telling the truth not lies...

Esther Anaya said...

Kim, helmet is a passive condition, so it can't be dangerous wearing or not wearing. what can be dangerous is the conditions where,when and how you use it or not. If a law tells you that you are obliged to wear a helmet when you go by bike, it is telling you that it is dangerous to cycle in ANY condition, which is not true at all. You should have the chance to decide to wear a helmet or not, by judging the conditions you are going to face in every ride (I'm thinking in urban mobility). In an interview by video one has to summarize ideas, sorry if this one (which is complex) is not transmited properly by me.

Green Idea Factory said...

@Marc B: 30km/h zones are a cycling policy because they are a mobility policy. Slow makes safer. "Green Waves" set for about 20km/h are mobility policy because they are cycling policy. They encourage a shift to cycling from other modes.

(Certainly I would prefer 20km/h speed limits on small mixed streets and faster ones on bigger streets in order to allow buses, trams and velomobiles etc to travel at optimal velocities).

Success is relative and has no fixed limit, but as Esther Anaya said cycling is safe in Barcelona in relation to all other modes besides walking.

That is of course not the only criteria, and the video does mention cycling vs. ped conflicts. However, in the video this is blamed mainly on new cyclists with a lack of infrastructure, but the photos you link to indicate a lot of bad or what I would call fake bike infrastructure. But to be fair, a lot of these photos are over five years old (pre-dating Bicing) and it is unclear what has been fixed since the photos were taken and (important) how much of the network they represent. Can someone provide an update or rebuttal?

What no one mentions is cycle training for adults... or for children. I am not clear if and how this happens in Catalonia. Anyone know?

Now on to "rich and progressive Australia": I am pro-choice on helmets and don't wear a helmet. An exemption for mandatory helmets for bike share makes no sense. My first thought is that it would make sense within any zone where bike share bikes are allowed, and it would apply to all cyclists. But this means many people will still carry helmets around, so it is silly.

Finally on a formal note, Mike Rubbo is quite charming but he leads interviews too much. It is annoying and weakens his good work to communicate very sensible ideas.

Paul Martin said...

@Esther Anaya

I understand your point and I think it is clear to the audience. The helmet (and fluorescent jacket) wearing rate I would say are very good indicators as to how 'healthy' your cycling environment is. Lots of helmets & fluoro = crap cycling environment and vice versa.

If you *force* people to wear helmets by law this does send a message - consciously or subconcisously - that this activity is so dangerous that it requires special safety equipment. Never mind that driving helmets make much more sense than cycling helmets...

@Green Idea Factory
The reason for the focus on bike share is that it is the thin-edge-of-the-wedge to repeal mandatory helmet laws everywhere else in Australia. I don't think you appreciate how ingrained & stubborn our (politicians) views on this matter are - despite good evidence suggesting such laws are very, very bad for cycling. People really believe that helmets are a panacea for all cycling problems.

If bike share bikes have an exemption I'm sure as hell going to use that as an excuse as to why I'm not wearing one either... smells like a potential court case.

I know Mike personally. He's a clever & charming gentleman and he knows what he's doing. It has to be small steps initially...

Green Idea Factory said...

@Paul: Thanks. Yes I more or less assumed that some implemented helmet exemption rule would be used to weaken the case for all helmets, or even that the debate surrounding the legal process towards that might further weaken the position of Australian or more local policymakers, but there is still no logic behind it (e.g. riding with your friend in town, you on an owned bike and them on a shared bike, and only one of you having to wear a styrocap) and that the opposition would also see through it. Just my feeling.

Perhaps I will take back my "silly" evaluation of my suggested alternative of what would basically be a urban helmet exemption since a lot of trips on both shared and owned bikes would remain in that area (this then would be a further step than the Northern Territories exemption for separated bike paths) But the question remains if and how it will further weaken the law, and it leaves out and possibly alienates the rural cycling population, intercity cycle tourists etc.

Sílvia Casorrán said...

It's so clear!! Just have a look towards the Netherlands, also Denmark... and you realise how easy it's riding a bike, without helmet, with freedom to carry people / children / whatever...
This doesn't mean that whenever you feel safer using the helmet you just can use it!
I agree that Barcelona is not (yet) comparable with CPH, A'dam... but we are on the way, working hard for it, and I'm sure in a few years this biking process will be amazing in BCN.

Green Idea Factory said...

@Sílvia: No bicycle helmets are tested in a way which simulates bicycle vs. motor vehicle collisions, even if the latter are going a "slow" 30km/h.

Paul Martin said...

@Green Idea Factory
I agree that it is silly - that is what I think of the law and the more we can show that it is plainly ridiculous, the more likely it will be consigned to history.

We already have a 'commercial interests' exemption for bicycle helmets in Australia: pedicab passengers.

The laws states that a paying pedicab passenger is exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet (but not a non-paying passenger!), yet the rider still must wear one by law. It is utterly silly!

shuichi said...

I feel the bicycle sharing in Barcelona is great and successful. I once communicated with a mom who lived in Barcelona about mama bicycle, I found the red and white bicycle coincidently, approximately a month ago. Anyway, I agree with bicycle is the safest transportation tool of all. It is a good thing. I want to share a Japanese private bicycle share system; http://mamabicycle.blogspot.com/2011/01/rental-bicycles-in-cities-kyoto.html This is white and blue.