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General Bicycling info

In Copenhagen, the cycling city of Europe, you can see the following sign displayed in a bike shop window: "We will accept your car as down payment on your new bike."

--London Cyclist, Jan/Feb 1990. London Cycling Campaign.

Roger Herz and most of us from the activism of the 1970's and 1980's have used the expression "bicycle transportation." In this expression, the mind tends to become fixed on the first word, "bicycle," which immediately conjures up an image, often restricted to a recreational activity. By reversing the conceptual components of yesteryear's expression (by putting the "transportation" concept adjectivally ahead of the "bicycle" concept), the transportational context of this kind of bicycling is more immediately and clearly perceived than when we say "bicycle transportation."

Thus, the expression "transportational bicycling" alerts the audience to the speaker's awareness that other kinds of bicycling exist from which transportational bicycling is being distinguished by the modifier "transportational;" just as you might say a "tall tree", implying there are trees that are other wise, or a "racing car," implying there are cars with uses other than racing.

--Mary Frances Dunham, personal correspondence, February 10, 1990.

Bicycles have been a part of the New York City transportation environment for nearly a century. [In 1879] Will Pitman, then the country's leading cyclist, was arrested for creating a disturbance in Union Square, as his vehicle was intimidating to horses. The New York City Bicycle Club was founded in 1889 as a result of organizational efforts to allow bicycle riding in Central Park. Bicycle riders led the effort to improve the City's system of asphalt roads. By 1899, bicycles were owned by one out of every six Americans, and the New York City Police Department even had a squad of bicycle mounted patrolmen.

--Bikeway Planning and Policy Guidelines for NYC, Manhattan Commuter Bicycle System Study, July, 1978. Prepared for NYC DOT; Prepared by Edwards and Kelcey, in association with Transportation Alternatives.

Common features found in successful bicycling programs in governments:

--Marda Formann Mayo, Bicycling and Air Quality Information Document, prepared for USEPA by Abt Associates, Sept. 1979.

Our analysis show that the bicycle can make a significant contribution to the nation's transportation and energy conservation goals. The investments required to bring the bicycle to its full potential as a transportation mode are no doubt small when compared to the near-term benefits which can be realized both by individuals and by the nation.

--Bicycle Transportation for Energy Conservation, a report of the Secretary of Transportation to the President and the Congress, April 1980.

Within the fundamental concept that organizes into a coherent whole any human settlement is the relationship between the various building structures that constitute its texture. The land organized in public and private parcels generates a series of patterns with circulation spaces that give access to the parcels themselves forming streets and squares all interconnected as a network of lines and nodal points. As the space from a planar layout develops volumetrically with the erection of buildings, an urban center is born and starts to take shape under the impact of the vital forces generated by the logical aspirations of the human population that organizes its daily existence under the pressure of its basic needs and its aesthetic goals.

Any urban center observed from a birds-eye view would project a similar impression as would some other natural habitats created instinctively by another animal species. Outdoor activities in the inner spaces between structures (mostly streets and squares) will manifest themselves into patterns of circulations flowing through the streets and an in-and-out circulation between buildings and streets. Such two patterns of activities in continuous motion may be observed as chaotic and erratic from a high altitude, but as one would get closer, all the details of urban life become more clear down to a point in which all the details get into focus. The public spaces bring into view a busy scene of activities that create almost a choreographical effect. The streets are indeed the stage where people perform in the open view their individual tasks that although dictated by their own needs, seem to be centrally coordinated like the roles of individual actors performing in a theatrical play. Acting and interacting smoothly, scores of human performers enter and exit the stage as they appear and disappear from buildings, or flow in the pedestrian traffic, or enter the moving capsules called "automobiles." ......

The other aspects concerning the encapsulation of automobile occupants within the metal shell of the vehicle are by all means factors of great significance that need some comments when looking at the urban traffic in a holistic approach. The term "encapsulation" used in this context is intended to describe the physical and psychological conditions that are indeed the reality of urban life. In practical terms, the vast majority of city residents find themselves encapsulated for hours a on a daily basis in a sterile setting. This removes them from positive social interactions with other human beings while, on the other hand, it brings them into negative interactions in the enervating and stressful competition that arises between drivers. In such artificial conditions the spiritual solitude of such encapsulation and the frustration of competing in slow, irregular motions of stop-and-go in close contact, side-to-side and front-to-back, may create high levels of psychological stress. This stress finds many ways of manifesting irritability and often violence can indeed be observed on a very frequent basis and it is a widely known phenomenon that would definitely not be disputed.

While such negative aspects of automobile city traveling conditions are indeed sufficient cause for a major re-evaluation of urban life, the missed opportunities of positive human exchanges in more calm settings are even better reasons for constructive actions. It is in this respect, in fact, that the re-evaluation of bicycling as an urban transportation mode finds a viable forum in which new ideas can effectively be proposed by city planners and any other professionals interested in quality of life....

parking facilities could be associated to an ancillary activity such as concession stands, for instance, which in the case of theoretically unsupervised conditions, would offer a certain degree of protection against vandalism or obvious theft attempts. In the case of totally supervised conditions, such ancillary establishments would help to reduce the cost of attendants through a supplementary income provided by the concession.

-- Dr. Michele Melarango, Dr. C.E., P.E., Regaining the Human Scale Through Urban Bicycling. 1989 Prof. of architecture and building sciences at the univ. of No. Carolina at Charlotte

The average occupancy of a bicycle in India, at 1.4, is better than the average occupancy of a car on [San Francisco's] Bay Bridge (1.15).

--Based on a presentation by V. Setty Pendakur (Professor, University of British Columbia); Ecocity Conference 1990 Report of the First International Ecocity Conference, Edited by Christopher Canfield. Published by Urban Ecology, POB 10144, Berkeley, CA 94709. Tel. 415/549- 1724

An additional combination of measures is required, relating to legal aspects, town and traffic planning, organization, financial matters, technical considerations, and motivation (public relations work) of politicians and the public. The bicycle can be promoted if efforts to link bicycle traffic, public transport, and pedestrian traffic are coordinated and supported.

The European experience shows that widespread bicycle use in everyday travel is possible, and the implementation of strategies to substitute bicycle use for auto use can be encouraged. These strategies include: creating positive images for the bicycle, the cyclists and the cyclists' supporters; establishing an extensive bicycle network that is superior to the auto network (including bike and ride facilities with public transportation); introducing restrictions on auto use; and focusing urban planning on reducing travel distance.

--Jim Freemont, Proceedings from Pro Bike 88. Bike Federation, 1818 R St. NW, Washington, DC. 20009. 202/332-6986.

It should be noted that there are many fast, cheap and simple actions we could take that would have a fairly visible impact, some of which John Benfatti is already working on. They include: continuing bicycle lane markings through intersections using broken lines; moving the southbound Manhattan bicycle lane from Broadway to Seventh Av; and creating and distributing bicycle safety fliers (e.g. Chinese language fliers aimed at restaurant messengers).

Correspondence- Currently, we spend over 20 hours a week just answering our many letters, requests, etc. I have spoken to the Mayor's office, and they have agreed to stop sending mail directly to our office. However, it is safe to assume- particularly if the ban goes into effect- that this will continue to take up a significant amount of time (this alone could conceivably take up John's 19 hours a week).

--George Paul Apostolakos, Proposals for Bicycle Policy, NYCDOT March 1988. This was written upon his departure from the post of bicycle coordinator.

Some transportation measures in the Clean Air Act, as amended 1977:

--Dan Convissor

A new trip reduction ordinance (regulation XV) [in Los Angeles, California applies to all major employers (over 500 employees in 1988, falling to 100 employees in 1990). Employers are required to achieve certain average vehicle ridership targets throughout he implementation of annually produced plans. Bicycles are specifically listed as one of the possible forms of alternative transportation available.

--How To Promote Bicycling as a Pollution Solution, (June 1989). League of American Bicyclists.

[PHOTO: bicyclist] Up to the Bicycle Page or to it's Planning Section.


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Last updated: 7 April 1999