The Life-Sized City Blog: Goldmine for Bike Advocacy Groups

We’ve had a .pdf hanging about the blog for awhile, published by the European Union and called ”Cycling – The Way Ahead for Towns and Cities.” The .pdf can be downloaded here.We’ve perused it before but now we’ve actually read it. And we can tell all you bike advocates out there one thing… you’d better read it, too.It’s chock full of great stats and great inspiration for improving the conditions of the bike as a form of transport.One statistic was, for us, rather spectacular. The report states that it is a totally unknown fact that came to light in the survey of Europeans:‘73 % OF EUROPEANS THINK THAT BICYCLES SHOULD BENEFIT FROM PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT COMPARED WITH CARS.’73% of Europeans. There are 494 million Europeans in the Union. That means that 360 million of them are, more or less, very pro-bicycle. That’s more people than live in the USA and Canada and Australia put together.If that’s not an optimistic statistic, we don’t know what is. In addition, 83% of Europeans agree that public transport should recieve preferential treatment over private cars and 82% say that environmental questions are a priority issue. Again… groovaliciousness.Get on your bikes.‘THE MOBILITY THAT WE ASSOCIATE WITH THE PRIVATE CAR HAS MERGED WITH APOCALYPTIC IMAGES OF TOWNS THAT HAVE COME TO A COMPLETE STANDSTILL. ’People are aware. People seek change and they seek alternatives. They are willing to adapt. What can help them do so? Help them get on their bikes? Infrastructure. Investment from city councils. It’s that simple.Even in the United Kingdom, the report tells us, the Automobile Association is wholly in favour of persuading its members to step up their use of bicycles and has published a study on motorists who also cycle, entitled ‘Cycling motorists’.More cyclists means better driving conditions. We have to live together, after all, and we here at don’t pray for the demise of the automobile. On the contrary.We just think that more bikes means less pollution.More bikes means better health for the population.More bikes means better traffic flow.Especially when you consider that 30% of car journeys in the EU cover distances less than 3km.Get on your bikes.The report has many interesting points. Get this one…The level of pollution inside a car is invariably higher than that of the ambient air (a motorist breathes in approximately twice as much CO as a cyclist, and approximately 50 % more nitrogen oxides). Let’s start spreading THIS fact around the car driver community, shall we? And all you cyclists in London who hopped onto that bike mask trend… why not give them to the motorists?Get on your bikes.The report highlights the benefits of riding bikes instead of driving:Every trip taken with a bicycle rather than with a car generates considerable savings and advantages both for the individual and for the urban community, such as:- total lack of impact on the quality of life in the town (neither noise nor pollution);- preservation of monuments and planted areas;- less space taken up on the ground, both for moving and for parking, and hence a more profitable use of the surface area;- less deterioration to the road network and a reduction in the need for new road infrastructures;- improvement to the attractiveness of town centres (shops, culture, recreational activities, social life);- fewer traffic jams and the economic losses which they entail;- increased fluidity of car circulation;- increased appeal of public transport;- greater accessibility to typically urban services for the entire population (including adolescents and young adults);- parents freed from the chore of transporting their children gain time and money;- cyclists gain considerable time over short and medium distances;- possible disappearance of the need for a second car for a household (and hence an increase in the household budget available);Get on your bikes.Cycling can only be stepped up if more people buy bicycles. A majority in the public would be willing to purchase a bicycle if their municipality gave them certain signs of encouragement to use one.Another survey reveals that cyclists themselves — and who are thus already bike users — are waiting for cycling facilities to be introduced (58% state that they would cycle more often if the facilities were better).Reasons which encourage people to purchase a bicycle or use it more often:- Cycling facilities, access facilities/shortcuts/ for cyclists ……70%- Restrictions to car traffic . . . . . . . . . .28%- Supervised bicycle parking areas . . .21%- Promotion campaigns . . . . . . . . . . . .11%- Hire or lease of bicycles . . . . . . . . . . .8%
Velo-city® is the largest cycling planning conference series in the world. In order to raise awareness for the next conference in Brussels in 2009, the European Cycling Federation (ECF) has produced a promotion video that is now on YouTube.

Please let us know if you have comments or questions. We love to hear about bike advocacy projects around the world.

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