Actus Monde

From free bikes to steering wheel spikes: how to boost urban cycling | The Guardian

Car-free days, fil­tered per­me­abil­i­ty and low­er speed lim­its are just some of the ways that cities around the world are try­ing to encour­age cycling.

Cycling in Lon­don is on the rise – up 56% on some routes since 2014. The con­struc­tion a few years ago of a num­ber of pro­tect­ed cycle lanes in the city cen­tre undoubt­ed­ly helped dri­ve this change, but there are addi­tion­al ways to boost the num­ber of peo­ple on bikes. We explore 10 ideas below – please con­tribute yours in the com­ments sec­tion.

Free bikes

If the ben­e­fits of cycling – both eco­nom­ic and envi­ron­men­tal – out­weigh the cost of bikes over­all, then why not sim­ply give bikes away?

Like most cycling ini­tia­tives, this idea can be traced to the Nether­lands, where the anar­chist group Pro­vo dis­trib­uted 10,000 white bikes to the city of Ams­ter­dam in the 1960s.

These were free for every­one to use, on the basis that “per kilo­me­tre [one bike] would cost the munic­i­pal­i­ty only 10% of what it con­tributed to pub­lic trans­port per per­son per kilo­me­tre”. The author­i­ties hadn’t made the same cal­cu­la­tions, how­ev­er, and the white bikes were quick­ly removed – or were stolen.

Vari­a­tions have since cropped up round the world. InAde­laide, free dai­ly hire bikes are avail­able to vis­i­tors and res­i­dents as part of the Aus­tralian city’s Smart Move strat­e­gy. Birm­ing­ham in the UK ran a scheme last year where res­i­dents of poor­er post­codes could apply for a free bike if they agreed to ride it. Mean­while, in Gothen­burg, Swe­den, the gov­ern­ment is giv­ing free bikes to com­muters who promise to dri­ve less.

Filtered permeability

In 1977, Gronin­gen – a small city in the north­ern Nether­lands – under­went a rapid trans­for­ma­tion. Pro­vi­sion­al signs and bar­ri­ers were covert­ly erect­ed to direct cars out of the city cen­tre until they were grad­u­al­ly, over sev­er­al months, con­fined to areas out­side it.

By selec­tive­ly reduc­ing the num­ber of city streets avail­able to vehi­cles, jour­neys that were once rel­a­tive­ly easy by car became ardu­ous and con­vo­lut­ed. Res­i­dents chose to cycle instead of dri­ve, even when head­ing to a big fur­ni­ture and home­wares store such as Ikea – whose spe­cial­ly designed car­go bikes are pop­u­lar with locals.

Source : From free bikes to steer­ing wheel spikes: how to boost urban cycling | Cities | The Guardian

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Perrine Burner

Chargée de communication à la FUB

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