City Cycling

City Cycling

John Pucher
Ralph Buehler
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    City Cycling
    Book Description:

    Bicycling in cities is booming, for many reasons: health and environmental benefits, time and cost savings, more and better bike lanes and paths, innovative bike sharing programs, and the sheer fun of riding. City Cycling offers a guide to this urban cycling renaissance, with the goal of promoting cycling as sustainable urban transportation available to everyone. It reports on cycling trends and policies in cities in North America, Europe, and Australia, and offers information on such topics as cycling safety, cycling infrastructure provisions including bikeways and bike parking, the wide range of bike designs and bike equipment, integration of cycling with public transportation, and promoting cycling for women and children. City Cycling emphasizes that bicycling should not be limited to those who are highly trained, extremely fit, and daring enough to battle traffic on busy roads. The chapters describe ways to make city cycling feasible, convenient, and safe for commutes to work and school, shopping trips, visits, and other daily transportation needs. The book also offers detailed examinations and illustrations of cycling conditions in different urban environments: small cities (including Davis, California, and Delft, the Netherlands), large cities (including Sydney, Chicago, Toronto and Berlin), and "megacities" (London, New York, Paris, and Tokyo). These chapters offer a closer look at how cities both with and without historical cycling cultures have developed cycling programs over time. The book makes clear that successful promotion of city cycling depends on coordinating infrastructure, programs, and government policies.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-30591-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 Introduction: Cycling for Sustainable Transportation
    (pp. 1-8)
    John Pucher and Ralph Buehler

    Many countries in western Europe, North America, and Australasia have officially recognized the importance of cycling as a practical mode of urban transportation and endorse the dual objectives of raising cycling levels while increasing safety (Austroads 2011; ECMT 2004; European Commission 2007; NZ Transport 2011; Transport Canada 2003; USDOT 2010). There are many reasons to encourage more cycling. It causes virtually no noise or air pollution and consumes far fewer nonrenewable resources than any motorized transportation mode. The energy cycling requires is provided directly by the traveler, contributing to daily physical activity, aerobic fitness, and cardiovascular health while helping protect...

  6. 2 International Overview: Cycling Trends in Western Europe, North America, and Australia
    (pp. 9-30)
    Ralph Buehler and John Pucher

    There are large differences in cycling levels among countries in western Europe, North America, and Australasia. At the low end, the bike share of trips is only about 1 percent in Australia, Canada, and the United States and about 2 percent in the United Kingdom and Ireland (see figure 2.1). At the upper end, the bike share is 26 percent in the Netherlands, 18 percent in Denmark, and about 10 percent in Germany, Finland, Sweden, and Belgium.

    For most of the countries shown in figure 2.1, the bike share refers to daily trips for all trip purposes, as derived from...

  7. 3 Health Benefits of Cycling
    (pp. 31-56)
    Jan Garrard, Chris Rissel and Adrian Bauman

    Cycling has multiple health benefits, particularly as a form of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Rapid increases in mechanization in the last half of the twentieth century in the industrialized world have engineered physical activity out of daily life for many people. Changes in modes of personal travel have been dramatic, with private motor vehicle trips replacing walking and cycling in many developed and developing countries.

    Transportation cycling provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to incorporate physical activity into daily life. Furthermore, cycling for transportation is accessible and appealing to population groups that often have low levels of participation in...

  8. 4 Effective Speed: Cycling Because It’s “Faster”
    (pp. 57-74)
    Paul Tranter

    In the seventh annual New York Commuter Challenge held by Transportation Alternatives in 2008, a cyclist raced against a bus/subway rider and a driver. The bicycle came in a clear winner, taking just over 16 minutes; the car took 22 minutes and the MTA rider took 29 minutes. Transportation Alternatives also measured the carbon footprint of all the commuters: the bike had zero, the transit rider one pound, and the 5-mile (8-km) drive produced six pounds of carbon dioxide. As the cyclist in the race explained, “Bicycling is the fastest and most affordable way to get to work” (Press 2008)....

  9. 5 Developments in Bicycle Equipment and Its Role in Promoting Cycling as a Travel Mode
    (pp. 75-104)
    Kristin Lovejoy and Susan Handy

    Efforts to increase utilitarian bicycling—bicycling as an everyday mode of transportation to a destination—have tended to focus on infrastructure, such as bike lanes, cycle tracks, or bike parking. As highlighted in chapters 12, 13, and 14, some communities have combined investments in infrastructure with programs to encourage bicycling and policies that discourage driving. Other approaches aim to increase access to bicycles, including the high-profile bikesharing programs discussed in chapter 9.

    Bike planners and researchers have given little attention to the role of bicycle equipment. Some argue that it has a limited role relative to other factors in promoting...

  10. 6 Bicycling Infrastructure for Mass Cycling: A Transatlantic Comparison
    (pp. 105-140)
    Peter G. Furth

    For the bicycle to be useful for transportation, bicyclists need adequate route infrastructure—roads and paths on which to get places. In the 1890s, when bicycling first became popular, bicyclists’ chief need was better paved roads. In the present era, however, it is not poor pavement but fast and heavy motor traffic that restricts cyclists’ ability to get places safely (Jacobsen, Racioppi, and Rutter 2009), as discussed in chapter 7.

    European and American policies have strongly diverged on how to address this challenge. In many European countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, cyclists’ need for separation from fast,...

  11. 7 Cycling Safety
    (pp. 141-156)
    Peter L. Jacobsen and Harry Rutter

    Improving cycling safety is obviously important for reducing injuries to people riding bicycles. Moreover, safer cycling would encourage more people to cycle because risk averse and vulnerable groups are deterred from cycling by fear of injury and thus do not enjoy the health benefits of the physical activity of cycling.

    As this chapter will show, cycling is not intrinsically dangerous, although it may appear so because of the risks of severe injury or death imposed by drivers. People cycle less than they would if the dangers imposed by motorized traffic were reduced. They judge the risks of injury from riding...

  12. 8 Integration of Cycling with Public Transportation
    (pp. 157-182)
    John Pucher and Ralph Buehler

    Coordinating cycling with public transportation is mutually beneficial, enhancing the benefits of both modes and encouraging more cycling as well as more public transportation use (Brons, Givoni, and Rietveld 2009; Givoni and Rietveld 2007; Hegger 2007; Martens 2004 and 2007; TRB 2005; USDOT 1998). Bicycling supports public transportation by extending the catchment area of rail stations and bus stops far beyond walking range and at much lower cost than neighborhood feeder buses and park and ride facilities for cars. Access to public transportation helps cyclists make trips longer than possible by bike alone. Public transportation services can also provide convenient...

  13. 9 Bikesharing across the Globe
    (pp. 183-210)
    Susan A. Shaheen, Stacey Guzman and Hua Zhang

    Concerns about global climate change, energy security, and unstable fuel prices have caused many decision makers and policy experts worldwide to closely examine the need for more sustainable transportation strategies. Sustainable strategies include clean fuels, vehicle technologies, transportation demand management, and integrated land use and transportation strategies (Shaheen and Lipman 2007 ). Bikesharing—the shared use of a bicycle fleet—is one mobility strategy that could help address many of these concerns. In recent years, interest in this evolving concept has spread across the globe. At present, there are an estimated 135 programs in approximately 160 cities around the world...

  14. 10 Women and Cycling
    (pp. 211-234)
    Jan Garrard, Susan Handy and Jennifer Dill

    The use of bicycling as a mode of transportation varies markedly across countries and cities, as described in chapters 2, 12, 13, and 14, but there are also some striking variations across demographic groups. In bicyclefriendly cities and countries, cycling is an inclusive, population-wide activity that includes large numbers of children, seniors, and women. In contrast, in car-oriented cities with low levels of cycling, the majority of cyclists are young to middle-aged men. These demographic differences are especially striking for transportation cycling. In Australia and the United States, women constitute about one-third of recreational cyclists but only about one-quarter of...

  15. 11 Children and Cycling
    (pp. 235-256)
    Noreen C. McDonald

    Learning to ride a bicycle is an important milestone for children. The ability to control a bicycle provides evidence of the child’s physical and cognitive development. For a child, riding a bicycle brings newfound independence and the ability to travel faster and farther, bringing within grasp destinations that previously were out of reach.

    Beyond the excitement and sense of achievement that becoming a cyclist may bring to the child and the family, there are larger societal trends at play. Increasing levels of childhood obesity have been associated with declines in everyday physical activities such as cycling or walking (Tudor-Locke et...

  16. 12 Cycling in Small Cities
    (pp. 257-286)
    Susan Handy, Eva Heinen and Kevin J. Krizek

    Efforts to promote cycling in large cities have garnered much attention in recent years (see chapters 13 and 14), but efforts within small cities also merit recognition. Many smaller European cities have cycling levels that exceed those in larger cities. In the United States, the most bikeoriented small cities have much higher shares of trips by bicycle than the most bike-oriented large cities. Although cycling overall accounts for just 1 percent of trips in the United States, cycling has long been a vital mode of transportation in some small cities. The experiences of cities like Davis, California, and Boulder, Colorado,...

  17. 13 Big City Cycling in Europe, North America, and Australia
    (pp. 287-318)
    Ralph Buehler and John Pucher

    The national data presented in chapter 2 hide variations in cycling conditions, trends, and policies within each country. In fact, cycling rates and policies vary widely among cities and regions. Moreover, it is at the city level that cycling policies are actually implemented, even if funding is provided by the state or federal levels of government. Thus, it is crucial to examine cycling trends and policies at the local level. This chapter focuses on large cities, which we define as having at least half a million residents in their metropolitan area. Over two-thirds of the populations in developed countries live...

  18. 14 Cycling in Megacities: London, Paris, New York, and Tokyo
    (pp. 319-346)
    John Pucher, Emmanuel de Lanversin, Takahiro Suzuki and John Whitelegg

    Cycling in megacities faces challenges similar to those discussed for large cities in chapter 13 but generally more extreme. Heavy traffic on noisy, congested streets makes cycling in megacities more stressful, more intimidating, and more dangerous than in smaller cities—at least it is perceived that way by many people, thus discouraging cycling. Moreover, the large geographic extent of megacities generates many long trips that are difficult to cover by bike, especially for the commute to work. Another special problem of megacities is their density and lack of space, forcing cyclists to share space with motor vehicles on clogged roadways...

  19. 15 Promoting Cycling for Daily Travel: Conclusions and Lessons from across the Globe
    (pp. 347-364)
    John Pucher and Ralph Buehler

    As documented in this book, cycling for daily travel can provide a wide range of benefits that far outweigh the costs of cycling infrastructure, equipment, and programs. Chapter 3, for example, reviews the extensive scientific evidence of the health benefits of cycling, which greatly exceed the traffic dangers of cycling and yield economic benefits for individuals and society as a whole. Chapter 4 shows that cycling for transportation is often faster than motorized alternatives and offers substantial cost savings for individuals. There are many other indirect benefits as well. Cycling has the potential to reduce energy use, noise and air...

  20. Index
    (pp. 365-394)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 395-398)