Tag Archive: cycling infrastructure

  1. Brabant fast cycle routes increase cycling rates

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    Source: fietsberaad Crow

    Nearly twenty percent of the users of three fast cycle routes in the Brabant region of the Netherlands previously traveled that route by car or public transport, and about 35 percent say they have started cycling more.

    The province conducted the research on the F58 between Tilburg and Rijen, the F261 between Tilburg and Waalwijk and the F73 between Cuijk and Nijmegen. The construction of the F73 proved to be particularly effective; 29 percent of cyclists on this route previously used the car or public transport. With a new bicycle bridge over the Maas, the bicycle route between Cuijk and Nijmegen has become much more direct and therefore a better alternative.
    Cyclists on the three routes were presented with a questionnaire both before the construction of the fast cycle routes and one year after their opening. More than six hundred cyclists completed this form.

    Seven fast cycle routes are in use in North Brabant and seven other routes are under construction. In addition, the province is preparing for the construction of a number of routes or investigating their feasibility.

    SmartwayZ Research

    A recent survey among the SmartwayZ.NL traveler panel shows that there is still a lot of potential for fast cycling routes in the Netherlands. Two-thirds of the panel members indicate that they would cycle to work more often if there were a fast cycle route in their neighborhood. A faster ride and better traffic flow are important reasons why the panel members would want to use a fast cycle route. In addition, they value comfort, directness and safety of the route. The research also shows that campaigns for the use of fast cycle routes can be more effective; only seven percent of the panel members say they have ever come across a promotional campaign for this.

  2. Culture war against bikes trending in Europe

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    POLITICO reports on the rising conservative backlash against cycling and cyclists

    Source: POLITICO

    In a noteworthy development across Europe, the battle over city car restrictions has escalating into a culture war, with politicians positioning themselves as champions of working-class drivers. Berlin’s newly elected conservative city government has taken a particularly aggressive stance, reversing numerous bike-friendly measures implemented by its predecessor. This includes suspending bike infrastructure projects that impede existing car lanes or parking spaces, and shelving plans to expand the city’s cycling network. The decision to allow cars back on the iconic Friedrichstraße boulevard, reversing its pedestrianization, was motivated by complaints from local businesses regarding declining revenue.

    The pandemic-inspired temporary cycling infrastructure and traffic restrictions that were initially well-received have lost favor as life returns to normal. Developments in Berlin serve as a concerning precedent for other bike-friendly cities experiencing a perhaps artificially inflated backlash from disgruntled car drivers.

    Berlin’s new mobility chief, Manja Schreiner, argued that its measures reflected the concerns of many Berliners, while critics view them as an unnecessary and damaging rollback of cycling infrastructure. Similar anti-bike and pro-car sentiments are growing in other regions, including the UK, where the Conservative Party has framed the country as ‘a nation of drivers’ and suggested new policies or rollbacks in response to expanded low-emission zones and other policies.

    Conspiracy theories and resistance to the “15-minute city” concept, which promotes local living and alternative transportation methods, have also contributed to the backlash. In Brussels, a plan to reduce car traffic has sparked protests and led to the cancellation of some initiatives. Right-wing parties are capitalizing on these emotional issues but offer no alternative vision for cities, while proponents argue that cycling infrastructure and green spaces enhance urban environments.

    The opposition to bike-friendly policies in Berlin and other cities reflects the challenge of balancing the interests of different road users and finding solutions that accommodate everyone.

    Read more detail over on POLITICO.

  3. Research highlights preference for proper cycle infrastructure among e-bike and cargo bike users

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    Source: Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives

    Research published in the latest edition of Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives reveals the route preferences of cyclists across different categories of bicycle.

    The research was in part inspired by the growth of cargo and electric bike markets, in this case classed as ‘innovative’ bikes, as well as the numerous environmental and health benefits of cycling and improved cycling infrastructure. Researchers Michael Hardinghaus and Jan Weschke aimed to make better data available in the adoption and kinds of cycle infrastructure projects. The methodology adopted a graphically assisted online discrete choice experiment.

    The different infrastructure needs anticipated by such innovative bikes includes potentially wider track, and consideration of different acceleration behaviour. The authors also identified the lack of past research that specifically compares or differentiates bicycle types. Small sample sizes and inconsistencies in conclusions lead them to state that current research is not sufficient for understanding route choice among these categories.

    The sample set consisted of 687 users, of which 271 were e-bike users, 166 cargo bikes and 250 regular bikes. The majority of the group were males ages 25-54, with more than 70% being daily cyclists. For the route choices, features for cyclists to assess included whether arterial road or side street, presence of bike lane, cycle path, or protected bike lane, maximum speed for cars of 50 km/h or 30 km/h, cycle street (no through traffic, residents only), living street (max. speed cars 7 km/h), cobblestone or asphalt surface, presence of on-street parking, and presence of trees.

    Findings from the survey indicated that individuals who use cargo bikes and e-bikes place a greater emphasis on the quality of infrastructure compared to those who use conventional bicycles. This underscores the need for increased investment in such facilities, given the continued rise in popularity of these bicycle types.

    In terms of statistics, the research found that:

    “Protected bike lanes for example are valued about 20 % higher by cargo bike users and even nearly 40 % higher by e-bike users than by users of regular bike types. In the same way, bike paths, side streets and asphalt as smooth surface are valued between 15 % and 60 % higher by cargo bike users while e-bike users have higher preferences for bike lanes, bike paths, cycle street and side streets in the range between + 20 % and + 60 % compared to regular bike users.”

    The authors concluded that physically separated infrastructures along main streets such as bike paths and protected bike lanes are of major importance, as well as routes through side streets in general and cycle streets with priority for cyclists. It is hoped that the results shall be useful in supporting the design of future-proof bike friendly cities.

  4. France’s 2023-2027 Cycling and Walking Plan is Launched

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    The first “Cycling and walking” interministerial committee was held on May 5, 2023, by French Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, to establish a real cycling culture.

    Source: French Government

    In the pursuit of ensuring all citizens have an eco-friendly transportation option, France recognises the importance of incorporating cycling and walking. The enthusiasm for this is evident, with a notable surge of 52% in the use of bicycle routes since 2017.

    The “Cycling and Walking Plan 2023-2027” sees the State investing 2 billion euros. “We will work with local authorities and hope that, alongside them, we will be able to invest 6 billion euros over the period,” said Élisabeth Borne.

    The plan targets three lines of action to make cycling and walking integral to the lifestyles of all French people:

    • Encouraging cycling from an early age.
    • Promote cycling as an alternative to conventional modes of transport.
    • Develop an economic and industrial cycle sector.

    1. Make cycling accessible to everyone, from an early age

    Objective: 850,000 children to be taught to ride a bicycle each year.

    Since 2019, 200,000 children have been trained by the “Know How to Ride a Bike” program.

    2. Make cycling and walking an alternative to private cars and public transport

    Objective: reach 80,000 km in 2027, and 100,000 km in 2030, of secure cycling facilities, including cycle lanes.

    250 million euros will be dedicated each year to accelerating the development of cycling facilities in France.

    By the end of 2022, 57,000 km of secure cycle facilities will be deployed across the country.

    3. Make cycling an economic lever by supporting French players in the sector

    Objective: the assembly of 1.4 million bicycles in France by 2027, and 2 million in 2030. To facilitate this, a call for projects will be launched in 2030.

    This new plan aims to promote innovation and structure a complete economic sector around the bicycle, from assembly to recycling.

  5. Associations in Germany call for different laws and better infrastructure instead of ‘More Respect’

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    On World Bicycle Day on June 3rd, German associations Ecological Transport Club (VCD), the Association for Service and Bicycles (VSF) and Zukunft Fahrrad, the trade association for future bicycles, called for speedy reforms.

    Source: SAZ Bike

    On World Bicycle Day, German associations VCD, VSF, and Zukunft Fahrrad demanded more safety in road traffic, i.e. good infrastructure for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, modern road traffic laws, and the possibility of reducing the standard speed. The associations take a critical view of the new “More Attention” campaign launched by the Federal Ministry of Transport, and the German Road Safety Council. Although it promotes “good coexistence on roads and cycle paths”, it shifts the responsibility onto individuals.

    Among the demands are calls that the Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Volker Wissing, must overhaul the road traffic law and relinquish the bias towards the car. In addition, the legislature must reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h in built-up areas – this is also what 742 municipalities in the Alliance for Liveable Cities and Communities are demanding. The three associations want a safe infrastructure for everyone in traffic. This includes well-developed cycle paths and footpaths with safe crossings, and more consistent enforcement of the existing law.

    Reforms Instead of Posters

    Michael Müller-Görnert, traffic policy spokesman for the VCD, calls for rapid reforms instead of empty appeals: “Accidents are often caused by the high speed of cars. We don’t need a friendly recommendation to change that, but please drive carefully – we need a speed of 120km/h on the motorway, a speed of 80km/h on country roads and a speed of 30km/h in the city in hand to reduce the number of road deaths by changing the law. Instead, he just sticks with putting up posters.”

    The VSF managing director Uwe Wöll criticizes that #mehrAchtung (#MoreAttention) assigns the responsibility to all road users equally: “The campaign mentions the number of almost 2,800 dead and 300,000 injured a year. What is not mentioned, however, is that cars are involved in 75% of all accidents involving personal injury. This suggests, equality of means of transport, which in reality does not exist – those who walk or cycle are injured more often, but are much less likely to be responsible for serious accidents.”

    Elena Laidler-Zettelmeyer, Head of Strategic Cooperation for Zukunft Fahrrad: “Many people would like to cycle more. But they don’t because they don’t feel safe on the streets. A mindfulness campaign can only be a single component of a larger package of measures for more security. A real commitment to a fair distribution of space in favour of active mobility is needed. It remains the primary task of the politically responsible to ensure more safety through a better political framework so that everyone can participate in traffic on an equal footing.”

    VCD, VSF and Zukunft Fahrrad call on the Ministry of Transport to instate speed limits, and promote the expansion of safe cycle paths and footpaths. This would actually show people in traffic more respect.

  6. Forest in Aarhus, Denmark, implements ‘RopeLight’ infrastructure

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    Source: Fietsberaad

    RopeLight is a continuous LED light strip that lines the forest’s cycle path, installed as part of the BITS project to improve safety and offer a new cycling experience.

    In the Aarhus location, the installation of regular street lights would have been difficult, leading to a poorly-lit route. The newly installed RopeLight infrastructure guides the cyclist on the path through the forest in the dark hours.

    The LEDs’ color schemes can be altered according to the season or to highlight events and other initiatives. Creators of RopeLight hope that this will add a level of excitement when traveling the route. Additionally, the LEDs can be dimmed to ensure a light level that allows cyclists to benefit from the solution while not being overwhelmed by the light.

    BITS is a four-year project within the European Interreg, in which several countries work together to increase bicycle use and safety through ITS applications.

  7. Commuting upgrade: Brussels to Leuven cycling highway planned for 2025

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    Source: Mayor.eu, D. Balgaranov

    The new 16km highway (F29) will connect the two cities, providing a safer route for commuters to pursue more sustainable transportation options

    Recently announced by authorities in Belgium, a newly planned bicycle highway will connect the city of Leuven in Flanders to the country’s capital of Brussels. Many in the region already make the journey between the two cities as a part of their daily commute, thus, the project is likely to be positively received.

    The Flemish government aims to make the journey between the cities safer and faster, with construction starting next year and managed by The Werkvennootschap, a public works company. Additionally, the highway will link to the planned Brussels cycling ring, further connecting the wider city.

    Cycling Highways – a growing trend

    Bicycle highways have caught the attention of many governing bodies as of late, with projects announced across multiple regions. The infrastructure aims to handle the growing number of cycling commuters in a safe, efficient way. And, although most cities still do not have enough bike traffic to warrant the massive development, as Munich’s Deputy Mayor Katrin Habenschaden explained in a statement in May 2022: “If you sow cycling highways, you get cyclists.”

  8. Phone game used to help manage Swedish cycle path maintenance

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    Source: TheMayor.eu

    Residents of the Swedish town of Enköping are being encouraged to contribute to the maintenance of the local cycle-path infrastructure, in a novel way – by playing a mobile game. Anyone with a mobile phone, a bike and handlebar-mounted phone holder can download a free and simple-to-use app, and by playing help to provide important information to the municipality’s traffic planning department.

    To develop the scheme, Enköping’s authorities teamed up with Crowdsorsa, a Finnish startup software company, who developed a smartphone game where virtual fruits and berries, which are worth actual money, can be collected by filming the cycling paths. Enköping has 110km of cycling paths for players to map, with each kilometre featuring collectable objects worth approximately SEK 20 (about 1.88 euros).

    The data collected is analysed by an AI model to identify damage to the cycle path, and then will be used to plan maintenance of the network.

    Explaining how the game works, Crowdsorsa CEO Toni Paju said: “The first user to collect an item is rewarded for it, then it disappears from everyone’s maps in real time. This makes the survey well-organized and shows users where data has not yet been collected.”

    Maurizio Freddo, traffic planner at Enköping municipality, noted the benefits both for the town’s authorities and local residents: “The project is important for us as we can finally get a good basis to see in a methodical way how we should maintain our walking and cycling paths. It gives us a better idea of ​​what we should prioritize. We also believe that this will be a good way to engage citizens in Enköping municipality to get out and experience our walking and cycling paths.”

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