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SF’s Bike to Work Day on Thursday May 12

You Can Bike There
When is Bike to Work Day?

The San Francisco Bay Area’s 17th annual Bike to Work Day will take place on Thursday, May 12, 2011 with all nine Bay Area counties participating in the celebration. The event is part of National Bike Month.
What Happens on Bike to Work Day?

“Energizer Stations” are located along Bay Area county commute routes where bicyclists can stop for refreshments, giveaways, and bicycling information or simply to be ‘cheered on’ by fellow participants. Energizer Stations will be open during morning commute hours and some will even re-open during the evening commute. Stay tuned for updated information about Energizer Station locations, Bike to Work Week activities and Bike to Work Day “after parties.”
Why Bike to Work?

More than one million Bay Area residents live within five miles of their workplace, an ideal distance for bicycling. The work commute only represents 23% of all trips, so consider how you also may be able to bike to shop, to school, for errands, and for social events. In a world concerned with climate change, pollution, congestion and wasted time, the question should really be: Why not bike to work?
How many people in the Bay Area commute to work by bike everyday?

According to the 2007 American Community Survey 43,000 Bay Area residents use a bicycle as their primary means of getting to work every day. On Bike to Work Day, we expect hundreds of thousands of people to bike to work in the Bay Area, with many being first time bike commuters.
(May 2011)
From Campbell Patch: “The Bay Area Bicycle Coalition says that in 2007, some 43,000 Bay Area residents were using a bicycle as their primary means of getting to work every day. On Bike to Work Day, it’s expected that more than 100,000 people will spin their pedals, many being first-time bike commuters.”

Peak oil? Now it’s peak cars
(audio and transcript)
Robyn Williams, The Science Show, ABC (Australia)
Australian and world peak car ownership per capita was in 2004 and since has shown a slow decline. It marks an end to car dependence. Teenage car ownership has dropped markedly. Figures suggest a big cultural shift as well as structural change within cities. Some very large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have made it almost impossible to buy a new car. Car transport has reached a limit. Shanghai built a metro system in 10 years, which covers 80% of the city and carries 8 million passengers each day. Metros are being built in 82 Chinese cities and 14 Indian cities. Peter Newman compares the cost of constructing roads and railways and says both cost about $50million per kilometre. But rail carries 8-20 times the passengers carried by road. With the price of gasoline heading north, people are moving back into cities and not wanting to be as dependant on cars as they were.

Robyn Williams: Is a man without a car a bloke who’s been emasculated? After a century, is that great love affair coming to an end?

Chris Paine: What’s at stake is the car itself. In a lot of the developing world, in China, in India, what have you, the car is still seen as the unquestioned status symbol. But in the West, in Europe, in the States, in Australia, the car isn’t the sexy thing it was when I was a kid. The electric car has a promise of making the car sexy again because it is like an iPad or something, it’s electronic, it’s not nearly as dirty, it’s the future.

Robyn Williams: That was Chris Paine who makes films about electric cars, and he says that’s the future. But could it be that, electric or oil, the car’s days are over? That’s the gist of a paper just published by Professor Peter Newman of Curtin University in Perth. He’s one of the world’s experts on the real future of cities. And his conclusions are amazing, even for Sydney.

Peter Newman: Well, Sydney’s has not increased for five years. That’s the change we are seeing. It’s a bit like peak oil; we are not noticing the big impacts yet but we have gone over the top. And that peak in car use per capita began in 2004 across the world. I don’t know what was in the water that year but it started then. And US cities are now showing absolute declines in many cases, but the per capita peak happened in 2004 in Australian cities as well.

Our data, which we’ve only recently put together, shows that there were major increases in the ’60s of around 40%, and the ’70s around 20% to 30%, and the ’80s the early 20s%. It now dropped to 5% increase between ’95 and 2005, so we were beginning to pick it up as well. And then we saw that a number of cities, like London, Stockholm, Zurich, Vienna have all declined. Atlanta has gone down 10%, Houston 15%, LA, San Francisco. These are major changes and quite historic.

It’s not as though the car is disappearing but there is an end to the car dependence that we began to build from the Second World War where we essentially expanded our cities outwards, making car use absolutely necessary and increasing amounts of it every year. That has changed, that’s stopped.
(7 May 2011)

The Book Bike

Paul M. Davis, Shareable: CivicSystem
You’re likely familiar with the venerable Bookmobile, but when is the last time you saw one in your neighborhood? In many communities, it’s a rare sight. Beset by budget cutbacks, library outreach is increasingly rare, leaving it to citizens to pick up the slack and encourage reading in their communities.

Gabriel Levinson is one such citizen. Since 2008, he has rode his custom-built Book Bike into public parks across Chicago every weekend, weather permitting. Heading from park to park, Levinson distributes books donated by publishers to anyone interested.

Inspired by the literary activism efforts of Dave Eggers’ 826 organization, Levinson set out in 2008 to merge his “two passions, cycling and reading. It seemed natural to me–just as the right to read provides limitless potential for a person, a bike allows you to go just about anywhere. Being on a bike is freedom to me.”
(20 April 2011)
Suggested by Mimi. -BA

Philadelphia’s Two-Wheeled Revolution in Progress

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
The Bicycle Coalition’s newest report on bicycling in the Greater Philadelphia Region, entitled, Mode Shift: Philadelphia’s Two-Wheeled Revolution in Progress, provides an in-depth look at why Philadelphia can now boast some of the highest rates of bicycling in the country. Below is the summary of findings from the report.

Summary of Findings

Over the last decade, significant numbers of Philadelphians have shifted to bicycle commuting and positioned Philadelphia as an excellent big city for biking. By building on these trends, Philadelphia has the opportunity to transform itself into a world-class bicycling city.

  • Philadelphia has, per capita, twice as many bicycle commuters as any other big city in the US.
  • Bicycle commuting increased 151 percent from 2000 to 2009.
  • Bike lanes lead to better bicyclist behavior: bicyclists are more than twice as likely to ride on the sidewalk when there is no bike lane.
  • Streets with bike lanes have more bike traffic.

… Bicyclists like bike lanes, and they like buffered bike lanes even better. The Bicycle Coalition’s counts found streets with bike lanes had more cyclists than streets without them, and had more growth in bicyclists than streets without bike lanes.

They also have more female bicyclists, less sidewalk riding, less wrong way riding, and more cyclists wearing helmets than streets without bike lanes. The buffered bike lanes had the same result, but even more amplified. These results confirm that better behavior goes hand in hand with better bicycling facilities. Facilities like buffered bike lanes make bicyclists feel safer.

A pdf of the report is available for download.
(Accessed 9 May 2011)