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Transport - Oct 5

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There IS a Bicycle Economy, Two Cities Find

A.K. Streeter, Treehugger
Portland, Oregon and New York City, two very different cities, are finding something similar about cyclists and pedestrians - they tend to spend a bit more money in local economies...

In the East Village, putting in new bikes lanes has lead to an increase in cycling, with nearly a quarter of residents reporting biking for their transportation needs. Altogether, 95% of retail dollars in the area that Transportation Alternatives studied were spent by cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport users.

That's perhaps not a completely surprising find, as in the dense East Village, most people are cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport users, rather than car drivers. Yet it is important to counteract that ingrained perception that car-based business is 'better'...
(2 October 2012)
View report

Are electric cars bad for the environment?

Leo Hickman, The EcoAudit, The Guardian
9.40am: A study by engineers based at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has questioned some common assumptions about the environmental credentials of electric cars.

Published this week in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, the "comparative environmental life cycle assessment of conventional and electric vehicles" begins by stating that "it is important to address concerns of problem-shifting". By this, the authors mean that by solving one problem, do electric cars create another? And, if so, does this environmental harm then outweigh any advantages?...

So, should this new study make us reassess the environmental credentials of electric cars? Or does the analysis and data help us, as the authors insist, improve the environmental performance of electric cars?...

Please leave your thoughts below. If you are quoting figures or other studies, please provide a link through to the original source. I will also be inviting various interested parties to join the debate, too. And later on today, I will return with my own verdict.

...P.S. I have asked the authors of the paper to monitor this debate and respond to any other queries from readers...
(5 October 2012)
Link to the report

Amsterdam's New Electric Scooter Program Aims To Improve Transportation Options

Roberta Cowan, Huffington Post
...Amsterdam's 17th Century canals and cobbled streets make driving cars, including taxis, in the centre of the city often difficult and time consuming due to unloading trucks, congestion or road blocks, which is one of the reasons so many Amsterdamers prefer to use bicycles within the city centre.

Dutch public transport, including trams, trains and buses, is generally considered reliable and efficient, but these services, which span out like a fan from the main central train station reaching to the city's edge, aren't available throughout the oldest parts of Amsterdam's city centre, which Beugels hopes will become Hopper's new turf.

Beugels, who calls the scooters a "new form of public transport," says they will help bridge the gap between using public transport and getting to your final destination, or that last kilometre, right to the doorstep...
(1 October 2012)

Paralympics show how cycling fits almost any impairment

Peter Walker, The Guardian
Before the Paralympics I wasn't completely ignorant about disabled cycling. I even had personal experience of how very fast people can ride even with relatively severe impairments: in separate multi-stage mountain bike events I have been soundly trounced by a rider with one leg amputated at the hip, and another with a to-the-shoulder arm amputation.

But it took 11 days of covering Paralympic cycling for the Guardian to fully appreciate how incredibly flexible the bike is when it comes to catering for disabilities...

For a wider story I've written about a post-London 2012 boom in all Paralympic sports I spoke to Sue Blandford from Wythenshawe Wheelers, one of the bigger disabled bike clubs in the country. She filled me in on the even greater variety of machines available for leisure riders, including four-wheeled quads, side-by-side tandems and even bikes with a platform for a wheelchair.

A charity, Cycling Projects, works with bike companies to produce these...
(2 October 2012)

Image via cycling.org.uk

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