It’s an eerily calm Sunday morning on the city’s Avenida Reforma, an avenue which is grid-locked on weekdays by tens of thousands of cars sitting bumper-to-bumper.
The Reforma’s closure to car traffic on Sundays in 2007 kickstarted the capital’s attempts to make life easier for cyclists. In 2010 a 17km-long bike lane through the city opened.
The car still reigns supreme in this metropolis of 22 million people, with more than four million vehicles clogging the roads every day.
Perhaps the biggest factor has been the launch of the so-called Ecobicis (Eco-bikes) in 2010. Following on from similar schemes operating in London, Paris and Barcelona, Mexico City launched a public bike rentals at 90 different sites. Since then, some 30,000 people have joined and there is a waiting list for new members. The Ecobici system is expected to expand to 75,000 users by the end of 2012, with 4,000 more bicycles made available at new sites.
The scheme is not without it’s critics with some of Mexico City’s drivers spending up to four hours a day on their journeys to work, with three separate rush-hours. Some say cyclists have only made matters worse.
One local radio host Angel Verdugo angered bike users when he called on car drivers to run over the cyclists. He said championing the new breed of cyclists was a form of racism. “They want to be like Europeans,” he says. “They believe they are living in Paris and riding along the Champs-Elysees.”
He subsequently made a public apology.
There’s no doubt that Mexico City is for the most part still a car-orientated city but it is also clear that cycling is in the ascendancy. More cycle ways are planned, and public opinion supporting active travel is growing. A car free city is, however, a long way off.
The famous Dutch obsession with bicycles is clearly paying off – a recent study has shown.
While there have been a plethora of studies demonstrating the health benefits of cycling as a means to reduce the risk of sedentary lifestyle diseases and all-cause mortality, the study “Dutch Cycling: Quantifying the Health and Related Economic Benefits” – is the first to actually quantify the health benefits and related economic benefits at a population level in the Netherlands. Currently, about 27% of all trips in the Netherlands are made by bicycle and the weekly time spent cycling is about 74 minutes per week for Dutch adults of 20 to 90 years of age. Even more noteworthy and remarkable, over half of the total life expectancy increase calculated in this study is being achieved by cycling among adults aged 65 and older.
The study clearly shows that Dutch investments in bicycle-promoting policies, such as improved bicycle infrastructure and facilities, are likely to yield a high cost-benefit ratio in the long term. Health benefits translate into economic benefits of over 5% of Dutch GDP. To calculate the economic health benefits of cycling, HEAT (Health Economic Assessment Tool) uses a standard value of a statistical life (VSL) to monetize the number of deaths per year prevented by cycling. With a Dutch VSL of € 2.8 million per prevented death, investment in cycling is an extremely wise economic investment. The €0.5 billion per year spent by the Dutch government on road and parking infrastructure for cycling is estimated to yield total economic health benefits of € 19 billion per year!
Investments in high quality cycling policies and infrastructure produce great benefit over the long term. Cycling for transport delivers wealth and health, quality of life, for people and for cities.
The launch of new 5K charity walk aims to encourage non-cyclists to get involved with local bike ride – The Chapelton Bike Ride, Sunday, September 3rd 2017
The Chapelton Bike Ride will return for a second year on Sunday, September 3, with the addition of the new Chapelton 5K Walk sponsored by Liberty Retirement Living, which will coincide with the event’s 42-mile and 12-mile bike rides. Held in aid of North East Sensory Services (NESS), the event was formerly the Great Stonehaven Bike Ride, before it moved to the village of Chapelton, near Newtonhill. Last year, over 250 cyclists took part in the first ever Chapelton Bike Ride, raising over £6,500 for NESS. Registration costs £15 per person for the 42-mile route, £5 per person for the 12-mile route, or £15 for a team of four for the 12-mile cycle. The 5K walk is free to enter, but all participants must register via the website. Register for the Chapelton Bike Ride at www.chapeltonbikeride.co.uk.
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £470,000 for innovative proposals that encourage more journeys by bicycle or on foot. The Department for Transport (DfT) will fund up to £470,000 for innovative projects that lead to more walking and cycling. Proposals will tackle current barriers and encourage more journey stages to be made by bicycle or on foot. Innovations may include, for example, technology, infrastructure, manufacturing or behavioural change. Deadline: Wednesday 7th June. For more information, visit: https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/15/overview.
Do you have (or NOT have) a path that you would like to improve in your community?
Maybe it would help you walk the kids to school or cycle to work or visit a friend? Maybe it’s somewhere that is just nice to walk. Read more to about FREE workshops on how to improve paths and about the possibility of finding other like-minded souls who’d also like to do this. Read the rest of this entry »