Sunday, September 19, 2010

CityCycle dreaming

I dreamed the other night that I hired one a CityCycle bike to go to a lunch appointment in the West End. It was great except there was no parking when I got there. The restaurant had hidden the cycle racks under some tables. So How very disappointing. Lets hope that does not happen in reality. It would seem highly unlikely considering the number of docking stations being rolled out all over the city and West End. See the map here.

It is exciting seeing all the cycle hire stations getting the finishing touches around the city. I was so excited I asked our 'green team' at work whether the company were going to take out corporate membership of CityCycle. The response was disappointing, but not surprising - the health and safety policy would not allow it because the risks are just too high. Experienced cyclists are encouraged to use the scheme but the lack of safe cycling facilities in the CBD means the risk for inexperienced cyclists is too great.

I suspect many company health and safety committees will come to the same conclusion. It will take a lot to change the perception that cycling is dangerous. Interesting statistics from the Netherlands is that walking is actually more dangerous than cycling. The fatality rate for pedestrians is far higher (per billion kilometers travelled) than cycling is. And both are more dangerous than driving, being above the average for all modes. Here are the numbers for the years 1999-2003.

Pedestrians 32 deaths/billion km
Cyclists 14 deaths/billion km
Car drivers 4 deaths/billion km
All modes 6 deaths/billion km

From these statistics it would appear advisable for health and safety committeesto advise people against walking and cycling and encourage people to drive more. But public transport is even safer as these statistics from the UK show. Interesting to see how much safer it is for cyclists and pedestrians in the Netherlands.

Passenger death rates per billion passenger kilometres

1993 1997 2001 2002
Motorcycle 106.0 119.0 112.3 111.3
Walk 70.1 57.6 47.7 44.8
Bicycle 46.5 44.9 32.7 29.5
Car 3.2 3.1 2.9 2.8
Van 1.6 1.0 0.9 1.0

Bus or coach 0.7 0.3 0.2 0.4
Rail2 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.3
Water3 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.0
Air3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

1 comment:

Lucent Imagery said...

I do wonder how those pedestrians have died. From just cars? Or did bicycles cause any of those deaths? I am passionate about access and infrastructure for people-powered movement, be it on wheels or foot. As a pedestrian though, I am appalled at the behaviour of some cyclists towards those of us on foot. Some cyclists behave exactly the same way towards pedestrians that they complain about car drivers treating them. I think there needs to be more discussion about pedestrian needs in town planning and also separation of pedestrian and bike paths. It is honestly a scary thing to be a pedestrian around those disrespectful cyclists. While some pedestrians are just as guilty of behaving poorly, there needs to be more respect for the slowest of people-powered movement. I am excited if we continue to adopt more and more European design and cultural inspirations. Great blog!