Notes from interviews on National Radio, 26 February 2012
1. Build it, they will come.
2. Find a political champion
3. Start with what you have, and keep going. After 15 years you could have a decent network.
4. Start with low-hanging fruit e.g. create roadspace for bike lanes by narrowing wide traffic lanes.
Portland: 6% mode share cycling in Portland overall, 10% inner city. Population 580,000 350km2 area.
Not due to a single effort, but political leadership particularly important. Key factors: "build it and they will come" - cycling spreads through facilities but also word of mouth as people experience riding.
Network of cycle lanes needs to be extensive, taking people to places they want to go.
Good integration with public transport- racks on buses and streetcars.
Limit parking where projects are built, in order to buffer cycle lanes. But generally easier to reduce lane width of or remove travel lanes to facilitate installation of cycle lanes.
Early resistance was met, but over time more people grew to accept cycling in town - both increasing cyclist numbers and motorists' understanding of cyclists' using roads.
Bicycle boulevards - no cycle lanes, but low speed (30km) and low traffic volume (under 1000 vehicles) with preferential use for cyclists.
Increased walking and biking to school for children - eg. biking school bus, parents and children together on safe routes.
Economic benefits: Portland region averages 7km less driving per day per person saving $1.2 billion per year, leaving $800,000,000 spent in the local business community.
Copenhagen residents are saving 25c - $1 per kilometre cycled due to health benefits.
Portland has not relied exclusively on engineering - largely also education and encouragement through marketing cycling as a healthy cheap alternative. Make sure people riding have a pleasant experience when they ride.
You want to make it as easy as possible for people to just get on their bike, ie. mandatory helmet use could be prohibitive to this.
In NZ, a 5% shift of car to bicycle use in 7km or less would result in $200m savings and save 100 lives a year.
In relation to mortality increase in cycling (4-5) local air pollution reduction would reduce deaths by a similar amount, and 120 deaths through bad health due to inactivity (eg, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes).
Mental health benefits also to be taken into consideration - physical activity reduces depression and mental health.
Safety in numbers - eg Auckland has both lowest cyclist rate and highest injury rate, whereas Nelson has highest cycling rate and lowest injury rate.
Must not only encourage cycling, but also accompany this with increased infrastructure to facilitate increased cycling.
Vulnerable road user protection law - Careless use of a motor vehicle isn't picked up until after an accident, whereas dangerous activity (drunk driving, speeding) is often caught before an accident. Therefore it can be difficult to police this type of driving.
Reduction in perception of danger (ie increasing safety) is of primary importance in increasing cyclist numbers.
Source: Ideas for 26 February 2012
In Ideas today, we look at the economic and health benefits of creating cycle and walking friendly cities.