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Advanced bike societies

Here in San Francisco, there's a lot of love for Copenhagen and Amsterdam as bike-friendly cities. It's not just about infrastructure, though that certainly helps, but a culture of cycling as normal, convenient, and accessible to people of all ages.

Let's feast our eyes on what an advanced bike society looks like:

Parking your bike in Amsterdam. // Source: Kristin Walsh

Parking your bike in Amsterdam. // Source: Kristin Walsh

Fishing bikes out of the canals. // Source: Pien Huang

Fishing bikes out of the canals. // Source: Pien Huang

So, it seems that even the "ideal" could use some work. Some of these issues include:

1. Not enough bike parking/storage

Cities have a finite land area, and bikes take up a certain amount of space. (By the way, it's about your sphere of mobility, i.e., where people live, work, and where they need to go. It doesn't make sense to include open space preserves as part of this land area if there are relatively few bike trips originating and ending here.) Increase per capita bike ownership at the same time that you have finite land area, and the math doesn't add up. So either shrink the bike size (foldable bikes?) or increase surface area for bike storage (stackable bike storage?)

Bicycle racks in Seoul, Korea. // Source: Deland Chan

Bicycle racks in Seoul, Korea. // Source: Deland Chan

2) People abandon bikes (e.g., just throwing them in the canal)

Make it easy to safely and responsibly dispose of your bike. Create special designated zones for bike disposal and make it as easy as possible-- i.e., a neighborhood spot for central collection. I'm not sure what to do about hooligans who chuck bikes into the canals for fun.

 

3. People abandon bikes by accident (e.g., I locked my bike somewhere, went on vacation, forgot where I parked it)

Incentivize bike registration, which includes GPS marker similar to "Find Your iPhone" feature. Things to consider: consent, privacy, tracking, etc.

 

Is there such a thing as being too successful at being bike-friendly?