Biking Boris Battles Death (Unknowingly) and Other City Cycling Tidbits
This video gem shows London's biking Mayor Boris Johnson in a close shave with a "lorry" gone amuck.
When you watch this video at first you can't believe the careening truck driver doesn't slow down for the cyclists ahead of him. His back doors pop open (the doors were held closed with a clothes' hanger, according to this report) catching and dragging a mid-sized car and flinging it into the cyclists' paths; subsequently you can't believe none of the pack of bikers, which included London's Mayor Boris Johnson, got injured! Out on a ride to find new bike paths in the streets of London, Johnson got a bit more than he bargained for. Slow down, you move too fast
But Johnson is not the only mayor that needs to get out on the bike and plot new paths through their cities: last week at Europe's Velo-City conference in Brussels, 27 European cities signed a non-binding agreement to boost biking to 15 percent of all city trips - the current average is around 5 percent.
Here's Eamon Ryan explaining how Dublin should bike more.
One of the easiest ways to get more bikers in the streets is to tame the other vehicular traffic. At least that is Dublin's strategy. Irish Energy Minister Eamon Ryan has floated a valiant plan to slow inner city car traffic in Dublin to 30 kilometers per hour. Ryan yesterday held a rolling press conference in Ireland's capital city in which he and other officials, like Boris Johnson, got on their own two-wheelers to point out for the press places where the Dublin bike infrastructure works, and lots of places where it doesn't.
In addition to the traffic calming to 30 kph, Dublin by the end of the summer is on track to have its own Vélib-like bike sharing scheme, courtesy of JCDecaux. Dublin's system will have only a fraction of the number of bikes in Paris, which could doom it - just 400 bikes will first grace the streets, while Paris started with over 10,000!
In addition, Dublin plans to turn a few streets into one-way paths for bike traffic. Finally, since the turn of the year Dublin has had a bike scheme that allows employers to either give employees or lend them tax-free up to 1,000 Euros towards the purchase of a bike. That's a bit more generous than the U.S. scheme - though once you have a bike the extra $20 a month is definitely nice!
But what of London and the mayor's brush with terror? Well, Johnson had already planned to invest over 100 million British pounds in cycling initiatives, including about a dozen of what he calls "Cycle Super Highways" on some major London roads, in order increase cycling by 40,000 trips daily. Currently 545,000 trips are made by bike each day in the UK capital, that's nearly a ten percent increase over the past year's totals. At the unveiling of his bike plans today in London, Johnson also said he plans to add over 60,000 bike parking spaces in the next few years.
Oh yeah, and that lorry driver? He was issued two tickets.
Read more about bike commuting at TreeHugger:
Montreal Wants Paris-Style Bike Sharing
Bike Sharing Coming to Australia. Soon and Later
Toronto May Get Bike Sharing - Again
Rio de Janeiro's Bike Sharing System, Appropriately Called Samba