2014 is upon us and now is a good time to look back at some notable bike-related stories from 2013. Here's our top 10 based on what you told us you particularly liked and what we think is important:
1. The love story with Amsterdam continuesIt's hard to write about bike culture and not mention Amsterdam. In 2013, a few stories about the city of bikes caught our attention, from the New York Times claiming that there were 'too many bikes' in Amsterdam to a rebuttal straight from Amsterdam, to things you might see in Amsterdam (that Russian lady with the stove rocks!), but what got the most attention this year is no doubt this amazing video about the city:
2. Bike sharing is growing up in a big wayOne of the big stories this year was about how bike sharing growth has been accelerating, both in the U.S. and around the world, making this healthy and green system for getting around cities more popular than ever. Just look at this graph:
It shows how a tipping point was reached in 2005 with the launch of Velo'v and Vélib in France, and since then new systems have been popping up all over, and existing system have been adding bikes and stations. The road ahead looks good: Bike-sharing in the U.S. expected to reach 37,000 bikes in 2014 (4x more than in 2012!).
Lloyd has written a great post about how to make bike shares succeed.
3. Death-defying Norwegian cyclist rides down curvy mountain road... backwardsSometimes biking is serious, and sometimes it's not. Adrenaline junkies liked the stunt pulled by this nerves-of-steel Norwegian in this video.
4. Pushing for safer roads for everyone, including cyclistsWe've been crusading for years for improved safety on our roads so that everyone, including cyclists, can go where they're going without having to feel like second-class citizens and fear for their lives. One common sense way to help would be to make sideguards mandatory on all trucks, design trucks in such a way that drivers don't have a huge blind spot (either by making trucks physically different, putting cameras, whatever). That's a low-hanging fruit. We also need more bike lanes, especially physically separated ones. This has been shown to both increase the number of cyclists and reduce the number of injuries.
5. Electric bikes getting more exposureElectric bikes are the secret weapon that could help many non-cyclists to ride more if only they knew about them and gave them a try. Recent research on electric bikes has shown, among other things, that "55 percent of e-bikers rode their standard bike weekly or daily before the purchase. After the purchase, weekly or daily biking rose to 93 percent."
Electric bike critical mass is slowly happening, with e-bikes predicted to become a $11 billion industry by 2020. But we can do better. Spread the word!
6. Man with no arms fulfills dream of cycling thanks to custom built bikeCheck out the inspiring story of Michael Trimble, a 27-year-old from Pittsburgh who was born without arms and always wanted to ride a bike.
7. 45 large U.S. cities ranked by percentage of bicycle commutingA lot of people liked to see how their city ranks for bicycle commuting. This chart of 45 large US cities created by John MacArthur at the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) clearly shows just how much variation there is between the leaders and laggards. The glass half-full way of seeing this is that there's lots of opportunity still to improve the cities on the right.
8. Amazing cyclists showing off their skills with whatever they can findThis video shows the kind of amazing tricks that a pro can do on a bike. We find this a lot more impressive than most motor sports, and it's green and healthy too (as long as you don't break your neck)!
9. More than 50% of city freight could shift from truck to bikeThe European Union is running a three-year project (ending next year) to try to move cities' freight deliveries from heavy, road-ripping, and dangerous and polluting freight trucks to lower-impact cargo bikes and delivery trikes. And the data coming in from 322 European cities seems to indicate that at least half of freight deliveries could be transferred to bike delivery!
10. You've seen Amsterdam and Copenhagen, now check out GroningenMost bike enthusiasts around the world know about Copenhagen and Amsterdam, but few know Groningen. That's too bad, because the city has a lot to teach us. Check out the video above, it's amazing!
Happy new year!