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The following is reproduced from a great article on the European Cyclists’ Federation website.

Many cyclists already know they are faster than cars, particularly in peak hour traffic. Yet even cyclists may be surprised at how much time bicycles can save in any city when all time costs are considered. Dr. Paul Tranter, who has written a chapter in the upcoming “City Cycling” book, tells us why.

You may already know it, but in most cities throughout the world, cycling is a “faster” mode of transportation than the car. But for those that still aren’t convinced, it’s time to learn about “effective speed”.

“Effective speed is calculated using the standard formula: speed equals distance divided by time. Time here includes not only the time spent moving; it also includes the time devoted to enabling the movement to occur,” explains Dr. Paul Tranter, a geography Professor at the University of New South Wales, and an author from the upcoming City Cycling book.

“For car drivers, a significant (and usually ignored) time cost is the time spent at work to earn the money to pay for all the expenses associated with the mode of transport.”

And he’s right. All too often, car drivers rarely consider the total time devoted to their machines. If you’re not convinced, here’s a little anecdote that Tranter tells to make to change your mind:

Imagine that you live in a village in the 1800s and that your job each day is to collect water from a nearby stream. This task takes you an hour each day. To “save time,” you construct a machine consisting of a system of pulleys, cables, levers, and springs to collect the water for you. With this machine, simply by pulling a lever, you can send your bucket to the stream and have it returned full of water. You appear to have saved yourself an hour each day. However, to get the machine to work, you must spend an hour each day winding up the spring that powers the machine. Should you consider this time in any decision about the effectiveness of the machine?

“Many motorists—and city governments—seem to ignore this time spent earning money to pay for the transportation costs, that is, the time spent winding up the spring,” explains Tranter.

We shouldn’t forget this concept of effective speed is nothing new. Ivan Ilich, in his 1974 book “Energy and Equity” outlined it perfectly:

“The typical American male devotes more than 1,600 hours a year to his car. He sits in it while it goes and while it stands idling. He spends four of his sixteen waking hours on the road or gathering his resources for it. … The model American puts in 1,600 hours to get 7,500 miles: less than five miles per hour.”

How fast is your city?

Tranter, in the upcoming “City Cycling” book, has gone to the trouble to finding just how fast cars really by crunching data on income and travel times. The results almost beggar belief.

Effective speeds for car speeds varied from 18.3 km/h in Canberra, Australia, to a mere 3 km/h in Nairobi. When the external costs are taken into account, the effective speeds for car drivers range from a high of 15.9 km/h (Canberra) to a low of 2.2 km/h (Nairobi).

“We then used these estimates to calculate how slow cyclists could cycle and still be effectively faster than a car. When both direct and indirect costs are considered, cyclists in Canberra would need to average only 18.3 km/h to be faster than a car driver. In New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Hamburg, cyclists would not need to travel faster than 13 km/h to be faster than a car,” says Tranter, before adding:

“To be effectively faster than the number-one-selling car in Australia, a cyclist in Canberra would need to cycle at only 12.7 km/h. In all other Australian cities, the cyclists could travel slower than this, and still be faster than the top-selling car.”

So what does this mean for governments?

If city governments wish to invest wisely in transportation, they need to understand that increasing the average trip speeds of private motor vehicles doesn’t actually save time. This argument applies to any city in the world.

“Those cities that invest most effectively in cycling infrastructure will find that their cities become the fastest cities in the world,” says Tranter.

Thankfully, when we’re on a bicycle we don’t always have to rush. Taking it slowly is part of the fun. But we can still feel smug as cars go past knowing who’s really the fasted.

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If the Government were to treat the roads in the same way as they treat  the cycle paths, what problems would drivers experience that cyclists see?

We don’t have the same number of cycle lanes/paths as in the UK, so in some ways it would be nice to have these problems to deal with, but it does clearly show that cycle lanes and paths need to be well designed to be useful to cyclists.

This is extracted from a post on the London Cycling Campaign blog



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Who hears more of the traffic buzz – a driver using his in-car music system or a bike rider using an iPod and earphones?  Cyclists are often criticised for listening to music as they ride.  It turns out that they likely hear much more of the road environment than a car driver does, even when that driver has no music playing.

It does depend on what kind of earphones you use, and of course the music volume.

But a driver who has the stereo playing certainly hears less of what’s going on than any cyclist listening to music.  (And of course, not mentioned in this research, is that the driver also sees less, because of his vehicle blind spots.)

RideOn, “Australia’s most widely-read bike magazine”, did the research.

 

 

 

 

 

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運輸署剛剛發佈了新一段「單車安全」短片。此14分鐘短片將在各學校及警署、車輛牌照事務處等政府場地巡迴播放。

網上版本共分為6段:裝備、騎單車基本技巧、實戰篇–單車徑上、實戰篇–馬路上、駕駛者須知、行人須知。

訴說本同盟會對影片意見之前,何不由你來評論?

Chinese version

The Transport Department has just released a new ‘Cycling Safety’ video.  It’s 14 minutes long and will be shown in schools and at government offices open to the public, such as vehicle licensing centres and police stations.

This online version is split into six sections: Equipment, Basic Skills, Riding on Cycle Tracks, Riding on the Road, For Motorists and For Pedestrians.

Rather than telling you what we think of it, immediately, why not take a look and tell us your view?

English version

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Exhaust fumes are twice as deadly as roads, study claims – Telegraph.

In a study reviewing pollution and causes of death in the UK, they have found that more people die as a result of pollution than die on the roads:

More than 5,000 people die prematurely from conditions like lung cancer and heart disease because of emissions, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Exhaust from aeroplanes cause a further 2,000 deaths annually while emissions from the energy and industrial sectors and pollution originating from Europe bring the overall total up to 19,000 deaths per year in Britain.

In contrast official figures state that 1,850 people were killed as a result of road accidents in 2010.

研究顯示:汽車廢氣較馬路致命兩倍 –《每日電訊報》

一個有關英國空氣污染的研究發現,空氣污染物較馬路更危險更致命。

麻省理工表示,超過5000人因為空氣污染引發的肺癌、心臟病等而提早死亡。

 

除了路面廢氣,飛機廢氣每年亦造成2000人死亡,而來自歐洲的能源及工業則進一步將英國每年死亡總數提升至19000人。

 

相較之下,官方數字表示2010年全年交通意外的死亡人數是1850人。

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After being hit by a taxi, Anthony has been discussing with Transport Department about installing an Advanced Stop box for cyclists on southbound Waterloo Road at the junction with Wylie Road.

Advanced Stop Lines/Boxes are used around the world, giving cyclists a safe and visible place to stop and wait at traffic lights, whilst having a minimal effect on space for cars and other vehicles. ASL’s have made a large impact in London in particular where they are installed in large numbers. It is time for Hong Kong to embrace the bicycle as a feasible mode of transport and enable it with simple measures like these.

The proposed stop box is in the centre of the photo on the left, between the two drains, taking up no existing traffic waiting space whilst enabling cyclists to wait for the traffic lights in safety.

曾經被的士撞過後,Anthony一直與運輸署溝通,討論在窩打老道南端與衛理道交界設置進階停車區。
縱觀全球,停車線/區一般提供安全並清晰的地點,供單車人士停車等候交通燈,而盡量避免影響其他汽車。設置大量停車線,對倫敦帶來重大改變。簡單的裝置使單車更能發揮其代步功用,香港也是時候想一想了。

在相片中,提議的停車區位於兩個水渠蓋之間,中間偏左的地方,容許單車人士安全地等候轉燈之際卻不需侵佔現有交通空位,何樂而不為?

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a new advert in Ireland reminding car drivers to watch out for vulnerable road users….

 

Vulnerable Road users English on Vimeo.

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interesting debunking of the 10 biggest questions people have about cycling… 10 common questions.

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Another new study out again finds that mandatory helmet use has a negative impact on public health. We are lucky that common sense has won on this subject, but I hope that other countries around the world will be able to question again their own mandatory helmet laws and fully understand the consequences.

This article seeks to answer the question whether mandatory bicycle helmet laws deliver a net societal health benefit. The question is addressed using a simple model. The model recognizes a single health benefit—reduced head injuries—and a single health cost—increased morbidity due to foregone exercise from reduced cycling. Using estimates suggested in the literature on the effectiveness of helmets, the health benefits of cycling, head injury rates, and reductions in cycling leads to the following conclusions. In jurisdictions where cycling is safe, a helmet law is likely to have a large unintended negative health impact. In jurisdictions where cycling is relatively unsafe, helmets will do little to make it safer and a helmet law, under relatively extreme assumptions, may make a small positive contribution to net societal health. The model serves to focus the mandatory bicycle helmet law debate on overall health.

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Extracted from the excellent Streetsblog website.

Next time you’re just minding your own business, riding your bike, and someone drives by and shouts something at you, perhaps the best reply is to smile, wave, and say “you’re welcome.”

As Jay Walljasper at Shareable Cities reminds us today, more bicycling is good news for everyone — not just cyclists:

Even if you will never ride a bike in your life, you still see benefits from increased levels of biking. More bicyclists mean less congestion in the streets and less need for expensive road projects that divert government money from other important problems. Off-road paths, bike lanes, sidewalks and other bike and ped improvements cost a fraction of what it takes to widen streets and highways. It’s proven that bicycling and walking increase people’s health and reduce obesity, which will translate into huge cost savings for government and a boost for our economy.

Policies that are good for bicyclists actually benefit everyone on the streets. Good conditions for bicycling also create good conditions for pedestrians. And what makes the streets safer for bikes, also makes them safer for motorists.

Higher gas prices (which have topped four bucks for the third time in four years) means more Americans are looking for other ways to get around. Bikes offer people more choices in transportation. This is especially true for people whose communities are not well served by mass transportation or where distances are too far to walk to work or shopping.

Kinda ironic that these are the activities that get targeted as “money wasters” by most governments around the world.

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