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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.

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



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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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.


It’s a bit long, but worth watching if you want to imagine what Hong Kong streets could be like..!

Rethinking the Automobile (with Mark Gorton) on Vimeo

There’s a great article in the Sydney Morning Herald on what makes cyclists angry on the roads.. it applies very well to our roads in Hong Kong… so, Why are cyclists angry?.

The secret to life…

March 1st, 2012 | Posted by Nick Andrew in fun | general cycling - (0 Comments)

from the Bikeyface blog