How to make a city more rideable on a bike?

In 2019, the European Platform for Renewable Urban Mobility Planning published a study on reasons why people use their bike in the city and factors that foster the use of one. The data obtained comes from all over Europe: Copenhagen (Danemark), Malmö (Sweden), the UK, the Netherlands...

In a first survey, we noticed that Copenhagen inhabitants bike mostly because it's the fastest (53%) or the easiest (50%), in a city as well equipped as the Danish capital, it's easy to understand. Almost 40% of questioned people bike in order to keep themselves in shape. Surprisingly, less than 10% of surveyed people bike with the environnement in mind.

In a second study, Malmö's inhabitants, in Sweden, were questioned on the mean of transport used in regard to the distance to make. In almost one in fourth cases, as soon as the distance is between 600 m and 5 km, the ride is done on a bike. For shorter distances (less than 5 km) the car is still an option for some people, so there's still a improvement to make here.

Regarding infrastructures that foster the use of bikes in the city, the body that conducted the study gives some good advice to ease the life of cyclists.

In Holland for instance, they design their bike paths on the principle of directness, coherence, safety, comfort and attractiveness. Thus, if cyclist find themselves among motorized trafic, the latter should not exceed 30 km/h, the flow should be relatively low and vehicules present have to be lightweight (no trucks). In the case of a more dense or faster trafic, there needs to be a physical separation between cyclists and vehicules, whitout forgetting safe intersections. The increasing number of cyclist should also be taken into consideration while designing roads.

The level of stress created while riding bikes plays an important role in their use in the city. It can be distinguished in 4 categories: those who will never ever take a bike (33%), those interested but concerned (60%, namely parents that ride with their kids, who need confidence), confident enthusiasts (7%) and the strong and fearless (<1%). The majority of the population being in the "interested but concerned" category, they need to be taken into account while building infrastructures.

Education to safety is also important to have good cohabitation, not only between cyclists and other vehicules but also between cyclists themselves. To do so, workshops can be organized to spread awareness on the hazards and good practices to adopt while riding a bike. They are namely done in schools, to teach young cyclists; they are also done by police officers, on bikes of course.

If you ride on an E bike, a cargo or on a "classic" bike, bike mobility has bright days to come!

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