I can hardly believe that another decade has now ended – how fast time passes. We are now in 2010 – the year of the Tiger (officially beginning on Chinese New Year – February 14th, 2010)
Tigers do not find worth in power or money. They will be completely honest about how they feel and expect the same of you. On the other hand, they seek approval from peers and family. Generally, because of their charming personalities Tigers are well liked. Often, failing at a given task or being unproductive in his personal or professional life can cause a Tiger to experience a depression. Criticism from loved ones can also generate this type of Tiger reaction. Still, like all felines, Tigers always land on their feet, ready for their next act in life, pursuing it with unyielding energy and hunting it infallibly.
2009 was a great year for raising cycling awareness around the world. A wave of enthusiasm toward cycling has materialized and several European cycling advocacy websites have gained much popularity as several countries look to the Netherlands and Denmark for guidance on improving the state of cycling at home.
Early in December we highlighted Mikael Colville-Andersen – the man behind Copenhagen Cycle Chic and Copenhagenize.com. I also wanted to point out one of my favourite cycling advocacy websites – David Hembrow’s “A View from the Cycle Path”. David illustrates how cycling can become the primary method of transportation with proper investments in bicycle infrastructure. Even on New Years Day, Mr. Hembrow was out on his bicycle in the snow in Assen, Netherlands where he lives.
Watch this great video by Michael Rubbo – with footage by videographer Violeta Brana-Lafourcade – entitled “Talking to David Hembrow”.
Some readers have perhaps been wondering why this website has been focusing so much on utility cycling lately. The answer is simply that I believe utility cycling is a simple way to substantially contribute to solving many world issues – including the following:
- Traffic congestion
- Unaffordable public transportation
- Carbon emissions
- Noise and air pollution
- Dwindling natural resources (+ war for those resources)
- Limited space
- Urban sprawl
- Increasing personal debt
Here are a few of the many accomplishments we have seen in 2009 with respect to utility cycling:
- Montreal launches BIXI bicycle sharing system (May 2009)
- London and Boston announce they have signed contracts with BIXI (Aug 2009)
- London boasts 6,000 bikes / 400 stations / 10,000 docking points
- Boston boasts 2,500 bikes / 290 stations / 3,750 docking points
- Toronto announces it will launch BIXI in spring 2010 (May 2009)
- Renown Australian documentary filmmaker Mike Rubbo starts cycling advocacy website “situp-cycle.com”
- San Francisco boasts a 53% increase in cycling ridership, six new bike lanes, over 50 new bike racks, their first separated bike lane on Market Street, and a green bike box on Scott St
- New York City sees an increase of 26% in commuter cycling in 2009, completes the last of 200 miles of bicycle routes to the on-street bicycle network (July 2009), and passes a law to allow bicycles to be carried in freight elevators
- Although Portland Oregon saw a decrease in cycling in 2009, they still managed during promote cycling as the better way during the “worst snowstorm in 20 years”
- Australian lawyer Sue Abbott fights the Australian government to rescind its helmet law through her website “Freedom Cyclist v Helmet Laws”
- A year after passing a helmet law for cyclists, Israel rescinded its helmet law for adults in cities
I only have one New Year’s resolution this year and it is to focus more on promoting cycling through articles, videos, and organized rides/events.
And my vision for 2010? I would like 2010 to be known as the “Year of the bicycle” – with a long list of accomplishments in utility cycling. Then again the following year, and again.. and again.
Happy New Year!
James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can view all of James’ articles here.
Photo courtesy of thirstycactus / Flickr