Why do you write against e-bikes/pedalecs? Surely they get some people cycling who otherwise wouldn’t? eBikes interest bicycle advocates who want bike transport to work for hill tops and outer suburbs—parts of their cities built after cars were invented. Our focus is urban development that is sufficiently compact and flat for 15kph to be the norm. This is the speed a bike moves with no more wattage than walking. Our design research shows average commute times of just 24minutes could be achieved in a city of six million people using this speed. The concern with speed of those living in car-land, that leads them to eBikes, must not steal our attention from the more significant challenge of densifying available flatlands nearer town centres. (Related blog post.)

Why do you advocate covered bike routes? The Dutch and the Danes seem happy with rain coats. Before machines began crashing into them, colonnades were a feature of old pedestrian cities. Motorised carriages and cars have always had roofs. No form of urban mobility has routinely been subjected to rain or harsh sun. There is no reason for cycling to be the exception. (Related blog post.)

What is your position on mandatory bicycle helmet laws. Bicycle helmets are for sportive and recreational cycling and for fast cycling in the car-centric outskirts of cities. Bicycle helmets are an irrelevance in the compact/slow urban spaces that we are concerned with as designers of the purpose built city for bikes. (Related blog post.)

Why do you oppose autonomous vehicles? Cars were sold to the public as being cleaner and safer to them than horses, but soon jaywalking laws were invented and speed limits in cities were raised. The wishes of the highest paying patrons of urban mobility won out over those of the poor. Since the relationship between money and power hasn’t changed, we must anticipate a time when the wishes of wealthy consumers of AV technology win out over those of more vulnerable (usually poorer) users of pubic space. Interrupting their ceaseless platoons by cycling or crossing the road will be illegal, and like putting your fingers into a fan. (Related blog post.)

2 Comments

  1. chris says:

    I liked the idea of bikeways beneath a covered archway, but when I suggested the idea to another person, they remarked that the cover would quickly cause the bikeway to turn into a homeless encampment. In my city (Portland), I’m afraid that he’s right. Obviously, if bike traffic was constant at all hours of the day, that might prevent this, but with our current modal share of 7 percent, a conflict of use would definitely develop.

    • Steven says:

      Great observation. Thanks! An alternative argument might be that thoroughfares are the best place for the homeless to stop. So let’s have the first covered bikeways leading to the door of the Capital Building in Washington.

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