Making building codes more bicycle friendly

Green building certification instruments, take no real account of associated energy used bringing people to and from buildings. Buildings that are out of reach of bike paths or public transport, still get their LEED certification if they are in the US, or their 6-Green-Stars if they are in Australia, and very few thinking observer (perhaps only the cyclists) ever object. Consequently, the provision of meagre, uninviting, and non-functional bicycle parking, for a mere slither of those buildings’ users, is sufficient to earn all the LEED or Green-Star points a building can possibly earn. There’s no incentive to do more than the bare minimum.

Addiction breeds blind spots. Look at addicts of any sort. Ours is a society that is addicted to cars. Blind spots aren’t even worth pointing out.

So if ever bike-friendliness is to be mandated in building codes, in a meaningful way, I don’t think it will be as an attack upon car use, for the sake of the planet. If any argument is likely to get a hearing, it is the one that says cycling saves lives, and lessens the burden on hospitals. Minimum height ceilings, measures to control dampness, access to daylight and air: all these were forced into building codes as part of a long and strong tradition of tightening standards, for the betterment of our health and longevity. Somewhere, someday, the case might be made that cycling extends life, as surely as coving tiles in commercial kitchens. Buildings codes covering those, aren’t geared at making cleaning possible, for cleaning zealots. Commercial kitchens must be designed to encourage cleaning. Building codes designed to encourage people to cycle, and not just make cycling theoretically possible, for the bike zealot, would be good for national health. Such buildings would lessen the burden that sedentary lifestyles place on our hospitals, in precisely the same way that building laws applying to kitchens in restaurants, prevent millions of people being treated each year with food poisoning.

6 Comments

  1. Mr. S. says:

    Of course there’s always the situation where the building has a shower for staff, but it is used for storage and there’s no why to get the administration to fix this, because they’re obese ‘cagers’, and just don’t get it or care. I can’t be the only person this has happened to THREE times, but Toronto suburban principals are a spectacularly narrow-minded lot. This spiced up by one principal who went ballistic because I contacted the board to see what the correct disposition of facilities was, without naming her, going above her head or the like: proving she’s not fit for the job, which I knew, and that people at the board can’t be trusted, which I knew. Thank god for unions.

  2. tk says:

    in a similar way that we overtook the photocopy room (which houses a floating population of between 1 and 10 bikes) we also got our facilities guy to put a shower in the disabled toilet. this of course has the consequence of making the toilet all wet, but given as there are exactly zero disabled people, and about 20 cyclists (the rest park on the dodgy uncovered and unsupervised rack downstairs), no-one has kicked up a fuss so far.

    i also had a look at SG’s “green building code”. developers get one (1) point for providing “adequate cycle parking” and one (1) point for having “good access to bus or train stations”. hmmm.

    • Steven says:

      As far as I am aware, only Holland has bike storage rooms mandated in building codes. I think that’s the way forward.
      20 cyclists out of how many commuters all up?

  3. tk says:

    9 buildings, each hold 300-500?

    5 bike racks scattered amongst them, each holding 10-15 bikes.

    plus our bike room.

    they have removed the shuttle buses at lunchtime, expecting people to use the newly opened train line – but it’s a 10 minute walk down at SG walking pace.

    i’m hoping to be part of a bike share scheme, coming soon. isuda.org
    more news anon.

  4. Steven says:

    I just looked up isuda.org, and came across this:

    • tk says:

      yeah i might get on board as an investor / partner. still trying to convince the guy that bike share is not profitable unless the guvmint gives us lots of filthy lucre, and won’t punish us when some geeben falls under a truck. (the 2 bus and train companies were just fined by the PT council – get this – $300 and $700, for not getting >85% of their services out on time. these are companies that turn 15 million dollar profits haha)

      But, he is singaporean, so if anyone can convince people to spend money on something that should be free i’m sure he’ll manage.

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