October 26, 2007

Get on the Bike Bus!

Category: Cycling , Society , Transit


In Sydney, Australia multiple groups of commuter bicyclists have gotten organized and adopted routes with scheduled stops calling themselves a "bike bus".

The brilliance is the purposeful combination of the age-old tactic of safety in numbers, social interaction, and scheduled stops along the routes to include others in the pack of riders. After about a year of group rides the number of riders in each group or “bus” has significantly grown. Perhaps it can be said that timid riders are encouraged to commute on bicycles when they can cluster with lead riders who provide confident leadership within the flow of car traffic?

In Amsterdam and San Francisco groups of bike riders organically form as they wait at some of the more busy traffic signals. The riders that travel along the main arteries of bicycle traffic in these cities seem to automatically form packs as they navigate around the cities’ centers. In Bolder, Colorado certain high-traffic intersections have underpasses that allow riders to quickly and safely bypass automobile traffic at these locations. Boulder cycling enthusiasts like Alfred Sawatzky have been inspired to brilliantly post interactive Boulder cycling maps that can be used to choose the shortest bicycle path to an intended destination.

Posted by Tom Deem at October 26, 2007 11:00 AM


The Boulder maps seem rather low-tech. Every city needs something like this: http://kevytliikenne.ytv.fi/?lang=en

Posted by: Antti Rasinen at November 13, 2007 9:01 AM

It sounds like a really good idea, especially for less confident riders. Mind you, safety in numbers could also mean danger in numbers. I suppose the other problem is that cyclists will tend to be going from different places to different places which may explain why the bike bus is so small.

Posted by: Patrick Crozier at November 15, 2007 3:27 AM

New York City has a nice map that someone has made using google.

Posted by: Ethan Arpi at December 4, 2007 12:42 PM

A few ideas on how to seek Economic Sustainability

1) Individual consumers need to consciously consume less of whatever it is that they consume. The government or NGOs should incentivate families to benchmark their current levels of consumption on various fronts, then reduce them. Consuming fewer air-miles each successive year should be high on our list of priorities, considering their huge addition to our individual carbon footprint. (As a cheap and effective alternative to flying, we may consider video-conferencing.)

2) Advertising aimed at making people buy more should be tapered off. Only adverts giving information should be allowed.

3) Roadside advertising hoardings should be reduced by 50%, and they should not be illuminated, as they use up precious energy for a relatively non-productive purpose.

4) Stop adding power generation capacities, whether thermal or otherwise. Freeze them at existing capacities and merely replace thermal capacities with wind-energy and solar generation capacities.

5) Stop registering new private vehicles. NGOs or government should incentivate people to give up private transport (for instance by giving them free passes on public transport with 10-year validity.) Encourage biking and hiking by enhancing roadsides for their use.

6) Each year, taper off the numbers of private transport wheels by 10% or more, and enhance the capacity of public transport by 20%. This will result in a net improvement in the quality of transportation and reduced congestion each year.

7) Enforce a one-child policy with both carrot and stick. This means that within the span of 60-70 years, population would go down by about 50%.

8) Build infrastructure for localised means of recreation such as playgrounds and stadiums, both indoor and outdoor. Encourage greater participation in physical and mental sporting activities by organizing competitions etc.

8) Civic and governmental efforts to improve quality of life are crucial to wean off people from the rat-race.

PS: This is not saying that we shall have no more problems, and shall live happily ever after. Every situation and every lifestyle inevitably has its own set of problems... and we shall have to be alert and aware to deal with them as they arise.


Posted by: Krishnaraj Rao at January 16, 2008 3:01 AM

Australia also has the walking school bus.
On the way to primary school and pre prep. All the little kids join the bus as it goes through the nieghbourhood with an adult as 'the driver' and another adult up the 'back of the bus'.
That way the kids all get a long walk at least twice a day, they are all safe and supervised and they all get to socialise and get to school on time.

Posted by: simon seasons at April 30, 2008 4:08 PM

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