May 31, 2010

Happy Bicycle Month!

My bicycle.

A long way from bloomers and the Safety – Happy Bike Month!

While innovations of the last century have been remarkable, we often undermine our own human context.

From the way we develop our communities for the car, to the destructive byproducts of our consumer society, we have done ourselves a disservice.

Thankfully, we can look to the modern day Dandy Horse for salvation.

Little more than a century ago, pneumatic wheels and subtle innovations made rapid transit accessible to people without the means to feed and house livestock. Two wheels and no combustion is human scale and human speed. The Safety propelled the freedom and equality of women. The bicycle continues an ubiquitous, if subservient role in the transportation of goods and people throughout the world.

Yet the car continues to dominate despite the knowledge that we could all be SavedByBikes.com if we empower and create a safe infrastructure environment for cyclists.

Complete Streets describes a policy and planning methodology geared to making the largest public space, the street, safer for all users. Enrique Penalosa says:

“If streets were designed for children and the elderly, cities would be much better places to live.”

Complete Streets get bikes off of sidewalks, and in the case of NYC have resulted is less traffic congestion and improved traffic flow—while adding 200 miles of bike lanes.

Some might say that the innovation of the Electric Vehicle is an important solution to the problem of human transprotation. I have been part of high level dialogue about the emergence of Electric Vehicles as an alternative to our North American SUV habit. What I find frustrating is that EVs are being developed from a vernacular of Car.

Rather, should we be considering losing the memory of the car as we describe our ideal future and revert our thinking to the genesis of our greatest historic legacies of transportation, bikes and trains?

Spark your thinking on these issues by watching and sharing these videos.

If you haven’t heard Coco Love Alcorn before; or Enrique Penalosa describe how Complete Streets pave the infrastructure path to a pedestrian and bike friendly future, check the below. And for those interested in seeing the closing gap between an extreme human scale kinetic movement, Parkour, and stunt riding watch the inspiring vid, also below.

Happy Bike Month!

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