Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Promoting "City Cycling" by John Pucher


John Pucher has been something of a hero of mine since I saw a video several years ago of him speaking at a conference.  So I was excited to see this new book from Pucher and Ralph Buehler laying out the arguments for a stronger cycling and pedestrian friendly infrastructure in our country.

Below is a good video of a typical talk given by Pucher on the merits of cycling and a mini review of the new book, City Cycling.



Cycling advocates pushing for better bicycling infrastructure on streets around the world are accustomed to meeting with skeptical audiences. They will find a lot of ammunition here, much of it gleaned from studies of nations such as Germany and the Netherlands, where cycling is a routine part of daily life. Divided into chapters on subjects such as health benefits, safety, bikesharing systems around the world, cycling for women, and cycling for kids, the book marshals an impressive and fascinating assortment of facts, figures, trends, charts, and diagrams.
For instance:
  • Biking could help you live longer, despite perceived safety risks. One study of cycling in the Netherlands found that people taking up biking as their primary travel mode "gained nine times more years of life than they lost as a result of increased inhaled air pollution and traffic injuries."
  • Women are more likely than men to express concern about the risk of cycling, although they may actually be at lower risk from injury.
  • Biking for transportation isn’t just for people who can’t afford to drive. "Cycling can thrive in countries with high levels of income and car ownership….[T]he bike share of daily trips is 26 percent in the Netherlands, 18 percent in Denmark, 10 percent in Germany, and 9 percent in Sweden and Finland, all of which are affluent countries."
  • Several studies show that young people who ride bikes to school have better cardiovascular fitness than those who don’t. Plus, kids like bikes. In one Australian survey, 81 percent of students said that cycling was their favorite method of getting to school.
  • Biking isn’t just for younger people. In the Netherlands, 23 percent of trips by people 65 and older are by bike. In the U.S., that number is less than 1 percent.

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