17 april 2012

Century of Cycling

The century of automobiles has past, we are entering a century of bicycling! The 21st century is all about walking, cycling, health and the environment! I guess in Europe we take bike lanes and good public transport a bit for granted. However, living in Perth has taught me the value of being able to bike safely, actual existing pedestrian paths and freedom to move around... Tonight Linda and I were walking to the bus stop when the path just suddenly ends. Leads out onto the road. There is no were to cross though, so either you venture out on the street or you walk through 30 metres of sand and bush, which you really don't want to do in the dark. Then again, not really in the day either. It's shit. It's a city made for cars. It's noisy and polluted and unsafe. 

A lot of research all point towards the same thing: Australia and America have the highest rates of obesity. 64 % are considered overweight and if it keeps going in this rate, every single on in America is going to be overweight. It's a shocking problem. Diabetes, heart disease and depression are all increasing issues in these countries and they are increasingly beginning to be related to our car-based society. We are no longer getting that passive exercise from walking and cycling because we're taking the car everywhere. The more we use our cars the bigger the roads and freeways leading to more noise pollution leading to head aches and stress and so on. It's time for change. It's time to prioritise humans.

New York is one of the cities in the world reclaiming the streets.
From this article
Madison Square
Bogota has done amazing work to promote cycling and public transport. Where the minority wanted bigger roads and more freeways Mayor Penalosa decided to create a city for everyone. A city that did not increase the already big social differences. The Bogota bike path system is impressive to say the least. In areas where they barely have housing at least they have high quality walk and bike paths contributing to a healthier and safer environment. The paths join up schools and playgrounds with work and home making it easier for families and providing work opportunities. It has been a great success!

In Seoul a massive freeway was removed to bring back the buried river and create a beautiful public space.

Copenhagen has gone so far as to, not only have a successful bike sharing system, but to make cycling fashionable. They have taken help from fashion bloggers and really promoted cycling as healthy, environmentally friendly and cool. The Copenhagen Wheel:
helps you to peddle in heavier sections and it records the air quality of your route, downloadable to your iPhone or computer you can see which sections of the city you should avoid and which sections have the best quality of air (least polluted).

There is hope.

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