– Esther Anaya-Boig, Doctoral researcher at Imperial College London
I have just returned from the latest Velo-city Global Cycling Summit organized this year in Arnhem-Nijmegen, The Netherlands. The best part of the conference experience for me was that it gave me an opportunity to catch up with so many old friends and making new ones who share my deep interest in cycling as a mobility form and as a social act.
I appreciate the hard work and good intentions of the many many people who have contributed and made this event possible. However upon considerable reflection on what I saw and heard during the three days of the conference and associated events, I would now like to share some views and reactions, with all due respect of course.
Rikshawala from Kathmandu, Nepal: तैयारी जीवन बचाउँछ (“Preparedness saves lives”)
What you are looking at here is nothing less than a lesson in: (1) Mobility (2) Affordability. (3) Zero carbon (4) Clean. (5) Quiet, (6) Space-efficient. (7) A job. (8) Income. (9) Family. And (10) A life.
Paul DeMaio started The Bike-sharing World Map in 2007 to be the one-stop source for information about the global growth of bike-share services. The Bike-sharing World Map now shares information over 500 bike-share services including the services’ website, fleet and station size, and launch date.
A quick prevue: 2016 ended with a world-wide fleet of approximately 2,000,000 public use bicycles in automated and/or information technology controlled systems in approximately 1,175 cities, municipalities or district jurisdictions in 63 countries. The following online map is searchable for details on all indicated cities and operations.
Surprising though it may seem to some, the humble bicycle has a turnkey role in 21st century cities, large or small, North or South, rich or poor. Getting city cycling right is a matter of high priority when it comes both to local and planetary environmental impacts, solid economics, affordability, fossil fuel and resource savings, public health, equity, democracy and quality of life. For all of those of our cities around the world who have over the last decades bought into the car plus speed plus distance plus lost time lifestyle without giving it much thought, getting this transition right is a significant technical, social and political challenge.
To build on our recent Op-ed “Time for more Strategic Citizen Impatience for a Bicycle Master Plan for Penang” ay, let me try to be a bit more concrete with a quick brainstorm note for critical discussion. Bear with me please.
Penang has waited long enough, too long I would say, to have a real cycling program, which starts on and will transform the streets to ensure safe and abundant cycling for all ages. As far as I can see (I hope I am wrong) the State government of has not announced strategic program for a cycling renaissance: no comprehensive audit, no specific commitment, no explicit goals, no announced global budget, no open working group, and no timetable or metrics again which success or failure could be judged. Yes, you have some activities and improvements going on here and there– but these are fragmented and there is no overarching MASTER PLAN FOR CYCLING IN PENANG.
* Eric Britton: Notes from a group discussion on the Sustainable Penang WhatsApp forum of the lack of a structured bicycle plan for Penang, 17 Feb. 2017