Author Topic: Bikenomics  (Read 921 times)

Wings5

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Bikenomics
« on: November 17, 2018, 10:41:39 AM »
Elly Blue has written an awesome manifesto for the broader impact bicycle transportation can have. I've been reading this book off and on for the last six months and finally finished it last night. It's definitely a must-read for anyone looking to increase bike accessibility in your local community. I found myself making plenty of notes in the margins; small practical tips for bike commuting abound.

There's very well-documented research and numbers in the book.

A few quotes or anecdotes:
•   Transportation costs for the average American are climbing higher, but nobody stops to do the math on what their driving choices cost them.
•   The working poor spend a higher percentage of their income on transportation, and vehicle ownership becomes a cyclical source of poverty for low wage earners.
•   “Many of the opportunities lost while sitting in a care are gained on a bike. Fitness, health, and pleasure. . .”
•   The United States has an epidemic of chronic disease related to lifestyle and environment, like depression, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
•   “Bicycle lanes and zoning practices are the antibiotics of the 21st century.”
•   Driving restrictions during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta reduced emergency room asthma visits by 41%.

That’s the general core of the book. The rest is jam-packed with facts about what works and what hasn’t worked well in getting people to use bikes as a full-up means of transportation. The author makes a few repeated comments about race and gender inequality, which ultimately may turn some folks off if you came purely for bikes, health, and economics.  Otherwise there are some great stories about the economic impact of adding bicycle parking and bicycle lanes to urban areas.
If you’re passionate about using a bicycle as a way to live better, reduce your environmental impact, and save a little more for the ‘stache, this is a fantastic book to read.

If you’re active in your local community’s civic affairs, this is a great starting point for your roadmap if you’re trying to get more support for bicycle friendly public works.

BobbyTables

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Re: Bikenomics
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 07:15:00 AM »
Could be interesting. Some of the writing on this subject might feel like preaching to the choir though if you' re already doing the bike thing. Do you feel this has any new information for those of us who have been doing this for a while? I'm maybe interested in getting a bit involved in bicycle infrastructure in my community though so could be good to do some reading. Anyway, my library has it so will check it out!

Wings5

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Re: Bikenomics
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2018, 11:51:40 PM »
In terms of getting cyclists cycling, yes, it's preaching to the choir. In terms of local bicycle infrastructure, it's packed full of good data. For example, the comparative cost of a parking space (close to $10,000) vs. a bicycle staple (less than $500) in an urban area full of restaurants and shops. Those types of things might help you at your next city council meeting.




Brokenreign

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Re: Bikenomics
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2018, 12:59:39 PM »
Thanks for the recommendation! I will also put it on hold at the library. I've always had an inkling that vehicle ownership is usually what keeps poor people poor in North America (they have a tiny savings margin to begin with, and the vehicle is a massive (usually optional) expense that more than eats that margin. I'd love to read further analysis as to why this is the case.

pecunia

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Re: Bikenomics
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2018, 08:50:02 PM »
Politics is the art of compromise.

In some of the places I've lived I used to bike to work, get my groceries and go on relatively long rides on weekends.

Well, I do like the convenience of the car.  As I have been working out of town and not biking, I'm sure I wouldn't be so keen on hills.  I haven't been biking and muscles have atrophied.

So,.........how about these electric bikes?  They have a good mileage range for local travel, do not take up the space of a car, have neither the economic or environmental costs of a car and offer the advantages of a pure bicycle.

Are these an acceptable alternative or are they anathema to many out there who are purists?

I've been considering this as an option when I pull the plug on the work thing.

Brokenreign

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Re: Bikenomics
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2018, 10:20:42 AM »
Politics is the art of compromise.

In some of the places I've lived I used to bike to work, get my groceries and go on relatively long rides on weekends.

Well, I do like the convenience of the car.  As I have been working out of town and not biking, I'm sure I wouldn't be so keen on hills.  I haven't been biking and muscles have atrophied.

So,.........how about these electric bikes?  They have a good mileage range for local travel, do not take up the space of a car, have neither the economic or environmental costs of a car and offer the advantages of a pure bicycle.

Are these an acceptable alternative or are they anathema to many out there who are purists?

I've been considering this as an option when I pull the plug on the work thing.

If I had a better storage solution I would 100% have an e-bike and that comes from someone that cycles almost everywhere. I think it would actually save me money as it would eliminate the cost of lazy days where I take transit or drive and the bike itself has virtually no operating cost and a small upfront investment (~500 CAD for a conversion kit). You can also fully weatherproof yourself as you don't have to worry about overheating and can carry a larger load without the incremental effort.

I think that e-bike hate is pure snobbery. It's an example of killing the good in pursuit of the perfect. Most of the people I see on e-bikes are new riders and they absolutely love them.

Sadly I live in an apartment with a shared bike room where the chance of theft is about 105%.