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On Strategy

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Chris Chan

on 4 October 2013

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Transcript of On Strategy

On Strategy

More people cycling
Why do we believe that more people cycling is a good thing?
When is cycling better than driving?
Or walking, or transit?

Only when it's better.
10% of metro Edmonton cycling is 100,000 people. CANBIKE 2 certification for all of them would require 2 million student hours.
Education and safety focuses lead us to blame the individual and forget the systems that encourage undesirable decisions.
The right stuff
Not all infrastructure will be suitable for all riders.
North America, Europe: it works. It's safer, better connected, and effectively encourages more cyclists than individually-oriented actions.

Even basic, unprotected bike lanes reduce injuries by up to half while encouraging more cyclists.

Maybe asking for infrastructure wasn't feasible 10 years ago. But now: it's strategic.
Edmonton Bicycle Commuters' Society
Net positive impact
Getting more people cycling is about efficiently using limited resources to improve individual lives and benefit society.

Making cycling intimidating doesn't improve individual or societal outcomes.
Take the easy road
Attempting to reform individual choices (helmets, behaviour) is not scalable.

Changing behaviour through design is much more achievable.
Canbike is right.
Canbike is wrong.
Cycling starts out fun and easy. Then we make it scary, dangerous, slow, challenging, sweaty and uncomfortable.
Car driving is fun and easy.

This is not an behavioural problem: it's a design problem.
Not for me.
Dedicated cycling infrastructure isn't targeted at fearless vehicular cyclists.

But it's still nice.
Not everything to everyone.
Can't build cycle tracks everywhere. Diverse solutions work for different types of cyclists, but not all at once.

And that's okay.
It's not about bikes.
It's about the people using the streets and their daily lives. Most of them don't ride bikes daily.

Don't tell non-cyclists
all about your bike.
more congestion
more expensive
worse public health outcomes
more pollution
bad for business
What happened?
We can teach people to ride on roads designed for cars. This is hard.
We can design roads to include bikes. This is less hard.
We can get the school system to teach people to ride on roads of all designs. This is hard.
Is it safe? Is it possible?
I wish
as much time
was spent
teaching people
to inflate their tires
to adjust their saddles
and maybe even
how to shift
to an easier gear
was spent
on helmets.
extend life-minutes by an average of 0.9 minutes per hour of riding with a helmet
may reduce severity of injuries in low-speed falls
reduces impact from a free-fall drop of 1.2m (17.7 km/hr) to under 300g
Acceleration limited to 2943 m/s^2 from a 17.7km/hr impact
financial: helmets range from $20-$200 at MEC; bikes range from $20-$200 at EBC
discomfort & inconvenience
social & health: discourage people from cycling
1 hour of cycling: +63 life-minutes
1 hour of driving: -2.6 life-minutes
1 hour of cycling without helmet: -0.9 minutes

73 existing helmetless cyclists convinced to wear a helmet for 1 hour:
+65.7 life-minutes

1 potential cyclist deterred from riding instead of driving for 1 hour because of helmet scare:
-65.6 life-minutes
Rivara, Thompson, Thompson (1997):

Results: Risk for serious injury was not affected by helmet use.

Conclusions: Prevention of serious bicycle injuries cannot be accomplished through helmet use alone, and may require separation of cyclists from motor vehicles, and delaying cycling until children are developmentally ready.
Thompson, Rivara & Thompson (1989):

We conclude that bicycle safety helmets are highly effective in preventing head injury. Helmets are particularly important for children, since they suffer the majority of head injuries from bicycling accidents.
It's a no-brainer.
Health and safety are not the same thing: we are safest if we never get out of bed in the morning.
2/3 of the 1.2 million people killed annually in road traffic crashes worldwide are pedestrians, and most of those due to traumatic brain injury.
reduce congestion
cheaper infrastructure
better public health outcomes
less noise & air pollution
economic boost
A Cost-Benefit Analysis of B.C.’s Bicycle Helmet Law. Richard Johns. Velocity Global 2012

Epidemiology of bicycle injuries and risk factors for serious injury. Rivara, Thompson, Thompson. Injury Prevention, 1997.

SENSELESS. Bicycling Magazine, 2013.

Pedestrian safety through vehicle design.
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