26 February 2010

Beauty and the Bike ~ Courtesy & Infrastructure

David Hembrow writes in Car Mad Britain about how awful the situation is for UK children walking and biking to school -- i.e. when asshole automobile drivers illegally and egregiously block crossings, park on sidewalks, and speed with unsafe abandon. Here's the evidence... To address this horrorshow, David reminds us of the wonderful Beauty and the Bike project and documentary contrasting bicycle ridership amongst young women in the UK and Germany. The project is at root about Teenage Girls and Urban Mobility Culture and documents the differences between travel customs -- what's cool and attractive versus what's not...
"The film follows two groups of young women from Darlington and Bremen. Between them, they discover what makes -- and stops -- teenage girls from cycling. The answer? "It's the Infrastructure, stupid!"
Watch here the trailer... I'm not against cars or driving or parking, but I believe children and pedestrians generally should have their safety ensured as the baseline mode. Bicyclists also should not need to wear helmets -- they should feel safe about and while biking. Achieving this means a combination of proper walkways and bikelanes -- i.e. vital infrastructure -- and a minimal mix of cultural courtesy and suitable legal enforcement. Any physically threatening behavior by automobile drivers -- nevermind actually hitting people -- should be considered a criminal felony offense with severe penalties, something on the order of drunk driving, which has been criminalized in all civilized countries.

1 comment:

Lily Kim said...

I agree. When I lived in Germany, I biked to work every day. I loved the safe bike paths separate from the road AND from the sidewalk. I wish we had the same here. I'm always a little scared when I bike in Boston.

My neighbor Anne Lusk at Harvard School of Public Health does research on bike paths and is helping create design guidelines for better bikepaths.