This chapter concludes the volume and explains the issues that have been touched upon by the authors of the chapters of this book. It explains that it would be easy to assume the superiority of European cycle infrastructure provision and that generally, European cycle infrastructure has been presented as good or as much better than the infrastructure provided in countries like the United States of America, Canada or Australia. However, it is concluded that this volume has shown that also the bicycle infrastructure in countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden or Austria also fails to fully recognise the bicyclists’ needs for active and daily mobility. Further, this opens a space for shared critique, rather than focusing on the search for a mythical universal best practice allows dialogue between perspectives. It also permits (and insists on) analysis of the backstage of infrastructure construction. The conclusions raises also questions like What processes and assumptions are behind the plans drawn up and the decisions made? Who are the people involved and what considerations drive them? How are these considerations justified? Furthermore, it is stated that this volume has begun a comparative assessment of existing and historic struggles.
Different motives to engage in bicycle lobbying may often be mutually strengthening. However, sometimes they clash. The case of the Øresund Bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen is one such example. Opened to traffic in 2000, the bridge was not equipped with bicycle lanes. This chapter traces the process that led to the building of the Øresund bridge, focussing in particular on how the cycling organisations on both sides (Sweden and Denmark) fought for bicycle lanes or not. Not only was the Danish organization considerably more active than the Swedish. The Danish Cyclists’ Federation was divided in two fractions. One that based on environmental arguments thought the organisation should resist the bridge being built in the first place. The second considered that battle already lost and thought, from the perspective of equal rights to infrastructure, it made more sense to fight for bicycle lanes on the bridge rather than fighting the bridge as such. The case is thus an example in which different motives for bicycle promotion did not have a win-win-relationship but clashed. The chapter is also a reminder, or a warning against treating organisations such as lobby groups as monolithic with one single and easily defined goal.
This chapter explores the cultural politics of bicycle infrastructure through an examination of attempts to build cycling lanes in Johannesburg, South Africa in the 1930s. In the 1930s in Johannesburg, with increasing rates of automobile use planners were grappling with road safety, congestion and rules. At the time, bicycles were still an important mode of transport. Vehicle licensing data from Johannesburg shows that up to 1935, more bicycles were registered than automobiles. In an effort to reduce growing conflicts between bicycles and motorists, the Johannesburg city council turned to the concept of separating traffic modes. I draw on data from archives, newspaper material, municipal reports and other published material. By showing how decisions on building of bicycle lanes and the expected conduct of the users and motorists were intrinsically shaped by prevailing social relations, circulation of ideas and practices between the United Kingdom and South Africa, it highlights the extent to which bicycle infrastructures are not neutral objects. They are socio-technical assemblages inextricable from place. As such this historical account foregrounds the importance of the contexts within which transitions occur. This is especially relevant in the contemporary moment of the return to the bicycle characterised by policy borrowing.
This chapter seeks to contribute to the debate about cycling policies by examining the struggles that help bring cycling to the political agenda in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Advocaty for cycling infrastructure in São Paulo started in a context in which the urban form was already dominated by automotive-oriented transportation infrastructure. The initial political mobilisation for bicycling also occurred at a moment of political instability in the 1980s during the re-democratisation of the country, with the cycling agenda reaching the higher level of institutionalisation after one of the most massive protest movements in the history of Brazil. This chapter explores the physical infrastructure not only through a policy and planning perspective but also by considering the social infrastructure in civil society that made these changes possible. The fragility of the physical infrastructure, given its subsequent decommissioning after a turnover in political administration, raises our awareness of the vulnerability of many infrastructure transitions and the need to think through a lens of spatial justice when considering the linkages between physical and social infrastructures. It is colcluded that the implementation of hard infrastructure as part of the city’s provisioning is an outcome of complex and longstanding manoeuvring.
This chapter, drawing on a broader body of research into the history of cycle activism and its role in shaping Amsterdam as a cycling city (Feddes and de Lange, 2019), four important contributory elements are examine. First, favourable qualities of the urban structure, some dating from long before the existence of the bicycle. Second, there is a wider social and political context of the 1960s and 1970s when cycling found new impetus despite severe external threat. Third is the subsequent construction of a systemic cycling city in which the relation between bicycle activism, (local) government, and the broader ‘bicycle culture’ is examined. Finally, the chapter discusses the roles played by cycling activists organized in Fietsersbond, and the city government of Amsterdam. It concludes that there motorised modes of transport play a dominate role in urban and transport planning in Amsterdam. If Amsterdam is widely regarded as a cyclists’ paradise, the city has obtained this honorary title on the cheap. Much of the indispensable observational, analytical and conceptual expertise on which the bike city’s success is built was delivered for free by devoted citizens working towards a more liveable city.
This chapter introduces the topic of this volume and the issues touched upon in the different chapters. It explains today’s situation for cycling and the wider context of cycling infrastructure. Moreover, it also shows how this volume was put together and why there is a need for this book. Furthermore, it places the book in context to existing literature and shows what gaps exists in this literature and why this volume is an important contribution to the current publications on cycling and infrastructure. Additionally, this chapter gives an overview of the content of this volume, introduces briefly each chapter and explains the structure of this volume. In the end of this chapter, a note on language explains the terms used in this volume for different parts of cycling infrastructure.
Deriving from extensive analysis of quantitative survey data in Austria, this chapter focuses on the importance that inherited presuppositions play in the processes of planning and implementation. In a majority of European countries, cycling is considered to play a significant role in a sustainable urban transport system, after decades of car dominance captivating the thoughts and actions of decision-makers and thus appears in transport policy documents ranging from local to national level. However, when actual measures are implemented, mental barriers of decision makers surface and this often leads to suboptimal results. Mental barriers are shown most clearly in resistance to innovation adoption, a phenomenon well documented in social science. In this context, the resistance to innovation adoption causes reservations and limiting beliefs that hinder decision-makers in the introduction of suitable solutions for everyday and every-use cycling. The chapter addresses quantitatively two primary questions relating to mental barriers clearly revealed in the analysis of planning processes: of what are mental barriers comprised, and where do they exist? Our quantitative exploration points the way towards two possible approaches to overcome mental barriers: social pressure upon and self-experience by decision-makers.
This chapter builds on our previous research on cycling in Sofia, which examined the practices and affordances of travelling by bicycle in a post-socialist South-East European city (Barnfield and Plyushteva, 2016). By drawing attention to the situated, embodied, mundane and ambiguous elements of cycling, we sought to show how the bicycle acts as a small but important force shaping mobility in contemporary Sofia. In the present chapter, we revisit and develop our discussion of cycling infrastructure in Sofia, by drawing together ethnographic observation, interviews with urban mobility activists, and document and media analysis from several research visits between 2013 and 2018. In keeping with our earlier approach of zooming in on a specific urban location and the situated interactions of people and infrastructures within it, in this chapter we focus on a cycle lane added to a central Sofia boulevard in 2017. We discuss the decision-making processes which brought together politicians, municipal employees, mobility and cycling activists, local residents and various other actors. We explore how these processes resulted in a particular set of hard and soft infrastructures for cycling.
This book offers a critical examination of existing cycling structures and the current policy and practices used to promote cycling. An international range of contributors provide an interdisciplinary analysis of the complex cultural politics of infrastructural provision and interrogate the pervasive bias against cyclists in city planning and transport systems across the globe.
Infrastructural planning is revealed to be an intensely political act and its meaning variable according to larger political processes and contexts. The book also considers questions surrounding safety and risk, urban space wars and sustainable futures, connecting this to broader questions about citizenship and justice in contemporary cities.
This chapter reviews survey data on perceptions of road traffic danger and how this compares with standard statistical sources on death and injury amongst cyclists. Objective reality is, however, not enough to convert potential cyclists into actual cyclists. Perception is the reality and if potential cyclists are frightened we must take clear, practical, effective steps to reduce road traffic danger. The chapter reviews the role of the Swedish Vision Zero road safety policy in dealing with fear and road traffic danger reduction. Such a policy has the potential to change mindsets and create a positive environment for the kind of behavioural change that will increase cycling rates. It is argued that there cannot be increases in cycling until we have eliminated the dominance of the car and the truck. This will require a major transformational change in the way that politicians, urban designers, planners, etc. think about the world they are shaping. The chapter concludes by summarising the debate about transformational approaches to sustainability and changing mindsets.