Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The reality of cycling in Vienna

3 days after her picture was taken riding this cargo bike this happens:

She went to work today, on her bike. At Waaggasse, a rather small one-way street (bikes have the option to go both ways) a car gets behind her and hits the horn a couple of times, then overtakes with next to no space between her and the car. Also, we are in a 30km/h - zone here and she is not a slow rider. 

The car has to stop at the next crossing, She asks the driver what the fuck is up with him.He accelerates and hits her bike on purpose. She starts yelling at him, he hits her again, with the car, and speeds off. 

She is in shock, but is alright. 

And now off to the best part: 3 hours later, after finally having calmed down, she goes to the police and tells them, what happened. Their response: "You are lucky that you don't have to pay a fee now, because you too have committed Fahrerflucht because you didn't come to us within 20 minutes. Also it was an accident and nothing else and will not be processed in any way." 

A month ago my wife was hit by a car that overtook her as they dashed for the flashing green light.  The car speed off and she recovered after a wobble and shock.  She did not even bother reporting this to the Police who are clearly not interested in the safety of vulnerable road users.  They are too busy at the moment controlling the size of bike reflectors and issuing fines.

This is the reality of cycling in Vienna and frankly it disgusts me.  Campaigners and the City needs to stop all the "Safety in Numbers" bullshit and understand that "Safety is Numbers".

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

What is the point why do I bother?

After 2 years trying to understand and explain how the Dutch have been so successful with main stream cycling I still hear the same old excuses again and again and again and again....

The Cycling Agency have switched focus from last years marketing initiative to this years cyclist behavior initiatives. ( An idiotic blame the users response to their focus on marketing which unsurprisingly has not worked as well as they hoped... )

The politicians and planners continue to produce "cycling infrastructure" (or useless paint as it is more accurately known) that will only increase the polarizing conflict which the Cycling Agency continues to ignore.

Vienna is spending millions and millions on the rebuilding of motor way connections and considering spending billions on building a new U-Bahn line, while ignoring the value for money benefit of good cycling infrastructure.

The Rad Lobbies are still struggling to decide if useless paint is a good idea or not.

The pathetic political cock blocking continues in the MaHü  even after the referendum resulted in a close win for the new people friendly street with bikes.

As Chris Cummings summaries here:

"After the marketing frenzy of the last years’ Vienna Year of the Bicycle (Radjahr) participation rates rose from 6.3% to 6.4% in comparison with the previous year. That is hardly a revolution and the number of journeys made by cars rose instead of falling."

So what is the point why do I bother?

I am now again able to answer that question after one of the better marketing initiatives: "The Rad parRade".  I and ~9000 others rode around the car free ring and it was wonderful.  I went with a mate and his family and we even got our picture in a populist tabloid paper.  I am the chap chatting to the wonderful Margit who invests a great deal of time and energy getting people together and patiently trying to improve cycling conditions.

Seeing kids riding independently and remembering how that freedom feels has reminded my why I bother.

The point is we are doing this for the future generations who just need the opportunity and they will be able to enjoy mobility.  Our idiotic overuse of cars and road design has destroyed cycling as an option for most of the population.  Build the infrastructure and make cycling safe, pleasant, fast, direct and easy and people will choose that option and we can all reap the many benefits of their modal shift.

We have to keep trying to tell the main stream cycling success story because it is a damn good one.