Cycling in the Hungarian winter-time

It’s too cold! It’s raining! It’s slippery out there! These are the main excuses for a citizen why not to ride their bicycles from late November until March.

Now let me show you another reason that can easily be a demotivating factor when it comes to winter cycling. Though, the modal split of cycling has been increased by 50% annually in Budapest (even in winter months), but cleaning the snow from the cycle tracks (and other types on bike facilities) is just not that important for the city administration and/or the folks who are effectively cleaning the streets.

In 2012 the daily average of cycling traffic was over a thousand on working days. Not too much – you could say – compared to public transport (main tram routes run among the cycle lane) or individual car traffic. But still, much more than 5 years ago when the early bird cyclists of Budapest have arisen, mainly from different sub-cultures of the youth.

I personally have a strange déjá vu these wet and cold days that cycling is perceived as the extremely minority of the everyday traffic. Today around 500 cyclists are counted on the Inner Ring road and it used to be like this in all seasons until a sensable change in the mindset of city and traffic planners, who had put bike lanes, bike-boxes (ASLs) on the plans and let contra-flow cycling in downtown streets. Anyway, the average traffic in the same section was over 2.200 cyclist/day/direction in  September…

Why it’s only 25% who sit on the saddle when the temperature gets below 5°C?

I don’t know the perfect answer, for sure. But I show you some photos I’ve taken on my trips in Budapest and some other towns.

 

 

Do you have some other good/bad examples? Please, let me know in a comment.

Bike and pedestrian safety in Boston

The video is not that fresh but presents the typical issues perceived in the USA. “Bad cyclists” and even worse drivers, the issue of wearing a helmet or not, too much motorised traffic… Consider the people who are riding; you will hardly find children or elderly people on these roads, although in my opinion this is quite normal. When cycling reminds you to a battle for survival than you need strong, young, brave and smart people to prove justification of bicycles, as a mean of transportation. So guys, keep pedaling and improvements will come soon or later!

I do have some personal experiences about cycling in a metropolis and that could be concluded like a good urban cyclist is equipped by many of the skills of the yedis. You can ride with car traffic easily if you pedal strong and only when you are fully aware of what’s going on around you. This personal ‘radar skill’ can be improved over time but if you are thinking about riding the first time than I highly recommend you to check some ‘education video’ from London (videos by Gaz545 and Veloevol).

No matter if you are riding a bike or driving a school bus! Always keep in mind that we share the road and that it is your responsibility to avoid most of the hazards of traffic.
Never forget, sharing is caring !-)

Reflections From an Engineer on Advocacy for Transportation Reform

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Have you ever felt that communication between politicians, advocates, city planners and department leaders faces huge barriers just because of the very different background and aspects they have? Well, I did and since that I always try to keep in mind, that it’s always the receiver who perceives the message and we shall be aware using the proper language “encryption” to keep a nice and friendly atmosphere around us.

There was an urban and mobility design conference called Pro Walk/Pro Bike: Pro Place 2012 six weeks ago in the United States. Although I have not attended the conference, I think it could be nice for all planners, advocates and other stakeholders to read this feedback letter from Bryan D. Jones (Deputy Director of Transportation Department in City of Carlsbad, USA).

It was published by Gary Toth at the Project for Public Spaces’s blog. The letter partly refers to the venue but has a lot more between the lines.

I might suggest that we can focus on changing to a culture of Active Transportation by changing the language and conversations. We need to identify and LISTEN to what our allies’ and perceived enemies’ objectives are. We should not just be talking, but SHOWING how effective our alternatives are through implementation—even at a small scale—with consistency, which can build a lot of momentum. However this requires us to CONNECT PEOPLE. A title I might suggest for 2014–I heard this “connection” discussion in April Economides presentation about her team’s success in Long Beach with Bicycle Friendly Business Districts. She changed perceptions by changing the language and conversations with people that were against bikes. While her passion is green stuff, she understood the passion of many of the business owners was also “green” $tuff! She spoke with them about the pro$perity of welcoming bike riders into their business districts, and did a lot of listening to their concerns and objectives.

 

Get yourself a coffee and click to read the full letter from  Bryan D. Jones.

Stickers of the Critical Mass Budapest

My colleagues often smile on me when seeing newer/bigger/brighter stickers in my suitcase, so now I would like to present you some nice stickers from Budapest, the city with “the biggest Critical Mass” – according to Wikipedia !-)

I hope you enjoy the the historical overview of the Critical Mass Budapest Movement (2005-2013?)

The first Critical Mass Budapest in 2005

Critical Mass Budapest 2006 with Chuck Norris

“Chuck Norris won’t be here, because he eats cars. But he lets you go out protesting.”

Bike protest on Earth Day, 22 April (Saturday)

“It would hurt me if you would not come. I don’t like to be disappointed.”

The protests quickly became familar get togethers as shown on the sticker from 2007.

“Critical Miss – Ride your bike every working day! R U coming?”

The biggest Critical Mass protest was in 2008.

Several designs were printed.

For many of the citizens Critical Mass means the opening of the cycling season.

“The real car-free day” – bicycle protest transportation

April 2009.

September 2009.

“Choose bike!” – 2010 was the year of the elections in Hungary

in cooperation with the Critical Moms

April 2011

April 2011

April 2011

“You have a bike? What are you waiting for?” September 2011.

“The spring, when you also sit on the saddle” – The last protest was organised in April 2012.