Recommendations for Politicians
Active Transportation: ped-bike facilities including bike route signs for cyclists (Photo: by the author)
Governments worldwide must come together to better promote active transportation, specifically encouraging cycling and the use of both human- and human/electric-powered vehicles for short city trips and intermodality over fosil-fuel driven mobility.
Develop a High-Level Cycling Policy
At national/federal-, provincial/state- and, most importantly, municipal levels, government agencies should develop and implment comprehensive policies on cycling as integrated parts of transportation infrastructure plans and budgets. Issues include urban planning policies, zoning by-laws and the creation of complete streets as well as health-related policies with incentives to get a greater portion of the population cycling, etc.
A cycle-friendly government will adopt a policy that see that major streets are re-engineered for integrated mobility serving drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
Setup and Work with a Bicycle Advisory Committee
Public Hearing: helmet-wearing cyclists attend a municipal government meeting (Photo: bikeunion.to)
Local government should setup or work with a bicycle advisory committee (BAC) or advocacy group and other non-profit organizations who will help inform elected officials and municipal staff of the importance of cycling as a form of sustainable transportation.
Create a Bike Plan, Build a Bike Network & Post Route Signs
Open Cycle Maps: crowd-sourced rendering of publically-funded bike network (Image: opencyclemap.org)
At the local government level a cycling policy will manifests itself in the form of an official 'Bike Plan', literally, a government-published roadmap to building and maintaining a local bicycle network. The mayor and other representatives working, usually with an advisory council made up of cycling advocates from local NGOs must plan a network of bicycles routes for the municipality and realize the implementation of the network over time as an integral part of annual budgets allocated to the bike plan.
A comprehensive bike plan will include provisions for the addition of bike lanes to high traffic roads in the creation of complete streets, the creation of cycle-friendly parks as well as the provision of and facilities to support cycling commuters and bike stations to promote intermodality.
In additional, a local government can rollout or subsidize a community bike program. This could include a bicycle rental & sharing scheme, donation & recycling points, cycle training programs for kids, adults and best agers as well as vocational training for youth at risk and the unemployed.
Constructed bike routes must be marked with clear, informative network route signs must easily inform cyclists of directions and remaining distances to noteworthy local and nearby destinations including popular attractions and historically significant places.
This Way: good bike route signs show direction, distance and time to destinations (Photo: Richard Drdul on flickr)
Enable Online Routing, Distribute Bike Maps & Promote Cycling
Governments should make available GIS data in open accessible formats to facilitate the creation of dynamic websites and online applications that leverage the data. Publicly or privately operated online bicycle routing applications should provide interactive personalized trip planning and GPS mapping of between specified points.
City governments and town councils can distribute printed bicycle route maps to residents and tourists alike at locations including city hall, tradeshows, community centers, farmers markets and special events.
Bike maps should be an integral part of social marketing campaigns to encourage people to cycle in the city.
Offer Cycling Training Handbooks, Courses & Certification
Most jurisdictions provide a driver's handbook for the training of new and returning drivers of motorized vehicles including motorcycles, cars, buses and tractor-trailers. Often no equivalent cyclist's handbook exists for those wanting to improve their cycling skills.
Governments are well served to author, publish and update a cyclist handbook for new and returning residents, encouraging them to take up or continue cycling in their new home city. Such handbooks should be published in the official and major languages spoken by the population.
Beyond the distribution of handbooks, local governments should provide nationally standardized and recognized cycle training courses and certification programs, the completion of which enables employees and volunteers alike to communicate their cycling skills to prospective employers or non-government-organizations (NGOs) be it for use on the job or as part of community mobilization.
For individuals wanting to become a bike mechanic, governments should provide a nationally standardized bicycle mechanic vocational training program, easing the task for bike shops in the hiring of shop mechanics.
Mandate Cycling Facilities for Roadwork & Redevelopment
Construction Time Again: roadwork provides a great opportunity to add bike lanes (Photo: pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden)
Local politicians, budget committees, urban planners and residents alike would do well to adopt the attitude and expectation that when major road construction work is done, for example, resurfacing or rebuilding, that some form of bike lane will be added to that section of street. Over time, major streets will then realize the integrated driver-cyclist-pedestrial mobility concept.
Zoning by-laws should be updated to mandate that when a city block or stretch of road has been redeveloped that cycling facilities also be implemented. The argument should not be for or against dedicated cycle lanes on streets or sidewalks or cycle paths. The argument should be for an integrated mobility concept that makes the cyclist a core part of the motorist-cyclist-pedestrian equation.
Caution: existing bike lanes and sidepaths are rerouted around construction sites (Photo: by the author)
Put [More] Law Enforcement Officers On Bicycles
To Serve and Protect: police officers on bicycles can better patrol neighbourhoods
(Photo: by the author)
Police on bicycles have greater flexibility than via other methods of patrol, according to Austrian police who now have police on bikes throughout the country. More city and campus police units on bicycle patrols generally benefit the community at large.
Law enforcement officers on bicycle patrols should ticket motorists who block bike lanes, fine cyclists who ignore traffic signals and run red lights and otherwise work for the public education and enforcement of dangers and violations to cyclists caused by motorists.
Police bicycles could be equipped with electric-assist to enable faster acceleration on-demand and greater top speed when required. In fact, many bicycle manufacturers build a heavy-duty 'Police' version of certain city and moutain bike models.
Provide Sales Tax Breaks & Income Tax Credits for Cycling
Bike To Work: cycling commuters should not pay sales tax on bicycles and helmets (Photo: Ed Yourdon on flickr)
Federal and state/provincial governments should pass legislation that provides people with financial incentives such as sales tax breaks on cycling-related purchases including bicycles, helmets, lights and bike parts as well as an income tax credit for cycling commuters.
In addition, tax breaks should be given to employers who create 'bike to work' programs and who provide support employees with perks and incentives to cycle.
These incentives will get more people out of cars, off of overcrowded public transit systems and on to bikes to visit cycle-friendly retailers.
In addition to the above, recommendations, government agencies should follow the recommendations in creating cycle-friendly workplaces for civil servants.
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