BY BIKE, TOWARDS A HEALTHIER CITY
Good health is not only characterised by the absence of disease. Health is the most basic indicator of wellbeing, so it is essential for our surroundings to enable us to lead healthy lives in every possible way.
The cities of today, however, have become hostile and polluted, largely due to the heavy car traffic that has taken over most of the available public urban space. In this context, it is difficult to develop healthy lifestyles.
However, we now know how to transform these urban networks into healthy, welcoming areas that become efficient urban spaces conducive to a societal live with optimal inhabitability and environmental quality. Indeed, we know how to make our cities human again. We know that cycling is a means of transport and a way of life that helps us to reach our target; it is a fundamental part of the concept of a more human city.
LEARNING ABOUT NON-MOTORISED CITIES: LIFELONG LEARNING
Nothing is harder than to change people’s habits. We believe that it can be done, however, if the right techniques are used and the target models are visible.
Our aim here is to go one step further than the traditional idea of education as something related only to new generations of children and youth. Educational and learning are lifelong processes and, in terms of urban mobility, should be applied in any strategy aimed at changing people’s habits.
To foster these strategies, new perspectives of the city are essential, together with the use of collective participation techniques to ensure that they are visualised and attractive. The idea is to create excitement about a city model based on a different mobility and accessibility system, in which cycling is not only an ideal means of transport but also a way to experience happy urban journeys.
PUBLIC INVESTMENT FOR A BETTER LIFE: THE EFFICIENCY OF CYCLING INVESTMENTS
Economic resources shrink rapidly in times of crisis. The time of enormous infrastructures is over. Fortunately, we are starting to realise that those large infrastructures do not have a direct effect on most of the population’s wellbeing.
In urban settings, where population density is at its highest, more modest interventions aimed at fostering non-motor driven transport such as cycling, can be much more efficient, especially if we compare the cost of the infrastructures with the mobility and accessibility they provide.
These investments, however, are incredibly cheap and the outcome is often spectacular. In this respect, infrastructure investments to foster cycling are an example of how creativity can improve our daily lives and enable citizens to make a more direct contribution to the daily management of a shared urban space.
ECONOMY AND EMPLOYMENT: CYCLING AS A LIVELIHOOD
The economy and employment are based on small business initiatives. Cycling-friendly cities have decisive potential for this type of business. Wherever cycling has successfully been promoted as a means of urban transport, we can see that the economic activity related to the sector has increased: from bicycle manufacturers (some of them traditional) to retail services, with multiple businesses providing cycling-related products (tourism, city delivery and courier services, community services, etc.) and other companies which maximise their efficacy by making use of cycling as a means of transport.
Cycling is thus a means of transport that fosters the indirect development of many other economic activities. This is especiallythe case in countries where motorised transport is not an option for most of the population, where owning a bicycle is the only means of transport available to millions of people in their everyday lives.
Bicycles, then, are an ideal way in which to earn a living in an economic sector that generates urban settings with which millions of people can relate to, as they are healthy, safe and attractive.