Posted by Selma Bjorklund

Cyclists and pedestrians in perfect harmony

Few things make me as anxious as bikes. They’re fast, almost invisible (or is that my +4.5 vision..?), and cyclists always seem to be in a hurry. Having said that, I’d like to add that I love the concept of bikes: using human energy as fuel for transport. I know this is getting a bit old, but we need to stop relying on cars. Noise levels, serious accidents, and fossil fuel dependency will all be brought down together with decreased car usage. I hope and think that the future will bring more bike commuters, and the infrastructure to support that.

Kingston, London, has taken a step towards doing just that, re-working the road and sidewalk spaces in order to cater to pedestrians and cyclists alike. The Smart Space team participated in the project, modelling pedestrian and cyclist movements in order to detect conflicts and bottlenecks in the flow, and to visualise the impact of proposed solutions. This saves anxious souls like me from thinking I’m in danger as bikes swoosh past at the speed of light.

Creating good cycling spaces and routes is crucial for the increase in bike trips, as humans are creatures of comfort. If taking the bike is the fastest and easiest way to get somewhere, we will do it. If not, we won’t. As long as cars are prioritised in our infrastructure, they will be the primary mode of transport. Transport engineers and politicians must make a conscious choice to let cyclists and pedestrians take up more space in the public realm, only then can we decrease our dependency on cars and take a serious step towards more sustainable transport habits.

 

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