city + bike = happy city

August 15, 2009


the bikeshare program introduced by VĂ©lib in France is slowly making its way west, the most ambitious being Montreal’s. they spent $13 million for the program which they expect to become financially self-sufficient. in lyon, france residents have access to 20,000 share bikes. in paris there are 75,000 bikes rented per day.

programs like these are positive in many ways such reducing our carbon footprint. nationally, hawaii ranks fairly high for bikes ridden per day, likely due largely to our temperate climate.

as a bicycle friendly state the league of american bicyclists ranks us 22 out of the 50 states, alabama being 50. surprised? we were actually 14th last year so it’s nothing to be proud of. the league distributes these awards based on community efforts to promote and educate cycling, based on legislation as well as facilities and programs like bike share programs and this rad high visibility bike lane in NYC.

hawaii applied for honorable mention for bicycle friendly state last year but didn’t receive it. the site mentions our lack of training for judges and authorities on the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.

imagining honolulu as a bike friendly city makes me think of our parks, like kapiolani and alamoana. these parks are beautiful destinations for residents but over the weekend turn into small isolated islands surrounded by atolls of automobiles. chicago connected its parks with a boulevard system they later dubbed the emerald necklace. chicago’s emphasis began in 1837 when it adopted the moto “urbis in horto” which translates to “city in a garden.” in comparison hawaii’s park system is more like a string of broken pearls.

it’s easy to forget that the car is something alien to the natural landscape. hawaii didn’t even have horses until circa 1804.