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Velo-City Sevilla, 22-26 March 2011. Highlights from (1) Cycling Economy, (2) Health and (3) Traffic Law sessions – plenaries, presentations, workshops & roundtables Mike McKillen. Seville cartoon movie!!. Guillermo (Gil) Peñalosa , MC for conference, stated:

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velo city sevilla 22 26 march 2011
Velo-City Sevilla, 22-26 March 2011

Highlights from (1) Cycling Economy, (2) Health and (3) Traffic Law sessions – plenaries, presentations, workshops & roundtables

Mike McKillen


Guillermo (Gil) Peñalosa, MC for conference, stated:

“I have learned so many things, we already have achieved so much and we have to continue. Cycling means happiness, cycling is community building and as everyone can have a bicycle, cycling is democracy. We can be an example for the whole world. So let us all live like (by?) examples.”

Peñalosa (Bogota, Columbia) is an urbanist running 8-80 Cities, Toronto. We met him in Copenhagen.


I’ll deal with 3 aspects

Cycling Economy – a buzz word to indicate that cycling is not just manufacture of bikes but also their maintenance, construction of infrastructure, savings on emissions costs, environmental pollution, balance of foreign payments, positive health aspects, reduction of congestion costs.

Health aspects – a recognition that the health aspects of cycling outweigh the risks of being killed or injured, by keeping citizens fitter and less prone to overweight and suffering diseases of obesity

Traffic law – recognition that traffic law will have to change if cycling is to be promoted and favoured in urban areas

Velo-City, Seville: Cycling economy, health aspects & traffic law


Cycling Economy - Local Aspects

On market volume we need to note that here on the island we have the largest on-line bike and component retailer in World:

Chain Reaction Cycles, Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, NI.

We also have SRAM based in Waterford.

CSO statistics show that more bikes than private cars imported into Ireland each year!


Ms. Gro Brundtland

Onetime Prime Minister of Norway, Ms. Gro Brundtland

[DG of WHO, 1998-2003. UN Special Envoy on Climate Change]

Challenges for health, environment & sustainable development


Needs of children have to be built into planning, environment and health – Parma Declaration [WHO Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, Parma, Italy, 10–12 March 2010] IRL is signatory!

“We will integrate the needs of children into the planning and design of settlements, housing, health care institutions, mobility plans and transport infrastructure.

To this end we will use health, environment and strategic impact assessments and we will develop and adapt the relevant regulations,

policies and guidelines, and implement the necessary measures”.


“We will work in partnership with local, regional and national authorities to advocate for actions to counteract the adverse effects of urban sprawl that cause socioeconomic, health and environmental consequences.

We aim to provide each child by 2020 with access to healthy and safe environments and settings of daily life in which they can walk and cycle to kindergartens and schools, and to green spaces in which to play and undertake physical activity.

In so doing, we intend to prevent injuries by

implementing effective measures and promoting product safety”.


Chronic diseases affecting affluent societies – overweight & obesity – are linked to lack of exercise

Children need daily physical activity

RTCs are 9th major cause of premature death and serious injuries in children worldwide


She identified global climate change and depletion of Earth’s natural resources as the most challenging issues facing the World

How to convince the climate-doubters before it is too late?

The bicycle fits neatly into all policies dealing with these issues!

Note – this gives impetus to our new attempt to focus on health/healthy-lifestyle as a reason for cycling

Think Globally but act Locally!


Dr. Bart Degraeuwe (Flemish Institute for Technological Research, BE)

Accident risk and cycling behaviour of commuter cyclists in Belgium

Under EU SHAPES funding the researchers gathered a cohort of commuting cyclists (1,187) in Belgium via cycling campaigns, social-media and web-sites and asked them to keep a weekly log-book (on-line) of their daily commutes. This was done for one year.

Each participant’s key parameters logged – home & office location (postal codes), gender, age, weight, distance, route, experience, profession, health (BMI, etc),


What safety features do you use (hi-vis vest, helmet, etc.)?

Do you use cycle lanes/tracks/paths on your journey?

Trip distance?

Trip time?

Did you have a trip incident or accident – type, injuries, location, etc.?


1,475,000 km cycled in total/y

Mean trip distance 8.8 km/d

Mean trip time 27 min

Mean velocity 18 km/h

No. of incidents/accidents (all causes) 203 in1,370,000 km

or 1 in 6750 km

No. of accidents with bodily injury 155 in1,370,000 km

or 1 in 8840 km

The project recorded 1 fatality/y


Age (=experience!!) had a bearing on incident/accident incidence – if you are a male aged 40 then you were likely to have an incident/accident rate of I in 20,800 km. This parallels the well known age effect in driving – younger and much older males having higher accident frequencies.

He stated that the risk of accident (injury) while driving or cycling are almost similar if compared on a time for trip comparison.

Confirmed that risk of being involved in an accident decreases as the proportion of cyclists increases (r= -0.20). “The virtuous circle effect”. Also the more that drivers are themselves cyclists this gets reinforced.


“One of the main factors triggering accidents is the driving behaviour of motorists: car drivers often make bad manoeuvres or lose control of their vehicle. Moreover, they frequently do not respect the right-of-way, which illustrates both the fact that cyclists are not an integral part of the ‘‘street scene’’ and that motorists do not always respect cyclists (especially in Wallonia)”.


His data indicates that the bicycle incident risk (all causes) is 148 per million kilometres, while the risk of an injury due to a bicycle accident (collision) is 115 per million kilometres cycled.

He has a paper in Transport Policy (2009). 16, 77-87 on methodology used. Full results in a paper to follow.


I would suggest that we need to run an on-line trip logging survey too.

The next slide shows the type of advert his study used.


Advert to Recruit Participants

Dear Cyclist,

Research have shown that regular cycling to and from work has  a positive influence on physical and mental health.  Using your bike is better for the environment and helps to solve traffic jams too.  It’s a pity that even today cyclists are still vulnerable.  With this research we are going to try to make a record accidents and injuries in the past as well as in the future.

We need your help!If you want to help us to improve the safety of the cyclists then let us have your e-mail address.

Your answers and personal details will only be used for the scientific purposes of the Department of Human Physiology and Sports Medicine of the VUB which are a part of the Shapes project.  Your anonymity will be guaranteed at all times in accordance with the Protection of Privacy Law of 8 December 1992.Thank you for helping us.Het SHAPES team


Dr. Birgitta Wieskotter (Munster, FRG)

Review of hospital admissions from cycling incidents/accidents with a view to making recommendations for pan-EU helmet wearing policy

She is an EM medic in Universitatkilinikum, Munster.

Munster has 280k citizens

37.8% travel by bike; 36.4% by car

During study (full year?) 723 bike riders presented to her hospital with injuries from cycling (all causes – RT collision, falling off, hitting lampost or street furniture, muscle sprains from over-exertion, hitting parked car, etc.) in study period 2010. These 723 reported to police but 2/3 were not reported.

Of the reported ones, 2.25 bike accidents/month involving RTC injury.


10% were admitted as in-patients; 90% treated and sent home

3 fatalities

25.7% of all seen in ED had head injuries (not sure if this includes neck, teeth and face?). I did not grab her data for the rest of the slide detailing head injuries.

She made point that there was no difference between head injury rate or severity for helmet-wearers vs non-wearers but I need to read her paper on this which was submitted last week to ‘Injury’.


A ding-dong of a discussion followed with a Transport ministry official from Belgium stating that she was going to recommend that her government introduce compulsory helmet-wearing for children on basis of inexperience and thinner skull than adults so more at risk of brain injury.

We were informed that Austria was going this way and that Switzerland was considering it. I spoke about NI position.

I said that we had to get drivers to interact with riders more safely. Emphasis on protecting victim misplaced public policy approach.

I got massive backing for this position!


Dr. Randy Rzewnicki (ECF staffer)

Runs ‘LifeCycle’ for ECF. []

It is EU funded under DG Health. There is an Action Manual on-line.

Chambers of Commerce are good partners to get commuters cycling again.

“Doctor’s Orders” – get on your bike for health reasons.

Our goal has to be - Babies-on-bikes all the way to Grannies-on-trikes (8-80 concept)


By Bike Towards a Healthier City

Or How to Avoid Driving to the Gym to Walk on a Treadmill!

Dr. Francesca Racioppi (Italy)

Physical inactivity is too high in EU.

It’s 4th highest risk-factor for mortality in EU

We have got to get citizens active.

Bike and walking have major roles to play but approx. 30% of traffic casualties are pedestrians/cyclists.

However the positive effects of active travel are far greater than RTC risks of doing it by bike or walking.


UN/WHO has produced a toolkit to help transport and public health planners get it right – HEAT []

“There are many ways to increase physical activity, whether it be at school or at work or in the transport choices you have, or the place you live in. WHO calls on all sectors, including health, transport, housing and education to engage with this issue and collaborate in effective policies and interventions”.

The message for us is clear – we need to engage with DoHC, DoES, DoEHLG as well as DoT.


Through the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP), a joint initiative with the UNECE, WHO/Europe promotes safe walking and cycling in urban areas.

Ways to achieve this objective include promotion of evidence-based good practice on physical activity and development of tools for planning and for the economic assessment of physical activity as a means of transport, such as the health and economic assessment tool (HEAT) for cycling, developed in collaboration with HEPA Europe.


Enrique Jacobi, MD. (co-founder of Cyclovias)

“A Big Fat Failure”! How do we deal with obesity?

Walk or cycle to work 7-10 km per day can reduce mortality by 40% from doing nothing but grow fat.

He asks are climate-change, urban environment and obesity linked? YES.

We have to campaign to bring about change in living/life-styles.

Promotion: Melbourne Cycling Campaign has 50,000 members and the city has 10% modal-share for cycling.


The Modal-Shift Conundrum!

“Promoting cycling for health reasons implies that the health benefits of cycling should outweigh the risks of cycling. Although society may benefit from a shift from private car use to bicycle use (e.g., reduced air pollution emission), disadvantages to individuals may occur. Although individuals may benefit from increased physical activity, at the same time they inhale more pollutants because of increased breathing rates. The risks of being involved in traffic accidents may increase, as well as the severity of an accident”. [de Hartog, et al. (2010). Environmental Health Perspectives 118 (9), 1109-1116]


Externalities of Transport/Cycling Economy

  • This theme was taken up by a few plenary speakers.
  • Externalities of transport are high but never included in cost-benefit analyses to justify motorway building, etc. [energy costs associated with concrete making, spoil and aggregate haulage, tar refining, etc.]
  • Lynn Sloman showed how typical worker has to work 500 h/y to pay for fixed costs of owning never mind running a car. She is author of ‘Car Sick Solutions for Our Car-Addicted Culture’. Bike promotion has to emphasise the negative aspects of car use in order to get drivers to think – every car driver is a potential sustainable traveller. Peer group pressure keeps up this car usage for commuting. No commuter wants to be the first to arrive on a bike to office! That is our target market.
  • We need to show them how nice it is to cycle – use Cyclo Via Sundays! Give children this ‘freedom’ on Sundays.
  • Concentrate on promotion of cycling in selected employments and transport hubs:
  • Universities
  • Stations
  • Schools
  • Health facilities

Sloman believes we have reached peak car ownership judging by UK data for new registrations.

With the recession the number of trips taken by each car has declined (fuel expensive).

We need to adopt measures to keep ownership low.

Eva Willumsen (Economist and DCF officer)

Eva tried to establish cost-benefit parameters for cycling. What can we ‘monetarise’?

- Casualties, congestion, pollution & health.

Cost of riding a bike is lower than driving over a km distance. This needs to be promoted.

Pilar Vega (Spain)

Pilar was super – using emotion and polemics to get across message!

We must measure the usage of scare natural resources in transport/travel. She rejects cba justifications for schemes!


You can’t monetarise happiness or wellbeing! We have to think and act differently in an economic crisis – the enemy is the car!

She says the EU auto-makers are a huge lobbying force in Brussels determined to maintain car dominance in economies by opposing higher air quality standards in cities and improving crash-proofing vehicles for pedestrian/cyclist impacts. Cars are massively polluting our cities and affecting lung-function, etc.

She advocates synergies with healthy-living NGOs to lobby against transport pollution, dominance of car, etc.


Francesco Tonucci (IT) – the cartoonist ‘Frato’

The bike is democratic – affordable; gives children autonomy; needs no permit, miniscule running costs, etc.

We have stopped children playing on their own in the street due to parental neuroses about safety.

Cities have to accept and plan that children have to have space to play on their own.

Run this video clip:

He advocates children walking on own to school from age 6 and cycling from age 9.

He says thrust of road safety message at school is wrong – children need to be taught that they have a right to be on road (shared space concept) otherwise they will always aspire to car ownership rather than bike.

Everyone wants a car due to insidious pressures.


He advocates us using ‘Positive Pester-Power’ inherent in children to get parents to cycle with them rather than use car for many trips.


Road Traffic Law

  • Ramon Ledesma (Spanish Road Safety Body)
  • He spoke about the revision of Spanish road traffic law and Rules of Road.
  • Bikes to be cycles (not bicycles) but no longer vehicles
  • Cycle permits monocycles, trikes, trailers, rickshaws, cargo-bikes, etc.
  • All cycles will be homologated (CE mark?)
  • Law will permit cycles on pavements where width is 3+m
  • Law will permit children under 12 y to be on pavements
  • Law will permit parents or guardians to be on pavements with them
  • Law will distinguish between urban vs inter-urban traffic
  • Regulations will treat cyclists ‘positively’
  • Existing overtaking distance of 1.5 m will be retained
  • No helmet law because they want to promote bike use!!!

NB: I think Spain is making a mistake in not recognising bike as a vehicle. Spain is a signatory to Vienna Convention of Traffic (1968) where bike is designated as a vehicle. Spain would need to derogate from this international treaty.


Joaquin Nieto (Spain)

  • Economy & Employment, Cycling as a Livelihood
  • We need to change transport model
  • We desperately need
  • Jobs
  • Reduced Transport Emissions
  • Reduced Car Use
  • We have too many jobs located in industrial estates on the periphery of cities with poor public transport connections and inaccessible by bike – 20,000 of them in Spain alone!! [What is situation for IRL?]
  • He calculates that for every 35 bikes in use you employ 1 person to look after them.