Cycling with Disabilities and Injuries

14 Below Zero - Broken Hand
I haven’t been on a bicycle for 7 days. The reason? A couple of cracked ribs. I’ve tried each and every day to cycle, but it hasn’t been possible. When a simple cough is enough to bring tears to your eyes, riding a bicycle is a long shot. A serious blow to my pride but hey, at least I can walk around the neighbourhood. Which is nice.

Many Danish cities have small cars like these to measure the level of comfort on the bicycle infrastructure. I have a better, cheaper idea.

The city should just give citizens with broken or cracked ribs a smartphone, with activated GPS and a live line to a person at the Bicycle Office. Then they just ride around the city. Every time an OWWWW! or groan is heard, the GPS location is registered. That way the city will be able to map the spots that need maintenence. Now broken ribs are one thing, but what of citizens with more serious injuries or disabilities?

So I thought I’d whips together this article with photos of Copenhageners and other urban dwellers cycling with injuries or disabilities or using other vehicles that improve accessibility and mobility.

Like the shot of a Copenhagener in the morning rush hour (above) riding with what looks like a broken – or at least injured – hand, above. Still looking cool as you like.
Bicycle Crutches 02
Then there is this Copenhagener carrying her crutches with her on her bicycle. Fair enough, she might have been heading to the hospital – across the street – to deliver the crutches back.
Double Crutch
Then I remembered this shot from a while back of a girl carrying her crutches and getting doubled by her mum. The bicycle is a versatile tool. I know several friends who, after many years playing sports, have problems with their knees. They are invariably advised to ride a bicycle by their doctors.

Urban Mobility
There is a bike for almost everyone.

If you also make the bicycle the quickest and safest way to get around a city, people will do so – whatever their physical challenges. The bicycle is a freedom machine for many people.
Mobility Five Wheels, Three Arms
The dapper gentleman to the left may have reduced mobility for whatever reason, but he can get out and about with ease on this tricycle. Note his cane sticking out of the back.

I see the man in the right photo quite often. He rides a tricycle and only has one arm. A friend of mine knows him and I’m told that he only has one leg, too. He lost his limbs in a landmine explosion in the country he was born. He still gets about with ease on his wheels. Both of these gentlemen were impeccably dressed.

Bicycle Mobility
This gent is amazing and so is his cargo bike. A retrofitted Nihola lets him ride around the city with no lower arms and only one leg to pedal with. Fantastic.

Rock Star
If you’re a legendary Danish rock star, like Steen Jørgensen (above), you have a certain look to maintain and Steen pulls it off to perfection. The fact that he has no left arm is of little consequence.

Disabled Motion
I took this photo in Tokyo. The man had some form of disability with his legs. It required effort for him to get the pedals to turn but you can bet that it was a fraction of the effort he’d use when walking.

Casting Call Crutch Bike Crutch Bike
The lady on the left has a kind of cast on her leg, but still rides. The two photos on the right are from last winter. The boyfriend was holding the girls’ crutches and she moved slowly along – injured foot wrapped in plastic – on a child’s bicycle they had borrowed. It was icy so the crutches were probably more dangerous than helpful so the bicycle stepped in to assist. They were heading to the hospital down the road.

Vienna Cyclist Sticks
I spotted this lady in Vienna, Austria. Carrying her walking sticks to help her after she got off her bicycle.

This quaint sign on this tricycle reads, “Slightly Disabled”.

What with all the bicycle options for disabled – whether permanently or temporarily – it’s not surprising to see a parking sign like this outside my local library. It reads “Invalid Bicycles”, reserving a space close to the door for those who need it.

Montreal Wheelchair
I took this photo in Montreal. A trike pulling a wheelchair behind. This takes intermodality to a whole new level.

Wheelchair Transport
This retrofitted Nihola (it really is the Danish brand that offers unique variations of their cargo bikes) is designed simply to carry a wheelchair with passenger.

Walker Transport
This gent has his walker in the front of his cargo bike – intermodality once again.

Active Cyclist
You see many trike brands in operation in Copenhagen on a daily basis. This gent had what appeared to be Down Syndrome and he enjoys active mobility on this trike.

Electric Vehicles
Amsterdam Cycle Chic - Wheelie
Spotted in Amsterdam. An electric scooter with the wheelchair on a rack on the back. Compared to other cities, you see so many of such vehicles on the cycle tracks of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Used by people with disabilities and the elderly. It’s a massive market with many brands. Offering urban mobility to people who might be restricted to a wheelchair.

Heading For The City
Cool as you like in Copenhagen.

Bicycle Cane
If it is ripe old age that has reduced mobility, the bicycle still serves a purpose. I see this lady all the time in my neigbourhood. Always walking her bicycle with groceries in the basket. Perhaps too unstable to ride, but using the bicycle as a kind of crutch. Lovely.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

You can now subscribe to an e-bike or ’smart bike’

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — The Dutch e-bike brand VanMoof is launching a subscription program for its bikes, starting at $19 per month. The fee provides subscribers with unlimited exclusive access to their bike as long as they need it. The fee also covers maintenance and a theft recovery service

‘Instantly appealing.’ Eurobike honors product design

Eurobike announced its prestigious design awards Wednesday. Among the winners was this Mokumono bike, designed and manufactured in Europe by Amsterdam's Mokum Mono BV.

‘Instantly appealing.’ Eurobike honors product design

Eurobike announced its prestigious design awards Wednesday. Among the winners was this Mokumono bike, designed and manufactured in Europe by Amsterdam's Mokum Mono BV.

Current pro Laurens ten Dam to edit Rodale’s new Bicycling magazine in the Netherlands

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — Rodale Inc. has launched  Bicycling in the Netherlands in a partnership with WPG Media

Accell Group reports record sales globally, but North American slump continues

E-bike sales drive growth in Europe. HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (BRAIN) — Accell Group is reporting record revenues and profits in the first half of the year, despite a sales slump in North America.

Bike Helmet Wearing Rates in Copenhagen in 2015

Copenhagen Bike Helmet Usage 2015
We like data at Copenhagenize Design Company. It’s a major part of our work, not least in our Desire Line Analyses of cyclist behaviour that we have done in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and planning to do on a global scale. We film an intersection for 10-12 hours and spending a couple hundred hours analysing the behaviour, doing counts of everything we can and producing solutions for modernising intersections to priortise cycling and pedestrians.

In association with the current Desire Line Analysis we are working on, on Søtorvet intersection in Copenhagen, we have added some data sets. Including performing a bike helmet count.

The reason is simple. There is no reliable data. The numbers we have seen are from the Danish Road Safety Council – Rådet for Sikker Trafik – and we are sceptical about them.

They claim that the helmet wearing rate is 26%.

Their random counts during rush hour and some telephone surveys do not, however, provide reliable data. Especially considering that this car-centric NGO is desperate to brand cycling as dangerous and they do everything they can to prove that their helmet campaigns have been successful. When you work with an idealogy, you often skim over reliable data in order to get the result you want.

What we did was simple. We looked at our 10 hours of footage from the intersection – the busiest in Denmark for cyclists. We studied all the cyclists on one specific Desire Line, heading into the city centre, between 8 AM and 6 PM on May 6, 2015. The best way to determine a number is to see what the regular citizens are doing. They, and they alone, are the main indicator of safety and perception of safety.

10,734 cyclists in all, throughout the day. That is good, solid number to base some data on. Not just the morning commuters, but all the different types of people using the bicycle infrastructure throughout a typical day in Copenhagen.

As you can see, the data provides us with a very different number than the Danish Road Safety Council’s exaggerated number.

11% of cyclists were wearing helmets. Safe to say that the vast majority feel safe and they have rejected the emotional propaganda from the Danish Road Safety Council. Using instead, their own rationality.

Copenhagen Bike Helmet Usage 2015

Because we found it interesting, we divided the helmet wearing rate up into hours between 8AM and 6PM. Just to see if there were variations.

Ideally, a city has suceeded in keeping cyclists safe when helmet rates are low. Infrastructure is the key. A rejection of ideological campaigns is also important.

Last week I addressed the 28 Transport Ministers of the European Union, telling them why they should take cycling seriously as transport. 40 minutes of positive messaging of cycling in Luxembourg. I also, however, mentioned that many safety organisations – and I used the Danish Road Safety Council as a prime example – often choose statistics that support their goal – and leave out an ocean of stats and studies that don’t.

Data. Always data. Data forever.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Accell Group: 2014 off to a good start

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (BRAIN) — Accell Group N.V. is reporting a positive start to the year. In a press release issued Thursday, the Dutch parent of Raleigh, Currie Technologies, Seattle Bike Supply and an array of European bike brands including Atala, Batavus, Ghost, Haibike, Koga, Lapierre and Tunturi, said that revenue and operating profit was higher in the first months of the year

By admin on April 24, 2014 | Bike News, Safety
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Importance of the Right Inspiration

When you come from Copenhagen, cycling in Amsterdam is like coming home. To a different kind of home, sure, but still home. An eclectic home filled with books piled up in no particular order, funky art on the walls, maybe dirty dishes in the sink but cool music on the stereo. Different from home with clean lines, white floors and carefully placed furniture and minmalistic art on the walls.

I love cycling in Amsterdam. It’s a wonderfully human experience. You meet the eyes of strangers all day long because of the layout of the city and the constantly changing infrastructure.

I’ve often said that Amsterdam cyclists resemble swarming bees whereas in Copenhagen they are more like marching ants. This difference is largely due to the layout of the cities. In Amsterdam the streets are curvy and confusing and you perform many left and right turns in the course of a day. In Copenhagen, there are primarily long, straight stretches. Most of Copenhagen outside the medival city centre is a 20th century invention and, back in the day, planning streets was unencumbered by canals or rivers.

It’s interesting to consider the differences in cycling in these two massive cycling cities. It is, largely, a question of personal taste as to what you prefer. A century ago you wouldn’t have noticed any difference between riding a bicycle in the two cities. The differences that are now apparent are merely evolutionary, based on city layout and planning, as well as infrastructure.

Which brings me to an observation I’ve made. The root of it is based in comments I’ve heard from dozens and dozens of planners, engineers and participants on our study tours of Copenhagen. Many come from abroad and make pilgrimage stops in Amsterdam – perhaps Utrecht or Rotterdam if they have time – and then Copenhagen – perhaps Malmö if they have time. For some reason, most overseas visitors end up going to the Netherlands first, flying home from Denmark. What I always hear is that Amsterdam and cities like Utrecht are a rush. A big bicycle smile. Wonderful to experience. And rightly so.

Upon arrival in Copenhagen, things change. It’s a giggle, as well, for foreign visitors who come here to study bicycle planning, infrastructure and facilities. The difference is that when in Copenhagen, our visitors remark that it’s easier to see how bicycle infrastructure would work in their city back home. Squint your eyes a bit and you’ll be able to superimpose a Copenhagen street onto a similar street in your home city. When a city resembles other cities it is easier to envision change. Amsterdam is a glorious place but there is only one Amsterdam and there will never be another.

Cities that have recently begun the journey to create a more bicycle-friendly environment after a century of failed traffic engineering are – or should be – looking for easy to implement designs and infrastructure networks. A fluid and functional design is paramount when beginning from scratch.

I stay at the same hotel when in Amsterdam and I’ve been there a lot over the past year and a half. I ride the same route to drop off my bike near the Central Station, a route that by and large bypasses the old city centre and follows larger roads. Despite the relative directness of the route, I have noticed that it is less straightforward regarding bicycle infrastructure. I decided to compare the route with a similar one in Copenhagen. To compare the design of the infrastructure, wayfinding and experience.

The route in Amsterdam is here on Google Maps. From the Lloyd Hotel to Het Zwarte Fietsenplan bike shop and rental location.

Amsterdam 01 Infrastructure Surface Amsterdam 02 Surface
The route starts out well. A separated cycle track with a smooth surface and the reddish colour typical in many Dutch cities. Near the first intersection, the surface suddenly changes to paving tiles of varying colours. Still noticably different in style compared to the left and the right of the cycle track, but odd that it changed. Especially as this section was recently renovated.

Amsterdam 03 Infrastructure Amsterdam 04 Button
From riding on a one-way cycle track I turn onto a bi-directional track. Nice and wide and safe, sure, but already here the intuition of the journey is jeopardised. At the first light on this stretch I meet the first crossing button. Having to apply for permission from a computer model to cross a street on my bicycle is a foreign concept for a Copenhagener. I couldn’t reach it, due to road works, but the workman pressed it for me with a smile. Nice.

Amsterdam 05 Button Amsterdam 06 Infrastructure
Then, because I was turning left, another button presented itself to me just across the intersection. I had to wait. Car volume on this stretch is high and their signals were prioritised. (It’s much better in many other locations, don’t worry). Finally, permission was granted by the traffic engineering gods and I headed off. This time on a wide, one-way bike lane surfaced with asphalt the same as the road, but one that was only separated by a painted line. Yes, this is Amsterdam. Motorists and cyclists enjoy a symbiotic relationship but I wonder what foreign planners think when they see this. The car volume and speed was largely unchanged, but the infrastructure was different. Uniformity is of paramount importance in design.

Amsterdam 07 Infrastructure? Amsterdam 08 Surface
I continued on. More buttons to cross streets along the way and then suddenly I was back on a bi-directional cycle track. I couldn’t really figure out why. But I was back on the classic, red Dutch cycle track surfacing. Well, not for long. Tiles appeared suddenly beneath my cargo bike again.

Amsterdam 09 Surface Amsterdam 10 Button
After the tiles I was back on a one-way cycle track, this time separated from traffic with the barrier you see, above. Now, it’s a bridge, so a lightweight barrier makes more sense here. Farther along, another of those damned buttons.

Amsterdam 10 Infrastructure Amsterdam 11 Button
This was a nice stretch. A wide buffer from the motorised traffic and separated from the pedestrians by the unique red-coloured surface. Oh. Then another button. If you’re new to cycling in Amsterdam, you may not notice it.

Amsterdam 12 Infrastructure Amsterdam 13 Button Amsterdam 14 Infrastructure
The button is meant to send me across this intersection, which it did after a wait. Into the arms of another button. Which was sending me on a left turn. Which was strange, because I just wanted to go straight.

Amsterdam 15 Infrastructure Amsterdam 16 Surface
So then I found myself on the LEFT side of the street, on yet another bi-directional cycle track. Never a dull moment. My Desire Lines, at this point, had just rolled their eyes and left the building. A minor change of surface – this time cobblestones instead of tiles – as I crossed this smaller street. I shuddered at the feel of those cobblestones after three days in Utrecht. My vibrating organs went into shock.

Amsterdam 17 Infrastructure Amsterdam 18 Infrastructure Surface
The bi-directional cycle track continued for a ways, although it did morph into a split cycle track for a while. Then, after a left turn off a bi-directional track that had me looking in eight different directions instead of two, I was back in the ol’ school. Makes you understand why on-street bi-directional cycle tracks have disappeared from Danish bicycle planning. Anyway, I found myself sharing the street on a low-speed street. (Well, kind of, cars were moving pretty quick, given all that space.)

Amsterdam 19 Infrastructure
The last stretch up to my destination was a narrow, painted lane.

I got from my A to B safely, calmly and without too much stress in a fantastic bicycle city. I did, however, experience a change in surface about 9 times. I experienced a half dozen different types of bicycle infrastructure and I had to push a button to cross a street 6 times. That’s not including the 3 or 4 other ones where I managed to catch the light.

I’ve finally figured out this route, after several visits. I know which direction to go in, but the variety of infrastructure solutions has little regard for my Desire Lines or my human intuition. Which goes for most of Amsterdam. I have friends who have lived in the city for decades and yet who can still spend ten minutes discussing which route is the best to get to that bar. This route should be pretty straightforward, however.

Back in Copenhagen, I decided to cycle a similiar-ish route to compare. I rode from Langelinie to Vesterbro, and the route is viewable here on Google Maps. There is a much more direct route for this A to B, but I took some turns and skirted around the city centre to make more of a comparison.

Copenhagen 01 Infrastucture Copenhagen 02 Surface
The route started out nice. A low-speed, low car volume street where separated infrastructure isn’t needed. There was Utrecht-style cobblestones as a traffic calming measure by a pedestrian crossing in this normally pedestrian-heavy area.

Copenhagen 03 Infrastructure Copenhagen 04 Infrastructure
A little roundabout and then a stretch along the same calmed street.

Copenhagen 05 Infrastructure Copenhagen 06 Infrastructure
Before long, I was on a one-way, separated cycle track for a long stretch. Turning left towards the city centre, the infrastructure became a wide, painted lane. I was also on a Green Wave route, where the lights are coordinated for bicycle users in this direction during the morning rush hour.Cycle 20 km/h and you hit green all the way in to the city centre.

Copenhagen 08 Infrastructure Copenhagen 07 Infrastructure
The painted lane continued. Some right turns later, including a couple of car-free turns, and the lane narrowed in because of Metro construction. This is normally curb-separated but this is a temporary solution. That bus was hardly moving because of traffic. We all zipped right by.

Copenhagen 09 Infrastructure Copenhagen 10 Infrastructure

Still on separated one-way cycle tracks, I passed busstops. The solution on the right is the City’s preferred one, where space allows. But the solution on the left works fine, too.

Copenhagen 11 Surface Copenhagen 12 Infrastructure
Entering the last street, Utrechtian cobblestones signal a change of speed and streetstyle. Only a narrow strip, fortunately. The last stretch was on a calm, low-speed street lined with small shops and cafés.

Apart from a few hundred metres at the beginning and the end, the entire journey was on one-way cycle tracks. About 70% was on the standard, physically-separated, one-way variety. We don’t send pedestrians criss-crossing back and forth on their A to B journeys. They have sidewalks on both sides of the street. The same comfort, ease-of-use and intuitive wayfinding should always be applied to bicycle users, as well. No on-street bi-directional cycle tracks to navigate on the route, either. Nor were there any American-style buttons to press to be allowed to cross intersections. The entire journey, apart from two narrow stretches of traffic-calming cobblestones was on one smooth surface type.

As we’ve highlighted with the Copenhagenize Guide to Bicycle Planning, a uniform bicycle infrastructure design makes sense.?

Let there be no doubt. Let us all look to the Netherlands for inspiration. For their national policy – their tradition and desire, even – to plan cities for people. I invoke “Dutch” in our work at Copenhagenize Design Co. very, very often. I push for Dutch-style solutions here in Copenhagen. The Netherlands is a pocket of visionary urban planning goodness that shines brighter than any other beacon on the planet.

What I’m saying is this. We work, primarily, with larger cities. We work with planners and engineers around the world who are still trying to figure this whole “bicycle as transport” thing out. Many are “getting it” but then there’s those who are still allowed to put in bike lanes between parked cars and moving traffic, or sharrows, without even getting fired.

Uniform design is paramount. A city-wide, copy/paste solution saves money, guarantees results and is a wise, financial move for cities with ever-dwindling budgets. An interesting but confusing (to anyone but the locals) selection of solutions is risky. Plug and play is the key.

If you get off a train in a Danish city you’ve never been to before, you’ll quickly find the bicycle infrastructure. It looks like the infrastruture in the last city you were in. It takes you where you want to go safely and quickly. Get off the train in a Dutch city you’ve never been to before and you spend your first few hours trying to follow the zig-zagging, criss-crossing, ever-changing infrastructure.

I, like everyone else who has tried it, has stood with a stupid smile on my face in Utrecht and Amsterdam. (Although DAMN your cobblestones, Utrecht!) I am inspired by the Netherlands and, wherever possible, do everything I can to reject this Bicycle Nationalism that has emerged over the past few years. That’s why Copenhagenize Design Co. teamed up with Dutch company Mobycon for our Kickstand Sessions. To bring the best of BOTH countries to the rest of the world.

What’s interesting, however, is how many study trips are now heading to Rotterdam. Green Lane Project, among many others, are focusing on Rotterdam and Copenhagen for their study trips. The rest of the Netherlands may mock Rotterdam for having the lowest modal share among Dutch cities, but let’s face it. When you’re from North America, 20% modal share doesn’t look THAT much different from 35%. If you squint your eyes in Rotterdam, like in Copenhagen, you can envision your home city with bicycle infrastructure.

There is much inspiration out there. Let’s inspire the world in the right places and in the right ways. Let’s focus on uniform design solutions that provide bicycle users in Emerging Bicycle Cities with ease-of-use and simplfied wayfinding, in order to plant the right seeds.

Then we can move on to big, stupid grin solutions once the forest starts to grow.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Showers Pass Amsterdam jacket design for on- or off-bike wear

PORTLAND, OR (BRAIN) — The Showers Pass Amsterdam jacket is intended for bike commuters who don’t want to choose between staying comfortable and dry on the bike and looking presentable off the bike. The jacket is made with a three-layer waterproof softshell fabric in a charcoal gray. It features a drop-down 3M reflective rear panel, reflective piping accents, gusseted weather-guard cuffs and adjustable hem with cord lock, hidden pit zips, side pockets and a chest pocket with audio port