bikes vs cars

Brussels: The anti-car lobby can cease to exist by Kwinten Lambrecht

I was quite amazed when I read this quote in an article about Brussels' congested roads in The Wall Street Journal. Traffic is a result of policy measures that block cars, Alderwoman for Mobility and Public works of Brussels Els Ampe explains. A missed opportunity for Ms. Ampe to add some nuance to the urban mobility debate, to defend her Piétonnier/car-free zone that "gave back the city to Brusselers". No, it's all the fault of an 'anti-car lobby' that is making the lives of cars and their owners miserable.

But now, I wonder, who or what is that anti-car lobby? Which obscure organisation is making it so difficult for cars to drive in the city centre? Which movement constructed hundreds of kilometres of cycle lanes, buses and trams everywhere, closed parking lots ... to make the lives of Brusselers more convenient? I would be excited to know the answer to this pertinent question. Who is pro-community living and contra people in their cars, mostly alone?

THE ANTI-CAR LOBBY OF COURSE.

But who are they?! Anyway, I would like to thank the anti-car lobby for making this city so great; Brussels got rid off cars, full of green zones for kids to play in, fantastic air quality, public space, big car-free squares etcetera. Thank you, anonymous lobby!

Here are a couple of tangible results thanks to the actions of the "very powerful" anti-car lobby:

Also, please check the blogs called Destroy Brussels and Reasons My Car is Parked Here.

Driving costs, cycling benefits by Kwinten Lambrecht

Cool visual right? We all know that cycling contributes to a healthy life, but also to a more wealthy society. Researchers have just published a new study called 'Transport transitions in Copenhagen: Comparing the cost of cars and bicycles', which found that cars resulted in way more costs than benefits for individuals and society.

The cost of cars

  1. Climate change: 0.005 €/km none for cycling
  2. Noise pollution: 0.007 €/km none for cycling, does that ring a bell? :-)
  3. Congestion (cost of delays): 0.62 €/km none for cycling

The cost of bicycles

  1. Accident costs: 0.106 €/km (more exposed and vulnerable to injury), 0.022 €/km for cars
  2. Time costs: 0.67 €/km, while 0.26 €/km for cars. But it's relaxing to be on a bike!

The biggest benefit that researchers found was the increased life expectancy and fewer sick days, worth € 0.741 per cycled kilometre. 
After calculating all the costs and benefits of both transport means, researchers concluded that the combined individual and societal costs of driving a car were 0.50 €/km compared to 0.08 €/km for cycling. When only considering the costs and benefits for society, rather than the individual, one kilometre by car costs €0.15, whereas society earns €0.16 for every kilometre cycled.

Investing in a cycling culture costs money, but also courage from non-visionary politicians. These economic and societal arguments are a fantastic basis to further expand cycling cities, but also to get rid off our car-centred thinking. Cars are just not that good for you.