Bikes over cars and what that entails

I mentioned the idiosyncracies of bikes and their effect on transportation design; here’s a bit more about it, and then extending into how systems would be designed to handle it.

Anyone who has ever driven a manual car knows the hesitation that goes along with starting from a full stop, as there’s a certain threshold that needs to be overcome to keep the car from stalling out in first. However, with a bike, stopping and then restarting is more like coming to a complete stop, turning off the car, taking the key out of the ignition, and then putting the key back in, restarting, and /then/, finally, pressing down on the accelerator. In short, when biking, you don’t want to stop. With current car-oriented cities, bicyclists need to stop all the time: at stoplights; cross streets; even T-intersections, where we are legally obligated to stop (even though we rarely do, in that case.) When designing a city based around bikes, however, there is every reason to attempt to avoid reasons to stop, and they are far cheaper to implement for bicycles and walkers than for cars.

A first example of such workarounds would be an overpass and underpass system for managing « corners » : in this case, an intersection would function like two highways crossing, with one route raised over the other by a bridge, and with interchange-style links to transition between them. One path would dip, and the other would rise only enough to provide a reasonable clearance for crossing beneath it. This system eliminates the need to stop for cross-traffic, and, as it’s designed for bikes and walkers, need not be built to the same load requirements nor the size of regular car bridges. This, in general, would lead to smooth traffic flow, even as it reduces the need for traffic lights and their management (all a part of a later topic, the economic changes this alteration would cause.)

An extension of using bikes as the main transit system is the need for adequate pathside lighting, especially around these proposed overpass arrangements; ideally, every part of the path would be fairly well-lit, to a distance of approximately 5 metres on either side, with no concealing shrubs within that distance, either. Additionally, a blue EMERGENCY pylon with a push-button 911 system would be installed every hundred metres or more, with benches placed at regular intervals along both sides of the paths. Bike parking would also be prevalent, in most cases simple racks of the style that are common now, but in some areas, especially in the city core and near transit stops, electronic bike lockers, controlled from a central kiosk at each location, would allow for secure storage of a bicycle and any equipment associated with it, and, if solar panels were placed on top of the units, it would allow them to power themselves in the proper conditions, and even supply power to the grid when they could; the rest of the time, they would draw from the grid. The net effect of having bike storage compared to blacktop for cars to park on: once again, reduced surface area to absorb and reflect heat, resulting in, again, a reduction in the heat island effect, and a decreased carbon footprint for the entire city.

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