Ride On digest
The week’s top bike news from around the world, brought to you every Wednesday.
Last Wednesday more than 250,000 students from 1,700 schools across Australia took to the streets on bikes, scooters or their own two feet for National Ride2School Day. The annual celebration of active travel get kids moving towards better health and encourages them to develop good habits for later life.
Bike riders have received some negative (and unfair) press this week, but Michael O’Reilly reminds us that there’s a lot of reasons to love your ride and says that he, for one, plans to keep on rolling.
The RACV have called for Melbourne’s Elizabeth Street to be closed to cars between Flinders and Bourke streets in order to reduce traffic accidents in the CBD. The closure would also have the added benefit of further opening the city to pedestrians, bike riders and public transport users. The City of Melbourne says it plans to explore the idea and others to improve the strip within the next financial year.
At the busiest intersection in Utrecht, which is frequented by 22,000 bike riders every day, ten Barbie dolls appeared overnight above the traffic lights with signs asking ‘Which way are you going?’. They were reportedly placed there by Marije de Wit, an artist and computer games designer, who was sick of the chaos caused by riders who forgot to signal. She said of her work, “I wanted to help people remember in a friendly and fun way that they should indicate where they’re going.”
Thanks to The Big Pedal, an inter-school active travel competition run by group Sustrans, UK primary school students made over one million extra trips by bike or scooter in less than two weeks. Over 1,500 schools took part, with active travel rates within some schools rising from as little as 2% to a whopping 75%. According to Malcolm Shepherd, chief executive at Sustrans, “Each one of the journeys made during The Big Pedal proves that families can change the way they travel if they choose to.”
For those who don’t like hills, the Norwegian city of Trampe has an uplifting solution. It’s new CycloCable uses a chair-lift inspired mechanism to transport riders up the steepest hill in town. The CycloCable is a revamping of an earlier mechanism that had been in place since 1993, but is reported to be much safer and easier to use and could soon be implemented in cities around the world.
Current guidelines advise sugar should make up less than 10% of our diet (12 teaspoons), but new draft guidelines from the World Health Organisation suggest even this may be too much and that people would benefit from cutting their intake down to 5% (6 teaspoons). Moreover, WHO says that we’re likely consuming more sugar than we think, with even savoury foods containing ‘hidden’ sugars. For example, a tablespoon of tomato sauce contains about a teaspoon of sugar.
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