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Welcome - my name is Kevin Klinkenberg, and this site "The Messy City" is my blog and company website. I started blogging on urban planning and design issues in 2007, and began working in the field in 1993. Please feel free to connect with me on any of the social media sites listed here. Thanks for reading.

Connecting biking to walking

I wrote last year about the how walking and biking combine for not only just a positive personal experience, but also how they reinforce each other:

I like to be as honest with others and myself about my experiences of being deliberately less car-dependent as possible. I do love to walk, and I can often walk to quite a few daily destinations. But let’s face it – some places are quite far away, some days I just don’t feel like it, and some days the weather isn’t great. On occasion, I’ll hop in my car to take care of what I need to. But at other times the bike is great for getting somewhere a lot faster than I can on foot.

The places that I most often go on a daily basis are generally within about a mile of where I live. With a bike, it’s very easy to stretch that to two, three or even five miles.

Recently, the blog "As easy as riding a bike" noted some similar experiences in European cities:

I don’t necessarily think there’s any causal connection here, but certainly there are reasons why having a high cycling modal share makes it easier to walk around cities.

Principally, it means that fewer trips are being made by car, which has several obvious advantages for those walking. It’s just easier to cross the road when there are fewer cars and more bikes. Bikes are far smaller, they travel more slowly, and the person on them has an interest in avoiding you.

Similarly, with high levels of cycling use, and low levels of motor vehicle use, the need for traffic control at junctions becomes unnecessary. That means no push buttons to cross roads, or multiple staggered crossings. Junctions are easy to walk across. The level of signalisation in Dutch towns and cities is far, far lower than in Britain, even in places with high levels of ‘traffic’.

Less directly, towns and cities with high levels of cycling are safer for pedestrians (there are simply fewer motor vehicles which have the potential to harm you), and they are also more attractive, and quieter.

We need to move beyond the notion that cycling is something antagonistic to walking – something ‘extra’ that needs to be accommodated in the streetscape alongside walking and driving – and realise that it is a crucial way of improving the experience of walking itself.

Emphasis mine on the last paragraph. The post has some great pictures as well that are well worth a view.

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