BERN, AN EXAMPLE OF BIKE-CITY.

INTRODUCTION

Alicante is a city with a very good bike-conditions but the percentage of the movements with these vehicle are very few. In oder citys with the sames conditions take place the same problems? What are the best cities to ride bike and wath are their “bike-conditions”?

The 7 better cities to ride bike in the world

1. Copenhagen (Denmark)

2. Amsterdam (Netherlands)

3. Friburg (Germany)

4. Münster (Germany)

5. Ferrara (Italy)

6. Bern (Switzerland)

7. Bruges (Belgium)

CONTEXT DESCRIPTION

Bern, is the capital of Switzerland (one of the most develops countries in Europe) and is the 6th better city to ride bike on the world. The most interesting of this town is that with similar or worsens bike-conditions like Alicante, he’s porcentual bike movements is 22% versus the 0, 1% of Alicante. In this article I won’t to saw why is this, and how much difficulty is that to apply in our Cities.

The population is 137,919 (as of May 2013) less than Alicante. It´s geography location is 46°57′08.66″N 7°26′22.50″E. Berna´s clima is colder, and have more raining days than  Alicante. The two mountains closest to Bern are the Gurten, with a height of 864 m (2,835 ft), and the Bantiger with a height of 947 m (3,107 ft), so we can deduce, that is a city with a lot and high slopes, the principal Spanish excuse to don’t ride bike. Even so the people of this city use more the bicycle as in another cities. Why? Is only cause of the mentality of the citizens or are to politics and urbanistics causes to get this phenomenon?

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POPULATION GROUPS INVOLVED

Bern was acquiring the bike-mentality along the time, that was a process was not a overnight change. So get it is not an easy think, we must to fight and understand the importance of this. Like Alicante, Bern has Pro-bike associations, they fight versus the car-world, to get better cities. The most important are:

– Pro Velo Bern http://www.provelobern.ch/:  Pro Velo Bern is a politically independent association for the promotion of bicycle traffic , has over 4,700 members (as of November 2011) and is part of the national umbrella organization Pro Velo Switzerland .

They want to convert Bern in a Cycle-paradise.

The Board meets monthly at a meeting. If someone want join in this reunion, he must to say it advance. The Board formulates policies , rules on complaints and decides slogans for political polls.

The Bureau supports the Executive Director and prepares the board meetings.

The manager ensures a professional appearance by Pro Velo Bern, is the contact point for inquiries and handles to the day to day business .

The controller shall provide Velo measures do not miss any bike-project in town and he brings the voice of the bike-riders and give the approve about construction projects. If all of this fails , he writes objections or can post complaints. He makes the city regularly pay attention to grievances.

Various working groups deal with current bike-issues:

–  AG Velo measures : Does the bike officer
–  AG MEMBERSHIP : Ensures that the club in the future has the necessary weight .
–  AG Tram-Bus : Deals with the various problems that the existing and planned tram or bus systems for bicycle traffic have ( rail crossings , Engnisse at bus stops , etc.)
–  AG Velo City plan : Updates the existing city bike plan.

The regional correspondents are the liaisons Pro Velo Bern in the conurbations . They know the local conditions of everyday life and keep an eye on the political and traffic-related events in their community. At an annual meeting, they edit issues of regional importance .

they want better organization and signalization because is very important to have a safety bike-city for all.

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–  Citycicles http://www.citycycles.ch/): that´s an internet blog where the people write and talk about bike-issues. Is not so professional like Pro Velo Bern, but is to very important, because motivates the people to use the bike and talk about it. In this Blog the people can saw tips, bike-products (clothes, bicycles, helmets…), is a gate to introduce the bike-shops in the bike-people. They motivate the use of the bicycle and they mobilize the people, to get better cities and to have more consumers. So I think that is very important don´t saw only the sostenibility in that, because behind can have a work-opportunity.

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– Bern rollt http://www.bernrollt.ch/ : is the rent-bike company of Bern, here you can rent bikes, e- bikes, skates and e- scooters. They have naturally a economic motivation to promove the bike-rent systems, but they dont stop here, these company has a social background. “Bern rolls” are projects for the social integration of people out of work. You have the goal of job seekers to train for use in the primary labor market. Thanks to the free bike hire can find more than 30 employees with a meaningful activity and can develop professionally. “Bern rolls” is supported by the competence center work KA of the city of Bern.

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– Tourists: they can use the bike-system of Bern and always said good thinks about there. “no forman parte de” part in the negotiations but are beneficiados for the decision that the city vote about de bike-system.

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– Town council: must promove the bike-system so get a singular city and reforces the myths about the Switzerland eco-mentality, the same time are getting a bike-identity to Bern. All the governments want be voted by citizens and mejorar the bike system is a good electoral point  to get votes.

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– Citizens: the citizens are to a very important link of the swiss society, they have knowledge about the importance of the sustainable vehicles to get a better world and they use the much as possible. They want a good bike-system in their cities, because they use it every day, with public bikes or with private bikes. In other words, inverter in bicycles-lines or in the public-bike system is a good inversion. So they have too benefits, because they can spend money, in their daily travels  and having a better city’s  air.

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SOCIAL PROBLEMS AND CONTROVERSIES

The bike is one of the weakest vehicles in our cities and in every city can be dangerous ride it to the asphalt. Is extremely important have a good drive-conscience to avoid traffic accidents and get a better bike-climax. The swiss society has it assumed, but that was a process along the time. Even so the relationship bike-car can´t be ideal because they are two different types of vehicles with different characteristics, one of the most important is velocity, it makes dangerous the cars. (15 Km/h Vs 50 Km/h)

That’s one of the reason that bikes and cars are not friend, and create a good car-city is not create a good bike-city. Here arises the controversy:

“Die Frage ist, ob die Einführung des Velogegenverkehrs mit der Aufhebung von Parkplätzen vereinbar ist.” TVP MIV

 (The question is whether the introduction of the bicycle oncoming traffic with the removal of parking spaces is compatible.)

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The Citizens opinion about to close street to the traffic, is positive because they can arrive to the shops and cafes, restaurants… with bike or walking. ( Here in Alicante we think the same…??)

Other bike-problem in Bern is the Clime and the slopes (7% Bern).

That problems is extremly important to the cyclist, because it determines the us of bicycle. The slopes could be the worsted enemy because is something which is always in the city. The people get older as time passes and the slopes can became something heavy day by day.

The last great problem is the distance, because can be long to do it every day.

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AGENTS

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Swiss Government- The Swedish Government is responsible for subsidizing part of the public bike-system of Bern and and established standards urbanistic nationwide.

City-Town Council of Bern: subsidizing the other part of the public bike-system of Bern and organize and administrate the city at the same time.

Citizens: they pay taxes and are responsible for choosing electorally to the other 2 agents, while they are responsible for supporting or not the bike initiatives.

Bern rollt: It is the company that is responsible for organizing and managing the use of system public bike rental.

A PROCESS ALONG THE TIME

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The Swiss society opted for alternative transport for a long time . This has led to the emergence of companies and projects that manage and care of these infrastructure utilities. With the bike has not been different. In 1981 the first public rental company in Bern MTB bikes Cycletech emerged .  At first it was a great success, but the advent of motorized vehicles, it did change the city . The city is full of fast, noisy routes. Yet in 1889 took a law to limit the speed of certain streets to 30Km/h. In 1999 the Lärmschutz arose , the law of protection against noise. Since then the city began to change focusing on planning rather pedestrians. This meant that they return to resume projects on the bike path. A project was approved in 2004. Cause an  economic problem , he could not build it until 2006 that Bike-lane project wants connect all the schools, universities, Kindergarten, Parks, library, and other equipments whit the residential areas. Once constructed these new roads cyclists in 2008, the city responded massively to cycling . Such was, now more than 22 % of daily trips are made in this transport.

Now in 2012 they have released a new law that requires cyclists to have compulsory insurance of civil Responsibility for driving at the same time they approve  the controversial law, MTV MIV.

This law Building safer communities through reduced motor-vehicle speeds, implementing speed limits of 30 km/h or 20Km/h on non-arterial roads.

After these law everyone can transform her street to a 20 zone or a 30 zone. But these action requires some features:

– Be a residential Area.

– Have a low car-traffic (minus than 100 cars pro hour).

– Have permission of all the neighbors

All these studies performed an administrative council board and they help you to get a low speed street.

If you get approved, the street undergoes a transformation depends if its became a 20 zone or 30 zone:

– 30 Zone: signaling, narrowing to reduce the speed in the entry.

– 20 Zone: signaling, narrowing and placing street furniture to obstruct the road-traffic and so to reduce the speed.

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BIKE RENTAL SYSTEM

But we can not attribute all the success to planning actions to have been able to consolidate a free public bicycle system is another major talking points. And I must to explain it.

BIKE RENT

In Berna you can free-rent a bike. If you will a free-bike, you must to get 20 CHF (16€) like a bail, then you can have the bike 4 hours free-cost. If you use the bike more than 4 hours you must to pay 1 CHF (0,8 €) pro hour. The maximum of rent-days is for a 5 consecutive days, and the reservation for each bike is 5 CHF (4€)

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E-BIKES RENT

 Bern is not only a great city with a very evocative core, but it’s planted in the midst of some of the most beautiful countryside in Switzerland. Did you know you can get out of town into that countryside on a bike that helps you with the work? Called E-Bikes, they’re bikes with electric motors that assist you as you pedal. Yes, you have to do some of the work.

 

You can get it in the 3 stations-bikes. The prize is 5 CHF bail for 1 hour, and 2CHF (1,6€) more pro hour. The maximum of rent-days is for a 2 consecutive days, and the reservation for each bike is 5 CHF (4€). (+16) years old.

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You can do your own Tour of Bern on a Flyer E-Bike. Just rent a bike, choose one of the three routes you’ve chosen from a brochure available from the tourist office, and head out. There will be charging stations along the way, in case you’ve needed a lot of assistance.

The best way to get around in Bern is on foot or by bike but there are also buses, trams; so we can see that the political in Bern support the sustainable transport. The compact old town is a pedestrian zone. Bikes are available for free use (with a deposit,) at the train station.

SCHEDULE

 You can get your bike in the Train-Station in the Weisenhausplatz and in Loeb-Egge for May to October between 7.30- 21.30 hours.

CONCLUSION

 

That Example of city destroys the bike-myth about cities (like Alicante) with a lot of slopes. In the city of Bern the slopes are 7% in some streets. Why the citizens use the bike massively? Because Bern has got one of the best intercity bike-lines/rent system of the world.

We can see that Alicante and Bern are not so different, even Bern has worse things than Alicante… more raining days (1000 mm/ year), snow in winter, cold temperatures (the annual mid temperature is 8 °C )…so I deduce that create an efficient  public bike system in our city can be possible.

Have an efficient rental bike system is a long time process, in which a lot of Agents must to be involved. More than a morphologic problem is a psycho-social problem. In bern they haven’t create only a bike-lane system, they have create planning-laws to get a better bike-friendly city. In Alicante is very difficult and very expensive fill the city with bike-paths, so I think that to have a planning change like Bern can be a good solution to create a good bike climax, and so to setting up more efficiently that public bike system.

If we get a better social-mentality about the bike in our city, to ride a bike will be more safety, because the people will include them in their day to day actions.

Have a public bike system can solve the problems, of having a bike (space for storage, theft…), decrease the CO2 emissions of the city and to have a more healthy society.

 

REFERENCES

 

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berna

http://www.bern.ch/

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