The Life-Sized City: Mikael Colville-Andersen interviews Susan Stokhof - Bicycle Mayor of Victoria, Canada
Ask the bicycle mayor!
The bicycle has proven to be the best mode of transportation, not only is cycling an important part of our daily lives, cycling improves our mental and physical heath. People are rediscovering the bicycle and their childhood love for it, but not everyone is feeling confident with it. We want to help you ride more confidently. So ask the Bicycle Mayor of Victoria anything about the bicycle.
Happy Cities, Inviting Spaces
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Global bicycle mayor network starts 2019 with exciting growth
The Bicycle Mayor & Leader Program is a global initiative to accelerate the progress of cycling in cities.
We need to ensure our cities are more liveable and ready for the challenges of the future. We believe that the bicycle is key to transforming this. We believe every city can benefit from having a catalyst representing cycling progress to unlock this potential. We call these Bicycle Mayors.
They are the human face and voice of cycling in a city. And by connecting these changemakers across a global network – creating greater visibility, rapidly sharing ideas, challenges and solutions – we can create a truly radical shift.
Susan Stokhof is Canada's First Bicycle Mayor & Bicycle Mayor of Victoria
What happens to a society when they interact with one another everyday on their commute? What does pulling people out of the car bubble and into the street as cyclists and pedestrians do to a sense of community? The social consequences of a normalized cycling culture are far reaching. We think it builds trust and confidence and permeates every aspect of social life.
(WHY) THE DUTCH CYCLE
To understand why the Dutch cycle we first must understand their past to understand the present.
You may think the Dutch cycle because of the 29,000km of connected cycle paths or 7,000km of designated bicycle lanes or because of the flat terrain. Maybe it’s because there are 1.3 bicycles for every citizen (man, woman, & child) in the Netherlands and on average each person cycles 878 km per year. Or is it because, as a country, 4.5 billion trips are made by bicycle each year? Could it just be that the Dutch are unconsciously skilled at riding a bike? Sure, take all of this into consideration, but we’re just barely scratching the surface.
MANIFESTATIONS OF FLOW
Cyclists elegantly move through each other.
Cycling through this intersection in early morning rush hour was a treat. There is a dance that has a cadence where everyone understands the movements and the pace. As I ride through busy streets in bicycle rush-hour, cyclists keep to their cadence and move through each other. I feel happy, accomplished, messy, slow, confused, humbled, heart racing, relaxed, perplexed, in this chaotic mess that is was home for 7 weeks.
Normalization of cycling
Susan recently studied at the University of Amsterdam program Planning the cycling city. From her studies abroad, Susan said the city needs to re-examine how they brand cycling.
Susan also hopes to use her new profile as a way to further encourage safer riding environments in the city, and to get more people on their bikes. The BYCS goal collectively is 50/30: to get 50 per cent of residents riding in the city by 2030. The BYCS network, which includes 50 bicycle mayors globally, shares a collection of resources to propel this goal.