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» The Simple Power of the Bicycle

another article summarizing transportation x urbanization x climate change x advocacy x urban planning.

Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, fine particulate matter alone, much of which comes from transportation related emissions, is responsible for up to 30,000 premature deaths each year. Yet transportation is one of the areas that we, as individuals, have the most ability to control. A whopping 60% of carbon emissions generated by transportation in this country originates from cars and light trucks (the remainder mainly from heavy-duty vehicles & airplanes). The average person who bikes five miles to work, five days a week, avoids 2,000 miles of driving a year – the equivalent of 100 gallons of gasoline saved and 2,000 pound of CO2 emissions avoided. This equates to saving 5% of the average American’s carbon footprint. This means that regular people like you and me have the greatest potential to turn this problem around.

Simply put, too many people are burning too much fuel in single-occupancy vehicles. Fortunately, a surprisingly straightforward, inexpensive, and low-tech solution to this problem is right under our noses or, more likely, stored in our garages..

Americans are no different than our friends in northern Europe when it comes to making basic lifestyle choices. How we decide to get to work, bring our kids to school, or move around for errands or recreation is largely based on what’s most convenient and expedient for us personally, not some grand environmental motivation. If it’s easier and faster to drive, we usually do. If transit is most convenient, we take the bus. If biking proves speediest and most enjoyable, then we’ll pedal.

Unfortunately for our environment (as well as our pocketbooks and general health), American communities have largely been built to prioritize automobiles, making it a challenge to see bicycling, transit, or walking trips as the most attractive options in many places.

This is where the work of bicycle advocates can be most effective. Our focus is on improving the policies, plans, and investments needed to make communities bicycle-friendly so that more people have the option of biking for more of their trips.”

by Leah Shahum, sfbike.
read more: stanfordenergyclub, 07.04.14.

Bicycle Routes of San Francisco.
$25 for a print via sfbike.
delightfulcycles:

guys on bikes (via Rick U)

that crankset/chainring/chainguard—what?!!
» A Brief History of Cycling in Denmark & Netherlands

read more: triplepundit, 15.10.13.

Los Angeles Bicycle Police Squad. 1904. Broadway past 6th St. Los Angeles Public Library Photo Archives.

more 1900s los angeles cycling photos: copenhagenize, 08.01.12.

What Happens to Stolen Bicycles?

priceonomics:

At Priceonomics, we are fascinated by stolen bicycles. Put simply, why the heck do so many bicycles get stolen? It seems like a crime with very limited financial upside for the thief, and yet bicycle theft is rampant in cities like San Francisco (where we are based). What is the economic incentive for bike thieves that underpins the pervasiveness of bike theft? Is this actually an efficient way for criminals to make money?

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It seems as if stealing bikes shouldn’t be a lucrative form of criminal activity. Used bikes aren’t particularly liquid or in demand compared to other things one could steal (phones, electronics, drugs). And yet, bikes continue to get stolen so they must be generating sufficient income for thieves. What happens to these stolen bikes and how to they get turned into criminal income?

The Depth of the Problem

In San Francisco, if you ever leave your bike unlocked, it will be stolen. If you use a cable lock to secure your bike, it will be stolen at some point. Unless you lock your bike with medieval-esque u-locks, your bike will be stolen from the streets of most American cities. Even if you take these strong precautions, your bike may still get stolen.

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According the National Bike Registry and FBI, $350 million in bicycles are stolen in the United States each year. Beyond the financial cost of the crime, it’s heartbreaking to find out someone stole your bike; bikers love their bikes.

An Economic Theory of Bike Crime

In 1968, Chicago economist Gary Becker introduced the notion that criminal behavior could be modeled using conventional economic theories. Criminals were just rational actors engaged in a careful cost-benefit analysis of whether to commit a crime. Is the potential revenue from the crime greater than the probability adjusted weight of getting caught? 

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Using this risk-return framework for crime, it begins to be clear why there is so much bike theft. For all practical purposes, stealing a bike is risk-free crime. It turns out there is a near zero chance you will be caught stealing a bike (see here) and if you are, the consequences are minimal…

What Happens to the Stolen Bikes?

Just because the risk of a crime is zero, that doesn’t mean that a criminal will engage in that crime…

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Criminal masterminds have to value their time and resources, and bike theft isn’t really that profitable. The transportation costs and low value density ratio of the product likely kill the economics of the stolen bike trade. The bike shop proprietor we interviewed that requested anonymity concluded:

You’d be in the prostitution or drugs business if you were running a criminal ring to make money. There just isn’t that much money in bikes. These people who steal bikes are professionals but small time operators. Or, they’re just assholes.

Conclusion

Ultimately, that’s the point everyone seems to agree on — bike thieves are assholes. For everything else, there is little consensus and hard evidence. However, some things are clear and explain a lot of the bike theft that occurs…

no one told me about this blog before??!!!
??!?!?!

(Source: priceonomics)

found this children’s book while cleaning. it’s a good read. 
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