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Best of 2011: Most Popular Posts

Happy New Year! Thank you for your support in 2011! Here’s a look back at our top 10 posts of the year.

1. 1 Car = 10 Bicycles

How many bikes can you fit in the space occupied by a single car? Never thought about it? The creators of Car Bike Rack, CycleHoop, did and they developed a car-shaped bike rack to prove the point.

Originally commissioned by the London Festival of Architecture, the bright-colored bike racks raise awareness and encourage the use of non-motorized transport by converting car parking spaces into parking docks for 10 bicycles. Besides the functional purpose they serve cyclists, the car-shaped racks convey a serious message in a humorous way, explained the British company.

2. Friday Fun: Glow-in-the-Dark Bicycle

Cycling is great, but it comes with risks, especially at night when there is less visibility and cyclists are more vulnerable when sharing the streets with cars. With this in mind, lifestyle company Puma developed a bike that glows in the dark, “Puma Glow-in-the-Dark.” If you ride it, everyone will see you coming, day or night.

The bike is the third of the “Urban Mobility” family of products from the German brand, with models exclusively designed to meet the needs of urban cyclists. The bike includes an integrated lock system, rugged tires, disc brakes, alloy wheels and a silver chain made of carbon steel.

3. Friday Fun: Urbanology by the BMW Guggenheim Lab

The BMW Guggenheim Lab released an online urban planning game, “Urbanology,” as a platform to explore urban issues. Urbanology was developed by Local Projects, and the physical design was created by Zones Urbaines Sensibles. Each player assumes the role of a decision maker and answers questions to determine the priorities of a fictitious city. By answering “yes” or “no” to questions like, “Will you double the cost of public transport to fund its conversion to a carbon-neutral system?” or “Will you pay for a free bike service in your city?” players build a city that best matches their urban ideology. As we’ve written about before, ”serious gaming” like this “can help people become astute, collaborative and creative problem-solvers.”

4. Motorist Plows Through Cyclists in Porto Alegre

A motorist sped through a crowd of cyclists in Porto Alegre, Brazil last Friday evening, injuring at least 15 people and sending several others to the hospital. The victims were participating in a monthlyCritical Mass event to raise awareness about cycling on city streets.

According to local news reports, the driver of the black Volkswagen Golf, 47-year-old Ricardo Neis, fled the scene with his 15-year-old son, who was also in the car. Police found the abandoned vehicle over the weekend and arrested Neis, who testified on Monday. His lawyer said he was acting in self-defense because he felt threatened by cyclists who were hitting his car. Today he was charged with attempted murder.

5. Friday Fun: Vertical Bike Storage for Urban Centers

Manifesto Architecture, a New York-based architectural design firm, created a vertical bike storage structure to be installed in underutilized urban spaces.  With bicycling as a growing means of transportation, the project, titled “Bike Hanger,” can help save sidewalk space for pedestrians by changing the axis of bicycle storage. The Ferris wheel-like structure can be installed on the sides of buildings and alleys, opening up the limited spaces of the urban landscape.

6. New Report: The British Cycling Economy

new report from the London School of Economics looks at the “cycling economy” that is taking the United Kingdom by storm and the economic benefits generated by individual cyclists. The 24-page report investigates the factors that have all played a part in driving the growth of the cycling industry, which includes the 200 percent expansion of the National Cycle Network to more than 12,000 miles and the addition of dedicated cycling lanes in urban and city areas. The study also credits environmental concerns (83 percent of people in the U.K. believe that environmental issues are a priority) and health considerations (80 percent of men and 70 percent of women in the U.K. are forecasted to be overweight or obese) as factors that were drivers in the growth of the cycling industry.

7. Accessorize with London’s Fashionable New Oyster Card

Knowing that your transit card is on your finger or around your wrist, you’ll never fumble to find your card again. Thanks to Benjamin Parton, who recently received a master’s degree in product designfrom the Royal College of Art, Oyster, London’s transit smartcard, is getting a complete redesign. Called Oi, the wearable transit card comes in the form of a ring or a “watchstrap widget” in order to improve functionality. The project is part of InnovationRCA, a program of the Royal College of Art that manages and commercializes intellectual property, and leads knowledge transfer programs, like helping students integrate business skills with creative practice.

8. Melbourne Ranked as Most Livable City

The Economist Intelligence Unit, the original in-house research unit for The Economist, released alivability ranking report of 140 cities from around the world. Melbourne, Australia topped the list with a livability rating of 98 out of 100 in all of the livability categories. Harare, Zimbabwe received the lowest livability rating out of the 140 cities, with a score of 38.2, which EIU describes as “most aspects of living are severely restricted.”

9. TransMilenio: The Good, the Bus and the Ugly

The Colombian capital of Bogota has been praised for more than a decade concerning its dramatic transformation, which centered around the TransMilenio bus rapid transit (BRT) system, ushered in by former mayor Enrique Peñalosa. TransMilenio has been widely praised and imitated around the world and is considered the gold standard for BRT service. However, many consider the successful bus system to be struggling under its own success. What’s happened to the world’s most famous BRT? The myriad factors are complex, ranging from controversial public policy decisions, engineering mishaps, political contempt, marketing budget cuts and even earthquakes. This is story about TransMilenio in 2011: the good, the bus and the ugly.

10. Commuters Rely on Bicycles in Aftermath of Japan’s Earthquake

In the aftermath of Japan’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake and consequent tsunami, commuters relied on bicycles for quick and reliable transportation. Damaged roads remained in gridlock, streets lost electricity and officials cut back public transit service in the aftermath of the combined natural disasters, leaving commuters stranded and in need of transportation options. A local blogger in the Tokyo region, Tokyo by Bike, reported lines forming outside of supermarkets indicating a rise in bicycle sales.

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