the term pop up it reminds us of that type of children's books in which the images are three-dimensional and emerge from the pages like small works of art reminiscent of origami. Or they make us think of the window that pops up on our PC screen to remind us of an interesting promotion or a warning of some program that we are not using correctly. All this has to do with the cycle paths pop up? And above all, what are pop-up cycle paths?
Let's take it as a metaphor, because that is to be understood. The concept we want to recall is precisely that of popping up suddenly, coming out in a short time. It is not a new fashion or a marketing gimmick to invite people to use the bike more but a reality in many countries and a possibility in Italy, linked to the management of mobility in the fateful and decisive phase 2 of the Covid-19 emergency.
What are pop-up cycle paths
Compared to the others, these tracks are more agile and faster to build. In fact, these are economic and at the same time light infrastructures that can therefore emerge out of nowhere in the area, without bureaucratic or shipbuilding complications. In fact, they can build in a little and with minimal gestures, going to delimit a part of the existing roadway with construction tools and paint. Until provisional cycle paths that are used to have more routes for cyclists in the city who are lacking them, they are not real cycle paths but act as a safety lane for all those who intend to get on the bicycle to move around the city when it will be allowed to start circulating , with all the necessary attention. With the cycle paths pop up it will be able to do it efficiently and quickly.
The main objective behind this idea is to better manage emergency mobility by offering citizens all the appropriate opportunities and alternative viable modalities to avoid taking the metro or public transport which in fact will always have to circulate empty vehicles. What we want to avoid is that everyone takes the car to move while maintaining the social distance, it would be a real nightmare. First of all, pollution would skyrocket within a few days, but also at an operational level there is a risk of going from prisoners at home to prisoners in the car.
Pop up cycle paths in Italy
In Italy, while we are telling you about this idea, several cities are giving us a little thought and Milan is among them. The Lombard capital together with Rome and perhaps Turin, is one of the areas most at risk of traffic jam, as well as a pandemic and has in fact immediately asked the government for incentives for electric bikes, promising that it will organize itself to facilitate their use.
Turin it is in turn studying routes and initiatives to take advantage of its wide avenues and organize the areas around the schools so that those who want to ride a bicycle can do it more serenely than in the past. To date, these are spot initiatives that individual cities have undertaken in view of a gradual resumption of ordinary activities, there does not seem to be anything organized centrally.
For this Legambiente, together with other associations that promote active mobility, recalled in a letter to the central government that something must be done to create and promote emergency cycling networks. This time there is a Phase 2 to face and the stakes are triple compared to the past, even for those who are not particularly sensitive to green issues. In general, it is hoped that the pandemic and the measures to stem it, can lead to one rapid transition to a new way of thinking about cities and how to get around, with incentives to unlock the many good ideas not yet realized, obviously for budgetary reasons and less attentive administrators to the cause
Pop up cycle paths around the world
If in Italy we are still courting the idea of realizing them, in the rest of the world there are those who had already thought about it on the occasion of theCovid-19 emergency and immediately transformed them into reality. The primacy goes to Bogota, who already understood in mid-March that these cycle paths would be an excellent strategy against contagion, as regards mobility.
The idea is popular in all hemispheres and countries, another rather quick one to decide was the New Zeland where the Government guarantees to the administrations that request it 90% of the necessary costs, a nice incentive to get busy immediately and do not hesitate. Even the Canada took his steps, or pedaled if you prefer, and in the city of Calgary he exaggerated, turning whole carriageways into cycle paths, while in USA, pop-up cycle paths are not even a novelty because already in 2016 they were common, made with very simple planters that can also be moved from time to time, when and where needed.
And in Europe? The old continent seems to struggle more but there are cities that have fallen in love with the idea and are carrying it out. Berlin and Budapest, for example, and Paris with them.
How many types of cycle paths are there?
Apart from the pop-up ones, the cycle paths are not all the same and those who design and build them know it well but also those who use them. By law i cycling routes they can have different characteristics depending on the time, each case is a case in itself but we can summarize the different categories as follows:
- own cycle paths
- cycle paths on a reserved lane;
- mixed pedestrian and cycle paths;
- mixed cycle and vehicular routes.
Bike paths in their own place: they run parallel to the roads open to vehicular traffic but separated by curbs, sidewalks or barriers, railings, pegs to prevent the invasion of the field, and lane, of cars
Bike paths with optical / logical separation: they are part of the carriageway but reserved for the transit of bicycles. They are indicated only by vertical and horizontal signs but not by physical separations.
Promiscuous pedestrian and cycle paths: paths separated from the pedestrian flow by a continuous white stripe and with the optional colored background (red) that makes them recognizable. However, they are separated from the lane where the cars move, like the cycle paths in their own seat even if they can be confused with the pedestrian lane.
Cycle-pedestrian or mixed routes: in a single common infrastructure both pedestrians and cyclists run but are protected from motorized traffic.
Pop up cycle accessories
There would be a lot of discussion about the safety of the different types of cycle paths but we want to be proactive and so here are the three main accessories to be safer and more visible that you can buy online on Amazon:
- A comfortable light to apply to the bike, with many different functions for night and day cyclists or who live in foggy areas.
- A harness to wear for a sporty ride, thanks to which it will be impossible not to see us
- A light to put on your head to be seen but also to see where we are going when the cycle paths are poorly lit, despite the light pollution.