Tag: People

My take on what to call people who use transportation

Bicyclist versus person riding a bike? Which is the better term?

I first came across this “transportation user identification” debate on Human Transit:

Is there anything wrong with calling a group of people “transit users” or “riders”?  Is there anything wrong with calling yourself such a thing?


Reducing mode choice categories to nouns – cyclists, motorists, riders, etc – is potentially divisive.  These categories seem to give us the clarity we need to do any thinking at all, but clinging to them can blind us of all the ways that two cyclists can be different…

Who is this person?

Travis said on my Facebook wall:

We are all just people using various forms of transportation. Sometimes I use feet, but I am not a pedestrian. Sometimes I bike, but I am not a cyclist. Sometimes I drive, but I am not a motorist. I am a person. Why must we compartmentalize and deal in absolutes? It causes Us-Them situations.

Is this a scofflaw motorist or a person illegally driving on light rail tracks? Photo by Richard Masoner.

About two weeks ago I started changing the way I identify people in my writing and in my photo descriptions. You’ll now read “people riding bikes to the grocery store” instead of “bike shoppers” or “person in a car” instead of motorist.”

Successful bike parking

UPDATE, 04-23-10: I start to further address distance in the discovery of “Bike Parking Phenomenon A.” Also on my Master’s Project website.

Not every concept, skill or tool can be further and further simplified. Does anything really take just 3 steps?

1. Set it, 2. Forget it, 3. No third step! (This article is about bike parking, not Ron Popeil’s Showtime Rotisserie!)

I believe I can simplify bike parking. Here are my two rules to have successful and well-used bike parking:

1. Put bike parking as close to the front door as physically possible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bicycle riders use a substandard sign pole or tree instead of a high-quality bike rack because the bike rack was an additional 20 feet from the front door. UPDATE: As Dave Reid points out in the comments below, close parking increases security. Additionally, I’ve now written about the phenomenon where people lock to inadequate fixtures when high-quality bike parking is nearby, what I call “Bike Parking Phenomenon A” or the “50 feet rule.” Every foot makes a difference!

The bike parking in this photo sits only 20 feet away from the front door to a popular Chicago, Illinois, restaurant.

The bike parking in this photo is too far away from the store entrance for bicyclists to consider using it.

2. Choose the right bike rack. How do you know? Give bicycle riders a bike rack that’s easy to use and secure (i.e. don’t let the bike rack be the weak point in the bicycle’s security).

Six u-racks (also known as inverted-u, or staple racks) line the sidewalk in front of Kuma’s Corner in Chicago, Illinois.

If these two tips aren’t good enough, read through the online brochure, Bicycles at Rest, from the Capital Bike & Walk Society, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.