Thursday, March 31, 2011

Congressman Talks Cycling

I've been a little heavy with the videos this week, but I just came across this great Politico video of Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) talking about his favorite mode of transportation: cycling. Blumenauer is beloved in the cycling and livable streets communities for his consistent and outspoken support of cycling as a serious mode of transportation. He founded the Congressional Bike Caucus, after all. As this video is evidence, clearly he doesn't just talk the talk, but, um, pedals the pedal?

Here's the takeaway message that everyone considering tuning up their bike should hear:
Over the course of 15 years in Congress, I have burned hundreds of thousands of calories. As I run my errands around Washington D.C., I’ve never been stuck in traffic, I’ve never had to look for a parking place, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars. It’s kind of a win-win-win, burning calories instead of fossil fuel.
I love how the reporter is dressed like he's ready for Le Tour and Blumenauer looks like a normal commuter you'd see on the subway. (Well, you can decide for yourself whether his trademark bow-tie is "normal.") I always argue to friends that the best change cycling has of being taken seriously as a mode of transportation is for cyclists to look normal doing it. In other words: screw the spandex.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

London's Bikeshare Patterns in Animated Video


Boris Bikes redux from Sociable Physics on Vimeo.
Dr. Martin Austwick created this animation of bike-share usage in London on October 4, 2010, when transit workers were on strike. It’s totally spellbinding.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amazing Mountain Bike Videos


Pipeline on Fromme, North Vancouver BC from Barry Duncan on Vimeo.
Motion Sickness Warning! But if You're Okay, Go Fullscreen!
You seem to have really liked the crazy rider-perspective bike videos from Chile that I posted a few weeks ago (you can see them here: Valparaiso Chile Urban Downhill Bike Race). Well, here are some more for you! These 8 videos are from British Columbia, Canada, and they show all kinds of amazing rides; some slower and very technical, others really fast (the one above is slower, while the A-Line below is fast) with lots of jumps, and some are in wet dirt or snow. Crazy stuff that requires lots of skill and is way more exciting than any motor sport (at least to me)! Check out the videos below!

A-line, Whistler BC from Barry Duncan on Vimeo.
These videos were shot around North Vancouver, Canada. Mount Fromme is a popular mountain bicycling destination, and while Whistler is best known for skiing, it's also pretty great for mountain biking.

Ladies Only on Fromme, North Vancouver BC from Barry Duncan on Vimeo.

Natural High on Fromme, North Vancouver BC from Barry Duncan on Vimeo.
Mount Fromme, where this trail is located, has an elevation of almost 4,000 feet. "The mountain is populated with mountain bike trails that are known for their difficult and dangerous and treacherously slippery mountain terrain. These trails have natural challenges like fallen logs, giant boulders to drop off and gap jumps. Most of the trails have man-made obstacles like skinny bridges, large boulders, winding ladder bridges, road gaps, and other large gaps and jump features. Mt. Fromme has been featured in many mountain bike films such as seasons, follow me, and many NWD and Kranked series." (source)

Crank It Up, Whistler BC from Barry Duncan on Vimeo.

Corkscrew and Salvation on Seymour, North Vancouver BC from Barry Duncan on Vimeo.
A wet run on the Dirt Merchant trail in Whistler:

Dirt Merchant, Whistler BC from Barry Duncan on Vimeo.
And this one is with powdery snow on the ground:

Snow Ride on Cypress, Vancouver BC from Barry Duncan on Vimeo.
Before small video cameras existed, few people ever could see what these skilled mountain bikers see when they go down a technical trail. Very cool, and one more reason to love bikes!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Velib Plans on Getting Bigger and Better

velib-bridge photo

Vélib',Paris' bike-share system, has come a long way sing it was first introduced in July of 2007. From 10,000 bikes to 17,000, and 750 rental stations to 1,202 (that's one every 300 meters), Vélib' has become the largest system of its kind in the world. With its fourth birthday approaching, the City of Paris is proposing a series of improvements and new rental plans that will ensure the system keeps getting bigger and better.

Currently, you can sign up for a yearly subscription, for 29€, for a single day, for 1€, or for a week, for 5€. Whichever you choose, when you take out a bike, the first 30 minutes are free, the second half hour costs 1€, the third costs 2€. It's a system designed to encourage short-term use, for getting from Point A to Point B. The proposed changes are efforts to make using a Vélib' even more convenient and quicker, as well as more practical.

New internet and smartphone services and ways to sign up will eliminate the waiting time between signing up and hopping on a bike, and if you can't return a bike because the nearest station is full, you won't be penalized for the extra time it takes to find another.
velib-station-1 photo

Also, that free first half hour is bumping up to 45 minutes, if you sign up for a Vélib' Passion year-long subscription. It's a bit pricier, at 39€ (with 10-20€ reductions for those 14-26), but will make the bike-share a better solution for those whose commutes are longer take longer than 30 minutes, providing big savings over time.


Not all of the changes will be cheered, however: the price of a daily ticket will rise to 1.70€ (the price of a metro ticket), and the weekly will go up to 8€. The upside of those increases may be that they will push Parisians to sign up for yearly subscriptions- which, the City argues, are the most cost-efficient choice, even if you only take out a bike once every three weeks.

Next week, the changes will be submitted to the City Council for approval. We'll have to wait and see if they're adopted, and then what effect they actually have on people's daily use of the system. But no matter what, it's good to see that Paris is committed to the Vélib', and that it's doing all it can to make it a better and more popular way to get around.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bike Sharing in the Netherlands

On the "bike sharing world map" there is one strikingly blank country...the Netherlands. You could think that in a country of 16 million who possess 18 million bikes there would be no need for sharing bikes. But that would be wrong: the Dutch do share bikes and on a large scale.

Since 2007 when Paris first started bike sharing, every self-respecting modern city seems to have bike share. Milan, Brussels, Bogota, London, Melbourne: some 200 cities worldwide. Most of these schemes call itself 'free'. Meaning the first half hour is free, but keep the bike 2 hours and it will cost you 7 euros (Paris) or 6 pounds (London). Keep it even longer and Paris charges you a ridiculous 151 euros for 20 hours! Clearly these programs are designed for short use. For single trips, not round trips. If you have a meeting somewhere in town you can only hope the meeting place has a nearby bike-station too, for the rental fee would cost you dearly after a two hour meeting.

The Dutch have –like so many things to do with cycling- a different approach. Their nation wide program started in 2003. What the Dutch started was not so much new, it was modernizing what had existed in the country for decades. Almost every train station in the Netherlands has manned bike parking facilities and in most of those it has always been possible to hire a bike.

In 2008 the national OV-fiets program was taken over by the Dutch Railways. Literally the name means 'Public Transport bicycle'. That is exactly what it is: an extension of public transportation. Trains go almost everywhere in the Netherlands, but they do not get you entirely from A to B. To bridge that final part of your journey this bike scheme is perfect.
How it works
You become a member for 10 euros per year. You get a subscription card with a pin-code or the subscription is directly connected to the card you already possess for train travel. That way you don’t end up with multiple cards in your wallet and it is once more underlining the fact that this is an extension of your train travel. In a manned station you simply present the card. The person manning the bikes scans your card,the bike you take with you, and you are on your way. Takes about 5 seconds. The hire fee is always for a 24 hour period and costs you just 3 euros which is less than a round trip by bus in any Dutch city. You can go where ever you want to go with the bike and you can even take it overnight. It has a lock so you can also park it. This scheme is designed for (longer) round-trips. It expects you to return to the train station to get back to where you initially started your journey.

When you return, the bike gets scanned again and you can continue home by train. If you kept the bike longer, the next 24 hour period costs you 5 euros extra.

There are also un-manned stations where the system works just like any other electronic bike scheme. You swipe your card and enter your pin-code. A bike is electronically released and you take it with you.

The fee for the bike hire is automatically withdrawn from your bank account. A standard payment procedure in the Netherlands and this is arranged when you become a member. You can keep track of your journeys on-line.

The scheme is a success. About 85,000 people are member now. They made 835,000 trips in 2010 alone from one of the 230 bike hire stations that can be found all over the country. The bright yellow/blue bikes (the colors of the Dutch Railways) are very visible in the streets of the Netherlands.

This bike hire scheme is really designed for residents, as it involves a membership that has to be arranged in advance. But for tourists other bikes can be rented from almost every train station too.
YearLocations Subscriptions Bikes Rides
2004   7011,000800100,000
2005   8420,0001,300189,000
2006  10130,0002,500250,000
2007  14043,0003,000335,000
2008  18251,000 ?480,000
2009  20067,0004,500670,000
2010  23085,0005,000835,000

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Poll Finds That New Yorkers Like Their New Bike Infrastructure


According to a poll released on Friday by Quinnipiac University,New York City’s new bicycle lanes, the subject of one of the more heated civic controversies in recent memory, are supported by a majority of New Yorkers.

More than half of registered voters — 54 percent — said they believed the expansion of bicycle lanes had been a positive development for the city. The only demographic groups opposed were Republican voters and, by a smaller margin, residents of Queens. Over all, 39 percent of respondents said they were unhappy with the lanes, and 6 percent said they had no opinion on the matter (or did not answer).

The survey question was fairly stark: either that the bike lanes are “a good thing because it’s greener and healthier for people to ride,” or “a bad thing because it leaves less room for cars, which increases traffic.” The poll asked which statement was closer to the respondent’s point of view. Support for the lanes was strongest in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Voters in Queens disapproved of the lanes, but by 48 to 45 percent. Only 35 percent of Republicans supported the lane, while 59 percent of Democrats approved.

Support for the bike lanes seemed to wane with age. Voters between ages 18 and 49 supported the lanes by wide margins, but support fell below 50 percent among voters older than 50. Still, supporters outnumbered opponents in each age group. The poll, which surveyed 1,115 registered voters earlier this month, had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Hundreds of new bicycle lanes have been installed since 2007, part of the administration’s plan to encourage environmentally friendly modes of transportation that cut down on traffic congestion. Arguments for and against the bike lanes typically go into more detail than the survey’s questions. The city’s Department of Transportation, led by its commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, argues that carving out street space for bicycles has resulted in slower car traffic and, in turn, fewer accidents.

Critics of the lanes complain about lost parking spots, additional difficulty in driving in the city, and the risk to pedestrians from bicyclists who disobey traffic laws. Some opponents have also faulted the Transportation Department for installing the lanes without sufficient community outreach, and not disclosing all the relevant data related to the lanes. Those are among the arguments in a lawsuit filed last week by a group of well-connected Brooklyn residents who have called on the city to remove a two-way bike lane along Prospect Park West.

Biking advocates cited Friday’s poll as evidence that the city should continue expanding its bicycle network.
“Whether they drive a car, ride a bike or get around by train, this poll shows that New Yorkers understand that bike lanes make our streets better for everyone,” Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, wrote in a statement.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Moving Beyond the Automobile: Congestion Pricing



In the fifth chapter of "Moving Beyond the Automobile," they demystify the concept of congestion pricing in just five short minutes. Here you'll learn why putting a price on scarce road space makes economic sense and how it benefits many different modes of surface transportation.

In London, which successfully implemented congestion pricing in 2003, drivers now get to their jobs faster, transit users have improved service, cyclists have better infrastructure, and pedestrians have more public space. More people have access to the central city, and when they get there, the streets are safer and more enjoyable. While the politics of implementing congestion pricing are difficult, cities looking to tame traffic and compete in the 21st century can't afford to ignore a transportation solution that addresses so many problems at once.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Urban Bikeway Design Guide

NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
Last week at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) released its new online Urban Bikeway Design Guide. The bikeway design guide is an online resource providing cities with solutions to create complete streets that provide enhanced safety for bicyclists.

The design guide was unveiled by NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan – who also serves as President of the NACTO.
From the design guide website:
The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide is based on the experience of the best cycling cities in the world. The designs in this document were developed by cities for cities, since unique urban streets require innovative solutions.

To create the Guide, the authors have conducted an extensive worldwide literature search from design guidelines and real-life experience. They have worked closely with a panel of urban bikeway planning professionals from NACTO member cities, as well as traffic engineers, planners, and academics with deep experience in urban bikeway applications.
The website provides a clean, easy-to-read interface with the following high level bikeway design categories:
The top-level categories are broken down into different features:
NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
Each feature provides a list of benefits, typical applications, design guidance (best practices), maintenance, and a list of U.S. cities that have adopted the particular feature.
NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
There are plenty of great ideas in this design guide that are applicable to cities in North America. NACTO has committed to update the content of the website as new best practices and features emerge.

Now if only we could get those ideas off the website, and built in our cities tomorrow.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Miami Beach Opens DecoBike!

south-bike.jpg

Here's a welcome addition to the achingly trendy South Beach scene: a new bicycle rental scheme. By day there are lots of tourists going to the beach and cruising the streets looking for fun. But there is also a thriving community of hip locals who love the ocean vibe and relative calm compared to Miami.

Called the Decobike, in appreciation of the fabulous art deco buildings everywhere, now everyone will be able to rent bicycles by the hour to get to the beach.
map bike photo
It's the first system of its kind for Florida. There will be 1,000 bicycles and 100 docking stations. A station will be located every 2 blocks in the busy downtown beach/shopping areas along a 7 mile stretch. Given that this is the most concentrated area of hotels, it would seem that it is a more tourist-oriented amenity than many of the other schemes in larger, more urban, places.

It will be sponsored by private companies, and since this is not just any beach, the likes of Ralph Lauren, the Shore Club, American Apparel and Benetton have all contributed. The private sponsors will pay $4M start-up for all of the infrastructure and the municipality will provide the street space for free. The city of Miami Beach will get a percentage of the revenue from rentals and from the advertising on the baskets.

They are pricing it a little differently than many other cities. There will be a free first half hour and then the next half hour is $4 or the next full hour is $5. A full day rental is $14. This would seem to encourage longer time periods that people will keep the bicycles. Most other schemes focus on a short-term rental and make a longer one prohibitively expensive. Since there is such a big tourist population, there is no pre-registration, you just swipe a credit card at the docking station (with a refundable pre-authorized hold of $250 which is a security deposit).

However residents are given a special deal: they can get unlimited usage by the month for $15.
deco bike photo

The bicycles have been customized specially for the scheme. They are aluminum with hand brakes, adjustable seats and kick stand. They have electronic tracking technology that tells who the rider is and can even calculate the carbon offset. The baskets are roomy and sturdy and there is a bell.

It is expected that the scheme will be up and running next month. So if you are planning a trip to South Beach, forget about the car rental and go the Decobike way.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New York Bike Lanes Battle On

new york bike lane
If you have been reading my blog very long, you know that i have an infatuation with New York City's progress with bike infrastructure and culture. After experiencing it first hand last summer for a few months, I am excited as they work to rival the west coast. In the past few weeks there have been multiple reports in the New York Times and other publications about the NYC bike lanes and especially Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

The installation of bike lanes, and the bikelash against them, has been grist for the mill of bike and urban design blogs for a while now, but in the last few days it has gone truly mainstream. It all started with a post on the New Yorker blog by economics writer John Cassidy, who complains that he can't park his Jaguar as easily, because bike lanes "poach" his territory.
When the city introduces a bike lane on a given street, it removes dozens of parking places. All too often these days, I find myself driving endlessly up and down Hudson, or Sixth Avenue, or wherever, looking in vain for a legal spot--and for cyclists. What I see instead is motor traffic snarled on avenues that, thanks to bike lanes, have been reduced from four lanes to three, or three to two.

new york bike lane
Aaron Naparstek wrote the article after noting that "Cassidy has done us the great favor of producing what may one day be regarded as a seminal document of New York City's bike lane backlash era." He creates a bullet-pointed interpretation of the essay:
  • I have owned six, enormous cars in New York City. They've averaged somewhere around 11 miles per gallon.
  • Thanks to my cars, I've visited virtually every neighborhood in the city. I never could have done that via subway or bike, or... really? I could have?
  • Street space should not be set aside for bike lanes. It should be set aside for free parking for my Jaguar XJ6.
  • I take great enjoyment in my driving, except for the 90% of the time that I am stuck in traffic, searching for parking and growing ever more bitter as cyclists whiz past my immobilized gas guzzler.
  • I acknowledge that this is all just an emotional reaction. What I am writing makes no sense whatsoever. I am an economist.
new york bike lanes
Then Economist Felix Salmon of Reuters jumps in, and loves this line from Cassidy:
I view the Bloomberg bike-lane policy as a classic case of regulatory capture by a small faddist minority intent on foisting its bipedalist views on a disinterested or actively reluctant populace. Yes, you read that right: the New York populace, it seems, is basically comprised of cars, to the point at which bipeds are "a small faddist minority".
Now it so happens that I've met Mr Cassidy a few times and he's always looked perfectly bipedal to me. And for all that he enjoys parking his Jaguar XJ6 on Manhattan streets -- he's just written 1,250 words on the subject, after all -- I'm quite sure that he always gets out and saunters happily among the other New York pedestrians as he makes his way to his dinner in the West Village.
Salmon also makes a great point about bike lanes' effect on number of riders:
Bike lanes attract bikes no less effectively than roads attract cars and the number of cyclists in New York has been growing just as fast as the city can create new lanes for them.
public bike launch
Adam Sternbergh of the New York Times also attempts a line-by-line deconstruction in a piece entitled 'I Was A Teenage Cyclist,' or How Anti-Bike-Lane Arguments Echo the Tea Party he nots that rhetorical tactics include:
Reference to ominous encroachment of cycling-based anti-Americanism: "City Hall ... sometimes seems intent on turning New York into Amsterdam, or perhaps Beijing." (You know, Beijing: where the communists live!) Invocation of America's long, sun-dappled love affair with cars: "Since 1989, when I nervously edged out of the Ford showroom on 11th Avenue and 57th Street, the proud leaser of a sporty Thunderbird coupe, I have owned and driven six cars in the city."
Sternbergh notes that the discussion over bike lanes has taken on the tone of the culture wars: "passion first, reason later, (or in most cases, never)".
times square bike lane
Cassidy responded to all of this in the New Yorker, I think stupidly, inflaming the culture wars with this:
Finally, thanks to the commenters in general for providing me with a handy guide to the cultural politics of the twenty-first century. I'll keep a copy of it in my walnut glove compartment: Bicyclist = Urbane, enlightened, sophisticate.
Car Driver = Suburban, reactionary, moron.
broadway bike lane photo
Finally, I give the last word to, Ryan Avent of the Economist. He writes in The World Is His Parking Lot:
Now, if drivers paid for all the costs they impose on others, then it might be worth asking what the optimal level of bike lanes to have is and discussing whether the lanes themselves are subject to rising congestion and need to be priced. Of course, if drivers paid for all the costs they impose on others, there would be fewer drivers complaining about bike lanes and more people using them. As things stand, given that cyclists help alleviate some of these externalities (a cyclist takes up dramatically less road space than a car, doesn't use on-street parking, does not emit ozone, and does not contribute to climate change) it seems quite sensible to allocate a larger share of New York's roadways to lanes for cyclists. From an economic perspective.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Floating Parking" Bike-Buffer Zones!




In this video produced by Clarence at Streetfilms, Gary Toth, the Director of Transportation Initiatives with Project for Public Spaces, explains how parkings should be designed so that cyclists are protected from the opening doors of vehicles (motorists should always look before opening a door, but we can't rely on humans always being diligent and never making errors, so it's good to have a margin of safety). Having a buffer zone is a very obvious way to solve the problem, and it is being used in lots of places around the world, but it's been slow in coming to the USA. Let's hope that's now changing.

Moving Beyond the Automobile: Bus Rapid Transit


Most cities need BRT. It's a lot less expensive to build than a subway or light-rail system, but it brings many of the same benefits by re-purposing space that would otherwise be used by private cars. What do you need for BRT? 1) Exclusive bus lanes, physically separated 2) stations that allow easy and rapid boarding, and 3) giving the buses priority at intersections. South-America is the current leader when it comes to BRT, but the rest of the world needs to catch up quickly!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moving Beyond the Automobile: Car Sharing


Moving Beyond the Automobile: Car Sharing from Streetfilms on Vimeo.
In the third episode of Moving Beyond the Automobile, StreetFilms take a look at a more efficient way to use a car.  Car sharing allows users to evaluate the full cost of each car trip, which encourages them to decide what the most appropriate mode choice is for a specific trip.

Zipcar, a leading global car sharing organization, reports that members walk and bike 10-15% more than they did before joining Zipcar.  They also report that members save $600 a month when they choose car sharing over owning a private automobile.

So while car sharing isn't exactly "Moving Beyond the Automobile," it is a great way for cities and individuals to help make the transportation network more efficient and become less dependent on owning a private cars.

National Bike Summit Kicks Off in DC

national bike summit earl photo

March 8-10, 2011, at the Grand Hyatt, Metro Center
It has already been a year since the last National Bike Summit, and this year's edition is starting today in Washington DC at the Grand Hyatt. The organizers write: "There are more people riding bikes than ever. Yet half of all U.S. trips are three miles or less, and more than 90 percent are made by car. The National Bike Summit has improved bicycle-friendliness and livability in many communities, but the need and opportunity to improve physical activity, safety and livability in the U.S., while reducing congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on oil - remains greater today than a decade ago. These issues seem difficult to solve but the answer is simple. The answer is the bicycle. "
dc smartbike bike sharing photo

Some of the notable speakers will be:
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who will speak at the National Bike Summit's March 8 opening dinner. LaHood is one of the cycling movement's most influential allies. You can see his famous "tabletop" speech here.

Janette Sadik-Khan, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, is the keynote speaker at the opening plenary, Wednesday March 9. Since her appointment in 2007, the New York City has completed more than 250 miles of bike lanes and 20 miles of cycle track; passed innovative bicycle parking legislation and delivered extensive education and safety programs. Bicycle use has doubled since 2006, while fatalities have fallen to their lowest level in decades.

If you're interested, you can check out the schedule here and then register when you get on site.

Via League of American Bicyclists

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Los Angeles Bike Plan Approved by City Council

la bike map image

The Los Angeles City Council approved a new bike master plan that would potentially make the city much more bike-friendly. The plan calls for 1,680 miles of interconnected bike paths (compared to 378 miles right now), with about 200 new miles being created every five years for 35 years, and it also includes a safety campaigns to educate drivers about sharing the streets with cyclists.
la bike map image
"It's a cultural shift toward different types of transportation," said Councilman Ed Reyes, one of the plan's major proponents. The challenge now, he and other lawmakers said, will be in implementing it.
The City Council agreed last year to put 10% of the city's share of money from Measure R, the 2008 sales tax to support transportation projects countywide, toward initiatives for cyclists and pedestrians.
 
I wish the plan was being implemented a bit faster, but it does take time to change a whole city, especially one that is so dependent on cars. But who knows, if things go well and if external factors keep applying pressure (oil prices, global warming, environmental awareness), maybe things will happen faster.

All the details can be found on the LA Bike Plan website, including maps of the existing and proposed new bike lanes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Valparaiso Chile Urban Downhill Bike Video


In the town of Valparaiso in Chile,  a downhill mountain bike competition has been taking place for the last 10 years; the Valparaíso Cerro Abajo cup. What makes it different from many other downhill races is the location: this race takes place in the city streets and sidewalks.

This is one of the craziest videos I have ever seen. This is a POV helmet cam video, so if you don't do well with shaky cameras, consider this a warning.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Brazilian Driver Claiming Self Defense For Running Over 20 Cyclists


The driver of the car filmed plowing into a group of cyclists on a Critical Mass ride in Porto Alegre in southeast Brazil last Friday, acted in the self defense of himself and his 15 year old son, his lawyer told the Brazilian media today.

Ricardo José Neis, an official of the Brazilian central bank, handed himself in to the Porto Alegre police who have been looking for him since they recovered the car involved in the incident. The police identified Neis as the owner of the car on Friday night. Luis Fernando Coimbra Albino, the lawyer representing Neis, told the Zero Hora newspaper that his client had his 15 year old son in the car with him and felt threatened by what he alleges was aggressive behaviour by the cyclists who he says banged on the car roof. Neis feared that the cyclists would turn the car over.

"He felt cornered, he acted to protect his son who was in the car", said Albino.

Questioned as to how his client sought to refute the damning video evidence against him, Albino claimed that videos only show part of what happened:
"The images are powerful, but show only from a certain point, when he had started the confusion. They do not show the aggression that led him to flee"
Mr Albino may have his work cut out to make this defence stick all the films of the ride so far show a far from aggressive group of cyclists comprising many women, old people, children and even a lady with a dog on a trailer. Indeed, while the driver's alleged concern for the safety of his child is commendable any concern for the safety of children does not appear to extend to the children of others – a young boy can quite clearly be seen at 0:58 in the longer of the videos of the incident just feet from the front of the car as it is driven through the group of cyclists. Neis's concern doesn't extend to women either a number of whom he ran down in the incident. Far from being aggresive the cyclists in both films seem good humoured and don't appear to be holding up traffic to any great degree. There were also numerous witnesses to the incident both cyclists taking part in the ride and pedestrians watching it go by.

Indeed one witness had already come forward to say that he had seen the driver of the car acting aggressively towards the riders in front of him before he drove his car through them. Camilo Colling, told the Brazilian website Terra Brasil that he spoke to the driver just before the incident, asking him to be patient and stop behaving aggressively towards the riders in his path and warning him that there were children and older people taking part in the ride ahead. The driver allegedly replied,"Yes but I'm in a hurry", before ploughing his car into the group of cyclists in front of him.

Speaking to Zero Hora, Neis's son said that his father had driven through the cyclists after arguing with riders at the back of the group and feeling threatened. According to the lawyer the riders damaged the car smashing windows leading Neis to fear for the safety of himself and his son. You can see a picture of the car here and while it is undoubtedly damaged, that damage would seem more consistent with running down 20 cyclists than being attacked by them.

According to Albino, contact between himself and his client was mediated through Neis's ex-wife, and Neis has not surrendered to the police until now because of his emotional state. If he is proved to have acted with intent, Ricardo Neis may face charges of attempted murder.