You might think “Bikes on a train? Nothing special”. But…
- Every train has some bike storage (often dedicated), and on most every carriage (local trains), not just the mail carriage by the engine
- There’s 5 or 6 bike slots on this carriage, and not cramped together into a corner by the door. Literally half the seats in this carriage have been taken out to make space for bikes
- There are huge bike parking facilities at most stations. Almost too big actually… Good luck finding your bike again (ugly bright colours are your friend)
- Check out how clean the train is. No clutter, no tangle of bicycles swinging and bashing into each other
- And bear in mind this is an intercity commuter train between two major Swiss cities (Zurich and Basel) at peak time…
The Swiss population is in general, relatively affluent (certainly compared to the global average), and this choice of infrastructue is not motivated by cost savings, but by an enjoyment of riding and an appreciation of sustainability.
For cycling to be feasible as part of our daily back and forth, it must be easy and safe. In most cases, cyclists accept (sometimes unreasonable) compromises to personal safety in order to cycle daily.
Switzerland is a great example of a society in which a “normal” person rides from home to the central station, pops his/her bike on the train, travels to another city, pops the bike off the train and then parks it at work.
In this case the pink road bike in the picture above belongs to such a normal person. She is dressed for the office, not for a cyclocross event.
These facilities are a great step in the right direction, towards keeping people heathy, safe and happy. That’s what our public institutions should be doing, and what we should be asking for.
Well done Switzerland!