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If Bicycles Took Up as Much Space as Cars ...

Bicycling advocates in Latvia braved the rain for a witty demonstration on the humble bike's economy of space.

Let's Bike It/VK

A big ol' helmet-tip to Joseph Stromberg at Vox, who dug up this remarkably effective demonstration of the automobile's poor economy of space, courtesy cycling advocates in the Republic of Latvia.

As part of International Car Free Day on September 22, Riga-based bike advocate Viesturs Silenieks had the idea to construct car-sized wearables from what looks to be bamboo and twine. He and local cycling group Divrintenis* then donned the skeletal sedans and went about their morning commute, adding noticeably to overall traffic congestion. These photos were later posted to the Russian social network vk.com.

As Stromberg points out, there have been several photographed demonstrations of the bicycle's superior spatial economy as compared to cars in recent years. But the Latvians' suggestion of "phantom space" consumed by vehicles also reminded me of Danish urbanist Mikael Colville-Andersen's "The Arrogance of Space." It's a series of color/photo-overlays that reveal the astonishing discrepancies in how much room cities bestow to different modes of transit.

A sweet video and more images from the Latvian stunt below:

CAR FREE DAY. Latvia from VFS FILMS on Vimeo.

*This post originally identified a Russian cycling group as the organizers of this event.

About the Author

  • Laura Bliss
    Laura Bliss is a staff writer at CityLab. She writes about the environment, infrastructure, and cartography, among other topics.