Let's Bike It/VK

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

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

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  2. An illustration of the Memorial Day flood in Ellicott City, Maryland.
    Environment

    In a Town Shaped by Water, the River Is Winning

    Storms supercharged by climate change pose a dire threat to river towns. After two catastrophic floods, tiny Ellicott City faces a critical decision: Rebuild, or retreat?

  3. A line of stores in Westport, Connecticut
    Equity

    Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing

    In southwest Connecticut, the gap between rich and poor is wider than anywhere else in the country. Invisible walls created by local zoning boards and the state government block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.

  4. A woman walks down a city street across from a new apartment and condominium building.
    Design

    How Housing Supply Became the Most Controversial Issue in Urbanism

    New research has kicked off a war of words among urban scholars over the push for upzoning to increase cities’ housing supply.

  5. Life

    Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life

    Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government.