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. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  2. A Vancouver house designed in a modern style
    POV

    How Cities Get 'Granny Flats' Wrong

    A Vancouver designer says North American cities need bolder policies to realize the potential of accessory dwellings.

  3. A map of California
    Equity

    Mapping Racial Disparities in the Golden State

    Racial gaps in California get a county-by-county look in a new online tool.

  4. A scene from Hey Arnold! is pictured.
    Life

    Even Hey Arnold's Neighborhood Is Gentrifying Now

    Series creator Craig Bartlett explains how he built the cartoon city that every ‘90s kid dreamed of living in.

  5. Equity

    Counting Down to a Census Doomsday

    Top-level vacancies and flatlined funding appear to be the Trump administration’s plans for the Census Bureau.