One of the subjects I am working on at the moment is what we call “Smarter Cycling”, the interface of cyclists, bikes, data and connectivity.
However that’s not quite what this post is about – my writing on the policy stuff is over on ECF.com, this is a slightly more tongue-in-cheek observation about my Italian friends.
Despite my earlier reservations about the state of cycling in Verona I have a sneaking suspicion that when it comes mobile phone use and cycling this is a subject where the Italians might turn out to be world-beaters. They are certainly practicing hard.
I have noticed in the past how much the Dutch use mobile phones on their bikes, but this seems to come from the complete relaxation is knowing their bike lanes are safe and since being on a Dutch bike is like being on a wheeled arm-chair then why not?
In and around Italian traffic that isn’t true, so a few of the riders in Verona did stop to make their calls, but not many.
But its quite clear that here no call or text can possibly be left unanswered, even if moving.
(It is a good job for them that the city is flat, my wife has an uncanny knack of always calling my mobile when I am riding up a hill, so she is convinced I either spend most of my cycling time panting by the roadside or I have a second life imitating dogs in heatwaves.)
A special award for style in Verona must go to the chap who managed to hire a city shared bike, retrieve it from its docking station and set off across the city without missing a word of his vital conversation, or using a headset.
Smarter? I’m not sure. But was I impressed by his bike handling? Definitely.