Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Where and how is the idea of user experience manifested in street design for people riding bikes? Can certain street designs elicit positive emotions and make biking an attractive, practical, convenient activity?
One crude way of assessing this is by observing people. From cues such as people's posture, body language, clothing and riding style, you can get a general idea of if someone is stressed, relaxed, happy, etc. How do we feel while cycling, and how does infrastructure design relate to it? The captions on the photos above of different streets, bridges, and bike paths in The Netherlands brainstorm on this.
One example: in the picture on the bottom right there are three boys riding together to what seems to be a sports practice; they are able ride together, talk and make eye contact. They are riding in relaxed positions with casual facial expressions. One is leaning back and only needs one hand on the handlebars and another is relaxing and leaning on his handlebars while holding sport equipment.
While it is a stretch to say there is a causal relationship between specific infrastructure and specific emotions, we can certainly see differences among street environments. In the example and other pictures above, people have a much smoother, more pleasant experience than on most streets where people riding bikes are an afterthought (e.g. such as photos below in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York City).
Now, having recognized that different street environments can elicit different emotions, how might this insight be used to design street environments that are conducive to positive emotions and cycling experiences?
How do you feel riding on streets and bike infrastructure in your town/city?