Thursday, February 24, 2011

The 8-80 Rule

Vibrant Cities - Healthy Communities - Great Places - Happy People

Last month I was introduced to something called the 8-80 Rule thanks to @T_Starry....who found out through Gil Penalosa and

What is the 8-80 Rule, you ask?  Well it's all about road infrastructure, and it comes down to 3 steps:

Step 1:  Think of a child that you love and care for who is approximately 8 years of age. This could be a child, grandchild, sister, brother, cousin etc.

Step 2:  Think of an adult, approximately 80 years of age who you love and care for. This could be a parent, grandparent, friend etc.

Step 3:  Ask yourself: Would you send that 8 year old along with the 80 year old on a walk, or a bike ride on that infrastructure? If you would, then it is safe enough, if you would not, then it is not safe enough.

This rule may seem overly simplified, but it is a great way to determine the safety of our roads.  Now, think about the road around you...the ones you travel to work, the store, school.  Do they pass the 8-80 Rule?

I know that they sure don't where I live, but I wish they did.  If we're going to get more people out there riding their bikes, we need city planners to adopt the 8-80 Rule.  If we're going to have safer roads for cyclists, we need the 8-80 Rule.

The mission of the 8-80 organization is:
  • Our goal is to contribute to the creation of vibrant cities and healthy communities, where residents live happier and enjoy great public places.
  • We promote walking and bicycling as activities and urban parks, trails and public spaces as a way to fulfill our goal.
  • These activities and public spaces improve our environment, advance economic development, boost and complement our transportation systems, make better recreation for all, and enhance our personal and public health.
  • We believe safe walking and cycling infrastructure, and vibrant public places are key symptoms of a more people-oriented and socially equitable city.

I really like the great vision of this non-profit Canadian organization.  They are doing great things and I invite you to find out more about the 8-80 rule at

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