03 March 2007

Cycling Guide In The Guardian

The Guardian has a very good collection of pro-cycling articles on its website today.

It includes:

- tips on how to buy a bicycle

- tips on how to deter bicycle thieves, and,

- Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow describing the danger to cyclists on London roads and how he feels urban cycling lanes should be a governmental priority

The government thinks that with the Lottery funding the admirable Sustrans National Cycle Network, they have done their bit for cycling. But in truth Sustrans is what it is, a mainly recreational, regenerative exercise that has made it possible for families and individuals to cycle safely across the British countryside. To a much lesser extent has Sustrans provided commuter routes, and only rarely any inner-city infrastructure. Some local authorities have scraped money from here and there to build small stretches of separated cycle way. But as a rule, the government has effectively given urban cycling no priority whatsoever in its thinking.

Nowhere is the war against the carbon footprint more important than in the inner city. In ignoring the need to build major cycle infrastructure, ministers are turning their backs on one of the more obvious solutions to both transport safety and global warming.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Snow's comments are wrong and backwards and are getting him in real trouble - check out any cycling forum. Cycling is safer than walking, and the infrastructure for cycling is there - roads - but you need to cut traffic speeds and amounts,which is what cycling organisations want. Not Sustrans though,they have eleven members only and want to confine cyclists to a few limited expensive paths. Check out Green Party policy on this - it's against paths and for dealing with speeds etc.

scott redding said...

Of course we have to deal with car speed, and of course we need less cars on the road. But we do not have cycle paths integrated into the urban landscape like other parts of Europe. I lived in Germany for a year, and lanes were everywhere (on streets, on a third of the sidewalks/pavement). Part of the problem is that drivers don't cycle in their spare time, so they don't appreciate how dangerous their driving is to cyclists and how they need to slow down. As for Sustrans having 11 members, that's a bit deceiving. They have 11 people on their board, and thousands of donor supporters. As for cycling being safer than walking, I'd like to see some figures backing that up. I've never been in an accident whilst walking, and I've nearly been creamed three times whilst cycling.

Anonymous said...

http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/Transport.html

Cycling

TR170 Cycling has decreased in modal share as roads have become dominated by cars. The fear of the potential of motor vehicles to inflict injury to cyclists in accidents, and the harm to their health from vehicle pollution, has been primarily responsible for this. This has led to many cyclists choosing to use pedestrian areas rather than roads. A lack of recognition of the problems faced by cyclists in being able to travel safely and conveniently has led to a huge lack of resourcing of all types of cycling infrastructure.

TR171 The Green Party recognises that the keys to promoting the use of bicycles are:

a)Reducing the need to travel long distances for work, leisure and shopping.

b)Improving road conditions to make them safe, convenient and comfortable to cycle on, including reallocating road space. (see TR110 etc)

TR172 Cycles are a vehicle and, as such, cycling should, wherever possible, take place on roads or, where not feasible, on cycle paths segregated from pedestrians. To this end, local authorities would need to review all roads regularly, and the measures needed to bring them up to a standard of safety required for cycling. In targeting support, including funding, local authorities will be expected to ensure that the most congested routes in urban areas will be given high priority, and that any works must ensure the completeness of the route.

TR173 There will be a hierarchy of measures to create this provision. The primary objective of these will be reducing speeds and volume of motorised traffic. Where this cannot achieve a safe cycling environment, various forms of segregation from vehicles will be implemented, including routes completely away from the road system.

TR174 Where the cycle infrastructure is shared with pedestrians or horse riders, or where the cycle provision on roads is shared with bus priority measures, adequate space must be provided for the two users to share it safely.

TR175 Where cycle routes are provided which give some form of segregation from other road users, the cycle route will be given priority at junctions over motorised traffic. Alterations to national rules, including the Highway Code, and education of other road users to understand this, will be needed to allow this to happen in a safe manner. (see TR163)

Anonymous said...

http://www.cyclingplus.co.uk/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=123194

scott redding said...

it's an interesting online debate on the forum you've cited. thanks for the link. i'm not talking as much about off-road cycle-only paths as on-road green-pavement cycle paths. the green party policy that you've cited is not against paths ... it's onroad cycling first, paths where needed.

it's hard to see how you get into a city centre like coventry safely unless you have cycle paths under the ring road.

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