Thursday, 3 December 2009

Integration isn't working

What Sustrans has described as 'cycle friendly' High Road Leytonstone.

Even in one of the very few sections of High Road Leytonstone where cyclists aren't squeezed between kerbside parking bays and overtaking traffic, the cycle lane (an inadequate 1.5 metres in width) is obstructed by illegal parking. On this section, near the overground station, speed is an issue, with some drivers obviously going faster than 30 mph. But as this cyclist is wearing dark clothing and isn't wearing a helmet, obviously we are dealing with a potentially serious case of contributory negligence.

But the main point is this: cycling infrastructure integrated with motor traffic isn't working, and is never going to result in mass cycling. The two successful European nations for cycling are the Netherlands and Denmark, and their success results entirely from the provision of safe, fast, convenient and above all segregated cycling infrastructure.

Many British cycling campaigners remain wedded to the integrationist approach, and I can understand this as I once was myself. But it's a strategy that isn't leading to anything other than, at best, the tiniest shift in modal share - a shift which I do not believe is sustainable. It is often argued that London's streets are too narrow to accommodate cycling infrastructure on the Dutch model. I shall make my case for going Dutch on High Road Leytonstone tomorrow. In the meantime, for a tragic example of a supposedly Green council promoting car dependency and discouraging walking and cycling, look no further than my analysis of the Chingford 'neighbourhood improvement' scheme below.