Sunday, 30 September 2012
The scandal of Oxford Street
A businessman left in a coma after being hit by a bendy bus in Oxford Street is campaigning for the road to be pedestrianised.
It’s bizarre and barbarous that streets like Oxford Street and Regent Street aren’t pedestrianised, and that apart from all the buses the motorist is allowed to access all areas. Pedestrians hugely outnumber all other street users, yet the crowds are subordinated to the solitary man in his 4X4 or the expense account BBC manager who can't be bothered to walk half a mile and takes a cab instead.
Buses are a very silly way of travelling around central London and they are high polluters. Buses soak up the suppressed demand for cycling. If central London had the modal share for cycling that it ought to have we wouldn't need so many buses. In any case trams are far more efficient and much more fun to travel on.
For dangerous, vehicle-clogged streets like Oxford Street and Regent Street blame Westminster Council, one of the nastiest, most reactionary and car-centric councils in Britain.
That’s the problem with the Conservative Party – it is so in thrall to the ideology of car supremacism and libertarian motoring that it doesn’t realise that carcentricity, while good for shareholders in the roadbuilding and motor trades, is bad for high street businesses, apart from being bad for health, social cohesion and civilised living. (I don't think it's altogether irrelevant that last year's riots began in a bleak, car-sodden part of north London which is serviced by a hideous gyratory devoted to the supremacy of motor vehicles passing through the neighbourhood.)
In the age of internet shopping it becomes less and less necessary to visit shops if you don't want to, which is why high streets need to be enjoyable, civilised places where you might want to linger over coffee. But London pavement cafes are all too often squeezed in at the edge of the pavement and just a metre or so from a perpetual flow of cars, vans, lorries and cabs.
Oxford Street ought to have fountains in the middle and continental-style cafes. Instead, among other things, it's a sewer for black cabs, a pampered and privileged group who are allowed to clog the streets of central London with their toxic and totally unnecessary presence. There are far too many taxis on the streets of London. London doesn’t need them.
London is a barbarous and backward city which is falling ever behind European best practice. If you want to know how Oxford Street could be civilised, go to somewhere like Nice. Or even Liverpool.
Posted by Freewheeler at 06:32
Clare Balding goes Dutch
Idly glancing through ES Magazine on Friday I was surprised and delighted to read this, in a profile of Clare Balding.
What would you do as Mayor for a day?
Build cycle-only roads. It would make for a completely different London.
Ms. Balding’s lucidly expressed aspiration is in stark contrast to all those lukewarm enthusiasts for ‘Go Dutch’ who water it down and come up instead with slippery and equivocal formulations such as “give clear, dedicated and safe space to cyclists on main roads”. Which could mean something as useless as an Advanced Stop Line and a crap cycle lane supposedly” protected” by a continuous white line. It also sharply contrasts with cycling groups whose aspirations are identified as being something as bland and meaningless as “Improve cycling infrastructure”. Which could mean just about anything.
Posted by Freewheeler at 06:30
Labels: going Dutch
Saturday, 29 September 2012
Brick Lane Blues
Back in February At War With The Motorist noticed that
Tower Hamlets council, with £300,000 from TfL, have announced that in the next few weeks they will be replacing the bricks of Brick Lane with a standard issue asphalt carriageway.
Their rationale was
to “help to distinguish space for pedestrians from traffic”. That is, this is an explicitly anti-shared space move, intended, perhaps, to put pedestrians back in their place.
Brick Lane is a far more suitable candidate for shared space than most of the high-profile schemes. It is already a narrow single-lane one-way street with a high pedestrian to vehicle movement ratio — a high place status, in the jargon, and little importance as a transport route.
Brick Lane is exactly the kind of narrow city street — important place for people but unsuitable for and unimportant as a transport route — where shared surfaces could be beneficial.
So let’s see how this expensive “improvement” worked out.
Oh, yes. Marvellous. Very Transport for London. Putting the car-sickness back into the heart of things.
Posted by Freewheeler at 15:04
Labels: car dependency, poor design, shared space, TfL
Here is the formula and here is the latest example (complete with traditional “a cyclist almost killed…” personal anecdote):
THERE is an explanation for Andrew Mitchell’s sneering arrogance towards the police that has been overlooked – the creep rides a bicycle.
After the summer when Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton ascended to superstardom, cycling has never been more fashionable.
And cyclists have never had such preening contempt for everyone else.
Meanwhile here is the latest scandalous sentence imposed on a van driver who slammed into the back of a cyclist and killed him (the scandal lies in the perfunctory and insulting one year driving ban). It remains unclear if the police investigated the possibility that the driver was using a handheld mobile phone at the time of the collision.
And here is the latest physical assault on a cyclist.
By the way, after mysteriously vanishing, the Cycling Lawyer is back. His comments on the Andrew Mitchell affair are worth reading
Journalism plays a role in shaping how we see the world around us, and at a national level the carnage on the roads goes more or less unreported and unnoticed. It was noticeable that apart from the Daily Mail (which is actually very good on human interest stories) most of the British national media simply ignored the extraordinary case of Joao Correia-Lopes.
Friday, 28 September 2012
I’ve noticed that among the complaints levelled against that anti-social category defined as "cyclists" by the bulging-eyed foam-flecked cyclophobes who infest the comments columns of local newspapers, apart from jumping red lights, not wearing helmets, not wearing “responsible clothing”, repeatedly almost killing pensioners and pedestrians in general, self-righteousness and road tax dodging, is the sin of weaving.
Cyclists weave in and out of traffic. They do not act in a responsible and structured way, like all those motorists who form an orderly queue. Cyclists are anarchic weavers and weaving is bad.
The description of cyclists as weavers is not in itself inaccurate. But I object to the attachment of a value judgement. I’m a weaver myself. Weaving is simply an inevitable consequence of having to cycle in an environment saturated with motor vehicles.
I’ve never understood the argument of the vehicular cycling brigade that Dutch infrastructure would slow us all down and it’s much better to share the road. I’m not a slow cyclist and I find that cycling in London I’m repeatedly slowed down by drivers. They are always stopping or turning round or clogging up junctions or just driving in long lines at 10 mph. That's when the streets aren't already clogged up by on-street car parking. The thing is, I need to get past them. I have no interest at all in cycling at 5 mph or in waiting behind a vehicle belching toxic blue fumes. I bike therefore I weave.
Here are two weavers in York. Female, both in their twenties by the look of it. They have emerged from either Bootham or Gillygate and are heading into the city centre. What happens here, by Bootham Bar (not a place to sip cocktails but an ancient city gate), is that they catch up with stationary motor vehicles on St Leonard’s Place. They overtake a stationary bus and a blue car and are then faced by a typical York zig-zag pedestrian cattle pen (which is ludicrously small for the vast crowds which pour across here in the summer and which obliges pedestrians to cross the road in two separate light phases – note also the pedestrian who is ignoring it altogether because it doesn’t meet the pedestrian desire line). So they weave through the gap between the blue car and the car in front to join the
Almost at once the
I am pleased to report that she managed to avoid the swung-open door and rejoined the next scrap of crap cycle lane. By weaving.
Weaving is a survival technique and a way of maximising the advantage of cycling. Because if a bicycle is a vehicle and must behave like a vehicle, then there isn’t much point in cycling in a British city.
Modal share in any British town or city depends on how many people you can persuade to weave. As weaving requires great confidence and courage it is not for the hesitant, the nervous, or anyone who thinks cycling should be relaxing and easy. Both the weavers shown here are dressed in traditional weaving costume - one has high viz gear and both are wearing helmets.
And now here is a song about vehicular cycling and “churn”.
Thursday, 27 September 2012
What is York’s cycling modal share?
(Below) Actual conditions for cycling in York. A cyclist stuck amidst stationary vehicles on Lendal Bridge.
The quick answer to the question "What is York’s cycling modal share?" is: no one knows.
York Council relies on the ten year national census for its assessment of commuter cycling modal share. It makes no attempt to discover what the true modal share figure is for cycling in York overall. You would never know this from the history of British cycling promotion, however. In 2008 the London Cycling Campaign asserted that modal share for York was 19%. According to the CTC between 1991/1993 and 1995/1998 modal share rose from 15 per cent to 18 per cent. These last figures can only refer to general modal share (since the general share is always less than the commuter share, and the commuter share in the 1991 census was 18 per cent). However the picture given of cycling becoming more popular in York in the 1990s was dealt a blow by the results of the 2001 census, which indicated a commuter modal share of 13 per cent.
If York lost over a quarter of its commuter cyclists between 1991 and 2001 it is not remotely credible that utility cycling boomed over the same period. There is always quite a gap between commuter cycling share and utility cycling share, so if York’s rate for commuting was 13 per cent than it seems highly unlikely that overall modal share was higher than ten per cent.
Let’s go back down memory lane to 2005:
[Richard Lewis] spoke of a planning and design hierarchy of road user groups with the needs of pedestrians, and cyclists considered first, and private motor cars last. He told us that the city of York had made many improvements on the basis of this hierarchy and as a result the number of collisions has reduced by a third, and cycling and walking have both increased. Cycling in York now accounts for 20 per cent of journeys compared with just two per cent in London.
I find this statistic baffling and I can find nothing to support it. It would indicate a continuous rise in cycling in York, something not borne out by other data. Nick Cavill and Dr Adrian Davis on behalf of Cycling England celebrated York not as an example of increased cycling but for its glorious and uplifting stagnation:
The 1991 census reported that cycling and walking made up 30 per cent of all journeys to work in York and they still comprised 29 per cent in the 2001 Census.
That’s a misleading presentation however, since a rise in walking’s modal share conceals a dramatic decline in cycling (down from 18 per cent to 13 per cent).
The theory that York’s general modal share in reality probably doesn't exceed 10 per cent at most is reinforced by The Cycling City and Towns Programme Overview (May 2009), which sets out some figures (page 6). Here, for York, the “approximate mode share for cycling (as quoted in towns/cities workplans)” is identified as 10 per cent.
However, commuter cycling may well have slumped since the 13 per cent modal share identified in the 2001 national census. An obscure report which refers to 2007-2008 includes these very interesting figures: (section 6.7, page 16)
York Northwest Revised AM Peak Modal Share Outputs
Peak modal share for cyclists in York Central was 12 per cent
For York City it was 8 per cent
Bear in mind that these are the very highest figures available for commuter cycling at its most popular time of day. The figures for utility cycling would be somewhat lower. The available figures appear to indicate that at best, cycling is stagnating in York; at worst it is declining. Either way, it is a failed city for cycling, which, for such a compact city, ought to have an absolutely massive modal share for cycling.
There are other little indicators of the failure of cycling to grow in York. A “Personalised travel planning” pilot scheme tried out in York in 2005 found that 20 per cent of all trips moved from car to other forms of transport. There was no increase in modal share for bikes (the explanation offered was that commuter cycling was at saturation levels, which is somewhat ironic in the light of the figures).
York is a city where over a quarter of primary school children would like to cycle to school when only five percent are currently doing so.
For those attending the football ground relocated to the Community Stadium, travelling by bicycle is projected at just 2 per cent.
The instability and wide variation in modal share figures traditionally given for York raises questions of methodology. The census is not a particularly satisfactory tool for determining modal share, as it relies on a single question about mode of travel to work. It assumes that the person filling in the form is accurate and that the census genuinely records all residents, and it also only measures commuter cycling. (The national census is also culturally determined in the data it seeks. It asks questions about motor vehicle ownership but excludes figures for cycle ownership per household.)
A much more satisfactory methodology is the cycle count, but the value of any results is shaped by the location of the count, the number of sites used for counts, the frequency of the counts, and the time of day and month of the year. A wide network of full-time automated counts is arguably the best methodology. Questionnaires also supply useful back-up information about individual travel choices, provided that they are very detailed (as TfL’s are) and provided that the samples are representative of the population (which they may not be).
Modal share is the key statistic in determining how successful a town or city is at creating a cycling-friendly landscape, and it is significant that York Council is not really interested in finding out what its modal share is. The true figure might well be shocking and would give the lie to the widespread promotion of York as a successful and cycling-friendly city.
It is not a coincidence that the usual suspects have always been keen to praise York as a cycling city. The reason, I think is very simple. York supposedly demonstrates how vehicular cycling really can work and be as good as any continental model. York also claims to embody the principles outlined in the CTC’s beloved Hierarchy of Provision (the CTC’s page shows a location in York which supposedly embodied best practice).
Cycling England cheered on (see p. 36 here) York City Council’s Transport Priorities:
2. People with disabilities
categories which are way ahead of
6. Car-borne shoppers
8. Car-borne long stay commuters and visitors.
Anyone who believes that York’s transport planning puts pedestrians and cyclists ahead of car drivers belongs either in a lunatic asylum or in the offices of the CTC. Amusingly, the CTC’s new infantile fantasy is obviously a projection of York (it is geographically accurate, with the railway station, the Minster, the river Ouse, and the bridges all where they should be, albeit slightly distorted by hallucinatory drugs) and with exquisite timing York Council has come up with its own infantile transport campaign.
For York ever to achieve the levels of cycling which would be found in a Dutch city of similar size the shallow gimmicks and all the ‘encouraging cycling’ initiatives would have to be ditched and serious cycling infrastructure introduced. That would mean segregated cycle tracks on all the major routes into the city centre (one such route is the site of the most recent and troublingly ambiguous serious collision involving a cyclist). It would also mean closing two bridges to motor traffic, and emptying the car-sodden joke pedestrian zone of its cars and providing through routes for cyclists. Travelling by car around central York would need to be made inconvenient and subordinated to cycling and walking flow. Of course before all this happened it would be necessary to understand what is presently wrong with cycling in York and then to ask for the Dutch-style solutions which would release suppressed demand.
Meanwhile it transpires that in York
Certain parts of the city centre and Fishergate are in breach of European air quality limits designed to protect us from the effects of long-term airborne pollution, for example by nitrogen dioxide.
The Rougier Street/ George Hudson Street area is even worse. Nitrogen dioxide levels are so high here that, for those with conditions such as asthma, there is an immediate risk of health problems.
In a sign of where York’s true transport priorities lie it is reported that
TRANSPORT bosses in York have not given up on the hope of one day dualling at least part of the city’s northern ring road – even though it could cost up to £150 million.
And for a classic example of the toxic and self-defeating contradiction which lies at the heart of transport planning in York and everywhere else in the UK, there is the aspiration to
• Reduce congestion, so cutting travel times and making York a more pleasant place to live and work
• Encourage more people to cycle and walk by reducing the dominance of the car – thus improving health.
(Below) How cyclists create their own permeability in a car-centric cycling-hostile urban environment such as York.
A cyclist travelling south gets into the fast lane on Piccadilly at the junction with Tower Street. What’s he up to? This is a left-turn only junction, where Piccadilly meets the hellish inner ring road.
All becomes clear. He wants to turn right. And because the road network is designed to manage traffic flow not help cyclists, he avoids getting locked into a diversion around a gyratory by simply executing a sharp right turn through the gap in the central reservation supplied by an unsignalled and unmarked pedestrian crossing point.
Having made it to the far side he is able to cycle west on the dual carriageway. A solitary cyclist alone in a sea of cars, coaches and lorries. And if a driver should happen to "clip" the cyclist, the railings ensure he'll bounce back into the carrriageway.
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Transport for London, where safety is paramount
A bicycle is a very dangerous object. If you see one which has fallen over on no account attempt to set it upright again.
A Transport for London spokesman said: “This bike was locked to the railings on an access path and had fallen over and was causing a safety hazard. As such it had to be moved immediately and we were left with little choice but to cut the lock.
Transport for London is altogether more relaxed about the safety of cyclists on London’s roads, where the minimum London cycle safety standards have simply not been applied and where cycling casualties are increasing.
good reasons to adopt a target to reduce the rate of cycling casualties per distance travelled, and similar targets for other modes. But TfL have decided against such a target; in fact they have decided against having any target of any kind to reduce cycling casualties.
Posted by Freewheeler at 08:25
Labels: statistics, TfL
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
Advanced Stop Lines and cycling safety
Photo: The Argus. The aftermath of a collision which apparently involved a left-turning vehicle and a cyclist.
Yesterday the car-centric Department for Transport announced that it was still determined to shun best practice at road junctions and was instead recommending the usual stale vehicular cycling solutions which will predictably result in cyclists being killed and maimed and which will do absolutely nothing to bring about a mass cycling culture in the UK:
The Department for Transport has published today a review of design solutions to protect cyclists at road junctions. It found that the four leading methods of protecting cyclists were creating advanced stop lines for cyclists at traffic lights; painting coloured cycle lanes across road junctions; straightening staggered road crossings; and changing traffic priority at crossings to give right of way to cyclists crossing roads on cycle lanes. The study concluded that it would be cost-effective to launch trials of coloured cycle lanes through junctions. It found that allowing cyclists to turn left at red lights was among the worst possible solutions.
The bit about ‘changing traffic priority at crossings to give right of way to cyclists’ sounds on the face of it quite progressive but it’s ambiguously worded and I think all they are referring to is a theoretical right of way embodied in painted markings on the carriageway rather than an infrastructural one such as dedicated cyclists-only crossing phases or absolute priority for cycle paths at all side roads.
All the rest of these ‘design solutions’ are very obvious vehicular cycling crap with decades of failure embedded in their implementation. For example, some years ago the London Borough of Waltham Forest went through a coloured-cycle-lanes-through-junctions period, and these crap lanes did absolutely nothing for modal share because they provided no protection from turning or overtaking motor vehicles. (Though to be fair they were very useful for blind cyclists.)
The DfT ought to be setting an example but remains ideologically committed to prioritising motor vehicle infrastructure and the speed and convenience of drivers. I must say I find it rather weird to read the London Assembly's Transport Committee chair Caroline Pidgeon saying things like “The Department for Transport must allow TfL to catch up with best international practice”. The DfT is wilfully indifferent to best international practice, but then Ms. Pidgeon herself seems more than a little confused about what it amounts to. Trixi mirrors, training for lorry drivers, and poxy little lights for cyclists giving them a few seconds start at the lights are not best practice and form no part of Dutch cycling culture. And when I read people talking about segregated cycle tracks “where possible” my heart sinks, because there is no shortage of people who can come up with excuses why it can’t be done (roads too narrow, utilities wouldn’t like it, deliveries to shops, bus stops, would get in the way of car parking, just not possible).
In any case
A year on from the Kings Cross fatality we still have no understanding of why or how TfL makes decisions and takes actions when it is warned of danger to cyclists on roads it has designed, nor how it takes a measured responsible risk assessment when reopening a road following a severe cycle accident.
And now let’s see how “protecting cyclists [by] creating advanced stop lines for cyclists at traffic lights” works out in York, which as we know from the CTC is the safest place in Britain to cycle [see previous post, below]. Here (below) we see a woman cycling east in the cycle lane on Bootham, approaching the junction with Gillygate. A massive left-turning heavy goods vehicle is waiting just behind the Advanced Stop Line (ASL) for the lights to change.
What happens next is that the woman undertakes this massive lorry and then positions herself ahead of the ASL. She has done something highly dangerous – undertake a lorry indicating a left turn – and she has acted unlawfully by moving beyond the ASL.
The point, of course, is that the infrastructure conditioned her behaviour. In Britain’s congested towns and cities it is quite common to encounter this kind of cycling infrastructure – a narrow cycle lane leading up to an ASL. Cyclists quite naturally undertake the line of stationary vehicles waiting for the lights to change, especially here on Bootham where, as a testament to York Council’s long history of discouraging walking and cycling, the vehicles can sometimes stretch all the way back to Clifton Green.
The danger point comes if the lights change while the cyclist is undertaking and hasn’t yet reached the ASL (always assuming that the ASL isn’t full of vehicles, as they so often are – a consequence of the prejudice against enforcement which informs all UK policing, which is institutionally car supremacist). This is where so many cyclists get caught out, alongside left turning vehicles at junctions. But having successfully negotiated the undertake it's only sensible to go beyond the ASL, because that may well put you slap bang in the driver's blind spot. Cyclists respond to perceived hazards in classically Darwinian fashion. Rule-breaking ensures survival, however much this may distress the 'winning respect for cyclists' brigade.
The solution, as the Dutch understand, is to separate cyclists from turning vehicles at junctions, either by separate signals or by cycle paths physically segregated from the carriageway.
Because the cyclist went beyond the ASL she ensured she was probably not in the driver’s blind spot, and when the lights changed she went on her way unharmed. It worked for a solitary cyclist, but imagine the situation if there were twenty or thirty cyclists queueing at this junction, some going straight ahead and coming into conflict with left-turning vehicles. Look at the space required by this driver to turn left into Gillygate, a two-way street:
The DfT’s solutions for safer cycling at junctions are risible and inept.
Conditions for York cyclists are no better on the two other roads leading to this junction, which also have an ASL.
This is the narrow cycle lane on Gillygate, approaching the junction shown above. Not really cycling-friendly, is it?
Here we see a woman on a bicycle on St Leonard’s Place, cycling north towards the same junction. She is forced to a stop by a stationary bendy-bus (caught up in the line of stationary vehicles backed up from the traffic lights at the distant junction) which, wisely, she chooses not to undertake.
If you want to know why York is a failed cycling city, why cycling is stagnating there, and why the CTC’s claims for York are delusional and idiotic, look no further, dear reader, than the conditions shown in these photographs.
Monday, 24 September 2012
Just fancy that!
We can promote cycling without worrying that this will lead to more casualties. It is clear that ‘more’ and ‘safer’ cycling are perfectly compatible.
Research by CTC has found that cycling is safer in local authorities in England where cycling levels are high.
[ Research based on comparing ‘Average serious injuries and deaths per 10,000 cycle commuters per year’ and modal share ]
York, the authority where cycling to work is most common, is, by our calculation, the safest place in England to cycle.
The CTC defending York against the charge that it is a cycling-unfriendly city:
National CTC spokesman Chris Peck said: “You shouldn’t measure cycle safety by numbers of injuries, because if you do that you will simply find the places where cycle use is very high have more people being injured
Posted by Freewheeler at 19:38
Labels: CTC, statistics, York
I blame the CTC
A hack on the Independent writes about utility cycling:
Dani King, who helped Team GB break the world record in the female team pursuit, spoke longingly about the cycling culture in The Netherlands.
The country is a good case study for the ‘safety in numbers’ theory. It saw a 45% increase in cyclists from 1980 to 2005 and a 58% proportional decrease in fatal crashes in the same period. The more people who cycle, it seems, the better.
Not a word about Dutch cycling infrastructure or Dutch transport policy. All we need in Britain is more people cycling and then we’d all be as safe as houses.
I blame the CTC for inspiring superficial journalism like this.
Chris Juden is indignant about what he perceives as the misrepresentation of the CTC by some cycling bloggers and asks please stop writing this rubbish about CTC ignoring the Dutch Model. We would love to have what they’ve got.
If that’s so then, leaving aside the CTC’s own website, which barely mentions the Netherlands while praising crap like the so-called ‘magic roundabout’ in York and York’s very own crap cycle lanes, I wish I could just once read just one statement by a CTC spokesman to that effect in a national newspaper, because I never have.
For example, look at how this story picked up on by the Independent journalist was first reported:
Track champions Victoria Pendleton, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Jason Kenny this week called for better cycling infrastructure on Britain's roads. Pendleton called for cars to be banned from parking or driving in cycle lanes, while King and Rowsell said the UK should follow the example of Holland where cyclists are given priority at junctions and roundabouts.
Alongside this, the CTC spokesman preferred to talk about almost anything except Dutch cycling infrastructure, and another golden opportunity was thrown away in the usual inane and dismal blather: "If more of us got on our bikes, there would be safety in numbers, drivers would be forced to become more aware of us.
Vole O’Speed argues that the CTC’s policy on cycling infrastructure is inchoate and informed by ignorance and misunderstanding.
Posted by Freewheeler at 10:01
Labels: CTC, going Dutch
Message to all you convinced vehicularists and helmet cam cyclists.
Lots of scope for you to demand implementation of Section 59, eh?
Section 59 of the Police Reform Act gives police officers the power to seize vehicles being used in a manner which causes alarm, distress or annoyance if the driver or the vehicle has been subject of a previous warning in the last 12 months.
Sunday, 23 September 2012
I remember when all this was bike stands
This is the side of the Bhs store, facing Walthamstow's Town Square. Just a few metres away there used to be five bike stands, installed by cowboy builders working for the Council. Because they lacked proper foundations they one by one came loose and then vanished. Naturally no-one at the Council was remotely concerned by these vanishing stands, least of all the three High Street councillors. They have never been replaced.
This wall used to be blank but now the space has been used to adverise car parking.
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Above photo of local cyclists taken from here
Posted by Freewheeler at 07:32
Labels: inadequate cycle stand provision
Quotes of the day
There is a whisper that we might even be at the dawn of a new golden age of the bicycle. I certainly think so.
There is no doubt that cycling in London has become much more pleasurable over the last decade.
Two top cyclists whose views can be found in today’s Observer or online here.
Posted by Freewheeler at 07:30
Labels: going Dutch, hazardous cycling
Hampshire Police turn a blind eye to motoring criminals
For the year 2011 Hampshire saw
a massive reduction in penalty notices for using a mobile while driving. Just 1,700 motorists were caught, down from 5,152 in 2008.
That’s just five drivers a day for the whole of Hampshire.
Pathetic, but utterly symptomatic of British policing, which is car-centric to its core.
Hampshire Constabulary does participate in zero-tolerance operations - but that’s only against cyclists.
Here’s a statistic:
32,955 killed, nearly 3m injured between 2000 and 2010. This is 11 years of deaths and injuries on Britain's roads.
Terrorists are feeble and ineffectual amateurs compared to Britain’s drivers. Policing could make a massive difference to the carnage on Britain’s roads but the police are part of the problem (along with the House of Commons, the media and the judiciary).
Hampshire Constabulary boasts that Anti-social behaviour remains a priority
And what’s that? Needless to say it includes action to tackle dangerous cycling on pavements.
A police force which ignores drivers using mobile phones but is keen to crack down on pavement cyclists has lost all sense of what constitutes both dangerous behaviour and proportionality.
Posted by Freewheeler at 07:28
Labels: pavement cycling, policing
Saturday, 22 September 2012
In defence of Andrew Mitchell
OK, so the guy has a short fuse, is a millionaire Tory MP, a former investment banker, a snob, and has an exaggerated sense of his own importance. But if we set these minor character flaws to one side (hey, who's perfect?) let’s consider the one thing which has not been discussed in the acres of coverage which have resulted from this storm in a teacup, namely the cycling aspect.
Friends said he had been allowed to cycle out of the main gate on three occasions that day.
Mr Mitchell said in a statement: “I attempted to leave Downing Street via the main gate, something I have been allowed to do many times before.
“I was told that I was not allowed to leave that way.
Why not? The glib explanation was “security”. I don’t believe that for a moment. My guess is that either the same set of cops got fed up with opening two gates for a solitary cyclist, or a new shift from the diplomatic protection squad took over and decided they weren’t going to bother.
As a cyclist Mr Mitchell quite reasonably didn't want to be subject to the equivalent of a CYCLISTS DISMOUNT sign by police officers, who wanted him to dismount and go through this side gate.
He wanted to go through the main gate, as he had done without incident previously.
The excuse used to prevent Mr Mitchell going out through the gates – security – was the same feeble excuse wheeled out for the Met’s draconian response to London’s July Critical Mass – an occasion when cyclophobic police officers jeered "Just see them as speed bumps" and "pay your taxes".
We now know that the Met has charged 16 cyclists and taken no action against 166 of those arrested:
‘The whole sorry affair seems to have been a case of an over-zealous police reaction to the general paranoia around the build-up to the Olympic Games. ‘We consider there are potential civil claims for compensation against the police following the mistreatment of our clients and will be taking this further.’
Not that the Met could give a toss. It regularly dispenses vast sums of money for unlawful arrests and a range of other malpractice by its well-protected employees. The Met is car-centric and cyclophobic in its policing priorities. Its initial investigation of this incident said everything you need to know about how seriously the Met takes crime against cyclists, and there's more illumination on this cycling discussion thread. The Met remains a sleazy, dysfunctional and unprofessional force which is long overdue for a good sorting out. The whining of the Police Federation (which is milking this affair for all it's worth in revenge for the Winsor review) is laughable and hypocritical. If the police are upset by rudeness and boorish behaviour they need look no further than their own ranks.
Mr Mitchell may perhaps have also have been stressed by the conditions for cycling in and around Whitehall. And that’s where my qualified sympathy runs out. It’s Conservative politicians who are largely responsible for the atrocious conditions in Parliament Square, a five-lane motor hell.
On Whitehall, which used to be an agreeably wide road to cycle on, there’s some new footway widening (below) which forces cyclists into the same lane as buses. Bonkers, and completely unnecessary.
It would be perfectly possible to ‘go Dutch’ on Whitehall and around Parliament Square, although ideally both should be pedestrianised (with cycling access) and with vehicle access severely restricted.
Posted by Freewheeler at 14:37
Labels: Critical Mass, going Dutch, policing
Another £10,000 down the drain
The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) has revealed that it is launching a major inquiry called ‘Why Don’t More People Cycle?’
The answer to that question is very simple.
(i) For the majority of journeys cycling is dangerous, frightening and inconvenient, and perpetually subordinated to the convenience and speed of motor vehicles.
(ii) The UK cycle campaign establishment is managed by vehicular cyclists whose solution to (i) - in so far as they believe in it at all, which some don’t - is largely behaviourist rather than infrastructural.
There – I’ve saved £10,000!
(Below) The A112, the main north-south route through the London Borough of Waltham Forest. No inquiry is needed to find out why hardly anybody wants to cycle on roads with conditions like this.
Posted by Freewheeler at 14:26
Labels: hazardous cycling
Friday, 21 September 2012
The end of the world is likely to cause some disruption to motorists as a six metre rise in sea level is expected to result in some localised flooding.
Police have advised drivers not to use their cars unless absolutely necessary (such as going to the shops half a mile away for cigarettes and some cans of Heineken).
During the extinction of the human species cycle lanes will continue to be be available as usual for car parking.
Have a nice weekend!
Posted by Freewheeler at 16:01
Labels: impending climate catastrophe
Cycling minister calls for better permeability in Downing Street
Doesn’t the Met know a bicycle is a vehicle and belongs on the road?
It seems some policemen want cyclists to use the pavement.
Let’s hope Mr Mitchell never goes cycling in Hampshire, where dressed like that he’d soon feel the full force of the law:
Police look out for people riding on pavements or cyclists who are not wearing the right safety equipment.
What Hampshire Constabulary means by “the right safety equipment” is revealed here.
It seems some policemen want cyclists to use the pavement.
Let’s hope Mr Mitchell never goes cycling in Hampshire, where dressed like that he’d soon feel the full force of the law:
Police look out for people riding on pavements or cyclists who are not wearing the right safety equipment.
What Hampshire Constabulary means by “the right safety equipment” is revealed here.
Thursday, 20 September 2012
Leyton Links (3): how to suppress cycling
The plan of this Olympic-funded "improvement" shows the point at which High Road Leyton runs into Grange Park Road.
It promises “Pedestrian crossings improved at this junction, with more planting and seating on the western side, plus potential for temporary art work to enliven the corner building.”
It is not clear what form the pedestrian improvements took, although I suspect it might mean that the footway was built out on the west side to make a shorter crossing.
As for the other projected improvements. Some planting has been carried out by the fence, though the depth is much narrower than shown in the plan. The two benches were not installed. There was no temporary art work because the building on the corner was demolished and replaced by a block of apartments.
Oddest of all, the plan fails to acknowledge that this location is a bus stop.
Six new bike stands have been installed. This is classic tokenism and utterly bizarre. I have never seen a bike locked up here, nor can I imagine who would want to park their bike here. It’s a bleak location which is not close to any shops or other obvious source of interest. It’s also perverse when other sites in the borough are crying out for decent bike stand provision (by Sainsbury’s in Walthamstow High Street, for example, which has just two stands, and a further three nearby on Willow Walk – utterly inadequate provision for a very busy area).
From a cycling point of view the on-road provision is atrocious. A crap cycle lane fizzles out at the bus stop.
However, by far the worst aspect of the design is that the footway build-out creates a lethal pinch point which forces cyclists into conflict with motor vehicles. These were the three vehicles which came along, one after the other, while I stood and took photographs. You can see the problem. Needless to say, this pinch point is completely unnecessary. It simply underlines how no one involved in transport planning in Waltham Forest has a clue about how to design for cycling, or cares about the borough’s dismal cycling rate.
I should add that Grange Park Road forms the first part of a triangular one-way gyratory which is deeply hostile to cycling. This shows the High Road from a point further north, looking towards the junction under discussion. The scope for Dutch-style segregated cycling infrastructure on this "A" road is blatantly obvious. However, no one is asking for it. And the crap council even allows parking in the bus lane between 10 am and 4 pm.
Labels: poor design
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
‘Leyton Links’ scrutinised (2)
Comparing the pretty picture with the subsequent implementation of the ‘Leyton Links’ plan at this location let’s look more closely at it.
The plan promised four things at this site (Leyton High Road at the junction with Sidmouth Road).
Only one has been unambiguously implemented (“Footways that are in poor condition will be improved”).
One has been only partly implemented. The plan promised “More seating provided around the junction where feasible” and the illustration shows a log-style bench on each side of the junction. However, only one was installed. Overall, this section of the High Road was promised three benches but only one was put in, even though all three were plainly “feasible” in terms of available space. (Incidentally, look carefully and you will see that the designer’s plan dishonestly omits the lamp post and the street sign at this location. The sign restricts the High Road bus lane to buses and cyclists between 7-10 am and 4-7 pm Monday-Saturday, because obviously no one cycles between 10 am and 4 pm or on Sundays, just as no one important uses buses at these times.)
A third promised improvement has been only partly and very inadequately implemented: “Shared surface along Sidmouth Road creating better linkages between Coronation Gardens and Sidmouth Park”. The implementation of this pledge turned out simply to involve putting in dropped kerbs with tactile surfacing for pedestrians on the High Road crossing the junction with Sidmouth Road – something totally at variance with what was promised.
The plan talks of a raised table which is the same height as the footway. This has not been done: look carefully and you will see that the table does not reach the height of the footway and leaves a kerb. If you plan on crossing the High Road at this point you are faced by a kerb on each side of the road, something which is entirely at odds with the promise of an at-grade surface. The promise of a “Shared surface along Sidmouth Road” has not been kept: the raised table shown in the plan extends the full length of the street, whereas in reality it fizzles out at the junction, as shown to the left of the photograph below.
Finally, the promise of “New signs and a planted screen against this blank wall” has not been kept at all. The brick wall shown below remains bare.
The overall plan also shows just one car in the foreground, with fifteen pedestrians. The reality, needless to say, is a little different.
The cover of the Leyton Links brochure does, however, contain one admirable note of realism. It shows no cyclists whatever (the small figure in red portrays someone on a motor scooter). More on how these Olympic funded Leyton Links serve to suppress cycling tomorrow.
Labels: Waltham Forest Design Awards
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
The CTC and segregation
The Alternative Department for Transport identifies a significant lacuna on the CTC’s Right to Ride to School website page and asks
why the UK’s biggest and most influential cycling group – “the national cycling charity” no less – insists on sticking to this “Right to Ride” mantra.
This provoked a response from Roger Geffen, the CTC’s Campaigns & Policy Director, which you can read here.The CTC subsequently changed its website page to respond to the blogger's criticism. (By coincidence there simultaneously appeared some Roger Geffen bashing here.)
Mr Geffen claims that the interpretations of the phrase “Right to Ride”
is complete and utter nonsense. Far from being a “mantra” at CTC, the name isn’t actually terribly popular, even among CTC’s “Right to Ride” local volunteer campaigners themselves. We’ll probably change it when we can agree on a better one!
It is also total nonsense to suggest that CTC isn’t in favour of quality infrastructure, either to school or anywhere else for that matter. And it is is even more nonsensical to suggest that CTC’s members are opposed to quality segregated cycle facilities.
For an organisation not opposed to "quality segregated cycle facilities" the CTC has remarkably little to say about them, or indeed about the Dutch template for successful mass cycling.
If you scrutinisethe CTC’s “Right to Ride to School” pages you encounter this:
Over half of UK children say they would rather cycle to school than be driven. On the other hand, there are also many reasons that schools and parents give for not allowing children to cycle. These are mostly grounded in fear – fear that children will not cycle safely, that surrounding motorists will drive dangerously, or that children alone in public are at risk. These fears simply do not reflect real experience, as discussed below:
Children can learn safe cycling through cycle training. Bikeability helps children protect themselves by teaching the techniques for looking and anticipating the movements of motorists and other road users.
The health benefits of cycling - in terms of greater cardiovascular fitness, reduced levels of some cancers and obesity - far outweigh the risk of being hurt in a traffic crash.
Furthermore, the risk involved in cycling is similar or less than the risk involved in many other everyday activities. A person is less likely to be injured in an hour of cycling than in an hour of gardening.
The roads surrounding the school are too dangerous – this can be one of the most difficult objections to overcome. The CTC has some ideas on what could be done about them – e.g. introducing a new crossing point or 20 mph limits.
Remember also to think about measures that would help discourage people from driving their children to school, e.g. no-stopping zones around schools and reducing nearby car parking.
Keep pushing the idea that more children cycling to school will mean fewer people driving, and that will make the roads safer, as well as reducing school run congestion on roads in the school’s neighbourhood. Stress that you want the whole community to benefit, not just you and the school!
Sustrans’s Safe Routes to Schools programme offers free information and advice to parents, pupils, schools and local authorities
In other words, patronise parents by playing down their perfectly valid anxieties about the safety of their children, tinker around the edges, and do almost anything except ask for the kind of Dutch-style cycling infrastructure which is proven to work.
I must admit I’m intrigued by this assertion by Roger Geffen:
stirring up vehement arguments about segregation is entirely counter-productive. That’s what happened among cycling advocates in 1997, when we’d persuaded the Government to agree to the targets of the National Cycling Strategy, but not the money to achieve them. All we did was to give the Government a perfect excuse to allocate £0, on the grounds that cyclists couldn’t agree how the money should be spent.
Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. So please, let’s not make that mistake again!
I've no idea what was going on in UK cycle campaign circles in 1997, and I wish someone would write a blog post about it, as I’ve encountered the “stab in the back” argument before. I’m guessing (but I don’t know) that this refers to campaigning which originates with Paul Gannon.
The reason why the arguments for segregation are so "vehement" is simply that orthodox UK cycle campaigning, at a national and local level, remains overwhelmingly committed to vehicular cycling solutions which have decades of failure embedded in them.
Plainly someone was campaigning for Dutch-style segregation at the turn of the century, because excavating the Waltham Forest archives I was stunned to come across a reference to a scheme for Leytonstone High Road which involved “cycle lanes tracks (sic) to be provided the full length with segregation where possible” (London Borough of Waltham Forest Environmental Services Interim Transport Plan 2001-2002, p. 59). Needless to say, that weasel phrase “where possible” ensured that this perfectly possible scheme was deliberately sabotaged, almost certainly by a combination of weak political leadership and most of all by the council’s car-centric car-driving highway engineers.
And something was still bubbling away when at the 2003 spring conference of the Cycle Campaign Network, the Cyclists' Touring Club and the London Cycling Campaign, Christian Wolmar of the National Cycling Strategy Board curtly dismissed campaigners for Dutch-style infrastructure: Many cyclists are wrong to argue for totally segregated facilities. They won’t happen
Roger Geffen doth protest too much, I think. The problem isn’t that calls for segregation are a distraction but that UK cycle campaigning has long been dominated by a clique of male vehicular cyclists who are embedded in the managerial and organisational structures of CycleNation, the CTC and the LCC. The “cycling spring” of the late 1990s was seen off by this clique, but now the internet has opened the floodgates, and many diverse voices are now challenging the gatekeepers of official cycling policy, its received wisdom, and its supreme authority, the Hosni Mubarak of UK cycle campaigning, namely John Franklin, whose influence has been catastrophic both nationally and at a parochial level in his own home town of car-sick, car-sodden, cycling-hostile Cheltenham. Moreover, in response to this cycle campaign hegemony, a disillusioned refugee from the CTC set up this.
The CTC’s Policy Handbook (which can be accessed here) is extremely illuminating. You would never know from it that a template for mass cycling existed just across the North Sea. The CTC’s position seems to me quite unambiguous. It fervently believes in on-road cycling and crappy on-road cycle infrastructure like Advanced Stop Lines and cycle lanes.
When used as a mode of transport the cyclists’ preference and indeed, right, is on the road and all scheme designs and standards should presume in favour of on-road cycle provision. (8.1.1.i)
For many urban and inter-urban trips there may be no alternative to cycling on heavily trafficked roads; approximately one quarter of cycling (24% in 1990) takes place on major roads, mostly on "built-up" roads of up to 40mph speed limit. (8.1.1.b) i.
Conditions at roundabouts can be improved by; tighter, continental-style geometry; single lane entries, circulation and exits; signalisation. ii.
Major signalled junctions must allow sufficient space for priority access by cyclists without squeezing or pressure from left-turning traffic.
Advanced stop lines and a separate phase giving priority to cyclists can improve safety.
Where traffic conditions are a deterrent to cyclists sharing road space with other vehicles, speeds must be reduced to make cycling comfortable or sufficient space provided – 1.5 – 2.0 metres, depending on speeds – by wider nearside lanes or cycle lanes (8.1.1.b.iii-v)
i. Cyclists have the road network available to them for their use. Where use of this network is rendered unattractive or dangerous by traffic conditions, there is no single correct solution to providing a suitable infrastructure for cycling and local conditions will frequently dictate which solutions are possible. However, the following hierarchy of solutions indicates the possible strategies in order of preference. Each strategy should be thoroughly considered before a solution is chosen.
a) Traffic reduction
b) Traffic calming and restraint
c) Junction treatment and traffic management
d) Redistribution of space on the carriageway
e) Cycle lanes and cycle tracks
In other words, the Dutch solution comes LAST.
The CTC fetishes York, which is a truly crap city for cycling, and where cycling is in decline:
A hostile road environment has contributed heavily to the decline of cycling since the 1950’s in the UK. Cyclists have found that their two most fundamental needs, that routes are safe and that trip destinations are made easily accessible, have been ignored. An effective strategy for reversing this trend has been adopted by York City Council in the form of a 'hierarchy of users'. This strategy places the needs of disabled people, pedestrians and cyclists above those of other users and is designed to ensure that accessibility and safety for these modes is maintained
The CTC’s intoxication with York as a template for success is bizarre and laughable. More on that next week.
The problem remains. British cycle campaigning is dominated by a layer of activists (almost always male) who personally find nothing substantially wrong with vehicular cycling and who believe that what is wrong with vehicular cycling can be effectively treated with legislation, training and education designed to correct bad behaviour by drivers. These activists don’t really believe the sincerity of people who give fear of vehicles as the primary motive for not cycling, while themselves being acutely fearful that physically segregated cycle tracks will be substandard in design and maintenance and unsuitable for fast cyclists and risk being accompanied by legislation banning cyclists from the roads.
From this perspective those who call for Dutch-style cycling infrastructure are the road lobby’s useful idiots and unwittingly play into the hands of those who have always wished to remove cyclists from the road.
From an historical perspective, however, it is surely outfits like the CTC which have acted as the unwitting tool of the road lobby. David Arditti provides the history:
The resistance to cycle-specific infrastructure displayed by British cyclists, and particularly by the CTC, as the largest body representing their interests, during the mid-20th century, proved a spectacular own goal. As cycling numbers dwindled and pressure to create more space for motor traffic grew, the fact that cyclists did not seem to want their own space proved very convenient for politicians. Cyclists did not want the tracks such as the ones on the A40, or so the CTC told the government. So they were eliminated to make more space for cars. Some time after the Second World War (no doubt someone can tell me exactly when, but I guess it was in the 1960s), a third lane was added to both sides of the A40 over the top of the old cycle track and grass verges.
The consequences of asserting the ‘right to ride’ (or however you wish to define vehicular cycling) while simultaneously shunning the example of the Netherlands have been devastating. Today, at grass roots level, some CTC activists are vainly attempting to repair the damage, which is vividly illustrated by this remarkable example:
According to official statistics, in 2010 this section of the A3 had over 47,000 motor vehicles per day travelling along it, and only 3 cyclists.
This is simply an extreme example of a phenomenon which has happened across Britain as cycling has become marginalised.
The “vehiculars” remain in denial, however, and stoutly assert that Cambridge, York and Hackney prove their case that cycling can thrive in a vehicular environment. Such examples are unconvincing, since modal share in these places rests on unique local factors, and in any case cycling is not expanding significantly here, despite impressionistic claims to the contrary.
The contraction of cycling in the London Borough of Waltham Forest ought not to be in dispute after the latest TfL figure putting modal share at under one per cent – a contraction, it is worth remembering, concealed by a great deal of percentage froth. Yes, avert your eyes from that TfL ‘Freedom’ poster on the side of a house on Aveling Park Road at the junction with Chingford Road, get on your bike and pedal, and sixty seconds later these are the conditions for you to celebrate your freedom and your right to ride along a cycle lane.
Although it is interesting to learn that there is some dissent within the ranks, at an organisational level the CTC’s distaste for the Dutch template seems glaringly obvious. Just listen to this, for example:
CTC will need to weigh up the benefits from providing stronger support to segregation despite the risk that this may undermine conditions for existing cyclists. The strongest message is that the existing quality of cycle facilities is of considerable concern for all road users and CTC must prioritise their improvement.
My translation of this is: it’s business as usual at the CTC.
This is also illuminating:
In a recent blog post former Chief Executive of 14 years Kevin Mayne confessed that he had never visited Amsterdam. Which other senior CTC staff have not visited the city within the country from which we have the most to learn? Those that have visited, do they think mass cycling for ordinary people has been achieved there by training and encouragement or by infrastructure? Grant
Grant – right now there are 9 of us sitting in the room answering questions as quickly as we can – a quick show of hands says 6 of us have been to Amsterdam. I’m not sure what that tells you about the managers here! Another straw poll says that our shared view on why mass cycling is so popular there is that it’s partly down to long habit – the Dutch never lost their habit of cycling – and partly due to the restrictions on motor traffic in the city. That’s an oversimplification, of course, but it gives an idea of our view on the subject. Gordon
That strikes me not as an oversimplification but as a serious distortion of the actual history of Dutch cycling development over the past fifty years.
There's a lacuna here which is as revealing as the one originally identified bt the Alternative Department for Transport on the Right to Ride to School page. What is missing in this account is the principle of separating cyclists from motor vehicles.
Another Freudian slip by an organisation saturated in a vehicular cycling frame of mind.
Posted by Freewheeler at 08:39
Labels: CTC, going Dutch
Monday, 17 September 2012
How not to design a junction to benefit cyclists
There was recently thrilling news from Ipswich with the revelation that
£22 Million transport package for Ipswich gets go-ahead
Norman Baker said: “This innovative scheme will make a huge difference to the way people travel around Ipswich and will be a real boon to the local economy by making new business and housing sites more accessible by public transport. Strong transport infrastructure which helps to tackle congestion and reduce carbon will help the city achieve sustainable economic growth.”
No it won’t. This new scheme will NOT make “a huge difference to the way people travel around Ipswich” because Ipswich is as car-centric as anywhere else and it’s a contradiction in terms to “tackle congestion” while purporting to discourage car dependency. In particular this scheme will not get anyone out of their car and on to a bicycle because it does nothing to make Ipswich into a town where cyclists are offered safe, direct routes without conflict with motor vehicles.
Back in 1995 cycling modal share in Ipswich was identified as being 6-7 per cent, with a potential for 30 per cent modal share if Dutch design was emulated.
By 2010 modal share had dropped to 4 per cent (“relatively high for the UK” enthused Sustrans, applying the traditional amnesia found in all branches of UK cycle promotion).
And if you want to know why Sustrans joins the long list of UK cycling promotion organisations which are not enablers of mass cycling but massive obstacles to it, look no further than this report, which asserts that “A wide range of practical interventions have been proven to increase cycling levels, and there is a growing body of evidence on the most effective approaches” – which turn out not to be Dutch practice and infrastructure but “notably from the Sustainable Travel Towns (STT) and Cycling Demonstration Towns (CDT) programmes” – where you encounter the usual percentage froth and spin which UK cycle campaigning adores.
Thrill to cycle-speak: “City-wide measures to increase cycling, such as those implemented in the CDTs, deliver substantially positive BCRs” – although sadly, as is acknowledged later on, “Despite the success of targeted interventions, the PTEs have seen limited impact on the overall mode share of cycling.”
And there’s the rub. UK cycle promotion is always celebrating 40 per cent (or whatever) increases in cycling while in some mysterious alchemical way modal share remains stuck at what it always was, or even declines. This is not surprising when outfits like Sustrans get involved in promoting parochial vehicular cycling solutions with decades of proven failure behind them.
To put it another way Ipswich lost around 35 per cent of its cyclists in the period 1995-2010. This is consistent with the contraction in cycling elsewhere in British towns and cities.
This new £22 million package will do nothing whatever to shift modal share in Ipswich, because Ipswich remains a fundamentally car-centric town with nothing on offer for cyclists but vehicular cycling.
Look carefully at the detail of this new scheme and you will see that it involves the flavour of the month among transport planners, namely widening footways to push cyclists closer to overtaking vehicles and then using the widened footways for parking bays, to add a little extra twist of ‘dooring’ to the cycling experience - as shown here
In time-honoured fashion the local cycling group puts a lot of time and effort into attempting to ameliorate these vehicular cycling solutions and the usual suspects cheer with wild enthusiasm.
And now let’s look at the jewel in the crown of this new scheme, namely the treatment of what is currently a hellish roundabout where the A1022 (Civic Drive and Franciscan Way) meets the B1075 and Princes Street.
The new scheme removes the roundabout and replaces it with a signalled junction, as shown in the projection below (from the perspective of where Princes Street westbound meets the junction with the A1022).
This is not how you design infrastructure for cyclists if you are serious about making cycling a mass means of transport.
In the first place there is nothing intrinsically wrong with roundabouts and the Dutch know how to design them to benefit cyclists.
And if you have to have a signalled junction you should be designing it like the Dutch do, so that Paths taken by cyclists and drivers do not cross. There is no conflict here at all, and that's why it's safe.
This Ipswich “improvement” is no improvement at all for cyclists. Advanced Stop Lines and on-road cycle lanes alongside huge volumes of motor vehicles including lorries and buses are ineffective, subjectively and objectively dangerous, fail to prioritise cyclists and often slow them down, and do absolutely nothing to get non-cyclists cycling. It's predictable that when this scheme is built cyclists will be hopping on to the wide paved areas to take short cuts in order to avoid being delayed at the lights (which are there to manage vehicle flow, not assist cyclists) and because it may well be safer to do this than turn at the junction alongside large or carelessly or aggressively driven vehicles.
At a professional level transport planning for cycling in the UK remains suffused with an ignorant parochialism which is not remotely interested in outcomes, aided and abetted by a cycle promotion culture which is collaborationist to its core and which stubbornly refuses to learn from its own long history of failure.
Footnote - news just in
IPSWICH Hospital is to slash the price it charges patients to park their cars.
Bosses at the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust revealed yesterday that along with introducing lower charges for longer stays, patients will also be able to park free for 30 minutes in drop off areas. Some ticket prices will be reduced by as much as £1.40.
Jeff Calver, Associate Director of Estate, said the new tariffs were introduced to reflect what patients and visitors have told the hospital in feedback.
He added: “We’ve listened to what our patients, visitors and staff say about car-parking and hope these new changes will greatly improve people’s experience of using the hospital car-parks.
Posted by Freewheeler at 11:30
Labels: car dependency, Ipswich, NHS, statistics, Sustrans
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