'Space for cycling' protest ride 2nd September

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  • About WillMelling
    Occupation. Cycle Instructor.

    ha ha......another one out of a job if cycle paths abound......

  • that is an interesting read.

    Dutch think differently. They care about the quality of the cycling experience; they will not place children in front of buses and lorries travelling at low speeds, and in low volumes, unless it is completely unavoidable. The purpose of these cycle tracks is, specifically, to insulate cycling from driving; to ensure that cycling from point A to point B is entirely safe and comfortable, for anyone.

    This is where many British cycle campaigners get confused. They think that cycle tracks are a form of surrender of the road, when the truth is that they are a form of liberation. They make cycling better. The streets in question will often have all the conditions they typically demand – 30 km/h (18mph) speed limits, and low traffic levels – but cycle tracks are still provided, for the simple reason that they make cycling considerably more enjoyable and relaxing. The infamous Hierarchy of Provision makes no sense in this context.
    The cycle tracks form part of a coherent strategy of modal separation, that makes journeys across a major city as stress-free as a ride along a quiet country lane. The quality of the cycling experience is not sacrificed to some nebulous higher goal of retaining the carriageway – ‘our carriageway’ – as a place where motorists should be deferential. Cycling is put first because of separation. To pretend otherwise is as absurd as arguing that removing pavements and making people walk in front of motor vehicles is a way of prioritising walking.

  • If only people were empowered to walk in front of motors....

  • I used to think separation wasn't a good idea, until I started reading this blog

    Be careful with these blogs. They tend to be merely commentary on some pretty pictures. Assessing the true picture of traffic management (in the Netherlands and elsewhere) takes facts and proper analysis, and there's a lot that what's superficial and the first thing that you see doesn't tell you. One thing in particular that pictures don't help you in doing is putting things into context. Try reading the posts in such a way that for every claim that is made you ask yourself 'and where is the evidence beyond photographs?' and you will soon develop a sense for where the lacunae lie.

  • Oliver - what an odd comment. The blog I linked to contains thousands of words about UK cycling provision as well as some very interesting and relevant pictures of towns and cities across the UK, as well as some Dutch cities.

    I usually respect what you have to say but here I can only conclude you haven't looked at the blog for more than a few seconds otherwise you'd realize what you wrote doesn't make sense (or you're trying to criticize the blog but don't want to do so directly).

    For instance: a long write up of the recent LCC AGM: http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com­/2013/10/21/space-for-cycling-confirmed-­as-separation-from-motor-traffic/

    A detailed write up of the failures of the Broad Lane plans: http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com­/2013/10/06/broad-lane-the-great-tfl-sup­ertanker-ploughs-on/

    Edited to add: have just noticed the reference to Oliver in the latest post ... is this an ideological thing?

    Edited to add further: I'm a professional print editor so I can probably work out how to read a blog all by myself!

  • ^ Is it worth pointing out that the three posts you linked to (and which Oliver replied to) talk about Utrecht, America and Holland, and only in the third do we get a mention of London ?

    And, as is usually the case, looking at the photos from the first two posts, I'd feel far more confident riding on the roads than on those cycle-paths (based on what the pictures show)

    Presumably as a print professional, you are aware of how the internet makes it much easier to find information that supports your own view, leading to confirmation bias and filter-bubbling?

  • the first link is about separation (the subject of this thread), the second about training and competence (discussed immediately above) so you can see why I linked to them. The thing that convinced me is the realization that we should have some kind of cycle provision that minimizes interactions with motorized traffic. I say this as a Londoner who's 'proudly' played with traffic for more than 20 years, including a stint as a wild-eyed courier.

  • I'm more aware of the tendency of late-night internet conversations to be intemperate and largely pointless! The worst of all possible worlds would be for cycle campaigners to enter Judean People's Front type arguments when there is actually broad agreement. The present provision (in London at least) fails both experts such as ourselves, who ignore all cycle infrastructure, and non-experts who either rely on flawed infrastructure and then give up, or try it out and realize it is too dangerous, or try to keep going without expertise or infrastructure and take terrible risks. Something must change. I'd be interested to see more ideas about what the change would look like.

  • Looking through the long list of photos in http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com­/2012/07/10/the-physical-constraints-of-­londons-streets/

    The roads appear deserted, you could argue there's more than enough space for cycling on all the roads there as they are :)

  • some of the things I'd like to see
    20mph being enforced and used as a default urban speed except on main arteries
    Enforce rules re RLJ for cyclists and drivers, make it clear that ploughing through pedestrian crossings should not be tolerated
    No construction vehicles at rush hour
    Concerted education as to where danger points are and why cyclists should be allowed to ride in primary position - this needs to be prime time advertising
    Explain the health benefits
    Explain that we all pay road tax but cyclists cause least damage to roads
    Move away from the belief that cycling is a dangerous activity and that the health benefits far outweigh the risks
    Incorporate cycling as part of the driving test

  • I don't want to go to school with cyclists.

  • some of the things I'd like to see
    20mph being enforced and used as a default urban speed except on main arteries
    Enforce rules re RLJ for cyclists and drivers, make it clear that ploughing through pedestrian crossings should not be tolerated
    No construction vehicles at rush hour
    Concerted education as to where danger points are and why cyclists should be allowed to ride in primary position - this needs to be prime time advertising
    Explain the health benefits
    Explain that we all pay road tax but cyclists cause least damage to roads
    Move away from the belief that cycling is a dangerous activity and that the health benefits far outweigh the risks
    Incorporate cycling as part of the driving test

    or just build a safe cycle network.

  • Safe compared to what?

    It is relatively safe, the health dangers of not cycling outweigh those of cycling.

    But the above changes could help make road use more harmonious.

    You are not going to get door to door infrastructure, so will always need to use the road network at some point.

  • **and **just build a safe cycle network.

    ftfy

  • some of the things I'd like to see
    20mph being enforced and used as a default urban speed except on main arteries
    Enforce rules re RLJ for cyclists and drivers, make it clear that ploughing through pedestrian crossings should not be tolerated
    No construction vehicles at rush hour
    Concerted education as to where danger points are and why cyclists should be allowed to ride in primary position - this needs to be prime time advertising
    Explain the health benefits
    Explain that we all pay road tax but cyclists cause least damage to roads
    Move away from the belief that cycling is a dangerous activity and that the health benefits far outweigh the risks
    Incorporate cycling as part of the driving test

    Mandatory sweet fixies for all; and
    Heavy goods vehicles / construction vehicles designed appropriately for urban driving. Not with a fucking stick-on plastic lens in lieu of full height windscreens affording all round visibility.

  • or just build a safe cycle network.
    That's a lovely idea. How would it be implemented, how much would it cost, how long would it take, how would it normalise cycling, what other step could be taken?

  • Compared to having no deaths/life changing accidents on the roads(see video i posted above).

    "Relatively" safe is not really safe enough if you loose a friend or family member.

    I agree, we will have to use some of the road network at times and the measures you listed would help for now, but in the long term, we need a network that supports young, old, hire bikes, people to travel to the UK and the inexperienced..... and if cycle lanes are designed well(this is key), they will not slow down the more experienced rider.

    We have a tiny percentage of the UK population riding bikes. I would like to see every person in the UK own and ride a bike(not for every journey, but more often than now). This will only happen when the infra supports this.

  • That's a lovely idea. How would it be implemented, how much would it cost, how long would it take, how would it normalise cycling, what other step could be taken?

    why don't you tell me.

  • I'm always a bit concerned with the knee jerk response of looking to the continent and immediately assuming that infrastructure, seperate cycle lanes and the like are what we must have over here. But no one seems to take into account the size of London in comparison,

    from Wikipedia (for my sins)

    Utrect
    Area(2006)
    • City and municipality 99.32 km2 (38.35 sq mi)
    • Land 95.67 km2 (36.94 sq mi)
    • Water 3.64 km2 (1.41 sq mi)
    Elevation 4 m (13 ft)
    Population (1 May 2013)
    • City and municipality 323,617
    • Density 3,279/km2 (8,490/sq mi)
    • Metro 640,000

    London
    Area
    • City 1,572.00 km2 (606.95 sq mi)
    • Urban 1,737.9 km2 (671.0 sq mi)
    • Metro 8,382.00 km2 (3,236.31 sq mi)
    Elevation[1] 24 m (79 ft)
    Population (2012)[2][3][4]
    • City 8,308,369
    • Density 5,285/km2 (13,690/sq mi)
    • Urban 9,787,426
    • Urban zone 11,905,500
    • Metro 15,010,295

    how long are the average journeys in those cities abroad that we aspire to make ours like, how far is the average journey? What are people primarily using their bikes for? Does the infrastructure cover the whole of the journey or some of it?

    Those who are pushing for infrastructure change, segregation, etc, seem, to my mind, to believe this change will happen overnight. It might. But I am doubtful, and if that is the case, cycle training, and how we as cyclists interact with other motorised transport, and how they interact with us, isn't going away anytime soon. The issues still need to be addressed and just saying it should be like this (points at photo's of utopian dutch cyclepaths) isn't enough.

    I'm personally against segregation, but more people cycling is something to be worked towards by all parties rather than the divide and slag off which some, and I'm saying this carefully, some of those who are advocating segregation and more infrastructure are involving themselves in..

  • why don't you tell me.

    Is this a trick question? I asked, because I don't know.

    Your idea of a safe cycle network seems to be really good.

    I'm looking to understand how it would be implemented, what it might cost, how long it might take, what the benefits would be (and how they would be measured), and what else could be done to complement this.

  • i really don't know. i'm sure it will cost more than it should and take longer than it could. i really don't have the answers.

  • ^^CB makes the same point I always thought, and never seems to be addressed - the catchment area for London commuters is huge compared to every other city in Europe, and many (most?) peoples experience of London is from inside a car, as opposed to Europe where the cities inhabitants will tend to be able to walk/ride as well as drive

    Heavy goods vehicles / construction vehicles designed appropriately for urban driving. Not with a fucking stick-on plastic lens in lieu of full height windscreens affording all round visibility.

    I was riding home on Wednesday and saw a van with one of the new low cabs, was tempted to stop and talk to the driver, but certainly seemed less threatening being at car level. It also reduces the need for separate angled down mirrors.

  • ... Once bikes have an infrastructure, less cars and public transport will be used prompting more money being spent on bike infrastructure and the cycle will continue. ...

    Right now, we have an almost negligible amount of infrastructure that is up to Dutch standards, yet cycling is growing and the feedback loop of growing numbers gaining influence and supporting further growth is already operating. Other factors are supporting this growth. I guessed at some a few pages back. Cycle training might be a small contributor (anyone got numbers?) but it is an important one because the approach it teaches spreads beyond those taught, and it's officialness helps legitimise the presence of cyclists on the roads in the minds of everyone who is aware of it.

    And as cycling grows it will gain the political power to demand more infrastructural support, both friendlier roads and segregated routes for those who can't or won't use the roads.

    The kerb nerds seem to have an alternative plan. You imagine you can achieve sweeping infrastructure changes for the benefit of hordes of future cyclists who don't even know they're cyclists yet, let alone have a political voice. Meanwhile telling lots of people who do cycle that they're doing it wrong and should put their interests behind those of the as-yet unconscious community you claim to be speaking for. All you have to do is achieve sufficient ideological purity in your faction of a fraction of a minority and the infrastructure fairy with grant all your wishes...

    (And ain't it handy how these future hordes don't yet have a voice to inconveniently dispute your assessment of their best interests?)

    If you believe in segregated cycle paths, campaign positively to get good ones built. If they really are good, then both existing and new cyclists will like them and use them and it will be seen that they are good and they will spread.

    ... We have a tiny percentage of the UK population riding bikes. I would like to see every person in the UK own and ride a bike(not for every journey, but more often than now). This will only happen when the infra supports this.

    Your're right that it's necessary that the infrastructure support everyone cycling before everyone will cycle, but that's neither sufficient nor relevant to where we are now. Choosing to cycle depends on more than just infrastructure, and right now we just need more cycling of all kinds.

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'Space for cycling' protest ride 2nd September

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