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Cycling in England - a long way to go, but maybe some improvements soon?

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Cycling in England - a long way to go, but maybe some improvements soon?

Old 01-20-13, 09:29 PM
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MinnMan
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Cycling in England - a long way to go, but maybe some improvements soon?

https://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2...rnment-inquiry
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Old 01-20-13, 09:54 PM
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I found this part interesting:

To get cycling mainstream, experts agree, you need wholesale investment in infrastructure, most obviously well-designed and continuous cycle lanes, separated from faster traffic by a kerb or other barrier and with cyclists offered protection at junctions. The philosophy was summed up by Enrique Peñalosa, who as mayor of Bogotá revolutionised transport in the Colombian capital: "A bicycle way that is not safe for an eight-year-old is not a bicycle way."
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Old 01-21-13, 07:20 AM
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Part of my job, as a part-time cycling officer with my local highways dept., was to assess potential cycling facilities on a proposed strategic cycling network. there were a number of problems:

1. The higgledy piggledy nature of much of the road/street layout and their narrowness made it difficult to find the space for cycle lanes, let alone separated cycleways.
2. There was still a strong presumption in favour of keeping motor vehicle traffic moving smothly
3. The driver "culture" made things difficult, e.g. where there was a reasonable cycle lane on a main route into the city, if a driver waited in a traffic queue and flashed an oncoming driver to turn across him, said driver would turn without considering the existence of the cycle lane and without asking himself if there was a cyclist coming down the inside of the flashing driver (if you follow me). There would then be a cyclist/car bonnet (okay, hood) interface of varying degrees of seriousness.
4. On many roads in the older part of the city, there were long rows of 19C/early 20C terraced houses with minimal, if any garden/drive space. So cars were parked on the road, thus reducing space available for lanes, let alone a separated facility.
5. Several years ago, a senior government civil servant pointed out that it would cost x£m per year to build Dutch/Danish type lanes/paths and that this would not be feasible. I worked out that the sum he was talking about amounted to about £1.50 per head per year. Compare this attitude with the German town of Troisdorf: (pop.65,000) which had a late nineties budget of £2m p.a. over 5 years (= £154 per head or £30.80 per head p.a.). So there needs to be a truly massive turnaround in political attitudes (and courage) inorder to bring about a sea change in in policy. Given that a very recent Conservative Sec. of State for Transport came into office stating that it was time to, "End the war on motorists" and that, "Cyclists should have wing (sic) mirrors like cars", I'm not holding my breath.
6. Even if the politcial will was found and the cash made available, we're talking about a 15/20 year period to create something like the European model and even then, there won't be the room to put the facilities in place, so the next question is, how do you make it safer for people to ride on non-facility streets? IMHO, a massive increase in cyclist training of a very high order, but that's another subject altogether
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Old 01-21-13, 10:17 AM
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Cycling in the UK is very safe. There is only one cycling fatality for every 25 million miles cycled. How safe doyou want it to be?

Obviously, things could be improved. But the biggest constraint on the number of people cycling is the perception that it is much more dangerous than it actually is.

atbman's analysis of the difficulty in inserting modern cycling infrastructure into 19th century (and sometimes mediaeval) urban street patterns is correct, of course. But there is a relatively easy step in the right direction, which is to cut the speed limit for cars in urban areas and insert obstacles that make it more difficult for that limit to be exceeded. It's largely a question of political will, rather than money.
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Old 01-21-13, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by adamhenry View Post
I found this part interesting:

To get cycling mainstream, experts agree, you need wholesale investment in infrastructure, most obviously well-designed and continuous cycle lanes, separated from faster traffic by a kerb or other barrier and with cyclists offered protection at junctions. The philosophy was summed up by Enrique Peñalosa, who as mayor of Bogotá revolutionised transport in the Colombian capital: "A bicycle way that is not safe for an eight-year-old is not a bicycle way."
What what about John Foresters beloved vehicular cycling that is supposed to work so well in his home country???

Shouldn't everyone simply be sharing the roads and respecting all road users... and treating cyclists as drivers of vehicles?
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Old 01-21-13, 12:07 PM
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I've cycled on all manner of roads here, and never felt that it was unsafe. What is unsafe is painting a white line along the edge of a residential street and calling it a cycle lane, when the road isn't wide enough for cars to pass safely. This just encourages unsafe overtaking, and so I'd advise ignoring substandard bike lanes where you find them. Otherwise, using appropriate bike lanes combined with proper road riding at other times makes it generally very safe.
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Old 01-21-13, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Monster Pete View Post
I've cycled on all manner of roads here, and never felt that it was unsafe. What is unsafe is painting a white line along the edge of a residential street and calling it a cycle lane, when the road isn't wide enough for cars to pass safely. This just encourages unsafe overtaking, and so I'd advise ignoring substandard bike lanes where you find them. Otherwise, using appropriate bike lanes combined with proper road riding at other times makes it generally very safe.

Do you UK'ers have a BF type forum that is UK specific?
It seems Bikeforums is very USA oriented. I'd like to find one that is specific to the England and Ireland.

To stay mildly on-topic, we have an initiative here to make the speed limit 20 miles an hour in the city. Its just impossible to divide the old narrow streets here between cars and bikes so sane and rational speed limits are what most bicyclists are supporting.
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Old 01-21-13, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by -=(8)=- View Post
Do you UK'ers have a BF type forum that is UK specific?
It seems Bikeforums is very USA oriented. I'd like to find one that is specific to the England and Ireland.
Don't forget Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Thankfully, one thing we don't seem to get over here is the utterly stupid practice of riding against traffic. Most people who don't know how to ride properly tend to stick to the footpaths, dodging pedestrians.

One thing I have seen in crowded Victorian streets is roads being made into one-way systems. Usually two parallel roads are converted- one for each direction- leaving one lane of traffic plus designated parking on the other side of the road. Often a row of parked cars reduces the road to one lane anyway, and so this setup avoids congestion from cars meeting from opposite directions. Sometimes you'll see a contraflow bike lane allowing cyclists to go in either direction.
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Old 01-21-13, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by -=(8)=- View Post
Do you UK'ers have a BF type forum that is UK specific?
It seems Bikeforums is very USA oriented. I'd like to find one that is specific to the England and Ireland.

To stay mildly on-topic, we have an initiative here to make the speed limit 20 miles an hour in the city. Its just impossible to divide the old narrow streets here between cars and bikes so sane and rational speed limits are what most bicyclists are supporting.
We've got the "20 is Plenty" campaign and a number of places, e.g. Portsmouth, have instituted a widespread 20 limit, tho' as you would expect, there are plenty of letter to the press by drivers about how it will hold them up and anyway, there aren't enough cyclists to make it a sensible measure to take, blah, blah, blah.

Still, we have a reduction in the number of young people driving and owning cars, just as in many places in the States, so who knows?
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