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Specialist cycling solicitor Mark Hambleton looks at whether infrastructure is the answer to making the roads safer for cyclists

If you’ve read one of my blogs before, you’ll know I’m passionate about road safety and cycling. In the last six months or so I’ve mainly only been commuting on my bike, but I’ll shortly be getting in some longer rides in preparation for triathlon number two later this year, and I’m feeling more apprehensive than normal about spending more time cycling on our roads.

Why is that? I’m really sensible and considerate of others when I’m cycling, and I’ll be doing everything possible to avoid busy roads and the busiest times of day – I don’t particularly enjoy cycling in those conditions at the best of times.  

I think there are a number of reasons why I’m feeling this way.

Firstly, on Twitter and road.cc, I am watching more videos showing close passes; vulnerable people on their bikes are being put at risk by aggressive, intimidating and/or impatient drivers. My impression is that these encounters are becoming more prevalent and it’s certainly been my commuting experience recently. The number of videos being posted on social media are probably increasing but I don’t think that’s skewing my view.

My own experience of commuting home involves a 500ft climb up a mile-long hill. When cycling home now, especially in the last six months, motorists are taking more risks to overtake me. Just recently, a coach overtook me on a corner, squeezing past me with about half a metre to spare. Lots of other drivers are too impatient to wait until the opposite carriageway is clear before overtaking, forcing those travelling in the opposite direction to brake and steer towards the side of the road to avoid them.

Unless I want to do the same few rides on repeat (which I don’t), I have to get off the cycle path and explore on the roads, inevitably cycling among traffic. There isn’t the infrastructure to avoid this.

To a certain extent, I think you need to be courageous to cycle on our roads. Clearly that shouldn’t be a prerequisite, and a huge amount more should be done to give people the confidence to cycle. As I’m a little out of practice with longer rides, I suppose I’m feeling less brave compared to this time last year.

A big factor at play is also my job. As a personal injury solicitor, I represent people injured whilst cycling who are claiming for loss of income, compensation for injuries, rehabilitation, and care needs following road traffic collisions. I therefore spend a reasonable proportion of my working week dealing with the devastation caused by careless, reckless and dangerous motoring. I see the worst case scenario more than most and have no doubt this affects my confidence.

Finally, the majority of motorists responsible for killing or injuring those who ride bikes on our roads do not receive a driving ban or sentence sufficient to cause a change in driver attitude. Without proper sanction, I don’t see driver attitudes improving and I don’t feel people who cycle are properly protected.  

Each of these issues alone could make someone anxious about cycling. However, today I’m going to consider a potential solution to mine and others’ cycling worries: infrastructure.

What needs to be done about infrastructure?

The cycling infrastructure we all want is not what we often see, a short section of painted white lines that end abruptly or are completely impractical for any number of reasons, like this:

Towcester cycle lane.JPG

 

What we want to see more of are dedicated cycle lanes that are physically segregated from traffic and provide a practical solution for getting from A to B, traffic-free.

That isn’t going happen overnight, so we also want to see more quietways (shared with traffic but often aiming to redirect traffic and utilise on-street interventions), well-designed junctions, adequate bike parking and facilities at work for showering as a start to make cycling more attractive.

To improve our infrastructure, there needs to be a commitment to and delivery of changes to our existing road layouts, a better way of thinking on the part of those designing and funding our roads and a prioritisation of cycling (and walking) to enable people to leave their cars at home and enjoy active travel.

Re-framing the debate and removing the confrontation

In light of this recent shocking research in Australia, I feel this is a particularly important time to improve our cycling infrastructure. The research is reported by Simon MacMichael here.

Essentially, the research concludes that people riding bikes are dehumanised by motorists. Just take a minute to get your head around that. Because someone is travelling on a bicycle, they’re not even viewed as being completely human by drivers – the doctor responsible for the research concludes that the dehumanisation makes it easier to justify aggression towards those who are cycling rather than driving. A scary thought.

In that context, and with the capacity for a motor vehicle to cause so much more damage than a bicycle could ever cause, providing dedicated cycle infrastructure should be a no-brainer, shouldn’t it? To do so would also go some way towards humanising cyclists (fewer helmets, normal clothes, making cycling more commonplace amongst friends, family and colleagues).

It might also help in the transition away from the “them” and “us” attitude and moving the terminology away from referring to ‘cyclists’ as some sort of tribe and instead recognising that we’re simply discussing ‘people who ride bikes’ to get around. Food for thought, perhaps.

We don’t need to look far afield to find the cities and countries that are benefiting from their investment in cycling. Copenhagen, Utrecht and Amsterdam are often at the top of the table. The benefits of cycling investment rather than prioritising motor vehicles are well known to many of us. These cities, and their residents, are also benefiting from much safer conditions than we have in most of our cities.

So how could infrastructure improve road safety?

There are a few direct and indirect ways in which infrastructure could help to make our roads safer.

Firstly, it minimises the interaction between motorists and people riding their bikes, especially high risk vehicles such as HGVs. A benefit might be that with fewer collisions to deal with, police resources might be freed up to deal with enforcing motoring laws more stringently.

We’d be prioritising cycling in practical ways such as slowing down traffic, traffic lights to give people riding their bikes a head start at shared junctions, moving stop lines back for motor vehicles and creating better visibility for bikes at junctions.

With increased confidence about cycling in segregated conditions, away from traffic, cycling numbers will increase. I am certain of that because the number one fear people have about cycling is that it’s unsafe. Whether or not that view is statistically accurate is irrelevant if that is our biggest barrier to participation.

This in turn should reduce the problems of dehumanisation as more friends, family and colleagues cycle. As cycling increases in popularity, there will inevitably be more awareness of cyclists on the roads, which will benefit those cycling in areas with less on-street infrastructure than others.

This encourages and normalises cycling as a viable means of transport to reduce the number of cars on our roads. And with reduced congestion as well as some of the other common causes of impatient motoring, there could be fewer avoidable accidents.

Having spoken to cycling advocate Baroness Jenny Jones, I’m not the only one who sees things this way. When asked about the most important thing Government could do to improve safety and increase participation, she had this to say:

“Spend billions on safe, high quality segregated cycle paths like the Dutch and others have done. Fears about safety is the big barrier that stops cycling becoming the mass form of transit that we know it could be, especially for women, children and those just starting out.

I remember the shock at a meeting with the Mayor's Office and Transport for London when I said there should be a £100m annual budget for cycling, but that is the scale of expenditure needed to make a real transformation.

The few segregated lanes that have been built are great and well used, but still fall far short of a linked up door to door network. It would be a fraction of what we invest in the tube network, but a comprehensive cycle network would carry more people.”


At a time when congestion, pollution, obesity, avoidable illnesses and the burden on the NHS are all at tipping point, these considerations are more important than ever. Wouldn’t it be great if our roads were a reflection of the sophisticated society we claim to be, and protected the most vulnerable?

After taking up cycling to commute between Bristol and Bath, Mark has seen all sorts of incidents and has become a keen advocate for cycling and protecting the rights of cyclists.

Mark is now lucky enough to combine his passion for cycling with his day job as a cycling solicitor at Royds Withy King.

42 comments

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hawkinspeter [4095 posts] 4 months ago
13 likes

Although decent infrastructure would be nice, I think it's almost a way of dismissing cyclists' concerns by shunting them away from the drivers and pretending that attitudes don't need adjusting.

What I would like to see is a presumed liability law where the bigger/faster vehicle is assumed to be at fault unless there is other evidence (cctv, dashcams, witnesses etc). This could be achieved with minimal spend and would hopefully change the drivers from seeing cyclists as a nuisance to seeing them as vulnerable road users.

Edit: The photo at the top of the article looks familiar to me - the bottom of Park St in Bristol which is an infamous hill. The cycle lane stops at the pedestrian lights shown, which is a real shame as it's the rest of the road/hill that would benefit from cycle infrastructure.

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brooksby [5032 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Edit: The photo at the top of the article looks familiar to me - the bottom of Park St in Bristol which is an infamous hill. The cycle lane stops at the pedestrian lights shown, which is a real shame as it's the rest of the road/hill that would benefit from cycle infrastructure.

Dammit! You beat me to it!! no

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Rick_Rude [403 posts] 4 months ago
10 likes

I think segregated cycling in urban areas will only spill into intolerance down country lanes. 

Many years ago I used to skateboard and the fun for me and my mates was turning various bits of architecture into a playground. We used to read the complaints in the local paper about how we 'needed a place to go' but these people didn't get it. I didn't want a skatepark. As soon as you accept the skatepart then 'why are you here, you've a skatepark' comes up. It will be the same for cycling. Drivers will expect to only find you 'in your lane'.

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hawkinspeter [4095 posts] 4 months ago
6 likes
Rick_Rude wrote:

I think segregated cycling in urban areas will only spill into intolerance down country lanes. 

Many years ago I used to skateboard and the fun for me and my mates was turning various bits of architecture into a playground. We used to read the complaints in the local paper about how we 'needed a place to go' but these people didn't get it. I didn't want a skatepark. As soon as you accept the skatepart then 'why are you here, you've a skatepark' comes up. It will be the same for cycling. Drivers will expect to only find you 'in your lane'.

I agree.

You've reminded me of another thing that grinds my gears - hostile architecture. I hate the way they now put little bits of metal along concrete benches, walls etc. to prevent skateboarders from having fun.

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alansmurphy [2287 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

This already happens. The majority of close passes occur on me when riding near an awful piece of cycle infrastructure...

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Zermattjohn [347 posts] 4 months ago
9 likes

I've 10+ years experience as a road safety engineer, and more than that as a cyclist. My opinion is that you can create as many cycle lanes and paint as much of the road surface as you like, but it's the attitude of some (unfortunately, it only takes one..) drivers that puts most cyclists at risk. I ride off road more and more now, and only ever feel unsafe when mixing it with 1-tonne+ lumps of metal on the road sections I can't avoid. Cycling itself is almost risk-free, the danger comes from bad road users - if those bad road users are in command of something that can kill, then fix that.

Enforcement is a non-starter. Once you give people the chance to 'get away with it' then they will. Drink driving is also illegal, and the chances of being caught are slim - it's the enormous change in attitudes towards it in the 1980s that made the big difference in drink driving. Until similar attitude changes happen to other dangerous forms of driving you're swimming against a very strong tide.

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ktache [2129 posts] 4 months ago
10 likes

But Rick, the Dutch don't have separate infrastructure everywhere, but the stuff they do have is of such quality that loads of people cycle, so that all drivers, if not cyclists themselves, know many cyclists, often loved ones, so find it difficult to dehumanise them.

We already have intolerance everywhere, it would just be nice to have some proper stuff somewhere.

But, of course, unlike the Dutch, we have accepted all those slaughtered children, because, you know, cars...

 

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Daveyraveygravey [702 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes
Rick_Rude wrote:

I think segregated cycling in urban areas will only spill into intolerance down country lanes. 

Many years ago I used to skateboard and the fun for me and my mates was turning various bits of architecture into a playground. We used to read the complaints in the local paper about how we 'needed a place to go' but these people didn't get it. I didn't want a skatepark. As soon as you accept the skatepart then 'why are you here, you've a skatepark' comes up. It will be the same for cycling. Drivers will expect to only find you 'in your lane'.

 

They already do!  There aren't many cycle lanes near me that I will use; most are dangerous, covered in litter and glass, and stop every 50m because of some road junction that "has priority".  Yet most motorists get really pissed at you if there's a cycle lane there and you aren't using it.

Whilst better infrastructure would be great, better education of drivers and proper sentencing of deliberate dangerous driving would be an easier and cheaper solution, in my eyes anyway.  I got into a debate on the local FB Spotted page with a woman, mainly because her comment that she was "shocked and surprised" to find out there were dedicated sections in the Highway Code for cyclists to deal with roads and other road users, and for other road users to deal with cyclists absolutely staggered me.  She'd learnt to drive, and all her three kids, in complete ignorance of the Highway Code cycling sections, or so she claimed. 

 

What chance have any of us got?

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John Smith [271 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I would be weary about comparing skateboarders to cycling. I used to skateboarders in my yonger days (well, fall off a skateboarder mostly) and at the time I got upset. Skateboarders (as well as BMXs and scooters) do, however, cause damage to buildings. If you have a look at any street furnature, walls and ledges where skaters gather you will see scars, cuts and large chips on edges and in the middle of walls, along with skate wax over the place.

 

Providing appropriate facilities for skateboarding to avoid damage to buildings is very different to segragating cycling from traffic.

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hawkinspeter [4095 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
John Smith wrote:

I would be weary about comparing skateboarders to cycling. I used to skateboarders in my yonger days (well, fall off a skateboarder mostly) and at the time I got upset. Skateboarders (as well as BMXs and scooters) do, however, cause damage to buildings. If you have a look at any street furnature, walls and ledges where skaters gather you will see scars, cuts and large chips on edges and in the middle of walls, along with skate wax over the place.

Providing appropriate facilities for skateboarding to avoid damage to buildings is very different to segragating cycling from traffic.

Yep, cycling and skateboarding are totally different, but are both considered out-groups. BMX-ers kinda bridge the gap though.

Personally, I don't care about damage to buildings - it's part and parcel of the interaction between people and their surroundings. To put a stone structure ahead of the wants and needs of people seems harsh and un-feeling. Seems to me more like rich people wanting to protect their capital, comrade.

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Rick_Rude [403 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes
John Smith wrote:

I would be weary about comparing skateboarders to cycling. I used to skateboarders in my yonger days (well, fall off a skateboarder mostly) and at the time I got upset. Skateboarders (as well as BMXs and scooters) do, however, cause damage to buildings. If you have a look at any street furnature, walls and ledges where skaters gather you will see scars, cuts and large chips on edges and in the middle of walls, along with skate wax over the place.

 

Providing appropriate facilities for skateboarding to avoid damage to buildings is very different to segragating cycling from traffic.

But regardless of 'why' you are there, once there, you will be expected to stay there. Like the example of glass in the cycle lanes being similar to the skatepark now being full of smashed bottles , dog shit and thugs - people won't initially understand why you aren't using it.

There's a sustrans route near me that goes for about 3 miles along an old railway line and at times is almost a parallel to the road. I'll be on the road though as it's faster and I want to go fast but the sustrans is full of dogs, dog shit, shit people and those enjoying a gentle cycle rather than doing 20+ 

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slappop [80 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

Infrastructure improvements would help, but a simpler initial approach is to enforce the traffic laws that already exist and add more to protect vulnerable road users (especially strict liability).

Where I live (Switzerland), drivers tend to take a lot of care around cyclists since they know they'll get the book thrown at them otherwise.

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John Smith [271 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
John Smith wrote:

I would be weary about comparing skateboarders to cycling. I used to skateboarders in my yonger days (well, fall off a skateboarder mostly) and at the time I got upset. Skateboarders (as well as BMXs and scooters) do, however, cause damage to buildings. If you have a look at any street furnature, walls and ledges where skaters gather you will see scars, cuts and large chips on edges and in the middle of walls, along with skate wax over the place.

Providing appropriate facilities for skateboarding to avoid damage to buildings is very different to segragating cycling from traffic.

Yep, cycling and skateboarding are totally different, but are both considered out-groups. BMX-ers kinda bridge the gap though.

Personally, I don't care about damage to buildings - it's part and parcel of the interaction between people and their surroundings. To put a stone structure ahead of the wants and needs of people seems harsh and un-feeling. Seems to me more like rich people wanting to protect their capital, comrade.

 

Do you feel the same when it is council owned benches being renderd unusuable because of damage, and the tax payer having to spend thousands to repair them? I don't agree that it is part of peoples interaction with their surroundings. It is not accidental, it is knowingly doing something that will cause damage. Would you feel the same were we talking about free runners causing damage by running and jumping over parked cars? Being able to practice grinds and wall rides is not exactly a human right.

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hawkinspeter [4095 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes
John Smith wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
John Smith wrote:

I would be weary about comparing skateboarders to cycling. I used to skateboarders in my yonger days (well, fall off a skateboarder mostly) and at the time I got upset. Skateboarders (as well as BMXs and scooters) do, however, cause damage to buildings. If you have a look at any street furnature, walls and ledges where skaters gather you will see scars, cuts and large chips on edges and in the middle of walls, along with skate wax over the place.

Providing appropriate facilities for skateboarding to avoid damage to buildings is very different to segragating cycling from traffic.

Yep, cycling and skateboarding are totally different, but are both considered out-groups. BMX-ers kinda bridge the gap though.

Personally, I don't care about damage to buildings - it's part and parcel of the interaction between people and their surroundings. To put a stone structure ahead of the wants and needs of people seems harsh and un-feeling. Seems to me more like rich people wanting to protect their capital, comrade.

 

Do you feel the same when it is council owned benches being renderd unusuable because of damage, and the tax payer having to spend thousands to repair them? I don't agree that it is part of peoples interaction with their surroundings. It is not accidental, it is knowingly doing something that will cause damage. Would you feel the same were we talking about free runners causing damage by running and jumping over parked cars? Being able to practice grinds and wall rides is not exactly a human right.

At least when skateboarders render a bench unusable (seems like it'd take a lot of damage to do so), they've taken quite a while to do so and the bench has been fully usable in the meantime. In contrast, benches now seem to be designed to only be comfortable for a short period of time and are specifically not suitable to lie down on (nobody wants to actually see homeless people). So yes, the upkeep cost is reduced and so is their utility.

Personally, I'd laugh if I saw free runners running and jumping over inconsiderately parked cars. I'd be more than happy if "keying" badly parked cars was made legal.

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John Smith [271 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

Who said anything about inconsiderately parked cars? However, I guess that attutued says everything. That is the same attitude that leads to punishment passes.

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crazy-legs [1139 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
Rick_Rude wrote:

I think segregated cycling in urban areas will only spill into intolerance down country lanes. 

Many years ago I used to skateboard and the fun for me and my mates was turning various bits of architecture into a playground. We used to read the complaints in the local paper about how we 'needed a place to go' but these people didn't get it. I didn't want a skatepark. As soon as you accept the skatepart then 'why are you here, you've a skatepark' comes up. It will be the same for cycling. Drivers will expect to only find you 'in your lane'.

I agree.

You've reminded me of another thing that grinds my gears - hostile architecture. I hate the way they now put little bits of metal along concrete benches, walls etc. to prevent skateboarders from having fun.

But if it's GOOD infrastructure, people will WANT to use it. Dutch cyclists don't ride in the road - they have no need to becasue they have a comprehensive network of excellent cycling infrastructure.

The problem is that in the UK, bar a couple of bits of infrastructure within London, we don't have good infra; we have token gestures, tickbox exercises in making sure that councils can spend their "green transport" budget and pandering to the motoring lobby who want to see roads exclusively for cars by going "oh OK, here, we'll paint some white lines down this pavement and the cyclists can use that, you can carry on going as fast as you want".

 

 

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hawkinspeter [4095 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
John Smith wrote:

Who said anything about inconsiderately parked cars? However, I guess that attutued says everything. That is the same attitude that leads to punishment passes.

Er, that was me - you can tell by the name at the top of the comment.

I don't quite follow your reasoning - how is wanting to do something about inconsiderate parking related to punishment passes?

(I think that wanting to cause damage to inconsiderately parked vehicles is entirely different to wanting to frighten/bully/hurt people for cycling in the road)

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Michel15555 [6 posts] 4 months ago
7 likes

I live in the Netherlands where policy has been always to separate cyclists from motorised vehicles. This is coupled by laws that blame drivers for almost all types of accidents.

This works, but this 'dummy-proof cycling' also has a negative effect: drivers are not so used anymore to having to pass cyclists. Drivers are less experienced in dealing with cyclists on their path.

Second point I want to make about infrastructure: it's not about infrastructure! I have cycled in countries with similar infra to the UK: France, Italy, USA. Cars often pass cyclists with 80 km/hr, but it doesn't feel unsafe. Those drivers respect cyclists and their safety. I didn't get that safe feeling when I cycled in the UK...

So why is that? What is wrong with British drivers? I've said it here before, I think the only way to get drivers' empathy is by forcing them to experience cycling on the road themselves. You want a drivers license? 100 hours of cycling. You caused an accident? 500 hours of cycling. Etc.

Oh, and get those liability laws in order. If you can't get their empathy, scare them.

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
ktache wrote:

But Rick, the Dutch don't have separate infrastructure everywhere, but the stuff they do have is of such quality that loads of people cycle, so that all drivers, if not cyclists themselves, know many cyclists, often loved ones, so find it difficult to dehumanise them.

We already have intolerance everywhere, it would just be nice to have some proper stuff somewhere.

But, of course, unlike the Dutch, we have accepted all those slaughtered children, because, you know, cars...

And despite that 'quality' infrastructure when it criss crosses 'motor' roads this is precisely where the Dutch have the greatest number of deaths, almost a third of all deaths are at these junctions. And why do they junction, because of segregation and meandering cycle lanes that don't go in straight lines.

So even the Dutch drivers whom are massively fewer than here in the UK and likely ride themselves on occasion are as likely to kill/injure as their UK counterpart when they actually interact with people on bikes.

You also have the problem of out of sight, out of mind, in places where there is little/no segregated infra the problem is as bad as here, because drivers don't know how to act around road cyclists, they give little respect and close passes etc are still a thing.

The ultimate solution is basically what they are doing in Copengahen, Oslo and other cities, removing motor vehicles completely, segregating away the motorist, not the cyclist. The Dutch model of segregated infra is only good to a point, as I said it meanders often (see the screenshot from a cycle route compared to a road to the South East of Amsterdam ... guess which one is which!) and due to its nature has to cross motor roads many times over which is where much of the danger arises from.

We still need to accept that in the greatest cycling nation in the modern era, that's still only 26% modal share, that's 30% less than what we did have in the UK on roads - with virtually no segregated paths of note in the late 40s/early 50s and 15 Billion miles travelled (so a lot of short/er trips).

Taking back through roads OR taking back one side of the highway with absolute priority at turns/junctions would work out to be massively safer than even segregated AND it would be far more convenient and direct thus making it more attractive. Mickael Coalville Anderson is implicit in this as part of the solution to encourage people to cycle more. They want direct lines of travel, this is why in places like Stevenage despite the wide segregated infra it's hardly used. because it meanders, it has built in obstacles, it has built in steep slopes, it's often used by peds etc AND the motor roads are straight, direct, wide and access everywhere.

My own estate could easily have a one way system for motors on the existing loop road, with cycling in both directions on the other side, no need to build anything, just squeeze the motors out/off. We already see how planners are already accepting narrow strips of cycle lanes even for the much touted Manchester and Cardiff offerings, no thanks, it's shit and simply not wide enough, not direct enough and still doesn't join up everywhere, unlike the road network.

You can add local segregation if you want to but taking back that existing bit of road or even whole road would make that less necessary. They already relaxed cycling on the footpaths on my estate when there was a TRO when the estate was built but forcing motorists to only ever be able to travel at 20mph in built up areas (residential, industrial, mixed use) as well as strengened justice system/presumed liability is an overall better system than wholly segregating which as I said, even in the greatest modern cycling nation is still flawed. Adding e-bikes into the equation has made matters even worse, not better (and I've said why about that elsewhere).

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HarrogateSpa [669 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes

Not this again - all Dutch cycle lanes are circuitous. No, they're not. The ones I rode for several weeks in Utrecht were often more direct than the road, for example through Wilhelmina Park.

Segregated Dutch cycle lanes are incredibly successful in getting people to ride bikes, and I couldn't disagree more with the constant and unjustified criticism.

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
HarrogateSpa wrote:

Not this again - all Dutch cycle lanes are circuitous. No, they're not. The ones I rode for several weeks in Utrecht were often more direct than the road, for example through Wilhelmina Park.

Segregated Dutch cycle lanes are incredibly successful in getting people to ride bikes, and I couldn't disagree more with the constant and unjustified criticism.

who said ALL, you don't read very well do you, but look at the screen grab, this was the suggested shortest route for cycling from the outskirts of Amsterdam to the city boundary. Are you going to suggest that the cycle lane is shorter/less circuitous than the 'motor' roads? Are you going to deny that this route does not cross multiple major roads and many minor roads?

Are you also going to deny the facts with respect to the number of deaths on segregated routes when they cross motor roads aand why they cross motor roads so often thus causing the problem?

Well?

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Sniffer [682 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes
HarrogateSpa wrote:

Not this again - all Dutch cycle lanes are circuitous. No, they're not. The ones I rode for several weeks in Utrecht were often more direct than the road, for example through Wilhelmina Park.

Segregated Dutch cycle lanes are incredibly successful in getting people to ride bikes, and I couldn't disagree more with the constant and unjustified criticism.

Yes, I agree with you.  Having cycled and driven in the Netherlands there are lots of examples around towns in particular where cycle infrastructure goes directly through the town centre and cars are required to go the circuitous route.

Once BTBS gets something in to his head, you will never move him though.

I do agree that presumed liability is an excellent idea.  It is not an either or though.

Improved infrastrucure won't solve all problems and is not the solution for everywhere, but it might solve some problems in some places.

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Brightspark [6 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

I also share the view that building cycle lanes will only generate a "your place is there" and wonder if the current tranche of inadequate cycling infrastructure is just feeding the deluded belief of the right wing motoring lobby that they own the roads and anyone who doesn't own should get off. 

This week there was a question in the house about shared lanes for horses cycles and pedestrians.

I am warming to  the opinion that two things need to be done. Both concern the language that we use in campaigning.

First we must stop calling ourselves vunerable road users. The V word suggests that we need protecting, mainly from ourselves. The V word incites the "does he take sugar" attitude, which may explain why the powers to be don't take us (cycle, pedestrain and horse lobying groups and as individuals) seriously.

I suggest that we call ourselves Normal road users. We were here first. We should identify motorists as High Risk road users and larger road vehicles as Higher or Very High Risk Road users.

The second point is that we must stop demanding for cycle paths. There is (was) a very good network called roads. What we should be demanding is segregated motor paths. After all who is killing and maiming who? 

I think that it is about time we should be clear who is doing the damage. Presumed liabilty would d by using the above language it would start to make more sense in the minds of Jo public.

 

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Argus Tuft [35 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

...Canberra bikepath

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Argus Tuft [35 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

For Presumed Liability to get up over here the State Government would have to have a massive majority and the will to introduce it.The public sees it as unfair (I think wrongly) but that's the way it is.

Cyclists would get a lot more attention if they (We?) could agree on what we're after. As it stands the motoring interests can characterise us as a rabble who don't know what we want.And they'd be right.I'd be happy with P.L. or a big infrastructure improvement,but both?

I've done plenty of miles on the bikeways of Canberra.You can get to most places without venturing on the road.Rick would have no problem with his 20+ speeds.The drivers are ACUTELY aware of the existence and disposition of these facilities,and I was enthusiastically reminded of such when I dared to exercise my right to the roadway.

OTOH,where bikeways don't exist,Canberran motorists are no worse than anywhere else,a little better if anything. The argument that drivers would be more aggressive on roads where bikes are allowed if more bikeways were rolled out certainly doesn't apply here.I'd have to see some serious evidence to be convinced otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

Below-Home made cycle track on Russell Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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brooksby [5032 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
Rick_Rude wrote:

I think segregated cycling in urban areas will only spill into intolerance down country lanes. 

Many years ago I used to skateboard and the fun for me and my mates was turning various bits of architecture into a playground. We used to read the complaints in the local paper about how we 'needed a place to go' but these people didn't get it. I didn't want a skatepark. As soon as you accept the skatepart then 'why are you here, you've a skatepark' comes up. It will be the same for cycling. Drivers will expect to only find you 'in your lane'.

I agree.

You've reminded me of another thing that grinds my gears - hostile architecture. I hate the way they now put little bits of metal along concrete benches, walls etc. to prevent skateboarders from having fun.

Isn't a lot of that to do with making sure homeless people and teenagers don't stop moving? Like those weird angled rails which seem to have replaced the benches in many bus shelters.

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Mr Agreeable [187 posts] 4 months ago
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Another good piece by Mark, but these comments are typical of the "I cycle on roads with traffic, so you can too" mentality of a lot of UK and Aussie cyclists. 

Name me a place with minimal cycle infrastructure and similar levels of private car ownership to Britain which also has a decent modal share for cycling. I'll happily wait.

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Mr Agreeable [187 posts] 4 months ago
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And people are still banging the presumed liability drum! Practically every country in Europe has presumed liability. Some are great for cycling, some are terrible. PL ain't it bro.

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Argus Tuft [35 posts] 4 months ago
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Argus Tuft [35 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Europe has citizens,Britain has subjects.

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