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AA chief: Stop-start bike lanes are bad for drivers & cyclists

Edmund King, OBE, tells he supports cycle infrastructure and says we'll see broader benefits of London Cycle Superhighways once construction is complete...

AA Chief, Edmund King, OBE, has said cycle lanes that stop after 20m are one of the worst things for cyclists and drivers, lulling both into a false sense of security.

The Automobile Association President told he supports protected cycle routes as a way to get more people out of their cars for shorter journeys, and although London’s cycle superhighways have caused “enormous congestion” during construction benefits will be evident once they are completed.

King made the comments yesterday at the Lea Valley Velodrome following an announcement 70% of people in a YouGov poll support protected space for cycling on main roads.

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He told “It’s important to reduce congestion, where it’s quite obvious not everyone can get into their cars and go where they want, when they want, all the time, so to some extent getting more people on bikes, getting more dedicated cycle lanes is better for everyone."

“One of the worst things for cyclists and drivers is a cycle lane that goes 20m then stops, because it gives people cycling a false sense of security while they’re riding on them, and then cyclists reappear on the road where drivers don’t expect them to.”

The AA is part of the Choose Cycling network, a group of more than 40 businesses linked by British Cycling that believes protected cycle infrastructure is good for employees and businesses. With other network members who met at the Lea Valley Velopark for the 2016 Track Worlds, King said the protected bike lanes currently being built on some of London’s main roads will be a case of short term pain for long term gain.

He said: “In the short term, Cycle Superhighways are causing enormous congestion because of construction but I think once that settles down and some of the cones are removed and you get people transferring to cycling we will begin to see some of the broader benefits.”

He added: “We have done surveys of our members and 20% cycle regularly. Part of the reason for us being involved [with Choose Cycling] is to say: it shouldn’t be them and us, that drivers aren’t just drivers; they cycle, they walk, they care about the environment and congestion, and they shouldn’t be put in boxes.”

King praised the work of Bristol, Manchester and London mayors in building cycle infrastructure, saying political leadership is essential in getting decent facilities for cyclists. He said: “I think much of it comes down to leadership – cities like Bristol and Manchester and London have a figure of authority, a mayor who’s totally committed [to building routes for cycling].

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Recumbenteer | 8 years ago

Road design has become to mean designed (only) for motor-vehicles. This has to stop, if we are to to encourage drivers out of their deadly killing machines that emit poisonous fumes and to get people riding non-polluting and environmentally friendly bicycles.

Remember most journeys are very short.

1995/97-2013 the average trip length was up to one mile 21.1% 
One to two miles 18.6% 
Two to five miles 27.7% Source: NTS0307

And vehicle occupancy is very low

Vehicle (car/van) occupancy: persons per vehicle and single occupancy rate 

Commuting 1.2ppmv Single occupancy rate 86%

Business 1.2ppmv Single occupancy rate 86%

Education 2.1ppmv Single occupancy rate 36%

Shopping 1.7ppmv Single occupancy rate 51%

Source: NTS0906

Well-designed infrastructure is what is needed, and well-designed means continuous, as well as many other things too - not the normal crap that we all know only too well. Motor-vehicles, especially private ones, powered by diseasel fuel cannot any-longer be justified in cities. Remember, NOx (largely from diseasels) is apparently responsible for 40,000 deaths per year. That's nine people every two hours. If terrorists were murdering that many in the streets, one can imagine that government would treat this with the seriousness it deserves.

The government should be ashamed that many towns and cities have air that breaches the maximum levels repeatedly. This isn't just London.

Drivers need to be made to 'pay', for these deaths and Diseasels need to be phased-out and banned.

Cycling infrastructure that is designed to the best standards to encourage safe travel while cycling is essential. And we need more Police to catch the uninsured, the unlicenced and the dangerous and t he incompetent drivers. And we need to keep those bastards off the roads, for ever.

pablo | 8 years ago

Wise words from Mr AA.  I think bike usages Does vary around the country and also by demographic. I think the question the AA probably asked was have you ridden a bike in the last year and the answer maybe 20%.  Asking to you ride very week or day would give a very different answer. What's good for cyclists is good for all road users. have you ever done a survey of your readers? The reason I ask is the statistics would be really interesting. mileage travelled, car usage, hours ridden a week, days a week ridden, etc

CXR94Di2 | 8 years ago

I am little poll at home and friends very few who drive also cycle,less than 5% So drivers could be pigeon holed.

Stop cycle lanes are pointless and will create issues for safety of cyclists. Nirvana would be non stop lanes and traffic has to wait to cross these when clear, priority for cyclists

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