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'Golding Rule' proposed to change road priority in favour of vulnerable users...

 

A group of cycling architects will be involved in the design of all the cycling infrastructure to be built as part of the planned £913 million spend over the next ten years.

The Mayor’s cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan invited the group to be involved at a meeting with Sunand Prasad, Roger Hawkins and Peter Murray this week, at which they handed over a 20-page report detailing what London could learn from bike facilities in the US.

According to DBOnline, Murray said the group was “pushing at an open door” when they handed over the report ‘What London can learn from America’s  cycling cities’ to Boris Johnson.

The report is the result of a 4,347 mile ride from Portland Oregon to Portland Place, London that passed through 12 major US cities to experience their cycling facilities. Members of the group spoke with local officials and politicians, advocacy groups and many people who stopped to talk and ride with them.

The report recommends that the UK should adopt ‘Complete Streets’ planning rather than attempting to squeeze bike lanes into existing streetscapes. That means making provision for active transportation a priority in all planning. The report also suggests that low speeds should be enforced on all city roads, and bikes should be able to be carried on more public transport.

A significant new idea from the group is an hierarchy of road priority they call the Golding Rule, after Francis Golding, the architect killed while riding his bike in London last month.

Peter Murray said: “This is based on the simple premise that all road users should give way to those more vulnerable than themselves.

“In the USA, we found that motorists were much more considerate to us as cyclists than we ever found in the UK. We realised from this that if we are to have safer cycling and walking we need to change the culture of the way we use our roads. In other European countries it is expected that the stronger road users yield to the more vulnerable. We should pursue that policy in the UK.

“Francis was one of six people killed on London roads in November. It is clear that along with improvement to road infrastructure, we also need a dramatic shift in how we use our roads.”

The report concludes with a lament on the quality of the cycling debate in the UK.

It says: “We see the resurgence of debate  about cycling, although it seems dully functional and without real vision; the sums are modest and the measures limited. Although there is occasional dramatic progress in some places,  overall these are meagre responses to pressure from users, and all about squeezing cycling in rather than redesigning our roads around sustainable transport.”

Cycling facility design in London has been criticised for a seeming lack of involvement from anyone who rides a bike, so advocates will welcome the involvement of Peter Murray and his colleagues.

However, the recent withdrawal of Barclays as a sponsor of London’s bike hire scheme may reduce the pot of money available for new infrastructure.

London Assembly member Darren Johnson (Green) said on Wednesday that TfL’s latest draft business plan shows the cost to TfL of running the scheme over the next ten years has increased from £75 million to £144 million, approximately a seventh of TfL’s total cycling budget for the next ten years.

Mr Johnson said: “The Mayor originally said the bike hire scheme was going to pay for itself. But due to his mismanagement and this poor sponsorship deal it is going to soak up a lot of the funding needed to create safer junctions and quality cycle routes.

“Earlier this year, the Mayor told me publicly that the £50m from Barclays was secure, which means that he either he was misleading us or he simply didn’t know. Barclays have had an amazing amount of publicity on the cheap.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

7 comments

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Kingrolo [50 posts] 2 years ago
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I admire the Architects doing their bit but its Engineers that design roads not Architects. They're right that a complete change of attitude is needed as cyclists are thought of as being in the way of cars rather than another road user you should give space to and who is more vulnerable than the car driver.

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bambergbike [88 posts] 2 years ago
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Urban streets should be designed by people who start on the outside and work their way in:
Pedestrians to be catered for adequately first
...then cyclists get allocated adequate space4cycling
...then the cars and trucks get the space that is left over in the middle (if it isn't urgently required for high quality public transport links, such as tram lines or bus rapid transit corridors.)

So not every street has space for cars, and some streets have only limited space for private motor transport.

This is the German system - simple, but as yet unfortunately applied more in theory than in practice. Things are improving as funding streams etc. are gradually brought more in line with the design principles they have at times tended to clash with.

The idea of "stronger" users yielding to more vulnerable users is a bit more problematic. The illustrated sign is a bit of a mess, but so is the concept. Cyclists have more velocity and often more mass than pedestrians and a duty of care towards them. That's only logical: cyclists shouldn't race through crowds of pedestrians and expect the pedestrians to jump out of the way. But pedestrians can't be completely absolved of a responsibility to check for cyclists either, say before stepping into cycle tracks to reach bus stops. Pedestrians can change their direction of travel instantly and in any direction without looking or even thinking, so cyclists can't be expected to always anticipate their actions. Nor are cyclists necessarily any less vulnerable than pedestrians in the sense that motorists are (unlikely to come off worst in a collision.)

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Paul M [350 posts] 2 years ago
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Kingrolo wrote:

I admire the Architects doing their bit but its Engineers that design roads not Architects. They're right that a complete change of attitude is needed as cyclists are thought of as being in the way of cars rather than another road user you should give space to and who is more vulnerable than the car driver.

Engineers may design roads, but it is architects who design streets. Unfortunately they often don't do any better than engineers.

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hampstead_bandit [589 posts] 2 years ago
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in my opinion I feel the involvement of professionals who are also keen cyclists can only assist the fundamental shift to making cities "livable"

whereas due to decades of obsession with the private motor vehicle, we have created unpleasant, heavily polluted and dangerous urban environments where multi-tonne motorised vehicles freely mix with pedestrians and cyclists

once this mindset of the motor vehicle dominating our cities is broken, huge social benefits will be enjoyed as the ability to freely walk, cycle and use efficient public transport will improve the quality of life, fitness and engagement with the environment

tonight? I took a train back into London Waterloo and then rode the 6 miles home through Covent Garden and Euston up to NW1

the journey was absolutely unpleasant with gridlocked traffic all the way from the Strand through Camden

a good number of taxis and motor vehicles making very dangerous, bullying and illegal moves: -saw a number of taxis freely driving through green pedestrian lights in Covent Garden, and ignoring pedestrians on zebra crossings and trying to intimidate cyclists and pedestrians

saw cyclists riding in the rainy dark with no lights, pedestrians stepping into the busy road without looking away from their smartphones, etc.

something needs to be done before more are killed and maimed

cities are incredibly energy efficient when designed properly, and can becomes very pleasurable places to live, shop and move about when the emphasis is not the combustion engine, and the transportation system is designed around walking, cycling and public transport rather than private motor vehicles and heavy goods vehicles

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Dave42W [48 posts] 2 years ago
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Why would we look to the US rather than to the Netherlands?

Far too expensive in lives and money!

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fukawitribe [1430 posts] 2 years ago
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Paul M wrote:
Kingrolo wrote:

I admire the Architects doing their bit but its Engineers that design roads not Architects. They're right that a complete change of attitude is needed as cyclists are thought of as being in the way of cars rather than another road user you should give space to and who is more vulnerable than the car driver.

Engineers may design roads, but it is architects who design streets. Unfortunately they often don't do any better than engineers.

I fear this may be the newer use of 'architect' as a general purpose noun and (worse) verb, rather than a distinct occupation, e.g. "I'm architecting a cake for Timmys birthday", "I'm not a shelf stacker i'm a Resource Solution Architect !", "Sorry, on the loo, architecting a shit".

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pmanc [194 posts] 2 years ago
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Dave42W wrote:

Why would we look to the US rather than to the Netherlands?

This.

There have certainly been some promising noises from the US regarding liveable cities recently, in the same way that cycle campaigning here is beginning to have a more consistent voice.

But of all the cycling cities and nations in the world, we're looking to the US for guidance? Seriously?