Would-be cyclists want more cycle lanes and better facilities, says Halfords survey

Retailer asks people what would get them to cycle more often

by Simon_MacMichael   June 26, 2014  

Better facilities, like these in the Netherlands, woiuld encourage people to cycle more (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licenced by MarkA:Flickr)

More dedicated cycle lanes to improve safety and better facilities such as showers at work and more cycle parking spaces are the leading factors that would get more people cycling in Great Britain according to a survey commissioned by the nation’s biggest bike retailer, Halfords.

The survey of 4,500 people found that 40 per cent of respondents said that a dedicated cycle lane on every road would persuade them to cycle more often.

In addition, 30 per cent said they would be influenced to do so if more cycle parking were available, 19 per cent cited better facilities such as showers at work, and 17 per cent were in favour of tax benefits for bike riders.

Among the top responses were: 

  • Dedicated cycling lanes on every road (40per cent)
  • More places to park and lock bicycles (30per cent)
  • Better facilities for cyclists at work (19per cent)
  • Tax benefits for cyclists (17per cent)
  • New York-style cycle ‘super highways’ (16 per cent)
  • Compulsory cycling proficiency for all cyclists (16 per cent)
  • Local cycle safety classes (15 per cent)
  • Driving licence style accreditation for cyclists (12 per cent)
  • Better cycle safety products (11 per cent)
  • Lowering speed limits for cars (10 per cent)

Halfords also questioned people about calls by certain cycling campaigners – which, exactly, wasn’t specified – for a 10 per cent increase in segregated cycle lanes by 2025.

Some 41 per cent of respondents said that such an increase would lead to less pollution, 38 per cent agreed it would bring commuting costs down, and 32 per cent believed it would lead to less congestion on the roads.

But 28 per cent thought that it would result in greater conflict between cyclists and other road users such as pedestrians and motorists.

Chris Boardman, who as policy advisor to British Cycling helped launch its 10-point Time To #ChooseCycling manifesto in February this year, said: “Health, congestion, pollution, more liveable cites – whatever topic you want to choose, the bicycle can be a large part of the answer.

“In fact it's the only form of mechanised transport that actually contributes to our society – the UK gains £590 a year for every extra regular cyclist," he added.

The fact that dedicated cycle lanes emerged as the top response is in line with other surveys we have covered here on road.cc, such as this one from the University of the West of England in April, which reveal the perception of danger from traffic to be the number one barrier to cycling.
 

56 user comments

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-Tax benefits for cyclists (17per cent)

Does that mean I get a rebate on my Council Tax because they won't fill any pot holes.

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1188 posts]
26th June 2014 - 22:35

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joemmo wrote:
dreamlx10 wrote:
Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

unless you're in the majority who clearly find sharing roads with motor traffic unpleasant, intimidating and downright dangerous.

It won't get any better if we all cycle separately from traffic, more cyclists on the roads equals more awareness among other road users. The roads were not built for cars, they were built to get about the country more easily, by foot, horseback, bike, or car.

posted by dreamlx10 [134 posts]
26th June 2014 - 22:49

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Cranky Acid wrote:
dreamlx10 wrote:
Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

I must remember to shout that very loud in the faces of my wife and kids, ignore their tears and make them join me for happy family rides through Manchester sometime.

Not cycling on the roads won't make them any safer, less cars on the roads and more cyclists is the answer.

posted by dreamlx10 [134 posts]
26th June 2014 - 22:51

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so only 1 in 10 people would consider driving more slowly.... that's because people simply aren't prepared to allow enough time to drive with consideration for vulnerable road users - I'm sure they would argue that it is external pressures work/school run times/childcare/getting to events that put the need to drive in this way as an essential - but in reality its a lifestyle choice and its needs a change in attitude and culture to allow vehicles cyclists and pedestrians to co-exist without conflict

I'm not saying slow driving always equates with good driving but allowing sufficient time for your journey which includes time to be considerate to and to drive safely near cyclists and pedestrians would be a big change - this survey shows that the prevailing attitude is my time is more important than other people's safety

The reason people perceive more separated facilities are needed is because they can't see the possibility of changing drivers behaviour to share roads

Segregated facilities have a place and there is a need for them adjacent to major routes but in urban environments where most cycle journeys should take place they only increase a them and us attitude - a bit like fencing off pavements so cars can move at speed without any concern for pedestrians
....and don't get me started on the cost of cycle lanes and the infringement on pedestrians of shared paths that take no road away from vehicles

posted by antigee [144 posts]
26th June 2014 - 23:36

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Look. If you French fry when you should pizza you're gonna have a bad time.

posted by geargrinderbeard [32 posts]
26th June 2014 - 23:39

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I wonder if the British Horse Society has members that speak out against bridleways, and think that using them make them less safe.

posted by bikebot [455 posts]
26th June 2014 - 23:41

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bikebot wrote:

I wonder if the British Horse Society has members that speak out against bridleways, and think that using them make them less safe.

Not really a fair comment.

Look, I get the pro-segregation team's argument that segregation will help increase the modal share and all that good stuff. I will concede that point. But that still doesn't really tackle the original problem.

We won't ever have the situation that all drivers will also cycle and that this magically turns them into considerate people. Most drivers already are considerate. Very considerate. Even if they don't understand why the crazy lycra-clad person is doing this to him- or herself (sic), most of them will still give them a wide berth and pass safely. In my experience anyway, which consists of at least 60 km in traffic almost every day. It's the few psychopaths and really terrible drivers that make it unsafe, and we will have them regardless.

Now, personally I think those kind of people will be encouraged by segregation. The pro-segregation people disagree. Fine. Be that as it may, the fact remains that we will always have those kind of people, and once the increased numbers of cycling people start to want to use the roads as well as the nice segregated paths - perhaps because for some journeys they are more practical or perhaps because they want to go faster / have become more experienced / whatever reason any of us have to go road cycling - they will run into this problem.

"Lowering speed limits for cars" <-- It's sad that this only got 10% of the votes in that survey. It's also sad that it's the only item in the list quoted above that actually deals with the problem. What I would have liked to see is a safe passing distance made into a law, e.g. 1.5 metres like in some countries on the continent. Put a fine on it, accept helmet cams as evidence, crack down on offenders. That would send the right message - that would help a heck of a lot more than most of the other items on that list.

Because at the end of the day, a rather large number of people who cycle do cycle on the roads. And even those hypothetical wanne-be-but-are-afraid-to-try cyclists (I'll believe them when I see them on a bike) who segregationists claim will massively increase the modal share, a large number of them will eventually want to use the roads.

So we will keep coming back to this problem. And segregation doesn't solve it, it sidesteps it. At best. It's sort of kinda acknowledging the elephant in the room but refusing to call it an elephant.

Work harder. Buy a tank.

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posted by userfriendly [229 posts]
27th June 2014 - 1:41

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The answer to your points userfriendly, as always in these discussions is "The Netherlands".

The Dutch have a shit ton of segregated safe cycle paths, yet can still do serious riding on the road, still have good cycle teams, and still have less than a third of the cycling fatalities that we do.

posted by GrahamSt [77 posts]
27th June 2014 - 2:03

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userfriendly wrote:

So we will keep coming back to this problem. And segregation doesn't solve it, it sidesteps it. At best. It's sort of kinda acknowledging the elephant in the room but refusing to call it an elephant.

The groups which campaign for segregated infrastructure (which is basically every cycling charity) aren't ignoring anything, they campaign on multiple fronts. The position of the LCC is fairly straightforward, it should be possible to commute via high quality segregated infrastructure where it can be provided, and where it can't and roads have to be shared, they should be restricted to a 20mph speed limit.

The position is based on the reality that even with the best training, mixing large numbers of bicycles with HGVs on busy fast roads will remain fundamentally dangerous. Nor is it politically possible to restrict all roads in a large city to 20mph.

The policy is very simple, very clear, and at no point does it reduce the expectation that cyclists will also need to use the road, as the argument is also about allocating dedicated capacity for an ever increasing number of cyclists in the capital.

The thinking that traffic will be pacified as more and more cyclists use it, was behind the current design of the Elephant & Castle, and some other very dangerous junctions in London.

posted by bikebot [455 posts]
27th June 2014 - 2:33

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antigee wrote:
The reason people perceive more separated facilities are needed is because they can't see the possibility of changing drivers behaviour to share roads

No, it's because putting cyclists in a confined space with large numbers of massive lorries, buses and construction vehicles will always incur an unreasonable amount of danger no matter how careful and well trained the drivers. And those are the types of vehicles and conditions that commuters who ride in our cities encounter.

posted by bikebot [455 posts]
27th June 2014 - 2:47

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The white line segregated cycle lanes that we currently have would be even better if they stopped people being allowed to park on them!

The A77 on the South Side of Glasgow is an Urban Clearway (no parking) between 0815 and 0915 then 1615 to 1815, Monday to Friday only. Outside those times the cycle lane is a car park!

posted by Roscoemck [9 posts]
27th June 2014 - 8:32

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If lowering speed limits/improving driver behaviour are the answers, then explain to me why on my commute c*rs don't get above 20mph but still bikes make up less than 2% of the vehicles on the road for a journey of around 3 miles?
Yes bikes were on the roads before cars became popular, but since then the roads have been vastly improved for use by motor vehicles, more people now choose to drive than ride, they are now a space primarily for motor vehicles.
Please give up on these ridiculous ideas which haven't worked for years and read the research, people want separate cycling infrastructure.
Personally I couldn't care less about infrastructure around the city and any increase in cycling would surely slow down my journey be it on roads or cycle paths, but I'm happy to share the benefits of increased cycling with everyone.

@rich22222

posted by rich22222 [106 posts]
27th June 2014 - 9:11

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userfriendly wrote:
bikebot wrote:

I wonder if the British Horse Society has members that speak out against bridleways, and think that using them make them less safe.

Not really a fair comment.

Look, I get the pro-segregation team's argument that segregation will help increase the modal share and all that good stuff. I will concede that point. But that still doesn't really tackle the original problem.

We won't ever have the situation that all drivers will also cycle and that this magically turns them into considerate people. Most drivers already are considerate. Very considerate. Even if they don't understand why the crazy lycra-clad person is doing this to him- or herself (sic), most of them will still give them a wide berth and pass safely. In my experience anyway, which consists of at least 60 km in traffic almost every day. It's the few psychopaths and really terrible drivers that make it unsafe, and we will have them regardless.

Now, personally I think those kind of people will be encouraged by segregation. The pro-segregation people disagree. Fine. Be that as it may, the fact remains that we will always have those kind of people, and once the increased numbers of cycling people start to want to use the roads as well as the nice segregated paths - perhaps because for some journeys they are more practical or perhaps because they want to go faster / have become more experienced / whatever reason any of us have to go road cycling - they will run into this problem.

"Lowering speed limits for cars" <-- It's sad that this only got 10% of the votes in that survey. It's also sad that it's the only item in the list quoted above that actually deals with the problem. What I would have liked to see is a safe passing distance made into a law, e.g. 1.5 metres like in some countries on the continent. Put a fine on it, accept helmet cams as evidence, crack down on offenders. That would send the right message - that would help a heck of a lot more than most of the other items on that list.

Because at the end of the day, a rather large number of people who cycle do cycle on the roads. And even those hypothetical wanne-be-but-are-afraid-to-try cyclists (I'll believe them when I see them on a bike) who segregationists claim will massively increase the modal share, a large number of them will eventually want to use the roads.

So we will keep coming back to this problem. And segregation doesn't solve it, it sidesteps it. At best. It's sort of kinda acknowledging the elephant in the room but refusing to call it an elephant.

Segregated cycle facilities are the answer in a crappy country with narrow roads where the car is king. Please, more dedicated SEPARATE cycle tracks and much harsher penalties for drivers who crash into injure or kill vulnerable road users! Period. This would massively improve conditions for cyclists.

Ps Pathetically low speed limits for cars are not the answer. I can cycle a lot faster than 20 mph and when in my car I don't want to be held up driving along at 20 just because some one has decided I am not able to avoid hitting a cyclist at 30, 40 or 50mph. The car is an integral and fundamental mode of transport of modern life even if you don't drive yourself. So many aspects of life are dependent on motorised vehicles to be able to do what we do in this modern world. To deny this is living in cloud cuckoo land. If you are fortunate enough to be able to get around by bicycle the whole time then you are the lucky one. I am 50/50 bicycle/car at the moment. To go 100% bicycle would mean sacrificing too much at this present time especially riding to and from work as it is simply too far.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [219 posts]
27th June 2014 - 9:21

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Roscoemck wrote:
The white line segregated cycle lanes that we currently have would be even better if they stopped people being allowed to park on them!

If they have a solid white line then, legally speaking, they do prevent people parking or driving on them.

But the reality is that is never going to be enforced 100% (or even 10%)

Proper physical segregation (like bollards or a kerb) is far more effective and requires much less enforcement.

posted by GrahamSt [77 posts]
27th June 2014 - 10:26

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The "improve driver behavior" solution will never work in the long term though...

I agree with the sentiment here, but I would add that if there *is* a way to change the sense of entitlement many drivers feel, it's by spending money on very visible dedicated cycle facilities, sometimes at the expense of drivers. Prioritise cycling rather than driving - remove parking, remove through-routes for cars from residential areas, increase tax on petrol, reasonable sentences and bans for reckless drivers. And explain to drivers why - because of the huge external costs of driving. VED ("road tax") doesn't begin to cover it. We're currently pleased that "only" 1713 people were killed on the roads last year! (although that doesn't begin to take pollution into account)

I don't think good-quality dedicated facilities for cyclists make drivers more dismissive of cycling (and less likely to actually try it). I think that getting away with parking everywhere from cycle lanes to pavements, constantly having fuel tax rises cancelled (so that driving keeps getting cheaper), and not being punished for horrendous driving has that effect. All those things keep cycling (and even walking) marginalised.

And yes, to repeat for all those arguing that good-quality infrastructure is counter-productive? The Netherlands. We have already been having this experiment for decades and the results are very clear.

posted by pmanc [113 posts]
27th June 2014 - 10:44

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HarrogateSpa wrote:

My view is that training drivers will never work. It seems to be human nature that people give you lots of space if it's easy to do so, but if it isn't, impatience takes priority over considerate driving. You have to force them to allow space with the road infrastructure.

I live in Germany - have done for years - and I cycle a fair bit and the vast majority of drivers do give me lots of space when overtaking. And wait behind me until it's safe to overtake. And slow down in fog, rain, and snowstorms. It's not all due to the enforcement regime, which isn't actually very strict at all, but the wider culture (all sorts of things - the driver training regimen, strict liability, the obligations drivers have towards cyclists and pedestrians, the fact that drivers are used to being confronted with unaccompanied children who don't yet have perfect road sense because it's still culturally acceptable to say "go out and play with the traffic, dearest.")

I had a close pass at the weekend - a tractor/high-sided trailer who gave me maybe 40 cm clearance - and I was shocked and appalled by it as I can often go for many months without one. When the driver swung off and parked just ahead of me I pulled in to get the number plate and have a chat with him about his driving. (The second time I've done that in the last five years.) It had been pretty bad driving, but also had some redeeming points: I believed the driver when he said he had been keeping an extremely close eye on me in his mirrors and had squeezed past me very, very slowly and carefully. (The overtake lasted a very, very long time. He was limited to 25 km/h, and I was riding uphill with heavy panniers; the whole thing was in slow motion and I probably wasn't really in mortal danger as I would have had time to bail into the ditch if he had come any closer.)

He absolutely shouldn't have overtaken me before the estate car had finished overtaking him; it would have cost him three seconds to wait rather than having the three of us side-by-side. But it was thoughtless rather than deliberately aggressive or anti-cyclist. The road is quiet but traffic had bunched up a bit behind his slow vehicle and put him pressure - the car had been waiting for a straight stretch of road to overtake, there was a bus behind waiting to overtake, he had been aware of them before he came round the bend, saw me and didn't process the situation fast enough. He was shocked to be thought of as an inconsiderate or incompetent driver. He stressed that he had never had an accident and (having helped out at accidents as a volunteer with the fire brigade) never wanted to, either. His tone was quite concilatory - he initially didn't understand my problem ("But nothing happened!") but he took my point on board that days with near-death experiences feel a bit different from days without near-death experiences and that I would like to feel safe on his local road. And he didn't ask why I had been on "his" road and not using the parallel greenway. (I had my reasons.)

I've reported him, but I suspect that my worst problems might be nice enough problems to have in an international comparison. I was angry because I'm used to drivers on rural roads giving me acres of space (not a poxy 1.5 metres, more like three to five - it shocks me to the core to see people asking for 1.5 metres without also stressing that such a small gap is only acceptable at low speeds). I don't mind urban car drivers (small vehicles, not high-sided vans or trucks) going down to around 1 m if they really slow to the point where the speed differential between us is barely more than walking pace before overtaking. I'd want - and generally get - more space if I had a child with me.

posted by bambergbike [84 posts]
27th June 2014 - 11:09

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Agree with the first four points, but we don't need shoddy painted "lanes", we need proper seperated facilities for cyclists, either seperated by physical barriers or kerbs, or by excluding vehicles from roads by blocking them off to make more no though roads, BUT allowing cycles to pass though.

Need lots more cycle parking from superstores to corner shops. Needs to be obvious & visible as well as safe. Discourages thievery as well as promoting itself.

Better facilities at work - deffo. I am lucky in that my colleagues let me park the bike in the office, otherwise I would have no secure place to park it. Don't need a shower, but somewhere decent to get changed and freshen up is nice. Also need employers (especially larger ones) to offer better help with cycle to work schemes (our's only opens once a year. last yr it was November), and help with travel planning and other pro-cycling help to encourage people to ditch the car.

Tax breaks - Why not? According to the wonderful Mr Boardman each regular cyclist is worth about £600/yr to the UK economy, but the Govt only subsisises people who can afford to spend £20K+ on a leccy motor. Madness and the wrong approach

posted by gazza_d [189 posts]
27th June 2014 - 12:29

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And as for training, the only way that might work is if we have compulsory bikeability in schools (and encourage cycling/walking as default mode)

AND

make bikeability level 3 a compulsory pre-requisite to a driving licence.

Most adult cyclists have a driving licence - it will shut up the people wanting traing for cyclists, and make all drivers more aware as they will have ridden a bike to get a licence.

asking/expecting people to be nice and share the road doesn't work and hasn;t worked for 40-50 years now.

posted by gazza_d [189 posts]
27th June 2014 - 12:32

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I am totally against segregated lanes, it just encourages the numpties that cyclists have to use them. Nothing worse than been stuck behind a 5mph pootler with no way to over take them whilst they nod away.

posted by Leodis [173 posts]
27th June 2014 - 14:30

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Leodis wrote:
I am totally against segregated lanes, it just encourages the numpties that cyclists have to use them. Nothing worse than been stuck behind a 5mph pootler with no way to over take them whilst they nod away.

You dont want safe infrastructure for everyone because it might inconvenience you?

Twat.

posted by zanf [427 posts]
27th June 2014 - 14:43

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Leodis wrote:
I am totally against segregated lanes, it just encourages the numpties that cyclists have to use them. Nothing worse than been stuck behind a 5mph pootler with no way to over take them whilst they nod away.

Do you really mean to pretend segregated lanes are always going to be so narrow it's impossible to pass, or so segregated a person with your obvious speed and skill couldn't find the road from it.... seriously ?

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posted by fukawitribe [296 posts]
27th June 2014 - 14:47

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Quote:
Ps Pathetically low speed limits for cars are not the answer. I can cycle a lot faster than 20 mph and when in my car I don't want to be held up driving along at 20 just because some one has decided I am not able to avoid hitting a cyclist at 30, 40 or 50mph. The car is an integral and fundamental mode of transport of modern life even if you don't drive yourself. So many aspects of life are dependent on motorised vehicles to be able to do what we do in this modern world. To deny this is living in cloud cuckoo land. If you are fortunate enough to be able to get around by bicycle the whole time then you are the lucky one. I am 50/50 bicycle/car at the moment. To go 100% bicycle would mean sacrificing too much at this present time especially riding to and from work as it is simply too far. Airzound

Fair enough but a lot of drivers demonstrate every day that they aren't capable of driving at or near (or just above?) the speed limit without avoiding intimidating or colliding with more vulnerable road users (why do kids not walk/cycle or scoot to school? why do old people have to choose to only visit shops on one side of the road?).
What I was trying to say was that the survey result implied that the respondents wanted changes in the road environment that are hard to deliver but weren't prepared to change their driving behaviour by excepting lower speed limits that might encourage more cycling.
Getting places by car is a fundamental to modern life because modern life is organised around the belief that people will in the main use cars to get to work, to drop kids at school, to get to sporting events/clubs, attend meetings etc - fair enough but when you look at driver behaviour a lot of bad driving is because people aren't prepared to allow enough time for their journey

PS I do drive as well as cycle - I drive mainly because society arranges things in such a way that driving is the only convenient way to get some things done.

posted by antigee [144 posts]
27th June 2014 - 14:49

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Leodis wrote:
I am totally against segregated lanes, it just encourages the numpties that cyclists have to use them. Nothing worse than been stuck behind a 5mph pootler with no way to over take them whilst they nod away.

So you're saying these cyclists slow you down and you find them difficult to overtake. Where have I heard that sort of sentiment before...

posted by bikebot [455 posts]
27th June 2014 - 14:57

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Leodis wrote:
I am totally against segregated lanes, it just encourages the numpties that cyclists have to use them. Nothing worse than been stuck behind a 5mph pootler with no way to over take them whilst they nod away.

Completely agree with the numpty sentiment in the first sentence, shame about the second sentence...

The point about having to use cycle lanes, which on current experience are very poor, is a big thing for me too. Invariably current cycle lanes impede progress terribly and in may cases if you were to try to ride them at the speeds you would on a road your would be in an accident or on your backside pretty quickly. I've had motorists gesticulate towards cycle lands as they pass me. The fact that I might have been doing 25 mph in a 30 limit and would have been completely out of place on a shared footpath cycle way doesn't even enter their minds. The big fear is that provision of cycle lanes can quickly become compulsory cycle lanes and with the standard of cycle lanes in this country that is totally unworkable for many existing cyclists.

posted by paulrbarnard [98 posts]
27th June 2014 - 16:01

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Some interesting points of view on here. Admittedly nothing particularly new, but good to reignite the old cycling infrastructure debate every now and then!

I took the survey to essentially refer to a call for the type of cycle lanes that generally exist already in this country, not the oft-cited Dutch-style infrastructure which, let's face it, isn't going to happen in the UK within any of our lifetimes. What this article and its comments do seem to highlight though is the rather varying experiences that we all have in terms of (utility) cycling in our respective towns and cities.

My local authority, Eastleigh, just thinks that cycling infrastructure is either putting cyclists on painted lanes in the gutter, or putting them on so-called "shared" paths. In fairness, there's actually an abundance of the latter and I can do pretty much my whole commute entirely on shared paths if I wanted to. I don't though, because I prefer to make progress and these sorts of paths generally aren't conducive to that (or it is simply not appropriate to do so given the other users). That is my preference, but there are clearly plenty who want to use the shared paths, given that I pass a number of the same people every day quite happily going about their cycling business along them.

However, the availability of a cycle path or lane does not (and should not) oblige me to actually use it, and nor should it affect a driver's perception about my perfectly legal entitlement to be on the road. I fear that this fairly single-minded call for segregation will just reinforce the opposing view that cyclists simply don't belong on the road...

But then my experience of riding on the roads around where I live, whether for utility purposes or otherwise, just simply isn't the same as what others experience. This, for instance, really is *not* what I encounter:

joemmo wrote:
unless you're in the majority who clearly find sharing roads with motor traffic unpleasant, intimidating and downright dangerous.

I'm out at all times of day, particularly in both the morning and evening rush-hour, and can genuinely say that I *very* rarely find myself either intimated or endangered by other road users. Yes, there's the odd bit of inattentive driving, but excusably so and certainly with no malice or intent. I don't claim to live in some cycling utopia, just putting across that not everywhere in this country is some hotbed of conflict between motorists and drivers such that full segregation is the only solution...

posted by parksey [184 posts]
27th June 2014 - 16:45

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userfriendly wrote:
bikebot wrote:

I wonder if the British Horse Society has members that speak out against bridleways, and think that using them make them less safe.

Not really a fair comment.

Look, I get the pro-segregation team's argument that segregation will help increase the modal share and all that good stuff. I will concede that point. But that still doesn't really tackle the original problem.

We won't ever have the situation that all drivers will also cycle and that this magically turns them into considerate people. Most drivers already are considerate. Very considerate. Even if they don't understand why the crazy lycra-clad person is doing this to him- or herself (sic), most of them will still give them a wide berth and pass safely. In my experience anyway, which consists of at least 60 km in traffic almost every day. It's the few psychopaths and really terrible drivers that make it unsafe, and we will have them regardless.

Now, personally I think those kind of people will be encouraged by segregation. The pro-segregation people disagree. Fine. Be that as it may, the fact remains that we will always have those kind of people, and once the increased numbers of cycling people start to want to use the roads as well as the nice segregated paths - perhaps because for some journeys they are more practical or perhaps because they want to go faster / have become more experienced / whatever reason any of us have to go road cycling - they will run into this problem.

"Lowering speed limits for cars" <-- It's sad that this only got 10% of the votes in that survey. It's also sad that it's the only item in the list quoted above that actually deals with the problem. What I would have liked to see is a safe passing distance made into a law, e.g. 1.5 metres like in some countries on the continent. Put a fine on it, accept helmet cams as evidence, crack down on offenders. That would send the right message - that would help a heck of a lot more than most of the other items on that list.

Because at the end of the day, a rather large number of people who cycle do cycle on the roads. And even those hypothetical wanne-be-but-are-afraid-to-try cyclists (I'll believe them when I see them on a bike) who segregationists claim will massively increase the modal share, a large number of them will eventually want to use the roads.

So we will keep coming back to this problem. And segregation doesn't solve it, it sidesteps it. At best. It's sort of kinda acknowledging the elephant in the room but refusing to call it an elephant.

Excellent comment. I totally agree - I do a 60km round trip through London each day. I make full use of bus lanes, and on some of the roads where there are two lanes I tend to use the left lane as though I am driving a car - ride right down the middle. Now before people get upset, I do move at the speed of the traffic - I don't typically filter in and out of traffic until it becomes stationary -. Forcing me to use a cycle path will not work - they are simply too slow and full of (less) experienced cyclists.

Extra bike? What extra bike dear?

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posted by goggy [87 posts]
27th June 2014 - 22:00

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goggy wrote:

Excellent comment. I totally agree - I do a 60km round trip through London each day. I make full use of bus lanes, and on some of the roads where there are two lanes I tend to use the left lane as though I am driving a car - ride right down the middle. Now before people get upset, I do move at the speed of the traffic - I don't typically filter in and out of traffic until it becomes stationary -. Forcing me to use a cycle path will not work - they are simply too slow and full of (less) experienced cyclists.

So don't use them, you're not being forced to use them and no one is proposing that.

And by the same token, don't oppose new infrastructure for those that do want it, or expect everyday commuters to use dangerous roads to improve the conditions for the fast experienced cyclist who read this site.

Myself, I do around 15-20k (30-40 round trip) when I have to travel into town. When the fully segregated sections are opened around embankment and farringdon I'll happily use them, as the centre of town is usually so congested the argument is also about capacity. And I don't have a problem with trading a little speed for safety, not everywhere is a race and "sharing the road" includes compromise.

posted by bikebot [455 posts]
28th June 2014 - 0:12

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Okay. Maybe I am simply extrapolating here from the - as I mentioned, rather small - minority of dangerous drivers, and maybe I am wrong about them feeling encouraged in their beliefs by segregation. I doubt it, but let's suppose I am. Even if I'm not, I did say earlier that we will have those numpties regardless, so we can take that very line and make it work against my argument as well. So there.

I guess another reason why I'm against it is that segregation doesn't particularly help me personally. Which is selfish - but of course I want something that helps me, and the exact same thing is true for people that would prefer segregated infrastructure. So the line of "don't only think of yourself" holds true for both sides too.

It just seems to me - and again, maybe I'm wrong, so do feel free to point and shout at me - that the underlying cause is society's inherently sick relationship with a devastatingly toxic mode of transport. My goal when arguing for speed limits and other laws to protect the vulnerable and against segregation is to direct the main thrust of effort into directly reducing this toxicity.

I appreciate that segregation aims to do the same, but in a rather indirect way that will take a long, long time because it relies on a small shift to have a large effect.

Yes I know, segregation works, because Netherlands. But when bringing up the Netherlands, please keep the following in mind: it took them four decades to get where they are now. And they had a wee bit of help from a massive oil crisis to create the political will to jump-start this process.

How do we create that kind of political will in the UK? Is that even possible? Consider that it's two very different cultures, mainly in regards to how we look at transport, economy, and politics in general.

I also appreciate that the campaigns of the likes of the LCC are after both, segregation *and* measures to make the roads safer. But it's a bit like going on an anti-war demonstration where you have hundreds of different groups with different goals which at the end of the day will all be ignored entirely by the people in power.

The "cycling community" (if there is such a thing) doesn't have much weight to begin with. If we focussed our efforts on one thing wouldn't that be slightly more effective? And if we did that, shouldn't it be something that benefited all of society, including people that have no intention of ever riding a bicycle and who would consider this kind of talk navel gazing at best, with no relevance to them? Shouldn't it be less "Safer cycling for me!" and more "Hey, wouldn't it be great if we could vastly reduce the numbers of people killed and injured on our roads?" ...

Work harder. Buy a tank.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [229 posts]
28th June 2014 - 1:14

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Nobody is campaigning for more paint, or more shared paths, so can we just stop using the "lots of cycle lanes now are bad, so all cycle infrastructure everywhere ever must be bad too" argument please? Good protected lanes WILL help current riders, but we will pretty much always ride - they don't need to be built for us, and nobody has ever campaigned for compulsory use in the UK. I think everyone is in agreement that there will always be bad drivers. However, at the moment we have no other choice but to ride on the same roads as them. I'd like the choice of being able to avoid them, and many non-riders would too.

To increase cycle use as a mode of transport (not a hobby or sporting activity), high quality protected infrastructure is required. It needs to be designed and built for school children to use independently of their parents. Junctions need to be simple, safe and easy, and ideally prioritised for cycling over motor traffic (using toucan zebra crossings, for instance). If it is safe for kids it's safe for me. My journey time might increase by 2 minutes, but my chances of being killed, injured or threatened by drivers will be massively reduced - I'll leave 2 minutes earlier thanks.

The difference in political attitudes in UK government and the Netherlands was clearly shown by the recent floods on the Somerset Levels. Dutch engineers were brought over, with Dutch equipment. They were asked about investment in flood prevention and gave the answer of £1bn a year, for the next 89 years. This country just doesn't invest long-term.

Current investment in cycle infrastructure in London is £1bn over 10 years (allegedly), then nothing planned. We desperately need a long-term plan for investment with measureable targets for success along the way.

posted by teaboy [149 posts]
29th June 2014 - 10:47

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To address a few of the points again.

Building segregated infrastructure isn't just driven by a concern over dangerous drivers. In our congested cities, mixing bikes and large vehicles is dangerous even with safe drivers.

Filtering between traffic made up of buses and HGVs is something only for the most confident and experienced riders. The greater the level of congestion, the greater the danger. When users on bikes have to find space with other users in massive vehicles, accidents happen. The campaign took the name "space4cycling" for a reason.

There is no one solution to campaign for ("the one thing"), segregated infrastructure is just one element. Within the LCC the majority of their campaigning is at the local level and on quietways, removing dangerous traffic from back roads (rat runs) and allowing filtering permeability for cyclists and pedestrians.

Regarding the one message, and the cycling community speaking with one voice. The cycling charities speak with almost one voice, their position is already remarkably unified.

And yes, it probably will take 40 years or more to produce the level of change required. It takes as many years to fix as problem as it did to create it.

posted by bikebot [455 posts]
30th June 2014 - 10:43

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