Road.cc poll results - readers assert their right to ride on the road

Cycle Superhighways only part of solution, says CTC, while Sustrans highlights novice cyclists' traffic fears

by Simon_MacMichael   April 8, 2010  

Cycle Superhighways Poll.png

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Nearly four in ten road.cc readers believe that regardless of Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s much-heralded Cycle Superhighways, the first of which will be unveiled this summer, we already have a perfectly good cycle network – and it’s called the road.

That’s the key finding from our latest road.cc readers’ poll, which also found that almost three in ten of you who think the Cycle Superhighways are a great idea if they take you away from traffic, edged out by a single vote for second place by those who’ll use a decent path if there is one, but won’t go out of their way to do so.

Only ten of the 300 votes cast came from people who said they’d prefer to wait for the cycling monorail, suggesting that although the test track in New Zealand may be drawing in the crowds, it may be some time before we see it operating in an urban setting here in the UK.

Chris Peck, policy co-ordinator at national cyclists’ organisation CTC, said that the results of the poll reflected the not only the sheer scale of the road network, but also the fact that for cyclists looking to get to a specific destination such as work, it provided the fastest route.

“There will always be a significant proportion of the cycling population who will use the existing roads because by and large that network is faster, better maintained and better connected to destinations than any existing or proposed cycle networks,” he said.

“So long as we continue to plan our roads to facilitate the movement of general traffic cyclists who are travelling for transport rather than leisure will take the quickest route, even if that is a busy urban road.”

He added that this was reflected in the London scheme itself. “In many respects the Cycle Superhighways project represents an attempt to cater to existing cyclists’ behaviour – the growth in cycling on London’s busiest roads has been far greater than elsewhere and these routes are being planned along some of the busiest roads in London,” he said, adding that “over 13,000 cyclists use Clapham Road, where the first Superhighway is currently being built, every day, 126% more than five years ago.”

According to Mr Peck, however, the project does not address some of the key issues facing the capital’s cyclists. “Unfortunately in our view the Cycle Superhighway project won’t do enough to reduce traffic volume and speed,” he said, “or deal with the disproportionate threat posed by lorries.”

For sustainable transport charity Sustrans, the findings reflected the fact that many of road.cc’s readers will be experienced cyclists who are confident in cycling on the road, which meant that the poll would not reflect the fact that many people are put off cycling because of the perceived danger posed by traffic.

"While many cyclists feel confident and comfortable cycling on roads our experience tells us that new and inexperienced cyclists prefer traffic-free routes, such as those on a third of the National Cycle Network. This poll is interesting but is representative of road cc's readers who are most probably in the 'confident and comfortable' category of cyclists,” said a spokesperson for Sustrans.

“At the moment the majority of people don't cycle – 84% of Londoners (and 90% of women in London) never cycle, with fear of traffic the main deterrent. So it makes sense to create environments that encourage and enable more people to travel by bike for the good of their health and the environment. And this would include traffic-free and traffic-calmed routes rather than Cycle Superhighways."

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For sustainable transport charity Sustrans, the findings reflected the fact that many of road.cc’s readers will be experienced cyclists who are confident in cycling on the road, which meant that the poll would not reflect the fact that many people are put off cycling because of the perceived danger posed by traffic.

I am an experienced cyclist.

I am "put off" riding by the danger of traffic.

Unlike Sustrans I think the way forward is to modify driver behaviour and get more people cycling on the existing roads.

By not supporting this approach Sustrans are implicly in favour of the marginalising of cyclists onto unsuitable, poorly surfaced, indirect paths often shared with pedestrians

Cyclists have a right to be on the roads. Sustrans don't seem to appreciate this. Sustrans want us off the roads and on their often inadequate and poorly thought out facilities.

vorsprung's picture

posted by vorsprung [290 posts]
9th April 2010 - 10:27

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I live in York where the council seem intent on spending as much money as possible on cycle lanes, this is very noble of them but I dont think they are necessary. If you ride a bike you should be competent in traffic and if you are not you should seek some training.

"we already have a perfectly good cycle network – and it’s called the road" here here.

York council should spend their cash on sorting out their website as it is more a gesture than a usable/ useful tool.

http://www.cyclingcityyork.org.uk/

Take a look yourself, should only take you about 30 seconds Confused

Allez oop

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posted by manonabike [19 posts]
9th April 2010 - 14:32

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“Unlike Sustrans I think the way forward is to modify driver behaviour and get more people cycling on the existing roads.

By not supporting this approach Sustrans are implicly in favour of the marginalising of cyclists onto unsuitable, poorly surfaced, indirect paths often shared with pedestrians”

I think you'll find that Sustrans’ stance is due to the fact that most of their routes are SUPPOSED to be shared use. They are designed for cyclists, pedestrians, people with children on bikes, disabled in wheelchairs, etc. This has been Sustrans policy for thirty years.
Your ignorance of this policy just makes you look like the sort of arrogant “my rights at the cost of everyone else's” cyclist, much beloved of Daily Mail writers.

posted by CountZero [4 posts]
9th April 2010 - 19:33

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Whether cycle paths are designed/built for shared use with pedestrians etc or not is a relatively small side issue. The real problem with cycle paths and Sustrans' promotion of them is that they inevitably put our right to use the roads in jeopardy. The CTC saw this danger way back in the 1930s when they argued against the construction of cycle paths then.

I would say it is already the case that the majority of non cycling motorists think cyclists should always use cycle paths whenever possible. If a local authority paints a few bike signs on a stretch of pavement then any cyclist continuing to use the road alongside it is likely to be subjected to honking,shouting and perhaps worse from motorists who think they should be on the cycle path. There have been numerous on line petitions created by people asking the government to compel cyclists to use cycle paths. The present government made a determined attempt to pressure cyclists into using paths at the last re-writing of the highway code.

The more cycle paths that are constructed the more likely it is that legislation will be enacted to force cyclists off the road. This seems to me to be so obvious and inevitable that I cannot believe that Sustrans cannot see this consequence. I can therefore only assume that they do not care about it or that they actively want cyclists to be forced to cycle only where Sustrans deems to be appropriate. Either way I regard Sustrans as a bigger threat than Clarkson, Parris or the Daily Mail.

posted by pb4 [5 posts]
11th April 2010 - 15:17

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I think most cycle paths are now being created to help motorised traffic move easier rather than to benefit cyclists. Cycle paths generally involve encountering at least double the number of 'give ways' than the equivalent road journey.

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posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
11th April 2010 - 18:43

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