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1 millionth journey logged on Manchester's protected cycleway which has encouraged people to swap cars for bikes...

Chris Boardman says "Bike lanes aren’t for cyclists – they’re for motorists" - because providing safe infrastructure encourages people to make journeys by bike that they might otherwise have undertaken by car.

The former world and Olympic champion, who in May was appointed Greater Manchester's first cycling and walking commissioner,  made his comment as the one millionth journey was recorded on the protected cycleway outside Manchester Royal Infirmary on Oxford Road.

> Chris Boardman becomes Greater Manchester's first cycling and walking commissioner

An automatic cycle counter was installed there in September last year on the route from Fallowfield to Manchester city centre and this week ticked over into seven figures,

According to Transport for Greater Manchester, those one million trips by bike equate to approximately  621,000 car journeys based on average vehicle occupancy, and have potentially resulted in a  reduction of  1.9 tonnes of nitrogen dioxide and 873.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“I’m not surprised that the Wilmslow Road and Oxford Road cycleway has been a huge success," said Boardman

“It proves that, if you build high-quality cycle lanes that are separated from other traffic, people will use them.

“It may sound strange, but bike lanes aren’t for cyclists – they’re for motorists. They’re the people we need to get to change if we’re to make a major shift in the way we travel around our towns and cities.

“More than 30 per cent of journeys in Greater Manchester under 1 kilometre are made by car, so the potential here is absolutely enormous," he added.

"One million cycle journeys counted on Oxford Road in 14 months is a fantastic figure, and I hope we reach the second million in even quicker time.”

Manchester City Council's Executive Member for the Environment and Skills, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, commented: “The Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road Cycleway has helped to encourage many more Mancunians to get on their bikes and we're heartened by the evident success of this scheme.

“Investing in high-quality infrastructure of this kind is just one of the ways in which we're helping to promote cycling in Manchester and, while there's more work to be done, passing the milestone of one million cycle journeys in just over a year is an impressive start. We are determined to build on this success.”

Data from the counters, located on each side of Oxford Road, can be compared on the Eco Counters website with those from cities elsewhere in the world using them, with UK locations including London and Cambridge.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

22 comments

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DrG82 [216 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

He's right in a way, but not in the way he's thinking here.

Most bike lanes I see are there to try to get cyclists out the way of the motorists and give them an excuse for dangerously passing/knocking them off their bikes. How many people have heard motorists drive by and shout "get in the cycle lane" or shouting "why weren't you on the cycle lane" after you protest about their close pass?

 

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Morgoth985 [100 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Exactly what I was thinking.  I get where he's coming from but it makes for a slightly unfortunate headline.

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kitsunegari [343 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

This just sounds like justification for people parking in cycle lanes.

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Delilah7 [20 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

They must be some special cycle lanes, the ones I ride in just there to collect all the rubbish from the road and also to house all of the grids that have dropped and are more like potholes.  Once you are the other side of the little white line it just encourages car drivers to pass closely.  The ones that are segregated from the road go across drive ways, entrances to businesses, have bus stops in them or are littered with signs and lamposts.  Sorry but this doesnt encourage me to cycle in them so its not going to encourage car users to start cycling.

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westfour [52 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

I'm keen on anything that gets people out of their tin boxes and onto bikes, but this is nothing more than a poorly thought through PR puff and photo opportunity around the magic number of 1 million.  The cycleway concerned goes down the spine of the areas that provide the accommodation and teaching sites for the international and transitory population that is Europe's largest student and academic body. It doesn't take much to work out that the majority of those using the cycleway will be students and academics commuting back and forth. The cycleway may have encouraged them to cycle but it won't be taking them out of their cars. These are not people who are substituting their cars for short journeys - their choices are buses, bikes or walking. So, all the comments about saving of CO2 from car journeys and Mancunians getting on their bikes are disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.  Boardman, you and your PR agency can do better! 

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andyfla [31 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

pPeople are persuaded by others doing the same thing as them - so the more we normalise cycling the better - the fact that 1mil journeys have been made will start making people think, so will change a few attitudes - as they say an avalanche starts with a few stones rolling 

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JimKillock [15 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

I think Chris Boardman is absolutely right to say this. At this point, most people think of themselves as motorists. A noisy minority think that bike lanes are an inconvenience, or waste of money, or part of a war on motorists. Chris' message is aimed at them: this is a war on congestion, and therefore a fight to make our roads work for motorists too. It's a bit of genius in my view and something we should all be saying wholeheartedly.

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Helmut D. Bate [86 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes

"More than 30 per cent of journeys in Greater Manchester under 1 kilometre are made by car"

That is a disgrace.

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burtthebike [1280 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

I always find it slightly odd that Chris Boardman's views are much more closely aligned with those of Cycling UK than British Cycling, which he represents.  Helmets, road safety, cycle provision, hi-viz, everything.

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cyclisto [349 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Huge kudos to Chris for bringing down cycling from from a sport to a daily habit and keep advocating for it. We are fed up with lycra and carbon  derailleur pulleys, we need more down to earth bikes in towns.

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vbvb [621 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

Chris's genius is in stating these things in such a positive way, and sidestepping unnecessary, unproductive negative discussion. He's not about to spend his limelight describing how awful cycling can be.

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JonD [493 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes
burtthebike wrote:

I always find it slightly odd that Chris Boardman's views are much more closely aligned with those of Cycling UK than British Cycling, which he represents.  Helmets, road safety, cycle provision, hi-viz, everything.

Perhaps, like the CTC (or cycling uk if you prefer) he sees cycling as something for everyone, irrespective of bike, clothing, or intent. British Cycling didnt seem to give a flying one about anything other than racing and their affiliated clubs until a handful of years ago, coincidentally when Boardman got more involved (chicken ? egg?), and possibly after they (BC) saw an increase in cycling after various competition success (2012 etc).

That, and pretty completely ignoring the fact that us filthy recumbent riders don't want to/can't ride 'normal' bikes, is why it'll be a very long time before I'm a BC member (was once briefly, to be fair)

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Argos74 [462 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

Have to agree with with him. It's my direct route into work, I'm a cyclist, and I avoid it like the plague. £50m on making a dangerous bike route more dangerous for cyclists. So much win.

Much respect for Sir Chris, but if anyone is brave enough to join me for 8 hours up and down Wilmsow Road without maxing out their life insurance, I'll buy them a cake.

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80sMatchbox [42 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

The other view is that cycle lanes are in place because of motorists. If vehicles stuck to the letter of the law and didn't speed past or close pass, and saw a person on a bicycle as having just as much right to be on the road as any other vehicle, cycle lanes wouldn't be needed. So because of careless and bad driving, we need to spend millions on separating modes of transport.

But as we know that won't win any friends, by blaming them for this.
Chris's take is a better, a more positive spin than mine.

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Daveyraveygravey [555 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
80sMatchbox wrote:

The other view is that cycle lanes are in place because of motorists. If vehicles stuck to the letter of the law and didn't speed past or close pass, and saw a person on a bicycle as having just as much right to be on the road as any other vehicle, cycle lanes wouldn't be needed. So because of careless and bad driving, we need to spend millions on separating modes of transport.

But as we know that won't win any friends, by blaming them for this.
Chris's take is a better, a more positive spin than mine.

I completely agree! Why isn't there a campaign to encourage people to drive properly, to concentrate, to think about other road users, to actually behave like intelligent adults? We wouldn't need infrastructure if drivers took pride in their driving.

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CXR94Di2 [1904 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

I think there is a missed opportunity for future expansion, instead of building solid kerbing use quality temporary barrier separation like in Denmark.  As cycling gets more popular greater lane area can be created at a fraction of cost.

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nbrus [558 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Another one of the biggest barriers to cycling (IMHO) is the need to shower after every ride of more than a couple of miles. That's not always a practical proposition, but e-bikes will definitely help here. More cycling friendly infrastructure is good and will get more people on bikes, but it still won't persuade a large majority of motorists out of their cars.

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BehindTheBikesheds [1149 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

The Dutch, Danes and others have obviously being doing it all wrong for over a century and are just sweaty oiks I guess?

Basically no you don't need to shower after a few miles, not even needed if you ride it like you're in a race and are sweating like a Turkey at Christmas.

Many a time I cycled the 4 miles across town to my then gf house in ordinary clothes (trouser leg tucked into sock) without being spurned for being boggin'. A simple wet-wipe and a towel are all you'll need for most journeys even those that are done at a faster pace because those done at such speed/distance you'll be wearing wicking clothing in any case right?

Far too much is made of this and presumes that everyone needs to be smelling of roses, ask pretty much all the workers from the North since forever if they gave a toss as to whether there were showers at work and that that stopped them from cycling into work.

Worst case scenario you have a strip wash in the toilets, IMHO asking for showers is being middle class pampered types, stop making excuses.

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Bluebug [276 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
nbrus wrote:

Another one of the biggest barriers to cycling (IMHO) is the need to shower after every ride of more than a couple of miles. That's not always a practical proposition, but e-bikes will definitely help here. More cycling friendly infrastructure is good and will get more people on bikes, but it still won't persuade a large majority of motorists out of their cars.

Then you are cycling too fast and/or wearing too many clothes.

I'm a heavy sweater and I don't shower after rides of up to 10 miles.

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DrG82 [216 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
nbrus wrote:

Another one of the biggest barriers to cycling (IMHO) is the need to shower after every ride of more than a couple of miles. That's not always a practical proposition, but e-bikes will definitely help here. More cycling friendly infrastructure is good and will get more people on bikes, but it still won't persuade a large majority of motorists out of their cars.

I'd say that a bigger issue is the lack of secure cycle storage and work places.

I work in a university where there's probably a greater percentage of cyclists than most other places and there's people and security staff wandering around all the time, yet still I keep seeing vandalised/ robbed out bikes all over the place. And the university has refused to address this issue because "there is already a secure storage facility" it's just stuck over the far end of campus and full of abandoned bikes which are also vandalised and partially robbed out because the store isn't secure.

And as far as safe cycleways to get to work. 2 miles of my 4 mile ride used to be on a dedicated cycleway, but then they decided to make it a shared use path and now you're constantly dodging dogs and textwalkers.

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Bikebikebike [365 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
westfour wrote:

I'm keen on anything that gets people out of their tin boxes and onto bikes, but this is nothing more than a poorly thought through PR puff and photo opportunity around the magic number of 1 million.  The cycleway concerned goes down the spine of the areas that provide the accommodation and teaching sites for the international and transitory population that is Europe's largest student and academic body. It doesn't take much to work out that the majority of those using the cycleway will be students and academics commuting back and forth. The cycleway may have encouraged them to cycle but it won't be taking them out of their cars. These are not people who are substituting their cars for short journeys - their choices are buses, bikes or walking. So, all the comments about saving of CO2 from car journeys and Mancunians getting on their bikes are disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.  Boardman, you and your PR agency can do better! 

If facts and reason were all that was needed to get things done then we could wouldn’t be in the mess we are. A million journeys is a big number, and it would be criminal to let it pass without using it to sway public opinion. 

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Nuclear Dan [23 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
Daveyraveygravey wrote:
80sMatchbox wrote:

The other view is that cycle lanes are in place because of motorists. If vehicles stuck to the letter of the law and didn't speed past or close pass, and saw a person on a bicycle as having just as much right to be on the road as any other vehicle, cycle lanes wouldn't be needed. So because of careless and bad driving, we need to spend millions on separating modes of transport.

But as we know that won't win any friends, by blaming them for this.
Chris's take is a better, a more positive spin than mine.

I completely agree! Why isn't there a campaign to encourage people to drive properly, to concentrate, to think about other road users, to actually behave like intelligent adults? We wouldn't need infrastructure if drivers took pride in their driving.

How many cyclists died on cycle paths or segregated cycle lanes?

Answer is vanishingly few, segregated lanes are easily the most effective way of reducing cycling accidents and getting more people to cycle. A courteously driven HGV is still scary when it passes you.

If the majority of road accidents were primarily caused by driver skill or attitude accidents would be randomly distributed. The fact that they aren't is a good demonstration that road design and layout is the most important single factor in reducing road deaths.