Cycletopia: could Euro-style urban cycling have already reached our shores?

CTC says some schemes and projects demonstrate you don’t have to go abroad to see examples of good practice

by Sarah Barth   September 25, 2012  

Cycletopia

It often feels as though a town built for cyclists is but a fantasy, and to look at these cartoons commissioned by the CTC, you'd be convinced of it.

But in fact each of these illustrations (and there are 15 in total) represents a real scheme that's operational in the UK - much as it might look like a European cyclist's dream.

The illustration below shows York's Millennium Bridge, which enables cyclists to cross the River Ouse without negotiating heavy motor traffic.

And this one is of a long distance cycle path; the Comber Greenway in Northern Ireland, a green corridor that provides a safe environment for beginner cyclists to escape Belfast’s busy road network.

Another below shows an urban main road - Old Shoreham Road in Brighton - a wide cycle lane where cyclists have priority over traffic turning out of side roads. At main junctions cyclists are also given a headstart.

CTC Chief Executive Gordon Seabright said: “Great Britain proved this summer that we have the best cyclists in the world. Now, we need to create towns and cities that are world class for cycling.

"There are already great things being done right here in the UK to improve cycling; they just need to happen across all our towns and cities.

"Cycletopia aims to help every local authority learn from what other places are doing to increase the numbers of cyclists and reduce traffic congestion.”

So is a cycling Utopia in the UK rather closer than we think?

7 user comments

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Quote:
So is a cycling Utopia in the UK rather closer than we think?

Frankly, no!

The reason I say that is that each of these schemes is a separate, although laudable, effort by one specific local council to improve one single situation

What happened in The Netherlands was a national realisation and campaign against the dangers vehicles were posing to their children - followed by concerted government action of legislation & rolled out in a methodical and progressive way

Chances of that in blighty - slim to b***er all IMHO

Buddha said:

Believe nothing, No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.

mad_scot_rider's picture

posted by mad_scot_rider [566 posts]
25th September 2012 - 6:49

4 Likes

In a word, no.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
25th September 2012 - 7:07

6 Likes

I'm not sure what the CTC is thinking publishing a set of seaside postcard fantasies – what they depict is so unrealistic that they have no impact on me and, I suspect, most of the public at large.

Sure, it's possible to scrape together a small portfolio of passable UK infrastructure but from what of I have seen of the CTC's pronouncements on the subject, they would be well-advised getting themselves over to the Netherlands for a guided study tour to learn what is possible in the real world.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
25th September 2012 - 7:39

10 Likes

It's a bit of a Damascene conversion from CTC, though, isn't it? For example:

Well designed, signed and maintained cycle routes through green, motor-traffic free areas provide the most pleasant cycling experiences for most people.

Absolutely spot on (road.cc readers don't count as "most people" Smile ) but the first time I've ever heard this from CTC.

Doctor Fegg's picture

posted by Doctor Fegg [141 posts]
25th September 2012 - 8:39

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@Doctor Fegg, this is indeed welcome. While the examples here are very much the exception, it's good to see CTC support for this kind of thing.

Notably the CTC web pages about "the hierarchy" still give the impression that segregated cycle-paths are an occasional thing which "can sometimes provide useful routes through green open space".

posted by pmanc [144 posts]
25th September 2012 - 12:45

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Yea, the UK has these but in ones and twos, scattered across the whole UK.

the vast majority of the cycling network is a bit of paint down the side of a wide road where it's not needed by cyclists, but simple and cheap for the local council.

They inevitably disappear as soon as a pinch point or junction appears on the scene. Must be like magnets

Or the cycle routes only exist as a hi-viz highlighter line on the map of cycling routes the council puts out as propaganda.

Come on CTC - Who's side are you actually on here?

posted by gazza_d [270 posts]
25th September 2012 - 18:10

5 Likes

This is patronising and vulgar. Have CTC really switched so quickly to advocating some from of dystopian vision where the Mutaween sanction no form of transport other than cycling?

If this is so, then why do we need segregation or 20mph limits at all?

Worse still, this kind of cutesy, throw back to the past, is not what a modern cycling campaign needs. What about new buildings, and dare I say it, what about a town where things other than cycling happen?

This is definitely an image produced by cyclists for cyclists, and it will do nothing to appeal to the 97% of the UK population who think we are all extremists, and who don't currently cycle to work each day.

Far from being progress, this is just another reason to ask why this is still the case.

posted by James Avery [2 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 21:38

5 Likes