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More cycling overall, fewer on the pavement in US capital

Fear of traffic is often cited as the reason some cyclists ride on the pavement, so if safer cycling facilities are provided, you'd expect fewer riders on the pavement. A study in Washington DC has found that's exactly what happens.

The Washington Post reports a survey by PeopleForBikes,  that found pavement cycling went down 70 percent when a segregated bike lane was installed.

The lane, on 15th Street NW, also saw a 47 percent increase in cycle traffic, lending credence to the 'if you build decent infrastructure they will come' theory proposed by my activists.

The findings, endorsed by cycling and pedestrian advocacy group Alliance for Biking and Walking, also included a 27 percent drop in pavement riding on L Street NW, with 41 percent increase in cycling; and 52 percent fewer cyclists on the pavements of Pennsylvania Avenue, with 47 percent more bikes.

There have been similar decreases in pavement cycling with increases in bike use in Denver and New York after protected lanes were introduced, PeopleForBikes said.

“People bike on sidewalks for two main reasons: because they’re looking for a space that’s physically separated from speeding cars and trucks, or they’re traveling against traffic on a one-way street,” the group said in a statement.

“Well-designed, protected bike lanes, which use posts, curbs or parked cars to divide bike and auto traffic, create a safer solution to both of these needs.

“In project after project, adding a protected bike lane to a street has sharply cut sidewalk biking even as it greatly increased bike traffic.”

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.