One of London’s top urban planners has made a video explaining the benefits of integrating cycling into the urban fabric of the world’s biggest cities.
“For the last half century, we’ve bowed down to the god of the motor car and have destroyed cities across the UK,” says Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture and the London Society.
Murray and his team at New London Architecture have come up with the concept of “Mini Hollands”, inspired by Dutch cycling infrastructure, which are London’s latest project for bicycle infrastructure.
Murray explains how he and other urban planners rode from Portland, Oregon to New York City, looking at how different urban communities evolved their own plans for cycling.
“The car should no longer be king on the road, and other users should have priority,” he says.
Late last year we reported how Murray was part of a group of cycling architects who signed up to be involved in the design of all the cycling infrastructure to be built as part of the planned £913 million spend over the next ten years.
Murray, a cyclist himself, said then that the group was “pushing at an open door” when they handed over the report ‘What London can learn from America’s cycling cities’ to Boris Johnson.
The report is the result of a 4,347 mile ride from Portland Oregon to Portland Place, London that passed through 12 major US cities to experience their cycling facilities. Members of the group spoke with local officials and politicians, advocacy groups and many people who stopped to talk and ride with them.
The report recommends that the UK should adopt ‘Complete Streets’ planning rather than attempting to squeeze bike lanes into existing streetscapes. That means making provision for active transportation a priority in all planning. The report also suggests that low speeds should be enforced on all city roads, and bikes should be able to be carried on more public transport.
Peter Murray said: “This is based on the simple premise that all road users should give way to those more vulnerable than themselves.
“In the USA, we found that motorists were much more considerate to us as cyclists than we ever found in the UK. We realised from this that if we are to have safer cycling and walking we need to change the culture of the way we use our roads. In other European countries it is expected that the stronger road users yield to the more vulnerable.
"We should pursue that policy in the UK.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.