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Robert Goodwill and Chris Boardman head to Copenhagen to discuss Danish cycling infrastructure (+ video)

“It is only right that we should want to learn from the best,” says Boardman

Robert Goodwill, the Minister for Cycling, will travel to Copenhagen with British Cycling's policy advisor, Chris Boardman, next week to discuss what can be learnt from Danish cycling infrastructure.

Speaking at the Active City, Cycle City conference at Newcastle Town Hall in June, Boardman said:

"Everyone who makes the big decisions for us and our children should be obliged to visit places like Copenhagen to see the alternatives first hand – see it, feel it, experience it.

"To that end, I’d like to challenge Robert Goodwill, who has been a good friend to cycling since he became minister, to join me with his colleagues on a trip to Copenhagen to see what Britain’s towns and cities could be."

Goodwill will take a cycling tour of the Danish capital alongside Boardman, before discussing ways in which the Danish approach could be implemented in Britain.

Before the general election, the Conservative party said that it was looking to double the number of journeys made by bicycle by 2025 and also pledged to invest over £200 million to make cycling safer.

- Boardman: air pollution deaths should be treated as "full-blown crisis"

Boardman described the commitment, combined with Goodwill’s willingness to view and learn from cycling strategies elsewhere in the world, as ‘very encouraging’.

“Countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany have all put cycling at the heart of their transport policy, and are now reaping the rewards. Copenhagen is regarded as one of the most progressive cycling cities in the world, and it is only right that we should want to learn from the best.

“We can clearly see from examples such as Copenhagen that, given adequate investment, cycling can provide a solution to so many of the problems currently faced in Britain’s towns and cities.”

Boardman said that the trip would be a fantastic opportunity to see exactly what could be achieved on British roads.

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severs1966 | 418 posts | 7 years ago

Robert Goodwill is just doing this for publicity. He will not go on to do anything at all in the "Danish style" for cycling in the UK. His hypocrisy is disgusting.

Boardman might just as well have taken a shop dummy to Copenhagen with him.

demolitionspecial | 21 posts | 7 years ago

While I'd welcome any open approach to consider how Copenhagen (and Groningen) have succeeded, it should be clear that decades of investment in completely re-designing traffic infrastructure are required to come anywhere close. £200m is a very small drop in that ocean and until investment in cycling infrastructure consistently matches or comes significantly closer to that invested in cars then we won't see major steps forward.
Education in tolerance and respect for all road users needs to be close to the top of any Governments priorities, along with some simple but effective law changes that would help to remove conflicts, for example, a minimum passing distance of 1.5 to 2.0m for cyclists along with an assumed liability of the larger vehicle in any accident.
I have no option but to travel half of my 18 mile commute on a busy A road (half of it currently in the dark morning) and regularly had cars and lorries pass me within inches and force me into the gutter while trying to stay within the central lines to avoid oncoming traffic, despite using 4 half watt and 70 lumen rear lights and a Pro-Viz 360 reflect vest. Alhough, the further out into the lane I now ride and the more they have to consider choosing to pull out into the opposite lane and avoid danger to themselves, the more space and time I am given. It does come at the cost of far more frequent and increasingly aggressive abuse as drivers evidently consider cyclists both an unnecessary irritant and less entitled to occupy 'their' roads, largely on the basis of varying levels of ignorance of the law and Highway Code.

mattsccm | 514 posts | 7 years ago

Great. I suppose it has to start somewhere although I like many would like to see more emphasis on general road manner etc. Boardmans videos etc should be shown on BCC tv at prime time etc.
As don't live in London I actually care little about what happens. Its the open road that worries me.

Mystery Machine | 54 posts | 8 years ago

Denmark was an interesting place to cycle when I visited it this summer. The thing that struck me most was how good Danish drivers were (particularly in Copenhagen) about not right-hooking (left-hooking in UK terms) cyclists at junctions. They would ALWAYS wait to make sure cyclists, even those behind them, were clear before making turns - a significant difference from SMIDSY UK drivers.

On the other hand, particularly when outside towns, we were subject to a number of extremely close passes by drivers which was not very pleasant, so Danish drivers are not perfect by any means. However, they have learned how to manage junctions safely with cycles. Will British drivers ever manage the same? I have my doubts...

MikeCope | 4 posts | 8 years ago

Great initiative ...make sure you both take a train /metro using your bikes to highlight the fact that bikes are part of an integrated transport system ...also Mr Goodwill take note of the tow ball bike carriers on taxis in Copenhagen .

kie7077 | 953 posts | 8 years ago

Perhaps Robert Goodwill can introduce a law setting out minimum passing distances between motors and cyclists.

Until he does that, I'm not going to believe anything he says about wanting to get more people cycling, it takes more than empty words.

£200 million is peanuts, stop investing in car infrastructure, spend the money instead on cycle infrastructure - it's much better value for money.

HarrogateSpa replied to kie7077 | 1501 posts | 7 years ago

Perhaps Robert Goodwill can introduce a law setting out minimum passing distances between motors and cyclists.

This is something I've raised with him on a couple of occasions via my MP - a clarification of the Highway Code, and the introduction of a 'cyclist passing distance' sign.

Mr Goodwill's position on behalf of the government is: 'It is not the purpose of traffic signs to convey every rule of the Highway Code, therefore our view is that a new sign is not required.'

I find this response unsatisfactory, and even a bit irritating, because I wasn't asking for a traffic sign for every rule of the Highway Code, but one specific one to help solve a problem I set out in my letters. It reminds me of the logical fallacy in one episode of Yes Minister - my dog has four legs, my cat has four legs, therefore my cat is a dog.

It makes me wonder if he thinks I'm hard of understanding, and will be convinced by such an obviously flawed argument; more likely, it's just the fastest way he could think of to fob me off.

ibike | 166 posts | 8 years ago

Can only be a good thing. Perhaps they can also stop off in the Netherlands on their way back.

lushmiester | 199 posts | 8 years ago

Recently spoke a female cyclist who had given up cycling in the UK after being taken off her bike by other vehicles for the third time in Lancaster, and was selling her bike. She also has Danish links and spend some her time there travelling around by bike. It would appear that perhaps one of the biggest differences to her is that car drivers are more aware of and considerate to cyclist in Denmark. Perhaps not surprising when so many people cycle, and the chances are that most car drivers cycle at some time. It a kind of critical mass thing once a curtain proportion of the population do it then attitudes change or at least curtain negative attitudes become socially unacceptable.
So yes intelligent cycling infra structure is important to get people on and staying on bikes giving them and society the accrued health benefits, but the attitude of other road users is another important factor. If the UK is ever going to match the benefits Denmark has gained from having so many journeys made by bike (particularly in cities) then it is going to have to place cycling, walking and public transport needs above those of motorists for the foreseeable future when planning transportation within our cities. This is not ever going to be popular/accepted until a critical mass is reached, planners will just have take the flak until then.

skull-collector... | 142 posts | 8 years ago
1 like

RE Video: CO2 isn't the main problem in cities, trees can eat it, it's all the other byproducts of burning mainly diesel.

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