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Cycling Embassy of Great Britain calls for new infrastructure standards as it publishes ‘Design Principles for Mass Cycling’

Design principles are based on the Dutch system of 'sustainable safety'...

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain has called for a new framework of standards to replace all current Department for Transport guidance on cycling. In setting out its Design Principles for Mass Cycling, the group hopes to clarify what needs to be done to develop high quality infrastructure for cyclists.

Having looked at the design principles adhered to in countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands, the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain believes that there is a need to unravel conflicting uses of road space and provide attractive, safe environments for cycling.

Mark Treasure, chair of the group, said:

“We are now at an exciting stage in the UK, and in the best cases we are starting to see provision for cycling here that emulates the conditions that enable mass cycling elsewhere. However, we know that this is only happening in limited areas, and rarely involving anything approaching a comprehensive network.

“We’ve therefore written this draft policy to explain how we believe over the long-term it is possible to provide for mass cycling everywhere, enabling millions of new cycle journeys throughout the country. We welcome comments to help ensure the policy when complete is as clear, helpful and applicable to the UK as possible."

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain’s design principles are based on the Dutch system of 'sustainable safety,' the idea of which is to make roads easy to use, self-explanatory and safe by default, thus preventing crashes from occurring.

The main principles are:

  • Single function roads
  • Homogeneity of mass, speed and direction
  • Instantly recognisable road design
  • Forgiving environments

‘Single function roads’ means all should be classified as access, distributor, or through roads. Access roads provide access to houses, schools, shops and businesses; distributor roads take traffic locally from through routes to access roads; and through roads carry large volumes of traffic between or past population centres.

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain believes that a clear division needs to be made between ‘roads for transport’ and ‘streets for people’.

‘Homogeneity of mass, speed and direction’ means that objects/people/vehicles should be equalised as much as possible on roads and streets. According to this principle, cyclists should not have to share space with motor traffic travelling at higher speeds, or in significant volume.

‘Instantly recognisable road design’ means that roads and streets should convey unambiguous messages about the kind of behaviour expected – consistent design being a key aspect of this.

Finally, ‘forgiving environments’ simply means that human fallibility should be taken into account and that designers ought to try and minimise the consequences of any mistake.

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain would like to see a framework of standards based on the above replacing all current DfT guidance on cycling.

On the group’s website, Treasure writes:

“Whenever roads are built, re-engineered, resurfaced or rebuilt, the Highway or Local Authority responsible would have a duty to build the appropriate cycle facilities consistent with that category of road, according to the new standards.

“Thus the normal cycle of road maintenance and rebuilding will simultaneously push the development of cycling infrastructure, making best use of resources. There should be no road schemes, of any kind, which do not include high quality cycling facilities designed into them from the start.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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