Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

Transport Minister draws flak after cycling inquiry

Implies more women don’t cycle because helmets spoil their hair

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP has drawn criticism from a number of campaigners following comments made to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group as part of its inquiry into the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS).

The draft CWIS was slammed by campaigners when it was published in March, with British Cycling’s Chris Boardman saying it was “not worth the paper it’s written on” without funding.

Yesterday (Monday May 24) saw Goodwill questioned about the proposals, along with a number of others, including Boardman, representatives of cycling organisations and a number of transport experts.

One of Goodwill’s more eyecatching comments was that the perception of fear of cycling in places like London could be blamed on media coverage of cycling fatalities.

However, it was his response to a question about key performance indicators (KPIs) on diversity that drew most ire on social media.

 

 

Mark Treasure, chair of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, pondered whether this might also be a major reason why so few men cycled to work.

 

 

Another claim was that funding per cyclist was in a healthy state in the UK. Although he also said that more was always wanted.

 

 

The sustainable transport charity Sustrans calculates the current level of spend to be £1.35 per person per year.  It says that £17.35 per person per year will have to be spent over the next 10 years if the government is to meet its target of doubling the levels of cycling over the next decade.

Goodwill also said Britain was ‘on a par’ with other European countries when it came to cycling. When asked by the panel which ones, he said he would get back to them.

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

Add new comment

100 comments

Avatar
L.Willo | 7 years ago
0 likes

Carton, thank you for your response. You have made some very good points and I will respond but having a busy weekend now. Cheers.

Avatar
jollygoodvelo | 7 years ago
3 likes

He's got a point.  I haven't cycled to work for a while partly because I'm slightly worried about my hair.

 

Specifically, I'm slightly worride that my hair will end up under a quarry truck driven like it's racing by an overworked driver high on RedBull checking the time on his phone.

Avatar
bikebot | 7 years ago
2 likes

Oh goodie, we've got some new ones.

Quote:

Design should be participatory. You start with the real people that you are designing for, find out their needs and desires"

You mean like the stack of surveys, in which people have repeatedly said that safety is the number one reason why they won't cycle? Or the consutlation responses, including employers who lined up asking for the infrastructure to be built, because their employees were asking for it?  Do you have the slighest ability to listen to other people yourself?

Quote:

the narrow streets

Blackfriars before and after, wherever did they find the space.

//i.imgur.com/7kaNRCU.jpg)

 

Quote:

hilly topography

Well as you've just told us that Osaka is flat except the outskirts, which major towns and cities in England are built on hills?  What hills does central London have?

Quote:

the awful weather

Ever been to Amsterdamn or Copenhagen? Both get more rain than London, both get worse winters, and there's a reason why the Dutch are known for their windmills...

Quote:

The money "invested" in CSHs are a complete waste, IMO. It should have been spent on cleaner buses and more crossrail type projects.

EW route cost around £50m if I remember right. That might get you a 100m or so of tunnel, or a small piece of one station.

Quote:

Pompously deciding in advance that the answer everywhere is more cycling and then berating people from your high horse, wearing your sweaty rucksack, for "not getting the message" might feel good but does nothing to tackle the genuinely important sustainability issues of our great city.

For heavens sake, in amongst all your training and superior knowledge of roadcraft, did no one ever tell you to buy some damn panniers?

And yes, cycing is part of the solution everywhere where the current modal share is below the latent demand, and it's not that difficult to find out what the latent demand is when you pay attention to research data and surveys rather then telling anecdotes about people in your office.

You have noticed how rapidly cycling is rising in central London? Or does it just massively piss you off that ordinary people are doing your special thing.

Avatar
vonhelmet | 7 years ago
1 like

No one cares what is sustainable, because everyone is alright, Jack.

Avatar
Jem PT | 7 years ago
3 likes

One of my wife's employees drives less than 1/4 mile to work - and she wonders why she is overweight (surely she could walk it if she didn't want to cycle?). Never under-estimate  people's stupidity! 
 

If I cycle all the way to work it's 21 miles. We don't have a shower at work - wet wipes are fine for me! Merino wool vests are great at soaking up the sweat.

 

Avatar
brooksby | 7 years ago
4 likes

I had a long "discussion " with my wife after a new cycle path was built alongside a main road on my way to work and I admitted I used it one way (uphill) but not the other.

She didn't get at all that going quite steeply downhill on the cycle path, having to basically stop at every side road and slow at every driveway was A Bad Thing so I exercised my right to ride on the road, where I could keep up a decent speed and where anyone joining from the side had to (at least in theory) give way to me.

"But they've built a cycle path, so why not use it?"

Hand covers face... Long sigh...

(And, I do get more hassle on that road from drivers who are clearly thinking the same thing.  My point is, that badly thought out infrastructure can be as bad as - or sometimes worse than - no 'cycling infrastructure ' at all).

 

Avatar
arfa | 7 years ago
0 likes

Where there's a will, there's a way, it's as simple as that.

Secure storage, showers, changing rooms all help but they're not essential if you have the will.

Perception is everything and that is where the first segment of half decent infrastructure in London is the potential beginning of a game changer because it is challenging the "you have to be mad to cycle" in London. On the section between Tower Hill and Westminster, you'd have to be mad not to cycle as it is that straightforward and so much more pleasant/efficient/cost effective vs any other means and therein lies the key change. The goal has to be to introduce changes to facilitate the ease of cycling so that "you'd be mad not to cycle" as opposed to the prevailing status quo.

The problem is that we have a new Mayor who talks the talk but doesn't cycle. We shall see

Avatar
Simon E | 7 years ago
1 like

I doubt many of these Copenhagen commuters need a shower when they get to work:

//www.executivestyle.com.au/content/dam/images/1/0/i/a/c/j/image.related.articleLeadwide.520x294.10ia96.png/1428456593621.jpg)

Decent infrastructure is great for everyone. If a small number of individuals choose to mix with motorised traffic and take the extra risks that entail then fair enough but most people definitely do not! Fear of traffic is cited as the main reason many people won't cycle regularly and good infrastructure is the only way to get around that.

Avatar
vonhelmet replied to Simon E | 7 years ago
1 like

Simon E wrote:

I doubt many of these Copenhagen commuters need a shower when they get to work:

//www.executivestyle.com.au/content/dam/images/1/0/i/a/c/j/image.related.articleLeadwide.520x294.10ia96.png/1428456593621.jpg)

Decent infrastructure is great for everyone. If a small number of individuals choose to mix with motorised traffic and take the extra risks that entail then fair enough but most people definitely do not! Fear of traffic is cited as the main reason many people won't cycle regularly and good infrastructure is the only way to get around that.

I doubt many of them are cycling 10 miles or more at 15mph or more, so the comparison isn't fair. People in Britain commute further, because no one wants to or more likely no one can afford to live nearer to their place of work. That photo is probably a bunch of people commuting a couple of miles.

Avatar
bikebot replied to vonhelmet | 7 years ago
2 likes

vonhelmet wrote:

I doubt many of them are cycling 10 miles or more at 15mph or more, so the comparison isn't fair. People in Britain commute further, because no one wants to or more likely no one can afford to live nearer to their place of work. That photo is probably a bunch of people commuting a couple of miles.

And we come full circle. I'll just repost the exact same quote again, from the same website, which has a name which more people really need to take heed of.

"half of all commuters in England travel less than 3 miles to work", cyclingfallacies.com

Avatar
vonhelmet replied to bikebot | 7 years ago
1 like

bikebot wrote:

vonhelmet wrote:

I doubt many of them are cycling 10 miles or more at 15mph or more, so the comparison isn't fair. People in Britain commute further, because no one wants to or more likely no one can afford to live nearer to their place of work. That photo is probably a bunch of people commuting a couple of miles.

And we come full circle. I'll just repost the exact same quote again, from the same website, which has a name which more people really need to take heed of.

"half of all commuters in England travel less than 3 miles to work", cyclingfallacies.com

I did realise I was being somewhat inconsistent given I posted once saying people live too far to commute while also saying the target group are those who live close to work... I guess it's an issue of there being multiple problems to solve. I live relatively far from work, so showers at work are essential for me. Others live closer but the issue of them even riding a bike is near insurmountable, be it because of fitness issues, safety, whatever.

Avatar
bikebot replied to vonhelmet | 7 years ago
3 likes

vonhelmet wrote:

I did realise I was being somewhat inconsistent given I posted once saying people live too far to commute while also saying the target group are those who live close to work... I guess it's an issue of there being multiple problems to solve. I live relatively far from work, so showers at work are essential for me. Others live closer but the issue of them even riding a bike is near insurmountable, be it because of fitness issues, safety, whatever.

Modal share of cycling is about 2%. No reason at all that most cities and towns in the UK can't match the 20% that Cambridge already has (and Cambridge isn't that cycle friendly).  For the next decade at least I think it'll be for individual cities and towns to make that choice.

The job of national Government will be to enable that through planning standards, grants and favourable tax benefits.  It's not going to happen by focusing on womens hair.

And just briefly on the distance issue, everyone has missed the other big change that is happening in everyday utility cycling. Road.cc have just launched a whole website about it. http://ebiketips.co.uk/

 

Avatar
L.Willo replied to bikebot | 7 years ago
0 likes
bikebot wrote:

Modal share of cycling is about 2%. No reason at all that most cities and towns in the UK can't match the 20% that Cambridge already has (and Cambridge isn't that cycle friendly).

Cambridge is small and flat. Copenhagen ditto. Amsterdam ditto.

If you seriously think that a city like Sheffield will hit anything like 20% ....

Cycling isnt the solution to congestion. The solution is to allow people to use their time productively while travelling. This is the future, whether we like it or not:

http://www.autoblog.com/2016/05/24/tesla-model-s-driver-asleep-autopilot/

.... or facebook, playstation, netflix, kindle ...

Avatar
davel replied to L.Willo | 7 years ago
2 likes

L.Willo wrote:
bikebot wrote:

Modal share of cycling is about 2%. No reason at all that most cities and towns in the UK can't match the 20% that Cambridge already has (and Cambridge isn't that cycle friendly).

Cambridge is small and flat. Copenhagen ditto. Amsterdam ditto. If you seriously think that a city like Sheffield will hit anything like 20% .... Cycling isnt the solution to congestion. The solution is to allow people to use their time productively while travelling. This is the future, whether we like it or not: http://www.autoblog.com/2016/05/24/tesla-model-s-driver-asleep-autopilot/ .... or facebook, playstation, netflix, kindle ...

No, that isn't the solution to congestion. That's the solution to being unproductive while commuting. Driverless cars using the same model of car use today will result in the same levels of congestion... which aren't improving. And who's to say that if we can all put our feet up and flick about on facebook while being driven to work at 4mph by Google, people won't abandon standing on the tube or train en masse and join the congestion festival?

Plus, society faces other problems (pollution [electric/hybrid cars might not emit many pollutants themselves, but how is their electricty currently generated?], overweight-related health issues and costs...) that cycling might help with but driverless cars won't.

Avatar
bogbrush replied to davel | 7 years ago
0 likes

davel wrote:

No, that isn't the solution to congestion

Sufficiently advanced driverless cars can actually help alleviate congestion where they replace a human driven car of the same size by eliminating or at least reducing the concertina effect

This game demonstrates it rather nicely

https://madewithmonsterlove.itch.io/error-prone

Avatar
davel replied to bogbrush | 7 years ago
1 like

bogbrush wrote:

davel wrote:

No, that isn't the solution to congestion

Sufficiently advanced driverless cars can actually help alleviate congestion where they replace a human driven car of the same size by eliminating or at least reducing the concertina effect

This game demonstrates it rather nicely

https://madewithmonsterlove.itch.io/error-prone

Yeah I buy that - that's pretty neat.

The roads would still be clogged with cars, though, no? (which is sort of the definition of congestion)

Avatar
bogbrush replied to bogbrush | 7 years ago
0 likes

bogbrush wrote:

davel wrote:

No, that isn't the solution to congestion

Sufficiently advanced driverless cars can actually help alleviate congestion where they replace a human driven car of the same size by eliminating or at least reducing the concertina effect

This game demonstrates it rather nicely

https://madewithmonsterlove.itch.io/error-prone

Shit, damn autocorrect. I meant to say, "Great stuff guys!"

Avatar
L.Willo replied to davel | 7 years ago
0 likes
davel wrote:

No, that isn't the solution to congestion. That's the solution to being unproductive while commuting. Driverless cars using the same model of car use today will result in the same levels of congestion... which aren't improving. And who's to say that if we can all put our feet up and flick about on facebook while being driven to work at 4mph by Google, people won't abandon standing on the tube or train en masse and join the congestion festival?

Congestion is a problem if you are bored and frustrated because you still need to concentrate on driving while going nowhere. When cars become fully automated, airconditioned, climate controlled, mobile offices / entertainment spaces, a bit like having your own private luxury train carriage, a lot of stress around congestion will disappear.

Secondly, when we reach a situation where the vast majority of cars are operated by CPU able to share data with all the other CPUs on the road, average journey times will collapse and accident rates decline making automated vehicles an even more attractive option.

e.g. My retired mother has recently given up driving because she finds it too stressful. She now gets around using a combination of walking, public transport and taxis. A fully automated Tesla would definitely get her back on the road. A bike? Forget it. My wife will cycle on holiday but in London for work? Hell will freeze over before she gives up her car. Other options are not practical. She will be one of the first in the queue for a fully automated electric vehicle.

The truth is cyclists cycle because they enjoy cycling. For many others, cycling is boring and unpleasant and will never be a first, second or third choice. This illusion that there are hordes out there just itching to commute by bicycle, if only this, if only that, if only .... is mostly that, just an illusion IMO. Cycling is already one of, if not the safest and most convenient modes of transport for short journeys. If you want to cycle there is very little apart from excuses stopping you from doing so.

Avatar
vonhelmet replied to L.Willo | 7 years ago
1 like

L.Willo wrote:

The truth is cyclists cycle because they enjoy cycling. For many others, cycling is boring and unpleasant and will never be a first, second or third choice. This illusion that there are hordes out there just itching to commute by bicycle, if only this, if only that, if only .... is mostly that, just an illusion IMO.

Indeed.  There just isn't the will for it.

Avatar
davel replied to L.Willo | 7 years ago
2 likes

L.Willo wrote:
davel wrote:

No, that isn't the solution to congestion. That's the solution to being unproductive while commuting. Driverless cars using the same model of car use today will result in the same levels of congestion... which aren't improving. And who's to say that if we can all put our feet up and flick about on facebook while being driven to work at 4mph by Google, people won't abandon standing on the tube or train en masse and join the congestion festival?

Congestion is a problem if you are bored and frustrated because you still need to concentrate on driving while going nowhere. When cars become fully automated, airconditioned, climate controlled, mobile offices / entertainment spaces, a bit like having your own private luxury train carriage, a lot of stress around congestion will disappear. Secondly, when we reach a situation where the vast majority of cars are operated by CPU able to share data with all the other CPUs on the road, average journey times will collapse and accident rates decline making automated vehicles an even more attractive option. e.g. My retired mother has recently given up driving because she finds it too stressful. She now gets around using a combination of walking, public transport and taxis. A fully automated Tesla would definitely get her back on the road. A bike? Forget it. My wife will cycle on holiday but in London for work? Hell will freeze over before she gives up her car. Other options are not practical. She will be one of the first in the queue for a fully automated electric vehicle. The truth is cyclists cycle because they enjoy cycling. For many others, cycling is boring and unpleasant and will never be a first, second or third choice. This illusion that there are hordes out there just itching to commute by bicycle, if only this, if only that, if only .... is mostly that, just an illusion IMO. Cycling is already one of, if not the safest and most convenient modes of transport for short journeys. If you want to cycle there is very little apart from excuses stopping you from doing so.

That's unsustainable though, isn't it? The level of selfishness and laziness around short-term travel options and over-reliance on cars needs to be 'nudged' (what happened to that, Dave?) out of the public. 

At the moment, regarding alternatives, there's barely any carrot (Londoners are spoilt for choice compared to the rest of the country for alternatives to the car) so it seems too soon to start with the stick, which is why a congestion charge could only be a realistic option in London.

Avatar
L.Willo replied to davel | 7 years ago
0 likes
davel wrote:

That's unsustainable though, isn't it? The level of selfishness and laziness around short-term travel options and over-reliance on cars needs to be 'nudged' (what happened to that, Dave?) out of the public. 

What is unsustainable is thinking that you can bully people into using specific transport modes. It won't work. All you will do is price the less well-off from the roads onto already overburdened public transport. The vast majority of people who are not already cycling or considering cycling will not cycle even if you give them a bike for free.

The idea is as sustainable as trying to get 20% of people to swim for half an hour once a week. A wonderful activity. Keeps you fit and relatively difficult to injure yourself. However if you detest swimming, you are not going to swim, short of being significantly bribed to do so are you?

What is sustainable is to try to ensure that the modes of transport that people are going to use are as energy efficient and unpolluting as possible.

Self driving electric cars will be a huge step forward. Better joined up public transport ditto. Together these will do more to improve the quality of life in our cities than trying to push sand uphill with a fork i.e. persuading millions to cycle as a first choice of local transport.

I don't see it.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to L.Willo | 7 years ago
5 likes
L.Willo wrote:
davel wrote:

That's unsustainable though, isn't it? The level of selfishness and laziness around short-term travel options and over-reliance on cars needs to be 'nudged' (what happened to that, Dave?) out of the public. 

What is unsustainable is thinking that you can bully people into using specific transport modes. It won't work. All you will do is price the less well-off from the roads onto already overburdened public transport. The vast majority of people who are not already cycling or considering cycling will not cycle even if you give them a bike for free.

The idea is as sustainable as trying to get 20% of people to swim for half an hour once a week. A wonderful activity. Keeps you fit and relatively difficult to injure yourself. However if you detest swimming, you are not going to swim, short of being significantly bribed to do so are you?

What is sustainable is to try to ensure that the modes of transport that people are going to use are as energy efficient and unpolluting as possible.

Self driving electric cars will be a huge step forward. Better joined up public transport ditto. Together these will do more to improve the quality of life in our cities than trying to push sand uphill with a fork i.e. persuading millions to cycle as a first choice of local transport.

I don't see it.

Reality isn't bullying though.

If there isn't room, and sufficient clean energy resources available, for everyone to drive, then there isn't room. That's just reality, and its not bullying to expect people to face facts.

What _is_ bullying is insisting those with money should be able to ignore the reality and drive anyway, and oblige the less wealthy (whose areas they tend to drive through), to pay the price in terms of health-consequences and restrictions on freedom of movement.

By all means drive, but then pay the full cost of doing so.

Incidentally, people who live near attractive bodies of water (a nice beach or a lake, say) tend to swim more than those who don't. Choices aren't made in a vaccuum, people make choices in the context of a particular environment.

Avatar
L.Willo replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 7 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Reality isn't bullying though.

If there isn't room, and sufficient clean energy resources available, for everyone to drive, then there isn't room. That's just reality, and its not bullying to expect people to face facts.

Or we focus our human ingenuity developing more efficient solutions to allow us to do what we want to do .... rather than dreaming up schemes to force people to do what they dont want to do?

Fully automated motorised vehicles, centrally controlled by AI systems to maximise the use of the road network. Seamlessly integrated electric powered public transport. Safer nuclear power and renewable energy plants to provide clean energy to power all of this tech.

Sounds good to me. Also sounds much better for the environment than pious campaigning for schemes that will never work but leave the failed campaigners with a nice warm feeling of holier-than-thou ....

Hometime. By bike. Because I want to.

Avatar
bikebot replied to L.Willo | 7 years ago
3 likes

L.Willo wrote:

Also sounds much better for the environment than pious campaigning for schemes that will never work but leave the failed campaigners with a nice warm feeling of holier-than-thou ....

What evidence do you have for that?

Don't start with some anecdote about some shared used sustrans path that even a mountain goat would struggle with.

Show us data on cities which have built high quality, safe, fast and convenient infrastructure, which haven't then seen a modal shift.

 

 

Avatar
Ush replied to L.Willo | 7 years ago
2 likes

L.Willo wrote:

Self driving electric cars will be a huge step forward.

The problem with them compared to public transport is simply the space consideration issue.  They are also never going to be as energy-efficient as light-electric for mass transportation.

Avatar
bikebot replied to Ush | 7 years ago
1 like

Ush wrote:

L.Willo wrote:

Self driving electric cars will be a huge step forward.

The problem with them compared to public transport is simply the space consideration issue.  They are also never going to be as energy-efficient as light-electric for mass transportation.

And cost.

But apart from space, cost, energy use and the massive impact they have on the public realm for everyone else, they're probably fine.

Avatar
brooksby replied to L.Willo | 7 years ago
0 likes

L.Willo wrote:

Cambridge is small and flat. Copenhagen ditto. Amsterdam ditto. If you seriously think that a city like Sheffield will hit anything like 20% .... Cycling isnt the solution to congestion.

I'm not convinced that "journies of any length three or times a week" is a very helpful measure, but here goes: according to http://www.cyclinguk.org/resources/cycling-uk-cycling-statistics Bristol has 9% of people who travel by bike 3 or more times a week (DfT figures state ~2%, but have been picked apart a great deal and do at least confirm that no cyclists travel on the M32). 

Anyway, Bristol a long way from being small or flat, and yet has a LOT of cyclists, so hills alone are not something that puts people off.

Avatar
Carton replied to brooksby | 7 years ago
0 likes

brooksby wrote:

Anyway, Bristol a long way from being small or flat, and yet has a LOT of cyclists, so hills alone are not something that puts people off.

Also, Bogotá, Boulder, Sevilla. All cities with (again) both a sport cycling tradition and ever improving bike path networks.

Avatar
L.Willo replied to brooksby | 7 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

Anyway, Bristol a long way from being small or flat, and yet has a LOT of cyclists, so hills alone are not something that puts people off.

Compared to London which has a radius of 13 miles, Bristol is small. Bristol like Cambridge is also has a higher than average student population, more likely to cycle being younger, fitter and broker (sic). Also until recently Bristol had a very pro cycling mayor who put money into cycling.

And with all that, modal share is still 9% compared to Cambridge's 20%. What could be making the difference? The hills?

Anywhere where it is flat and a town bike is viable, a bit of energy to get it moving then microdoses to maintain momentum, mass cycling for transport is viable. Most people cannot be arsed with derailleurs, lycra and working up a sweat to get around.

PS Thinking of family, friends, colleagues .... I cannot think of anyone who has a commute of less than 5 miles. It is the nature of a megapolis that people don't necessarily work anywhere near where they live. That is why better, cheaper, joined up public transport ought to be the first, second and third priority.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to L.Willo | 7 years ago
5 likes
L.Willo wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Anyway, Bristol a long way from being small or flat, and yet has a LOT of cyclists, so hills alone are not something that puts people off.

Compared to London which has a radius of 13 miles, Bristol is small. Bristol like Cambridge is also has a higher than average student population, more likely to cycle being younger, fitter and broker (sic). Also until recently Bristol had a very pro cycling mayor who put money into cycling.

And with all that, modal share is still 9% compared to Cambridge's 20%. What could be making the difference? The hills?

Anywhere where it is flat and a town bike is viable, a bit of energy to get it moving then microdoses to maintain momentum, mass cycling for transport is viable. Most people cannot be arsed with derailleurs, lycra and working up a sweat to get around.

PS Thinking of family, friends, colleagues .... I cannot think of anyone who has a commute of less than 5 miles. It is the nature of a megapolis that people don't necessarily work anywhere near where they live. That is why better, cheaper, joined up public transport ought to be the first, second and third priority.

The statistics don't support that argument. Two-thirds of Londoners car journeys are under 3 miles - never mind cycling, they could just be walked (personally I tend to walk anything 3 miles or less, can't be arsed locking/unlocking a bike, and I find walking is almost always faster than messing about with buses).

The size of London vs Bristol is irrelevant, you could just as well select a region of London that is smaller than Bristol and make the same argument in reverse.

Oh, and the other point is, the best way to get better public transport is to get cars off the road. The main reason why buses are rarely worth bothering with is the cars that clog up the roads and slow them down to the point of uselessness. More bikes means more space for buses.

Pages

Latest Comments