Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Improving the Safety of Cyclists

A regular reader was puzzled by my preference for the evidence given by CTC's Vice-President Josie Dew over that of President Jon Snow at last week's Transport Select Committee and I promised a fuller explanation.

First, I like Jon Snow (a lot).  He introduced me to cycling 10 years ago, shepherding me round my first 100 mile ride and I hope it is not presumptuous of me to regard him as a friend.  He is a high profile figure and an ambassador for cycling.  I am sure he has been an inspiration to many more than just me and I was delighted when he accepted the Presidency of the CTC.  I have never met Josie and did not really know who she was until watching the select committee.

Second I am acutely conscious that what divides the opinions of cyclists is minute compared to that which unites them.  John Cleese's brilliant satire has the People's Front of Judea loathing the Judean People's Front more than they loathe the Romans.  Cyclists can hopefully avoid that.
Having said that, we are not compelled to agree with each other on everything and I have my reservations about Jon's oft repeated and sincerely held views that the roads in London are not safe for cyclists, that cyclists and vehicles do not mix and that they need to be separated.  Josie's willingness to ride her daughter to school on the roads but to lament the standards of some motorists and the weak way in which our laws are enforced against criminal motorists chimed much more with me.

I have no problem with people who seek more and better segregated facilities in the belief that it will encourage more cyclists.  However there is a very real threat that things could be made worse for cyclists than they already are by jeopardising our entitlement to use most roads.  We should not forget the case of Daniel Cadden.  The same police and CPS who do not have the time or inclination to pursue motorists who endanger cyclists, found the time and inclination to prosecute Daniel for inconsiderate cycling because he was riding his bike in the road instead of a nearby unsatisfactory cycle track.  The CTC assisted his successful appeal.  The CTC also made representations over the Highway Code to ensure it was clear that the use of cycling facilities is not mandatory.  I applaud the CTC for this and it is a major reason that I am a member.

My own personal experience is that there are plenty of motorists who resent our right to use the roads and would like to see us off them.  Only yesterday morning I was 'buzzed' and sworn at by a motorist who said (in effect and removing the colourful language) 'This is a road not a cycleway and if you get in my way I will run you down'.  I wish I could say this was an unusual experience.

Different cyclists may have different requirements.  My commute is only marginally practicable at 20 mph.  If I had to slow down for significant sections it would become completely impracticable.  A 20 mph speed limit would mean that all those motor vehicles would no longer 'need' to squeeze past me.  Even if I represent a minority of cyclists, we probably cover a disproportionate number of miles and I look to the CTC to continue to represent our interests as well as those of other cyclists.

Although Jon made clear, as he always does, that he was speaking as a private citizen and in a personal capacity, it is a reasonable assumption that he (and Josie) were invited to the Select Committee because of their CTC roles.

I was not keen to hear Jon and James Harding propose as policy a 20 mph limit in residential areas but to be lifted to 30mph (in residential areas, I should stress) where there was a separate cycle track.  James Harding was calling upon an unholy alliance between motorists wishing to go faster and cyclists seeking segregation.  The aim of both being to get cyclists off the roads.  Cyclists remaining on the roads after these facilities have been designed, built and adjudged adequate (very likely by non-cyclists) would not benefit from reduced speed limits.

Separate cycle lanes are not necessarily safer.  I mentioned I would like to see statistics on this.  This does not seem to me unreasonable if they are promoted as a safety measure.  Most of us will have seen diagrams like this one:
Even if you give the priority to the cyclists, I am a defensive cyclist (and so should you be) and you cannot rely upon motorists giving way.

I am all for 'Going Dutch' but my understanding of this is that it involves at least as much control over where motorists may go as of where cyclists may go.  I am all for putting up bollards in the middle of our streets that we can whizz by but which block the path of through motorists.  The trouble is that 'The Times' is not calling for infrastructure changes that may adversely impact motorists and almost all politicians have difficulty with this too.  I acknowledge with gratitude that The Times campaign is calling for 20 mph speed limits but their editor is solicitous of the interests of motorists who may be affected by this.   Of course in practice a 20 mph speed limit in London would not slow overall motoring journey times save in the dead of night.  We run a very real risk of heading for the worst of all possible worlds with inferior infrastructure used as an excuse not to lower speed limits in residential areas and with a growing expectation that cyclists are not entitled to the roads.

This is essentially a non-political blog and I am not the holder of a vote for this Thursday.  However Jenny Jones was surely right at yesterday's hustings to call for lower speed limits and better policing of motorists.  This strikes a chord with me.  As it happens I wrote to the Met Police Commissoner last weekend and sent a copy to Jenny.  You may read it here.

Fortunately I can afford to provoke a storm.  I am not a politician and do not sell newspapers.

A transcript is available here.  This is the bit that worried me about 20mph limits in residential areas:

Q423 Chair: What about the 20 mph speed limit suggested for local roads? Would that make a big difference?
Josie Dew: Yes, it definitely would. Past Molly’s school there is a 40 mph speed limit, which means I am often overtaken at 50 mph with children on the back. I went to the council last December and said, "Can we get a 20 mph speed limit past the school?" If you hit a cyclist at 40 mph, 90% of children would die. If you hit them at 20 mph, 5% would die. That is a huge difference. They said, "Oh well, we can’t really do that." There is all this umming and ahhing. They just make excuses. You have to get on and do it. They said it has to be petition-led, so I have to go traipsing round the whole village. Some people say, "I don’t want to slow my speed because I want to get to work." Portsmouth has put in 20 mph speed limits.
Q424 Chair: If there was a system of a default 20 mph speed limit on local roads, would that be something the other panellists would support?
James Harding: In areas where there are not segregated cycle ways. We would argue for a 20 mph speed limit in residential areas where there are not segregated cycle ways. One of the things about that, as Josie says, is that it is not only safer, but it would reinforce the sense that the interests of cyclists and drivers are aligned. Drivers want to go faster, in which case there need to be segregated cycle ways.
Jon Snow: I agree with James.
Q425 Mr Leech: I am interested to hear why you think that the residential streets where there are segregated cycle ways should not have the 20 mph limit. There is a danger, if you keep it at 30 mph on those streets, that drivers are less inclined to stick to the 20 mph speed limit on the other roads. Is there any reason why you have gone for that particular view?
James Harding: As Josie said, the reason is that 20 mph makes it safer. I think that you need to put in place many more segregated cycle ways and you need to incentivise drivers behind that idea too. Being able to free up drivers to drive a little more quickly where there are segregated cycle ways reinforces that point.


  1. Martin,

    I entirely agree, as I commented yesterday, with everything you've said here. I linked yesterday to my own blogpost on the subject of segregation (http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/in-which-our-hero-picks-up-cycling.html). I'll only reiterate here that Copenhagen has not found that segregation reduces accidents. It merely concentrates them at intersections, as your diagram would suggest it would. Different forms of traffic need to coexist on the road. If motorists slow down and become more tolerant of other road users, it's not only good for cyclists but for other motorists, pedestrians and others. It's the right way to go.


    1. Please be sure to read and fully understand the research you mention before using it to support an argument it actively shows is not true.

  2. I'm more worried about the fact that decades of "soft measures" and campaigning for the right to ride on our roads has (a) completely failed to encourage ordinary people to ride a bike for local transport and (b) completely failed to make the roads safe enough for my children to ride their own bikes to school, even if I accompanied them. The children are perfectly capable and trustworthy, but I certainly cannot say the same about the motorists we encounter on a daily basis. Yes, cycling is statistically safe, but no, I'm not willing to take the risk and put my children's lives in someone else's hands.

    But the integration/segregation debate completely misses the point. What we need more than anything else is a complete reversal of the "motor vehicles are top priority: a driving licence includes a licence to kill", mentality that pervades in the UK.

    Our planners need to realise that the motor vehicle has terrorised our streets for too long now, and that we need streets that are safe for people to use whether they're walking, cycling, on a bus, or in a car.

    As a keen touring cyclist I've love to see all our roads safe enough to cycle on, and have campaigned as such for the CTC, without any success, for decades. As a person who'd like to ride his bike with his family to get to places locally, I'd much rather have decent facilities that keep motor vehicles well out of our way: I have no wish to mix it with cars given a decent alternative.

    "Cyclists" who already ride in the UK will always tend to want to stay on the roads with the cars, and that makes sense given the crap segregation we see here. However the people riding bikes in huge numbers in the Netherlands, Copenhagen, etc. wouldn't consider themselves to be "cyclists", and wouldn't think of taking cycle training any more than they would consider taking walking training. For things to change in the UK it's the ordinary people in the street who want to ride a bike, not us cyclists, that need to be catered for most.

  3. To my mind, this post typifies the confusion and mistrust that surrounds the infrastructure debate in the UK. Its not surprising, given the decades of incompetently designed crap that we are used to, that is at best inconvenient and at worst, downright dangerous.

    It almost seems that we are incapable of imagining progress as anything other than more of the usual rubbish, but made compulsory for us to use. I would argue that the Go Dutch campaign is asking for nothing of the sort. It seems bizarre that the Dutch example has been almost completely ignored by the British, as if it is some sort of alien concept that couldn't possibly work here.

    As a lawyer, you are obviously used to dealing with evidence. I would suggest that the massive amount of info on David Hembrow's blog (A view from the Cycle path) is ample evidence that the Dutch system of 'sustainable safety' works, not only for ordinary people of all ages, but for the fastest cyclists as well. I recall one particular video of David riding a recumbent at 60kph on a Dutch cycle path, overtaking an (illegally ridden) moped in the process!

    I have to ask how a single diagram (American, by the looks of it) evidences that separated infrastructure is dangerous? Is this really how the Dutch design their junctions? I think Mr. Hembrow could probably show that it isn't. He might also debunk some of the massaged statistics and misinformation that seem to corrupt the debate here.

    I would also ask, do you really think that 20mph limits alone would improve the situation that much? I have no confidence that they would be either properly enforced, nor prevent motorists from 'squeezing past', as you suggest.

    I used to be the archetypal 'vehicular cyclist' and still own a copy of 'Cyclecraft'. However, I now find myself in complete agreement with Fonant, especially regarding cycling with children and family. In some ways it seems to me that current cyclists are part of the problem. Do we really want cycling to be a democratic choice for everyone - young, old, male, female, fit, unfit? If so, we cannot continue with the status quo.

    1. I would have thought that I had done a fair bit to demonstrate that I was not content with the status quo and I like to think further that I am not part of the problem. Obviously a topic that raises strong passions.

    2. Perhaps we current cyclists are "part of the problem". I've seen the argument before. The solution is clear: give me something better (faster, straighter, more direct, safer), and I'll use it. But to regain mass UK cycling, good cycling facilities won't be enough. We also need to disadvantage motorists.

    3. I agree Snibgo (save for the first sentence). The proposed policy of allowing faster motor traffic in residential areas where a cycle track is installed would seem to me to be a big fail on disadvantaging motorists. It is interesting that some have read my observations as an attack on all segregated infrastructure. Build it by all means but allow me the choice of whether or not to use it, without sending the message that it is to get cyclists out the way so that motorists can go faster.

    4. That diagram is a relic of the Franklin era where separate facilities for cyclists were grossly misrepresented to the cycling community, it has nothing to do with what anyone asking for cycle provision today had in mind. The design in the diagram is dangerous by design as it encourages and facilitates dangerous behaviour from motorists. Much the same could be said for our current road network, the awful behaviour displayed by our motorists is a result of the cues they take from their environment. Without changing that environment, there will be little change in behaviour.

      Whilst the change doesn't have to be separation of modes, that is the only solution with a proven track record for improving cyclists' safety and making it viable as a mode of transport to the average person. Why reinvent the wheel?

      I fear that the vocal minority of sports enthusiasts who make up the majority of the minority that is British cyclists are holding back the cause of cycling for everyone because of the belief in the slippery slope fallacy; building what is needed for ordinary folk to cycle will result in the Sunday club runs being banned.

  4. If I read this blog entry correctly, your personal concerns are:

    (1) Segregated cycle tracks would not allow an average speed of 20mph for cyclists.
    (2) Segregated cycle tracks would increase conflicts with motor vehicles at side-road crossings.
    (3) The presence of segregated cycle tracks would encourage motorists to argue that bicycles should not be on the highway.

    In reply:

    (1) DfT local transport note 2/08, 2008, points 8.2.1 to 8.2.3 - Cycle tracks should be designed for speeds on 20mph. If that is not achieveable, alternative on-carriageway routes should be provided.

    If local councils are pushed to meet the standards laid out by the DfT, then speed should not be an issue. Cycle campaigners need to engage with their local councils to ensure that these standards are met. Non-cyclists may well be designing these tracks - but it is the duty of cycle campaigners to ensure that those designers are well-informed.

    Regardless of whether the cycle tracks meet DfT standards or not, there is no suggestion that bicycles should be banned from the highways - no cycle campaigners are calling for this, and all cycle campaign groups would strongly oppose this, whether they support segregated infrastructure or not.

    (2) The Dutch appear to handle the issue of junctions reasonably well. Perhaps we should be looking at how they design them? Slowing down motor traffic where it crosses the cycle track (with raised surfaces and tight turning circles), and giving motor vehicles space to leave the main highway before encountering the cycle track (so they can stop without worrying about being rear-ended), may help.

    There is also an argument that increased cycling numbers leads to increased safety for cyclists - as drivers of cars are expecting cyclists, and looking out for them. At the moment many car drivers do not look out for bicycles at junctions - even where the bicycle may have 'right of way'. If segregated cycle tracks could lead to a cycle modal share of 20% rather than the current 1%, surely the increased awareness would outweigh the disadvantage from the shift in road position?

    (3) A vocal minority of motorists have a blind and irrational hatred of bicycles and their riders. Introducing segregated cycle tracks would not increase that minority. They may be more vocal, but hopefully the up-swing in people who use bicycles would drown them out.

    For me, segregated cycle tracks are about building a culture of mass cycling - I want bicycle use to have a modal share of 40%+, and I do not see how enough non-cyclists can be persuaded to join motor vehicles on main roads to make that a reality.

    I cycle in the UK, so I practice vehicular cycling. I ride a Brompton, so I do not go as fast as a racing bike - the bag acts as a sail on the front. But I do go as fast as most cyclists could. Taking the lane requires constant acts of will power - I have to consciously take the lane, even when cars go past too closely, or when I can hear a large vehicle behind getting quite close. I can not see most non-cyclists being willing to expend that will power to take the lane and ride in a way that will keep them safe on main roads.

    This is not an argument about safety - it is an argument about the attractiveness of the bicycle as a mode of transport.

    That means cycling MUST be:
    (1) Pleasant
    (1a) No sense of battling
    (2) More convenient than the car for short/medium trips
    (2a) More direct than using a car
    (2b) Faster than using a car

    I campaign, and I want cycling organisations, to campaign on behalf of the millions of people who do not cycle, and who maybe do not realise that they can cycle.

    There are tens of thousands of existing cyclists who want to keep on riding on the roads. I do not want them to lose that right - and I would strongly oppose any moves to remove that right.

    But I hope that they understand that there are millions of people who do not want to cycle on main roads - segregated cycle infrastructure is for those millions, and they matter too.

  5. 20mph zones on their own are unenforceable with current policing levels and the risible lack of deterrent in law.
    It's the practice of allowing residential streets as rat runs that's also a problem. Arterial routes should allow motor traffic and have segregated cycle facilities. All residential areas should have blocks and no entry provisions to prevent their current use as overspill capacity for the arterial routes.
    It's not just about cycling any more. It's only when we see 6-12 yr old children playing together on our residential roads (as we did growing up) that we will have succeeded.

  6. Interesting debate, but surely the most powerful argument against segregation as the preferred option is that on the vast majority of roads in urban areas, and on many (most?) rural roads there is simply not enough space on roads for useful segregated cycle lanes.
    In the light of this, the only comprehensive solution has to be shared use and respect for non-motorised road users.

  7. I've read this post a number of times now and I'm still unclear what you're actually trying to say - or what you're in favour of. Go Dutch, and Cyclesafe, seem to be campaigning for:
    - Segregated cycle facilities
    - Lower speed limit that at present on roads where there are not segregated cycle facilities (no change on roads where there are)

    I’m not sure where the idea of a compulsion to use facilities comes from and I’m not aware that is the rule on the continent. I don’t believe any of us arguing for Go Dutch believe that should be the case. Like you I'm a 'sport' cyclist. I ride both road and mountain bikes and will spend a whole day doing it but comparing our requirements to those of a ‘commuter’ is like comparing a walk to the shop with training for a marathon.

    Segregation is the way to bring widespread acceptance of cycling and when the majority of motorists are cyclists as well behaviour and driver awareness changes. Fast road riders get respect in Europe because far more people ride. Riding the Tour of Flanders a few weeks back we were often on well constructed segregated cycle facilities that didn't require slow speeds.

    A 20mph limit *should* have significant impact on peak road speeds at all times (though minimal impact on overall journey times). It would stop the brake lights I see at the (30mph) speed cameras on Brixton Hill, Acre Lane, Clapham Common at all times of day. It would lower the speeds on my one way residential street that's used as a rat run and where the council measured *average* speeds at 27mph (ie significant volumes travelling at over 30mph). It would stop the 'drag race' on Blackfriars Bridge and Embankment.

    However 20mph alone, even when pretty well enforced, is not enough. Road riding in Richmond Park it's rare not to experience a dangerously close pass at least once a lap.
    Using segregated facilities *might* slow the speed of a ‘sport’ rider in more central parts of London but my own experience of switching between road, hybrid and my Brompton is that journey times within zone 2 are influenced very little by your peak moving speed – it’s waiting time at junctions that is the limiting factor. Proper “Dutch” facilities give increased priority to cyclists – more frequent green cycles, legal left turns, red lights as ‘stop’ signs. As sport cyclists we might get a bit less of a training ride sprinting between red lights on your way to work but I’d happily trade that (which I could offset with a little extra loop on the way home) for a city that was less dominated by motor traffic.

    Your presentation of that single piece of (unsourced) evidence to show the ‘general’ danger of segregated facilities is lazy and disappointed. The Wikipedia post here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segregated_cycle_facilities has a range of evidence both for and against but I would second the advice to read David Hembrow’s post (in response to this blog post http://manchestercycling.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/segregation-myths-2-segregated-cycle.html).

  8. It is a canard that there is insufficient room on our busiest roads for proper segregated infrastructure.
    Stratford Hight Street for example manages to support six lanes of traffic, on road parking and a central reservation between the Bow flyover and Romford road.
    Sharing the road has failed. We need proper segregation in the Dutch style if cycling is to prosper for everyone rather than those select few fit and fast enough to play in the traffic.
    Bill G

  9. The Dutch use a two-pronged approach (which they call Sustainable Safety):

    1. Busy roads and junctions have wide fast direct cycle tracks to protect people from busy motor traffic
    2. Smaller roads have 18mph (or less) speed limits and prioritise pedestrians (and bikes) and remove through motor traffic

    As other commenters have pointed out, the Dutch system is massively successful, encouraging a quarter of all journeys by bike (compared with <2% here), helping to make their streets three times safer for cycling than ours, so it's ridiculous to suggest it's inherently more dangerous

    Yes, good infrastructure has to work in tandem with improved driver behaviour, but the only true route to achieving the latter is mass cycling itself.

    The Dutch system has benefits vastly beyond improving safety for cyclists: it's about making nicer and safer places for people to live, and encouraging a population that's less dependent on its cars

  10. "I was not keen to hear Jon and James Harding propose as policy a 20 mph limit in residential areas but to be lifted to 30mph (in residential areas, I should stress) where there was a separate cycle track. James Harding was calling upon an unholy alliance between motorists wishing to go faster and cyclists seeking segregation."

    I don't think this is fair - indeed I think you may have misinterpreted Harding and Snow.

    The question from the chair was

    'If there was a system of a default 20 mph speed limit on local roads, would that be something the other panellists would support?'

    To which Harding responded -

    'In areas where there are not segregated cycle ways. We would argue for a 20 mph speed limit in residential areas where there are not segregated cycle ways.'

    Maybe Harding was unclear, but I read his comments as saying that 20 mph *should* be the speed limit in residential areas, which won't have segregated cycle paths - not, 'we will put in cycle paths in those residential areas that won't have 20 mph limits, and allow 30 mph in residential areas if we can put in cycle paths as well.'

    Certainly *my* position - and I think that of most campaigners for segregated provision on *main roads* - is for filtered permeability and much lower speed limits on all residential roads. The Dutch do not build cycle paths in residential areas - they block out through traffic and keep speeds low, both with limits and the design of the streets.

    Finally, Martin, have you been to the Netherlands? I am assuming you haven't - perhaps that is a bit unfair - but I think you would really enjoy cycling there, and you would grasp how the 'segregation' isn't a way of keeping cyclists out of the motorist's way, but instead a way of privileging cycling as a mode of transport. It is, incidentally, very, very easy to cycle at 20 mph on all the cycle paths I have used in the Netherlands.

    Nobody is in favour of the appalling off-carriageway provision we currently have in the United Kingdom.

  11. Sharing the road can be made to work, but it does require changes to roads - it won't happen just by wishing it. The basics are the widespread use of taming techniques (on main roads just as much as side roads) and the provision of continuous cycle lanes on main roads. There are some roads that can't realistically be tamed (because they need multiple traffic lanes) - they will need some form of segregation. But there aren't many of those (within Oxford, for instance, there are none).

    Much more widespread segregation could be made to work too, but it'd be a lot more expensive, as well as being genuinely difficult to fit in quite a lot of places (though that varies from place to place, obviously).

    I think the sane approach is to push the sharing/taming agenda much much harder, and see how far it takes us. There'll be plenty of opportunity to convert it into segregation if that ultimately proves necessary. But my experience in Oxford is that taming & cycle lanes will generally be enough.

  12. My earlier, longer, comment seems to have disappeared but in summary -

    - 20mph alone is not enough. It helps, but even in Richmond Park (where there is actually a reasonable level of enforcement), riding a road bike at a 'sport' level, it's unusual to complete a lap without someone passing dangerously close. It's still a 'through' route for traffic.

    - really good segregated cycle provision shouldn't slow down a commute. The difference in journey time doing my 9 mile commute across zone 2 changes remarkably little whether i wear lycra and ride my road bike or mountain bike or normal clothes on my Brompton. The limiting factor is junctions - priority for bikes and legal left turns on red could speed things up significantly.

    I see traffic brake for the few 30mph cameras we have in Brixton and Clapham and average speed on my 1 way residential street (which is a rat run) is 27mph. Peak speeds even on busy London roads are faster than you might expect -though only for very short stretches so a slower peak will have negligible impact on journey times but large positive impact on safety.

  13. I apologise for my misjudged irony: I reject the theory that current cyclists, however fast, are responsible for holding back the movement towards mass cycling.

    True, there are competing interests. The most powerful lobby wants cyclists off the roads and resists notions of disadvantaging motorists. Campaigners for active travel have different aims: to restore streets to people, or to reduce driving, or to increase cycling. These aren't necessarily contradictory but are different aims that encourage different strategies.

    Some cycling campaigners want segregation even if resulting routes are longer, hillier and twistier than the motorists have, but this won't tempt people out of cars. For facilities to have any significant effect, they must be better for all cyclists than the roads are. We must fight calls for compulsory segregation. Any separate facilities must be so good they are irresistable to cyclists. Only in this way can we make cycling the obvious choice over driving.

  14. Martin - I apologise if my earlier (clumsily worded) comment appeared to be a personal attack. It sincerely wasn't meant that way - your record and opinions are made quite clear by your superb blog.

    I was including myself in the comment about existing cyclists perhaps being 'part of the problem', but really didn't explain properly. Fortunately, Dr.C (and shatov) have made the point far more eloquently than I could.

    Many thanks for starting such an interesting and worthwhile debate.

    Don McConnell,
    Cheltenham, UK

  15. There isn't much to be gained from discussing the details of how to encourage cycling in the UK, and how to simultaneously make our roads safer: there is a well-known country that has done the research, and real-world prototypes and ongoing development, into exactly this. This research and development has been going on in earnest for three decades now, and they now even have dedicated machines for laying cycle paths quickly and efficiently and keeping them free from snow and leaves. Their facilities aren't compulsory for cyclists to use, but almost all cyclists chose to use them instead of the carriageway because the cycle facilities are just better for cyclists than the main carriageway.

    This country has the highest modal share for cycling in the world, and the safest roads for vulnerable roads users in the world too.

    This country may not, in fact, have any more "cyclists" than we have in the UK, but they certainly have a lot more people using bicycles for transport, with all the many benefits that gives society.

    This country has a very similar climate to ours, perhaps a little harsher in winter, has very similar range of towns and villages, and is closer to where I'm sitting on the south coast of England than Scotland is.

    1. I've blogged overnight on some of the same topics that Martin covers - and specifically how cyclists should vote in the London elections - here: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.de/2012/05/thoughts-on-electoral-cycle.html

  16. All good points powerfully made. I would suggest that we should be pressing for traffic calming on the roads and optional dutch-style infrastructure. The calming includes 20mph in residential areas, enforcement of the law and appropriate punishment of offenders. For ordinary 'non-cyclists' to cycle I agree that we need to make cycling more convenient than motoring.
    It is true I do not know Amsterdam but I do know Hounslow (to take an example). The A315 could have bollards across it at regular intervals as there is a convenient alternative though route for motorists (A30/A4) a very short distance to the north.
    I do still find it hard to interpret the answers given by James Harding (with which my President expressed agreement)in any way that would not give an excuse to LB Hounslow not to impose a 20 mph limit because there is a shared use facility marked on the pavement which has all the disadvantages that the infamous diagram conveniently represents. I am not suggesting for a moment that the diagram represents best practice in the Netherlands but I suspect I will have to wait a long time for first rate infrastructure to reach the A315 in Hounslow. Even when it does I want 20mph limits in residential areas because I have had enough of the pervasive car culture that inhibits the use of our streets by anyone other than motorists.
    Finally I will try out infrastructure when it comes and will use it if faster/safer than the alternatives. I have tried the cycle lane under the M4/A312 twice in the past two weeks and punctured both times.

  17. Education (drivers) not segregation!

  18. I also am sceptical of segregation for the simple reason that the current infrastructure we have is bloody awful and in many places makes cycling more dangerous. We also have unheeding pedestrians meandering across segregated cycle lanes so 20mph is never even achievable nevermind an average (assuming you ride sensibly).
    I don't believe good widespread infrastructure can be done well in this country, the motoring lobby have too much clout and too many road designers have no experience of cycling (point of interest, are there any road designers who don't drive?)
    I'd welcome segregated stuff being built while we retain the right to ride on the road, then if it does actually end up being safe and fast I'll be happy to use it. Unfortunately motorists don't want to share the road as it is now so if there is a badly designed, unsafe segregated bike lane next to the road I'm damn sure drivers will expect me to use it and make their feeling known (if the police don't do it for them as per daniel cadden) if I don't and there'll be even more animosity.

  19. James Harding is an apologist, "we're campaigning for 20mph but you can still have 30 when we scuttle off to the fringes out of your way". What about pedestrians, children etc? there's a damn good case for 20 on all residential streets but I guess they aren't on their current publicity bandwagon. (I welcome The Times highlighting this but I have misgivings about them being at the forefront of the current safety drive when there are more experienced cycle safety experts around who should be leading it)

  20. Interestingly (or rather sadly) enough, if I may say that I had two accidents within 2 months using Boris's cycle highway. Both of the times the motorists pulled across in a front of me while I was going straight ahead. I tried 2 out of the 3 types of collisions shown on the diagram and to be honest now I'm just completely avoiding from the dedicated cycle routes if possible.

  21. http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/another-visitor-to-the-netherlands-gets-it/

    seems relevant here. His conclusion is particularly well put -

    "Despite the decades-long proven track record of the Netherlands in demonstrating precisely how you make cycling available to all as an obvious and easy transport choice, a curious amount of effort seems to be expended in Great Britain dismissing that very same approach of the Netherlands, and instead attempting to persuade those who currently don’t cycle – including people of the same age and gender as those in the picture above – that cycling in the road, amongst and alongside buses, vans and HGVs, is something they might actually want to do"