Cycle Infrastructure - Set Menu, or À La Carte?
David Hembrow’s recent comments have got me thinking. What’s the secret to getting more poeple on their bikes? Things that can and are being done to varying degrees include (in no particular order):
- Cycle lanes. Actually cycle lanes that mean something, rather than just being tokenistic jestures, that vanish at the first sign of difficulty in their implementation.
- Segregated cycle routes
- Cycle routes that join up the places people would otherwise drive between
- Decent signposting and maps
- [Free] cyclist training
- Bike to work cash incentives - either paid as your ride, or to finance the up-front price of your ride.
- Provision of secure bike parking - at work, in town, at home, wherever.
- Role models in public life (Mayor of London, Borris: Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he’s noticeable!)
- Everyday role models. Like the stuff you see on Copenhagenize, Copenhagen Cycle Chic or Amsterdamize.
- But they’re in glamourous, far-away locations (unless you live in Amsterdam or Copenhagen). So what about YOU (and me) acting as role models? Rolling past the queues of traffic (stopping at the red light, of course), with a smile on your face says an awful lot about how much fun it is to ride. Seeing someone do this is what got me back on my bike.
- Getting controversial . . . cutting cars out of certain parts of town to make them bicycle friendly
- Public promotion of cycling. Given how much local councils spend on advertising how brilliant they are, would it hurt to divert some of that cash to cycling campaigns?
- Joined up infrastructure. It used to be easy-peasy to take your bike on a train - just turn up & sling it in the guard’s car. Not any more - you need to book in advance, space is limited, etc. Bah! And you’re not even allowed to take your bike on the Tyne & Wear Metro at all. Double-Bah!
- Minimum specifications for bike locks.
- Campaigns in schools to get kids cycling to school & building a habit.
- Enforce ‘residents only’ parking within 400yds of schools so as to really discourage school-run cars.
- Planning / building regulations to stipulate provision for bicycle parking in new developments.
- Have UK councils set ambitious targets for cycling instead of ones that are so un-stretching that it would be harder to miss than to achieve them.
- A return to decent fuel prices. Something around £2 per litre as a starting point.
- Technological solutions - bikes that can take a week’s shopping (uh, dude - the Danes and the Dutch already do them), bikes with RFIDs fitted so they’re easy to identify when stolen, bikes with roll-flat tyres that don’t deflat when you get a puncture, bikes with lights built-in (uh, dude - they already do them too)
- Bikes built for comfort rather than speed
- Bike shops marketing transport rather than recreation
- Shower facilities. Though you don’t really need ‘em.
- Low cost / free mass bike hire schemes. Like that ever-so chic Vélib’ scheme in Paris.
- Looking after bike lanes - that means daily snow clearance if you live in that sort of climate, but also ensuring that their surfaces are smooth and free of potholes.
- Ensuring that bikes have priority at junctions.
- Where segregated cycle lanes cross roads, give the bikes priority. There’s nothing more likely to keep me cycling on the road rather than the dedicated lane than if I have to stop for every junction I pass.
- Putting cycling into mainstream media. The Sunday Times ‘Backpeddler’ column is an example of this.
- etc. I’m sure there are more!
My question is . . . what are the things that should be done? It is a case of there being one cornerstone that if only we could put in place, cycling would really take off, creating the demand for all the rest? Or are there a few vital ingredients that you could pick and choose from (depending on location, budget constraints, etc) to get the same results? Or is it that this isn’t an à la carte menu, and to get any kind of real uptake in cycling, you’ve gotta bite the bullet and do ‘em all?
What do you think?
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 10/16/2008
- Total Time: 1:09:00.00
- Distance: 17 miles
- Average Speed: 14.78 mph