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Iedereen schuift aan bij de Fietstafel

Fietsberaad - 20 hours 35 min ago

RAI, Fietsersbond, Zwolle, Groningen, Fipavo, Gelderland, Accell, CROW-Fietsberaad en nog heel veel anderen. Ze waren allemaal aanwezig bij de eerste Fietstafel van de Tour de Force op 26 november in Den Haag. Een ongekend aantal organisaties - met als gemeenschappelijke noemer de fiets - kwam daar bijeen om de plannen voor de komende vijf jaar te ontvouwen. 

Categories: News

Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid schrapt onderzoek fietsongevallen

Fietsberaad - 20 hours 35 min ago

De Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid heeft het onderzoek naar fietsongevallen geschrapt. Volgens de Raad gebeurt er al voldoende op dit vlak.

Categories: News

CED-member HOE360 Consulting expands their business to Xining, China

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 26 November, 2015 - 15:34

HOE360 have joined forces with Niels Jensen, experienced traffic planner from the Municipality of Copenhagen, to develop a training programme for the staff of the city council of Xining. The city council of Xining, the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau, wants to turn Xining into a bike-friendly city. Among other things, the aim is […]

The post CED-member HOE360 Consulting expands their business to Xining, China appeared first on Cycling Embassy of Denmark.

Categories: News

Watching the Amsterdam ferries

BicycleDutch - 25 November, 2015 - 23:01
Earlier this week I published a post about the new tunnel in Amsterdam that leads people walking and cycling to the ferries to get across the river IJ to the … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Cyclists are priceless for cities

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 25 November, 2015 - 14:12

A new Danish study shows that cyclists and pedestrians contribute to roughly 50 % of the revenue in retailing in the large cities’ centers and roughly 25 % in the small and medium-sized cities. The bicycle is the preferred means of transportation in city centers, and cyclists visit more shops per trip than car drivers. […]

The post Cyclists are priceless for cities appeared first on Cycling Embassy of Denmark.

Categories: News

Kosten-baten van fietsprojecten lastig te becijferen

Fietsberaad - 25 November, 2015 - 00:00

Kosten-batenanalyses voor fietsprojecten kunnen veel meer worden gebruikt dan nu het geval is. Maar het blijft een lastige klus om alle posten helder te krijgen.

Categories: News

One Year in The Netherlands

Pedestrianise London - 24 November, 2015 - 21:38

It’s been just over a year since we left London to move to the Dutch city of Rotterdam after 10 years of living in the British capital. The reasons for our move were many, and although we miss the roots we put down in London, overall we’ve settled into life here very quickly and easily.

The first 6 months was mostly spent getting settled into a new rented flat (twice the size of our London maisonette) and looking for our new permanent home, which we quickly found out was going to be this old little farm house in the middle of the Zuid Holland countryside.

We spend the next 3 months doing up the farm house and getting it into a state we could live in. We’ve been in for about 3 months now, it makes quite a change from living in the city.

“But how do you get to the city to work?” I hear you ask, good question, glad you asked it. A few weeks ago I tweeted my journey to work, but here I have a little more space to expand on it.

Being a sitting behind a computer at a desk while interacting with real people kind of a professional, I need to get to the office in the city everyday, and so that was priority number one for me. I was used to cycling 8 miles for an hour or so each way in London, so this wasn’t something I was afraid of, but it needed to be a realistic prospect. It turns out we’re about 14km from Rotterdam centre, which although doable is a tough call for me twice a day, so I banked on going multi-modal and mixing in a train trip via Gouda, two stops on the Intercity service from Utrecht.

Gouda is famous for its cheese, and to make cheese you need lots of cows and thus lots of farms. So my morning commute starts me off on a road across the polders between the farms. The road is narrow, single track, with passing places for vehicles, approximately 4 metres wide with water on either side and is pretty straight. The straightness combined with the narrowness means that it’s quite comfortable to ride along, vehicles can see and be seen from a long way off so there’s never a nasty surprise around the corner.

Morning traffic is mostly children cycling to school and people heading out to work from the houses along the road. It’s a through road, but makes up two sides of a square with two provincial roads, so it doesn’t make any sense to use it unless you are accessing property along it.

After a kilometre or two I get to the cycleway across the fields.

It looks (and is signposted) just like a regular side road, but the entranceway is only 2.5 metres across and the big blue cycle sign shows everyone that this road is only for bikes. Warning markings on the road warn traffic of the potential danger of bikes turning in or exiting from the cycleway, although there is no actual road hump/table.

This action shot shows the cycleway. It runs alongside the fields across to the village of Gouderak, linking our road with the village.

To get to Gouderak by car you have to go a longer way around, in principle there’s nothing from stopping this cycleway from having been a fullsized road (in fact it’s used by tractors to access fields) but if it was it’d mean that motor traffic from this direction would have to travel through the residential areas of Gouderak and would have a negative effect on the residents.

Like many villages in the area, Gouderak sits behind the dyke that keeps the river from the polders below.

Once through the houses, you emerge onto the dyke road through the village. This is the main road through the village, it is narrow and twisty with bad sightlines, but as you’d expect for a village street it has a 30kph speed limit and a brick surface that helps calm traffic.

Leaving the village, the surface changes to smooth asphalt with suggestion lines and red asphalt shoulders.

The suggestion lines have the result of visually narrowing the roadway to look singletrack, this is a common treatment in the region for dyke roads that carry motor and bicycle traffic to the villages and where road width is limited by the width of the dyke.

At the end of the dyke road we reach the Gouda ringroad which has a bi-directional cycleway running alongside it.

We join the cycleway and cross the ringroad at the roundabout. Bi-directional cycleways are common on out of town main roads where the cycleway can be physically separated from the roadway by a metre or more of verge, and there are no side turnings and only major junctions (roundabouts or light controlled junctions) with other roads to deal with.

Then we’re off ringroad cycleway and onto the city streets proper. Suggestion lines again but this time in an urban setting.

Overall this section is fine due to the low volume of motor traffic but it’s the worst part of my journey and would be much nicer if separate cycleways were added to each side of the road.

Note that trucks are banned from this road but only overnight (10pm til 6am) presumably due to night time noise.

Finally we reach Gouda train station and hunt for somewhere to park in amongst the sea of parked bicycles.

The journey is just over half an hour all in.

Many people I see cycling to the station cycle much shorter distances from within Gouda or from Gouderak, but there are many high school children cycling as far as myself or further from the villages to the school in Gouda. It is possible to drive and park at the station (€5 per day with a train ticket) but you have to approach the station on the main road from the other direction, the town side of the station has a minimal amount of paid on street parking.

Categories: Views

Cycling needs a backlash

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 24 November, 2015 - 12:42

Almost all of what passes for ‘cycling infrastructure’ in Britain has never generated a backlash, for one simple reason. It has never represented a direct challenge to the way our roads and streets are designed to prioritise motor traffic flow, without giving time or space to cycling in a way that might impinge on that prioritisation of motor traffic. That ‘infrastructure’ has never reallocated road space in any meaningful sense.

The cycle lane in the picture above did not generate any controversy when it was painted, because it gives up at the point when things get a bit difficult. A decision was made to allocate the fixed amount of carriageway space on the approach to the roundabout in the distance entirely to motor traffic – two queuing lanes – and so the ‘cycling infrastructure’ had to end. There was no backlash against this painted bicycle symbol, because it didn’t impinge on motoring in the way a protected cycleway, replacing one of those lanes of motor traffic, would.

In much the same way, the old painted lanes on Tavistock Place in London, captured in this photograph from Paul Gannon, generated no backlash – meaningless blobs of paint at the side of the road are not something anyone is going to excited about.

This contrasts starkly with the situation today. Camden Council have reduced the amount of space for motor traffic on this street to just one lane, allocating the rest of it to cycling. The two-way protected track on the north side of the street is now a one-way track, with the westbound motor traffic lane converted to a mandatory cycle lane. This has generated a furious backlash from taxi drivers, in particular.

In places where there is competing demand for the use of road space – in urban areas currently dominated by motor traffic flow – these kinds of decisions about what that space should be used for are inherently political. Reallocating road space, or re-directing motor traffic away from what we think should be access roads onto  main roads, are effectively  statements about what modes of transport we think people should be using for certain kinds of trips, and about what our roads and streets should be for.

David Arditti has astutely observed that in these places of competing demand, effective measures to enable cycling should be generating a backlash. If there is no backlash, then whatever it is you are doing is unlikely to make any significant difference. If you are designing a Quietway, for instance, and nobody is moaning about it – that probably means you aren’t doing anything to reduce motor traffic levels on the route so that it is genuinely ‘quiet’, or, alternatively, it means you are sending it on a circuitous and indirect route in order to avoid difficult decisions.

If you are designing a route on a main road and there is no backlash, again, something has probably gone wrong. You aren’t reallocating space and time at junctions; you aren’t moving parking bays where they get in the way of your infrastructure; you aren’t dealing with bus stops; you aren’t repurposing motor traffic lanes for cycle traffic.

London is experiencing a significant backlash against cycling infrastructure because, for the very first time, that cycling infrastructure is itself significant. It is a visible and clear statement that cycling should play a role in the transport mix of the city, rather than being completely ignored – it is a challenge to the status quo, rather than being an accommodation with it, in the form of shared use footways, or discontinuous painted lanes. Or (most often) nothing at all.

Of course this backlash is using all the tired, contradictory and even downright confused arguments about cycling infrastructure.

  • that it will ’cause’ congestion;
  • that this isn’t the Netherlands, people won’t cycle because of winter/hills/culture;
  • that ‘cyclists’ are a minority who don’t deserve special treatment;
  • that nobody will use the cycling infrastructure

In London, LBC radio seems to have emerged as a mouthpiece for these kinds of arguments, getting particularly excited (for some reason) about the fact that some people aren’t using Superhighway 5.

One of their reporters, Theo Usherwood, stood by the road for half an hour on the bridge, apparently in an attempt to demonstrate that the new infrastructure is pointless because a majority of people cycling northbound aren’t using it.

This is not hard to explain. Heading north across Vauxhall Bridge from the western approach on the gyratory, you would have to bump up onto a shared use footway, then wait for a crossing to get across the road to enter the Superhighway –

… and then deal with a slightly confusing junction on the north side of the river to get back to the left hand side of the road, where you were originally, just a few hundred metres down the road.

Given that there is also a bus lane northbound on the bridge (which the LBC reporter himself mentions someone using), it’s not hard to explain why a good number of people are choosing not to add this inconvenience to their journey. If Usherwood had bothered to ask anyone why they were not using CS5, he would have found this out for himself. But instead he was happy to parrot his statistics in isolation, as they fit into a pre-constructed narrative about how apparently pointless cycling infrastructure is.

Really, the problem here is the discontinuous nature of the infrastructure. It’s only ‘pointless’ for some users because so little of it has been built, meaning that, from some directions, people have to go out their way, pointlessly crossing the road twice (to go to the other side, and back again) to use it for a few hundred metres. The people using the cycling infrastructure will have been arriving from the Oval direction; those not using it will have arrived from the south. It’s that simple.

Equally, if there was a northbound cycleway on the western side of the bridge, linking up with cycling infrastructure on Vauxhall gyratory (plans for which have just been announced today) then I guarantee everyone would be using it. Indeed, statistics for southbound use of the CS5 (which doesn’t add any inconvenience to journeys) would show that nearly everyone is using it. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Andrew Gilligan comes to, in reference to an earlier ‘count’ Usherwood made –

I personally counted 750 cyclists using the Vauxhall Bridge track, more than 12 a minute, a figure which appeared in our press release. That, by the way, as the press release also stated, is a nearly 30% rise on the figure crossing the bridge before the track opened.

Why do you think Mr Usherwood made no mention of this, or of his earlier visit to the superhighway? Why, I wonder, did he hang around for several hours, until “just after lunch,” and until it had started raining, to begin his count and do his report? Could it be because he was trying to make the facts fit a pre-cooked agenda that there are no cyclists using the facility?

Usherwood also demonstrated a troubling willingness to strip passages from the emergency services’ responses to the Superhighways to imply they are opposed to them, when in fact they support them.

I’ve just dug out the the responses of all three emergency services to the Cycle Superhighway. The London Ambulance Service says the narrowing of the road could affect their – and I’m quoting here – ‘time critical lifesaving journeys’.

The Metropolitan Police is even more scathing Nick. It lists 14 separate concerns with the North-South route linking Elephant & Castle to Kings Cross. It says it will impact on response times, starting – and again I’m quoting – ‘increased congestion will result in longer travelling times for MPS officers coming into central London which will have an operational impact at times of prolonged public order demand.’ And it says that when it comes to transporting VVIPs like members of the royal family, or for that matter high risk suspects that need an armed guard – think terrorists here – it will have to close the opposite carriageway so that there is an escape route at all times for the Metropolitan Police convoy.

Clear enough, you might think – the emergency services are plainly up in arms about these schemes.

Except that if you refer to the document from which Usherwood stripped these quotes, it turns out that the Metropolitan Police, far from being ‘scathing’, actually support the North-South and East-West Superhighways.

Likewise the London Fire Brigade (not mentioned by Usherwood) also support this both Superhighways, and the City of London Police. The London Ambulance Service make no comment either in support or opposition of the Superhighway schemes, only voicing concerns about how it might affect their response times. Against this, all four of London’s major trauma centres; hospitals; and the London Air Ambulance service, have all voiced strong support for the Superhighway schemes.

So, far from being ‘scathing’, London’s emergency services actually support the Superhighways – but a listener to LBC would have gained precisely the opposite impression.

Of course, this kind of response – however misleading and incoherent it might be – is actually a sign that Transport for London is building cycling infrastructure that is effective, and that matters. It is making a statement that highway space shouldn’t just be solely for the flow of motor traffic; that cycling can and should be accommodated, for sound strategic reasons, set out by the Mayor himself.

With London’s population growing by 10,000 a month, there are only two ways to keep traffic moving – build more roads, which is for the most part physically impossible, or encourage the use of vehicles, such as bikes, which better use the space on the roads we’ve already got.

London – and other British cities – are starting to build something that people feel the need to oppose. That means something. Bring on the backlash.

Categories: Views

The Danish National Bicycle Strategy

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 24 November, 2015 - 09:09

The idea behind the bicycle strategy is to encourage more people to cycle. By giving new ideas to municipalities and other actors who would like to take part in the green transition and who wish to invest in cycling – making it easier for more people to cycle on an everyday basis. Denmark on your […]

The post The Danish National Bicycle Strategy appeared first on Cycling Embassy of Denmark.

Categories: News

Amsterdam Central Station Tunnel

BicycleDutch - 23 November, 2015 - 23:01
For the first time since the Amsterdam Central Station was built in the 1880s there is now a tunnel to pass straight under it. Last Saturday, 21 November 2015, it … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Cycling and Safety: change must take root in people’s minds

John Adams - 23 November, 2015 - 10:00


Last March I took part in a conference devoted to the promotion of cycling in Madrid. My presentation, in essay form, has now been published by World Transport: Policy and Practice. Herewith the abstract –

This essay is a response to an invitation to provide an overview of the current state of cycling in Britain, and more specifically London, for a conference in Madrid – a city, like London, striving to promote more cycling. The essay focuses on the importance of both the volume of motorised traffic and perceptions of safety as determinants, over time, of the volume of cycling. It notes the dramatic decline (over 95%) since 1950 in the road accident fatality rate in Britain as cyclists, pedestrians and motorists competed for the right to the use of limited road space and how, in selected areas of London, cyclists are in the process of regaining their right to the road.

And here is Figure 7 from the essay:

From 1950 to 1973 (the year of the energy crisis) the number of kilometres cycled in Britain plummeted – by about 80%. Over the same period the fatal risk of cycling, per kilometre, increased dramatically. The enormous increase in motoring was, physically, driving cyclists off the road. This displacement was officially sanctioned by what became known as the “predict and provide” policy underpinning transport planning. Forecasters were employed to predict future levels of car ownership and car use, and official policy was to provide sufficient road space to accommodate the forecasts. At public inquiries into road-building plans the problems of cyclists and pedestrians did not feature.

Their problems are only now beginning to be acknowledged as issues deserving of consideration alongside those of motorists stuck in traffic jams. Change does appear to be taking root in people’s minds.

The published paper can be found here (starting on page 10) – http://worldtransportjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/29th-Oct-opt.pdf

Categories: Views

‘Maak van het fietspad geen autosnelweg’

Fietsberaad - 23 November, 2015 - 00:00

De verkeerskundige eisen voor fietsinfrastructuur en termen als „Fietssnelweg? leiden tot het beeld van een fietsroute als autosnelweg: gestrekt, comfortabel, zonder oponthoud voor de fietser en voorzien van herkenbare benaming en bebording. Maar in hoeverre moet een autosnelweg inspiratie zijn voor een snelle fietsroute?

Categories: News

Tekort van 115.000 fietsparkeerplaatsen voorzien in 2020

Fietsberaad - 22 November, 2015 - 00:00

Op dit moment zijn landelijk circa 455.000 fietsparkeerplaatsen bij stations beschikbaar. De prognose voor 2020 laat een landelijke behoefte zien van circa 570.000 plekken. Naar 2030 neemt deze behoefte verder toe.

Categories: News

Cateye subscription promotion!

Velo Vision - 21 November, 2015 - 17:08

Win one of two new Cateye HL-EL020 hybrid lights currently retailing at around £30!

For us people in the northern hemisphere, the nights are ‘drawing in’, and up here there appears to be about six hours of light every day. Boo ;-(

Anyway, the perfect time I think, to set up a subscription promotion!- anyone who buys a new print subscription or print renewal in the month from now* will be automatically entered into the prize draw.

Hybrid light, runs from solar rechargeable NiMH cell or AA cell, both enclosed within one compact front light.

Existing subscribers who have already renewed, are invited to introduce someone new to Velo Vision—tell us the name of the existing subscriber when making the purchase and you they also be entered.

Prizes will be posted to arrive in time for Christmas (UK winners), or shortly after to overseas.

New subscriptions: NEW Print subscriptionCurrently, magazines are published every 4-6 months and we intend to gradually increase publishing frequency.

One renewal comprises two magazines.

Subscriptions will not expire over time– only when we deliver a magazine it is deducted from your subscription.

Extended subscriptions are available– just select x2 (four magazines) in the quantity field.

If you are a past subscriber, you may still take advantage of the price-frozen renewal offer here: subscription renewals.

Price: £14.00Delivery to : UKMainland Europe [+ £4.00]Rest of world [+ £8.00]
Starting : from current issue (VV49)from next issue (VV 50)

If this item is a gift, you can write a note here. Please enter recipient’s delivery address:
Print renewal: Print subscription RENEWALCurrently, magazines are published every 4-6 months and we intend to gradually increase publishing frequency.

One renewal comprises two magazines.

Subscriptions will not expire over time– only when we deliver a magazine it is deducted from your subscription.

Extended subscriptions are available– just select x2 (four magazines) in the quantity field.

This product is for subscription renewals only– click here for new subscriptions.

Price: £12.00Delivery to : UKMainland Europe [+ £2.00]Rest of world [+ £4.00]

If your details have changed, or
anything else relating to this renewal,
please tell us here:
Terms, in addition to our standard terms:

*last entry midnight on 14th December 2015.
Unlimited number of entries per individual.
Winners will be chosen randomly.
No cash equivalent available.
The ‘introduce a subscriber’ entry for existing subscribers will count as one entry and prize will be shipped to either individual.
Promotion limited to NEW and RENEW print subscriptions only.

Categories: News

Danish Cycling Games gain popularity in South America

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 20 November, 2015 - 13:06

Fostering a new generation of young cyclists through Cycling Games is an important step towards getting more people to use the bicycle as their preferred means of transportation. The Danish concept, Cycling Games, has gained popularity in Colombia and the aim is to spread it further across South America.  “Cycling Games is the most perfect way […]

The post Danish Cycling Games gain popularity in South America appeared first on Cycling Embassy of Denmark.

Categories: News

Copenhagenizing Paris

Copenhagenize - 20 November, 2015 - 09:00

I'll be speaking in Paris today - 21 November 2015 - about bicycle urbanism and lessons to be learned from Copenhagen.

Paris has declared that it aims to be the world's best bicycle city in the world by 2020. This is simply not possible with the current sub-standard understanding of Best Practice infrastructure. The current Mayor Anne Hildalgo, has some good ideas, which we've reviewed here, but until the City understands the basics of bicycle infrastructure,  not much is going to happen.

While there are good examples of the City employing Best Practice infrastructure (above left) there are still strange things imagined in the heads of engineers and planners who have little idea of how to do it. Like the weird bi-directional stuff you see like above, right.

Or using bus lanes as bicycle lanes on long boulevards where buses can get up to speed (above, left), or strange turn lanes like atabove, right.

Best Practice has been established. It's ridiculous to try and reinvent the wheel. Copy-paste. It's that simple.

If the iconic Champs-Élysées were to be done properly, it would look a bit like this. We would probably run a wide, green meridan down the middle to further reduce the traffic so it didn't keep on looking like a Robert Doisneau photograph from the 1950s:

It's all so simple. Paris should realise that.

We have covered The Arrogance of Space related to Paris in this article. Using as an example the intersection, above, below the Eiffel Tower. You can see the Arrogance of Space in that link. But what would it look like if proper infrastructure were applied?

Safer, better, more modern. A total redemocratisation of the urban space. Benefiting pedestrians and cyclists and taming the most destructive force in cities - the automobile. This is designed for humans. Not engineered for cars.

It's simple if Paris wants it to be. If they dare to do it. Without this kind of redesign, they will do little for modernising transport in the city.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

A tour of London's emerging cycle network

Vole O'Speed - 20 November, 2015 - 01:19
This Sunday I will be leading a pre-emptive tour of some of the most promising cycle infrastructure currently under development in London. It's pre-emptive because much of it is not yet finished. Therefore it won't be as particularly pleasant ride because in parts we will have to cycle outside not-ye-open cycle lanes tussling with the motor traffic. However, I think it is worth seeing what is going on and assessing it at this stage. Some of it is open and can already be enjoyed.

There are three start points, starting from near my house and working in though Brent. They are:

11:00 am Kingsbury tube station
11:45 am Gladstone Park railway bridge (at the south end of Parkside NW2)
12:05 pm Queens Park Station car park

Under-construction segregated cycle tracks. Larger map here.This map shows approximately (not exactly) the recently-completed and under construction segregated cycle tracks in London. It also shows the location of Brent's not-yet-approved Carlton Vale scheme. This was the starting-point for planning the ride, to take in as many of these locations as possible. (But starting from the NW, it proved necessary to leave out Cycle Superhighway 3 and the east part of the East-West Superhighway).

There's no infrastructure to speak of on the ride before reaching Queens Park, though just past Gladstone Park a pile of stuff is encountered in Park Avenue North, which I suspect is the first sign of construction of Quietway 3 in Brent.

Quietway 3 will run from Regent's Park to Gladstone Park in its first phase, with hopefully an extension across the north Circular towards Wembley and Harrow later (though that will be in the lap of the next Mayor).

Near the final pick-up point at Queens Park Station we will pause to have a look at the Brent section of Carlton Vale, with a large and crumpled copy of the plans for semi-segregated cycle tracks that I have in my possession. These have not yet been put to public consultation, so this is a good stage to feed suggestions for improvement back to the designer.

The next stage of the ride is to look at the location of the future East-West Superhighway in Hyde Park. Unfortunately to get there is to try to pass through a terribly bike-impermeably part of London, through the need to cross the Westway, Grand Union Canal and Paddington railway corridor. There is no legal way through here north-south for cyclists between Royal Oak (Lord Hill's Bridge) and the Edgware Road, both of which are most unpleasant, a gap of 1km. If the East West Superhighway is extended to the A40, as planned, and if Westminster build their Quietway network, this barrier might one day be surmounted. But it is not clear to me how it will be, or if the planners of the grid have realised what problem this is.

The best that we can do on Sunday is to get off and walk. After passing through the pedestrain-only underpass at Porteus Road, we reach the next pedestrain-only bridge across the Grand Union Canal at the Paddington Central development.

That such a poor piece of pedestrian infrastructure was created so recently in such an important place is quite shocking. Forget about not being bale to cycle across it: how could a wheelchair user negotiate a corner like this?

Proceeding via the pedestrain-only waterside and primitively-cobbled path leading to London Road by Paddington Station, we will cycle to Hyde Park there we see signs of action.

The E-W superhighway will go via the West and South Carriage Drives, which we will follow. This routing is clearly intended to take pressure off the shared (separated) paths Rotten Row and Broad Walk, though I doubt how successful this strategy will be, as Broad Walk and North Carriage Drive will represent a shorter route. We will then follow an old London Cycle Network route, sadly under-engineered, which was originally known as the Ambassadors' Route when created in the early 1980s (it features prominently in this film). This takes us to Pimloco where we can discover what has been built of the north end of Cycle Superhighway 5 in Vauxhall Bridge Road. This is where things start to get impressive.

This sets the pattern for what we will see on the rest of the ride. Here we have a 4m wide two-way cycle track separated by low kerbs from both pavement and road, clearly set-out. We'll be able to observe how, for example, the pedestrian crossings like this one work. This continues to the crossing of Vauxhall Bridge.

On the south side of the river the passageway is clear and safe, though not always so wide, through the previously-notorious Vauxhall Gyratory system and under the railway. Segregation continues at the standard shown above to Kennington Oval, whereafter CS5 reverts to the old-style painted blue blobs. We, however, will turn left to join CS7 on Kennington Park Road. This is not particularly impressive until one gets near Elephant and Castle, where what appears to be a temporary arrangement takes us, very clearly signposted, through a churchyard and via some minor streets, on to the new CS 6 on St George's Road.

Though this is not the most direct route between Elephant and Castle and Blackfriars Road, the cycle track is again impressively implemented. It leads into similar engineering still being built on the west side oft Blackfriars Road, via a signalised crossing of the St George's Circus roundabout. We will be able to judge the efficiency of these junctions for cyclists. My impression was that they are good. By this stage in the ride we have already seem probably more of the low-level cycle signals than anybody else in the UK. These fantastically sensible features have only just been approved for use, and Transport for London are rolling them out on these tracks.

The track is not yet constructed on Blackfriars Bridge or the slip road off it, but we can see where it will be. The Thames was looking quite choppy when I took these photos on Wednesday.

We will find, I hope, that we can then cycle a substantial section of the Embankment Superhighway going westwards which is not yet officially open. Here are the works between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridges.

And here is the section already in use, approaching Westminster Bridge, with the wide segregating island designed so that coach parties can congregate on it without spilling into the track, and chamfered kerb to minimise the chance of pedal-strike. This has already become an 'iconic' view of London, to those of us of a kerb-nerd disposition.

Parliament Square is as awful as always; work on the cycle crossings here has not yet started. We will head up now through the West End, as best we can, showing where another of the serious gaps in the infrastructure is that is in the City of Westminster's court to solve. Charing Cross Road is a disaster-area that desperately needs complete re-planning including Space for Cycling, or most of the traffic removed. It is a disaster equally for those on bikes as those stuck in the permanent queues in buses and taxis. It just doesn't work as it is.

We reach more civilised territory as soon as we cross the border into Camden. The Borough of Camden deserves huge credit for over the last twenty years rationally re-planning and upgrading its traffic network, particularly in the south of the borough, with an emphasis on removing traffic from residential (and some business) neighbourhoods, and facilitating cycling. I have covered the history of Camden's cycle network extensively on this blog. Particularly deserving of credit is the Camden Cabinet Member for the Environment, their roads supremo, Councillor Phil Jones, who has lead a serious expansion of the segregated cycle network in the borough (which was already the only one deserving the name in London), using the money made available by Transport for London under the Mayor Boris Johnson's cycling programme, and, particularly, has bitten the bullet and ordered the doubling of capacity of the East-West segregated cycle link through Bloomsbury (the old London Cycle Network route 0, or the Seven Stations link), so brining to the originally-intended standard the link planned and lobbied for by Paul Gannon, Paul Gasson, myself, and other members of Camden Cycling Campaign in the early 2000s. I need also to mention that the current members of CCC have campaigned energetically for this outcome.

We will see on our ride how this work is progressing. The original two-way cycle track on the north side of the road is being converted to a one-way track eastbound within the same width, and a new westbound track is being constructed using semi-segregating Orcas (already used in Waltham Forest and planned for use on Carlton Vale in Brent). Hence the cycle capacity of this incredibly popular link is being doubled, through a whole lane of motor traffic being removed and the whole of the corridor converting to one-way operation for motor traffic. Moreover, the motor flows are being opposed on opposite sides of Gower Street, so removing the corridor as a rat-run entirely. This is exactly how the Dutch so frequently use one-way working for motors in dense city centres to eliminate through traffic, and it is great to see a London borough applying this concept. The reduction in traffic on the corridor and simplification of the whole system should remove the junction problems that have existed on this route in its previous design. The separation of the east and westbound flows of cyclists will remove the risk of cycle-cycle collisions in the old confined space. Pedestrian facilities are being improved as well. It's a win all round.

There is a major backlash (mostly from the black cab lobby) against the scheme already and it is important that Camden Council recieves lots of support for the scheme. As Camden Cyclists state on their website,
If you like the scheme when you have tried it, tweet about it with #taviplace or send an e-mail to Camden Council: torringtontavistocktrial@camden.gov.uk to help ensure that the supporting voices outweigh those of the objectors – who will undoubtedly be many. ‘Winning the peace’ also entails all who use the new scheme riding legally and courteously so as to maintain the respect of local residents.
Not everything Camden has done for cyclists in recent years has been quite so clever. After experiencing this (unfinished) project we head up to Kings Cross and St Pancras and on curious thing we experience is the Pancras Road tunnel under the railway (below) where the cycle lane is the bit bewtween the solid white line and the segregating island, coming into collision with the left-turning stream of traffic. The bit between the segregating island and the pavement is... wait for it... a taxi lane! And the taxi drivers have the nerve to be ungrateful to Camden now over Tavistock Place!

In the northern part of Pancras Road Camden are doing better, with new stepped cycle tracks, which we will also experience, before finding our way to the  northbound Royal College Street cycle track, which has had some subtle improvements since I last posted about it immediately it opened. We will then follow the route along Pratt Street and Delancey Street that will be going ahead for upgrade to two-way cycling in the next phase of Camden's Cycle Grid programme. From there the old LCN route on Gloucester Avenue and King Henry's Road takes us towards Swiss Cottage (this notorious gyratory also programmed to be reformed for the construction of CS11 up the Finchley Road next year) and thence back towards the side's tarting points in Brent.

I think the ride will give a good overview of how a proper cycle network for London is now starting to emerge,. For me, as I explained recently in a long, personal post, the story began in the late 1990s with the campaign in Camden for the original Royal College Street segregated cycle track (now replaced), a pioneering feature in London then, and then the campaign for the Seven Stations Link. These pieces of infrastructure established and demonstrated the principles that we are now seeing rolled out on a much larger scale in the new Superhighways. Boris Johnson recently in commented the London Assembly that 'Virtually every cabined member has ticked me off for the Cycle Superhighways', and I think this shows what a fundamentally unpopular course in the British political setup he has chosen to follow here, and how much credit he deserves for doing something really rather good, that will undoubtedly be the major legacy of his mayoralty. Also deserving of credit is his Cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, for pushing recalcitrant officials and recalcitrant boroughs into action on the Mayor's programme. When he was appointed in 2013, many wondered if, as a journalist,  if he was appropriately-qualified for the job, but I commented at the time that his skills as a propagandist might just be those most needed in the role, and I think I was right.

It's a fragile legacy. The next mayor has it in his or her power to get on with the programmes, fill in the worst gaps (for example north-south across the West End), connect up all the segregated Superhighways, extend them into all the outer boroughs, build more mini-Hollands like the successful Walthamstow one, break the major barriers in Outer London like the North Circular, and enhance the quality of the Quietways. Or he or she has it in their the power to effectively abort the programme and leave the lovely pieces of engineering that we are now seeing in their glistening newness as sad stubs and monuments to what might have been, a transport revolution never delivered. As Cyclists in the City has recently commented, though the Green and Liberal Democrat candidates for Mayor in 2016 (who are not likely to win) seem highly committed to continuing the cycling programme, the commitment of the Conservative and Labour candidates, Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Kahn is really not very clear from what either of them has said so far. It's going to be another close race for Mayor in 2016, and the vote of cyclists is going to make a difference. I invite the two of them to commit clearly now to completing the current programmes and thereafter to further major expansion of high-quality cycling infrastructure, maintaining at least the current level of expenditure on cycling in London.

In the shorter term, I invite you, if you casn make it, to my tour of London's developing cycle network on Sunday.

Categories: Views

Against shared use

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 19 November, 2015 - 12:35

One of the most baffling aspects of British cycling policy is the contrast between the periodic clampdowns on ‘pavement cycling’ (and the intolerance to this kind of activity in general) and the way cycling is actually designed for by most councils across the country – namely, with shared use footways, and shared paths.

Footway cycling is simultaneously something that people hate, and that the police expend resources on dealing with, while at exactly the same time councils are putting cycling on footways, and lumping cycling with walking on new paths, bridges and underpasses.

To take just one example – there are undoubtedly many – Reading’s cycling strategy has this to say.

… we recognise that cyclists have varying abilities and needs. As a result, we will consider providing off-carriageway facilities by officially re-designating a footway to permit cycling when there is a high proportion of inexperienced cyclists and children to cater for, and the alternative is a busy traffic distributor route or to improve route continuity.

What this really amounts to is a lack of willingness to design cycle-specific facilities that would be suitable for any user, whatever their abilities and needs. Shared use footways are the lazy, tick-box option; roads and streets already have footways alongside them, so just punting cycling onto the footway is an easy way of dealing with the problem of hostile roads that are too hostile to cycle on for the majority of the population.

This, of course, puts cycling into conflict with walking – which is annoying for pedestrians, and for people cycling, whether it is legal, or not, and which of course provokes the periodic ‘clampdowns’ on those stretches of footway where cycling isn’t legal. Meanwhile telling the difference between footways that allow cycling, and that don’t, is often rather difficult – this case is a typical example.

If we’re allowing cycling on some footways, it is completely incoherent that it should be illegal on identical footways a few hundred metres away, or even on the same stretch of footway. The incoherence exists because the footway is a convenient place to put cycling if you can’t be bothered to do a proper job where it gets difficult; blobs of footway cycling on an overall network of footways where cycling isn’t allowed are a natural result of a policy building ‘cycle routes’ that take the path of least resistance, from point A to point B. Councils are against footway cycling; except when it’s a convenient way of dealing with a problem.

Illegal here

Legal here

Cycling and walking are different modes of transport, and should be catered for separately.  Indeed, as Brian Deegan of Transport for London has rightly said, we should be building ‘roads for bikes’ – an excellent way of capturing the broad design philosophy required.

A ‘junction’ on Superhighway 5 in London, with a footway. Designed and marked like a road for motor vehicles would be – but for cycles.

When we drive around in motor vehicles, we don’t ever drive on footways (except to cross them to access private properties, or to cross in to minor side streets, in those rare places continuous footways exist). And precisely the same should be true for cycling. In the Netherlands you will never be cycling on a footway. You will cycling on roads for bikes, designed everywhere for this specific vehicular mode of transport.

A road for motor vehicles, with a road for cycles alongside it.

Naturally where people are walking in significant numbers, a footway, separated from the cycleway in much the same way you would build a footway alongside a road – is provided. This limits conflict between these two modes of transport. People walking can travel at their own pace, not worrying about possibly coming into conflict with people travelling faster on bicycles.

Footways aren’t provided everywhere, of course. In places where very few people are walking – out in the countryside, for instance – it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to build them alongside a cycleway.

People can walk on this ‘road’ for cycles; the volumes of people walking are low enough that conflict will not be a problem. Indeed, there is guidance in the Dutch CROW manual that states explicitly when footways should be provided. Above around 160-200 pedestrians per hour, per metre of width – which would mean, for instance, a 3m bi-directional cycleway like this one should have a footway for pedestrians if there are more than eight pedestrians, per minute, crossing a hypothetical perpendicular line across the cycleway.

By analogy, this is the same kind of situation as on a country lane, where we don’t build footways for pedestrians, because there aren’t very many of them to justify it, nor is motor traffic fast enough, or large enough in volume, to do so. This situation above amounts to a 3m ‘country lane’, used only by people cycling and walking – albeit one alongside a road for motor traffic.

This is a crucial distinction; the Dutch don’t cycle on ‘shared use footways’, but instead on roads for bikes, that people can walk on, where there wasn’t a need for a footway. This means that junctions are designed for cycling, not for walking, avoiding these kinds of ambiguous bodges you encounter on shared use footways in Britain.

A smooth and reasonably wide path – but what happens at junctions? Footway-style design.

Priorities clear with roads for bikes. (Notice how footway appears alongside ‘cycle road’ within town limits)

Lumping cycling in with walking ducks these crucial issues of cycle-specific design. It’s easy to put cycling on footways, but it presents significant design and safety problems at junctions, as well as storing up trouble for the future – shared use footways are not a place where large numbers of people cycling will mix easily with walking. They are a ‘solution’ (if they are even that) only for the current low-cycling status quo.

This issue extends beyond footways to paths, bridges, routes and tunnels. If we were starting from scratch, we wouldn’t combine walking and cycling on a busy 3-4m footway alongside a road – so it baffles me why we design the two modes together on brand new bridges and paths in areas that will have high footfall. The new shared bridge in Reading seems to me to be a recipe for conflict, especially if cycling levels increase.

‘Sharing’ in this kind of context makes cycling slow, and walking uncertain and less comfortable; precisely the same kind of difficulties we might expect on a shared use footway with equivalent numbers of pedestrians using it.

Problematically, some councils even see lumping walking and cycling together as a way of slowing cycling down. This effectively amounts to using pedestrians as mobile speed bumps, in much the same way people cycling are used as traffic calming on new road layouts with deliberately narrowed lanes, and it’s bad policy for much the same reasons. If you’re using humans to slow down other modes of transport, that means discomfort.

It’s far better for both modes to separate; to provide clear, dedicated space for walking and for cycling. That doesn’t mean dividing up inadequate space, of course, but providing adequate, separated, width for both parties. Two examples from Rotterdam, below – the first a small bridge on a path to a suburban hospital –

The second the main tunnel under the (enormous) Rotterdam Centraal train station.

In each case, conflict is removed – people walking can amble at their own pace, while people cycling have clear passage, travelling along with people moving at roughly the same speed as them.

Lumping cycling in with walking might be easy, and not require much thought, but it’s a bad solution for both modes of transport, and will become increasingly bad if cycling levels increase.

Categories: Views

Gehl Architects receives innovative reward for outstanding architecture

Cycling Embassy of Denmark - 18 November, 2015 - 13:30

Gehl Architects was recently rewarded with the “Initiative Prize” 2015 awarded by the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) for their work in creating great living spaces in cities all over the world. Transforming cities around the world With inspiration from the way of life in Copenhagen, Gehl Architects has played an important role in transforming […]

The post Gehl Architects receives innovative reward for outstanding architecture appeared first on Cycling Embassy of Denmark.

Categories: News

Snorfiets kan naar de rijbaan

Fietsberaad - 18 November, 2015 - 08:48

Minister Schultz gaat het voor gemeenten mogelijk maken de snorfiets naar de rijbaan te verplaatsen. Maar het is nog niet definitief besloten of ze dan verplicht een helm moeten dragen.

Categories: News


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