Views

Construction of a town to town cycle path

BicycleDutch - 1 June, 2014 - 23:45
Koen is one of my Dutch followers and he documented the construction of a rural cycle path between the villages of Leusden and Achterveld in the province of Utrecht. He … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Construction of a town to town cycle path

BicycleDutch - 1 June, 2014 - 23:45
Koen is one of my Dutch followers and he documented the construction of a rural cycle path between the villages of Leusden and Achterveld in the province of Utrecht. He … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Transport for London show contempt for danger reduction and cycling

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 30 May, 2014 - 18:14

Transport for London (TfL) has today taken its behaviour over the “Cyclists stay back” stickers farce to a new low. We believe it has shown contempt for the main cycling and danger reduction organisations who have tried to get it take a rational approach to this issue:

Background

Stickers were issued by TfL in mid-2014, following consultation with cycling groups, for positioning on lorries where there are particular problems with drivers having difficulty in seeing cyclists on their near sides. The wording was somewhat contentious, and more importantly, they were never intended for use on other types of vehicle. Despite this, they found their way on to buses, vans, cars and even taxis.
There is a major problem of drivers not using nearside mirrors (in contravention of Highway Code Rules 159,161,163, 169, 179, 180, 182, 184, and 202 ) associated with a significant proportion of incidents where cyclists are hit by motor vehicles. Even the AA has shown awareness of this issue through a campaign encouraging drivers to look in their wing mirrors.

Accordingly representatives of The Association of Bikeability Schemes (TABS), the national cyclists’ charity (CTC), the national road crash victims’ organisation (RoadPeace), the Road Danger Reduction Forum (RDRF) and the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) wrote to TfL requesting withdrawal of the stickers from the wrong kinds of vehicle, and better wording on stickers where their use may be justified (HGVs and maybe buses and coaches).

After some months TfL gave a rather confused response – it appeared to be unaware that we were concerned primarily with the behaviour of drivers of vehicles other than lorries – to which we had to reply.

 

…and now

1. Transport for London have not responded to our organisations – but have issued statements to the transport professionals’ fortnightly Local Transport Today published today (30th May) The text is here:

Removing cycle safety stickers too tricky – TfL

Transport for London has no intention of asking firms in London to remove ‘Cyclists stay back’ stickers from their vehicles.
Cycling and road safety groups have criticised the stickers, saying the wording of the message is unsuitable because it implies cyclists are “second-class road users” (LTT 16 May). They are particularly unhappy that the stickers have appeared not only on HGVs – which can trap cyclists on their nearside when turning left – but on buses and vans as well.
But a Transport for London spokeswoman told LTT it would take a “substantial amount of time and money to remove the existing stickers from circulation, effort that would otherwise be devoted to improving the safety of vulnerable road users”. On the concern that stickers now appear on vans, buses and HGVs, she said: “It would be incredibly resource-intensive to differentiate between and enforce the distribution of stickers for different vehicle types.”
Ben Plowden, TfL’s director of surface strategy and planning, said: “We are not aware of any evidence that suggests the design of these stickers is reducing their effectiveness in promoting safer behaviour among van, lorry drivers or cyclists. We are always open to suggestions about how we can improve safety and we will look at whether the design of future stickers should be changed to further improve their value.”
National Express is to fit stickers for cyclists to its coach fleet. The stickers, designed with Sustrans, state: ‘Caution: blind spots, please take care’.

 
2. The whole issue of driver responsibility towards road users on the nearside of their vehicles is not addressed. As Roger Geffen of the CTC says:

TfL says it knows of no evidence that these stickers are changing drivers’ behaviour, but that’s only because nobody has looked for the evidence. However an inquest has been told that a deceased cyclist had failed to observe a “cyclists stay back” sticker, as if that somehow meant they were at fault. We also know of a case where a cyclist, who had been cut up and abused by a left-turning lorry driver, phoned up the company’s “How’s my driving” reporting line, only to be told that he was in the wrong because the lorry had a “cyclists stay back” sticker. If that’s how these stickers are affecting people’s attitudes, it seems pretty obvious that they will worsen people’s behaviour too.

It is ironic that Transport for London is working hard alongside CTC and others in pressing the Government to give cyclists greater priority and safety at junctions. Yet these stickers are clearly giving drivers the impression that it’s up to cyclists themselves to stay out of harm’s way. Instead of denying that there’s a problem, TfL really needs to act before these stickers cause yet more deaths and injuries to cyclists because of drivers turning left without looking properly.”

Even before considering new segregated cycle tracks – where drivers need to expect cyclists on their nearside at junctions, TfL’s own Cycle Safety Action Plan has for some years shown that not looking for cyclists on the nearside is a form of driver rule-breaking implicated in a significant proportion of collisions involving cyclists.

3. The idea that “It would be incredibly resource-intensive to differentiate between and enforce the distribution of stickers for different vehicle types” is insulting to the intelligence:
This is a car:

This is a van:

 

All TfL has to do through its Freight Operators Recognition Scheme is instruct its members to remove the stickers from vehicle types for which they are not intended. Explaining why this should be done would involve minimal resources and be a valuable part of education about road user responsibility.

These stickers have been around for nearly a year now. It is unacceptable that TfL is resorting to delaying tactics rather than admitting it made a mistake and taking action to correct it.


Categories: Views

New bridge in Nijmegen: ‘The Crossing’

BicycleDutch - 28 May, 2014 - 23:01
Cycling is taken into account when the Dutch undertake large infrastructure projects. Nijmegen now has a third bridge over the river Waal and it has a smooth wide cycle path. … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

New bridge in Nijmegen: ‘The Crossing’

BicycleDutch - 28 May, 2014 - 23:01
Cycling is taken into account when the Dutch undertake large infrastructure projects. Nijmegen now has a third bridge over the river Waal and it has a smooth wide cycle path. … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Is there a real “cycle safety crackdown” in London?

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 28 May, 2014 - 14:23
Mayor Johnson at launch of “mini-Operation Safeways” (Photo: Evening Standard)

Yesterday Mayor Johnson announced a reprise of last winter’s “Operation Safeway” with claims that this policing programme will increase cyclist safety.  We are very much in favour of law enforcement as a crucial element in reducing danger for cyclists and other road users – but we doubt that the “mini- Operation Safeways” announced will be it. Unless the lessons from Operation Safeway are learned – and there is no sign that they have been – TfL and MPS will continue to fail Londoners with the provision of non-discriminatory and effective law enforcement. Here’s why:

The evidence on the effect of Operation Safeway: the first two months

Operation Safeway kicked off as a result of the spate of six cyclist deaths in autumn 2013. As we said http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/11/29/is-there-a-police-blitz-on-unsafe-driving-in-london/
the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, was quite correct in pointing out that this concentration of half the annual toll of London cyclist deaths into two weeks was highly unusual – but not an indicator that the death rate was increasing. It wasn’t.

In the first half of 2013, only three cyclists died in London – one every two months. In the recent spate, it was every two days. Are these same streets 30 times more dangerous than just a few months ago?

Unfortunately, Gilligan has since played the game he correctly criticises in assessing Operation Safeway. Earlier this year he said: “This operation has been hugely valuable … In the last eight weeks we have not seen one cyclist killed on London’s roads and dangerous behaviour has clearly dropped”.But it is quite expected that no cyclists are killed in two winter months. And where was the evidence that “dangerous behaviour has clearly dropped”?

The evidence on the effect of Operation Safeway: the picture now

The figures quoted by the Mayor, TfL and Gilligan yesterday are interesting. Essentially they point to a reduction in cyclist KSIs per journey in 2013. But:
(a) The 2013 reduction over 2012 cannot be due to Operation Safeway, which would only effect the last month of the year. Mayor Johnson claims of an effect due to “great work done by the police” are unfounded.

(b) Do we have good figures on the numbers of cyclist journeys taken in 2013 yet? It might be the case that there was a reduction in cyclist journeys in 2013, affected by a reduction the early months associated with the unusually cold weather in early 2013.

Both these points have been made clearly by our colleague Charlie Lloyd of the LCC.

The longer term evidence

Gilligan refers to a trend of reduced cyclist KSIs per cyclist journey in London over the last decade. We think he is right to point this out. He is also correct to point out that this has occurred simply due to the greater physical presence of cyclists, – an effect of adaptive behaviour (risk compensation) by motorists, sometimes referred to as “Safety in Numbers”.
But:
(a) This is a long term trend starting from the increase in cycling from the beginning fo the century – it is not something which explains an alleged decline in KSI rate in 2013. You cannot seize on a figure for one year, even if it is correct. One year’s data done not indicate a trend.
(b) Gilligan refers to the very high cyclist death rate in 1989. As a somewhat long in the tooth transport professional I recall when the late John Devenport of the then London Accident Analysis Unit was required to analyse this particularly large figure. It was very high figure – which went down in the years immediately afterwards. Avoid cherry picking figures…
(c) There are other reasons for casualties of all types going down – such as a tendency towards lower levels of societal risk taking associated with an economic downturn.
(d) Advocates of highlighting the effects of risk compensation (behavioural adaptation) such as ourselves do NOT suggest that increasing the numbers of people cycling is enough for cyclist safety. We require a change in culture which supports reduction in danger at source – from motor vehicular traffic – for the benefit of the safety of all road users. That has not happened in London.
(e) Advocates of highlighting the effects of risk compensation (behavioural adaptation) such as ourselves are pointing out the effects of spontaneous behavioural change. Beneficial changes have not been due to official “road safety” efforts: whether publicity campaigns, highway engineering (of which little for cyclists’ benefit has occurred), or indeed the limited policing which has happened.
(f) For Gilligan: “The presence of mass cycling on London’s roads has changed drivers’ behaviour.” That risk compensation ‘/ behavioral adaptation effect we think is true to some extent – but while there has been a significant increase in inner London (and not really “mass cycling” in a European sense – it has not happened in outer London. This could be one of the reasons why there is a differential between outer and inner London cyclist KSIs after Operation Safeway.

What now?

To repeat, we are supporters of law enforcement programmes. But they have to be based on the right evidence and the right objectives. We do not think that Operation Safeway was indeed a “blitz” on unsafe driving. We do not think that there was a thorough programme of “getting dangerous drivers off the road”. As our next post shows, we think it was ill-informed and discriminatory.
We think that a very good and clear programme of what the MPS and TfL should do has been laid out by the London Cycling Campaign here , and we have suggested what we think should be happening here : real road safety, for the safety of cyclists and all road users.
.

 

 


Categories: Views

Fears about ‘kamikaze’ motorists put Cambridge road scheme on hold

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 28 May, 2014 - 11:50

News just in.

A road scheme in Cambridge, which would involve giving motorists ‘priority’ along a road, has been put on hold due to concerns about the behaviour of a minority of motorists.

Plans for a new Cambridge road scheme involving ‘junctions’  have been put on hold amid fears about safety and “kamikaze” motorists.

Members of the county council’s economy and environment committee had been due to sign off on the £1.8 million project for Hills Road and Huntingdon Road today but instead deferred their decision, calling for revised plans to be put before them in July.

They voted to defer by a margin of nine five despite a warning from officers that the Government money had to be spent by May and that there was a “risk” a delay could torpedo the whole scheme.

Several councillors’ concerns focused on the roads and the junctions, which would allow motorists to continue pass unimpeded, but would force pedestrians to cross the road.

The proposals were criticised by disability groups, who described them as an “accident waiting to happen”.

Councillors were unmoved by the suggestion of raising the ‘driving lane’ through the junctions and making it narrower, which would have slowed drivers and made it easier to cross.

Cllr John Williams, who represents Fulbourn, said: “I can’t tell you how often I see motorists disobeying red lights and not stopping at pedestrians crossings and pelican crossings.

“I don’t have any confidence motorists will give way to pedestrians moving across the junction because of what I see going on in this city with motorists. Unless we make pedestrians the priority at these junctions, I have serious concerns there will be an accident.”

The junction designs were backed by about 60 per cent of respondents in a consultation which received nearly 1,700 responses, but more residents of the streets concerned were opposed than in favour.

Cllr David Jenkins, who represents Histon, told the meeting: “I’m concerned about motorists’ behaviour. It’s only a small minority, but it’s a significant small minority of ‘kamikaze’ motorists in the city and they are intolerant of other road users, and there has to be some way of policing them. Simply allowing them to have priority means less confident pedestrians will be stranded as these motorists go past.”

Other councillors spoke in favour of the project, including Castle’s Cllr John Hipkin, who argued pedestrians could make sense of the junction.

He said: “No traffic scheme can entirely discount common sense and every traffic scheme relies on common sense to make it work. I think this is a project which, on balance, I support. I full support some of the misgiving of my residents but on balance I shall support it.”


Categories: Views

Fears about ‘kamikaze’ motorists put Cambridge road scheme on hold

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 28 May, 2014 - 11:50

News just in.

A road scheme in Cambridge, which would involve giving motorists ‘priority’ along a road, has been put on hold due to concerns about the behaviour of a minority of motorists.

Plans for a new Cambridge road scheme involving ‘junctions’  have been put on hold amid fears about safety and “kamikaze” motorists.

Members of the county council’s economy and environment committee had been due to sign off on the £1.8 million project for Hills Road and Huntingdon Road today but instead deferred their decision, calling for revised plans to be put before them in July.

They voted to defer by a margin of nine five despite a warning from officers that the Government money had to be spent by May and that there was a “risk” a delay could torpedo the whole scheme.

Several councillors’ concerns focused on the roads and the junctions, which would allow motorists to continue pass unimpeded, but would force pedestrians to cross the road.

The proposals were criticised by disability groups, who described them as an “accident waiting to happen”.

Councillors were unmoved by the suggestion of raising the ‘driving lane’ through the junctions and making it narrower, which would have slowed drivers and made it easier to cross.

Cllr John Williams, who represents Fulbourn, said: “I can’t tell you how often I see motorists disobeying red lights and not stopping at pedestrians crossings and pelican crossings.

“I don’t have any confidence motorists will give way to pedestrians moving across the junction because of what I see going on in this city with motorists. Unless we make pedestrians the priority at these junctions, I have serious concerns there will be an accident.”

The junction designs were backed by about 60 per cent of respondents in a consultation which received nearly 1,700 responses, but more residents of the streets concerned were opposed than in favour.

Cllr David Jenkins, who represents Histon, told the meeting: “I’m concerned about motorists’ behaviour. It’s only a small minority, but it’s a significant small minority of ‘kamikaze’ motorists in the city and they are intolerant of other road users, and there has to be some way of policing them. Simply allowing them to have priority means less confident pedestrians will be stranded as these motorists go past.”

Other councillors spoke in favour of the project, including Castle’s Cllr John Hipkin, who argued pedestrians could make sense of the junction.

He said: “No traffic scheme can entirely discount common sense and every traffic scheme relies on common sense to make it work. I think this is a project which, on balance, I support. I full support some of the misgiving of my residents but on balance I shall support it.”


Categories: Views

Transferring responsibility

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 27 May, 2014 - 09:14

A building in town is being renovated. There is scaffolding around the exterior, and around that is some wooden boarding, protecting the public from the building work inside.

There’s an entrance door to the site; it has a warning to the public on it – BEWARE OF DOOR OPENING.

But interestingly, on the other side of the door, the inside, there is no warning to the builders, cautioning them to beware of the public that might be on the other side of the door, when they open it.

So the warning sign here is directed at the innocent members of the public who might get hit by someone swinging a door open. Conversely, there is no warning not to do harm for the people swinging the door open in the first place.

The passive party, not posing any risk, are being told to watch out; the active, causal party, with the potential to do harm, receive no such warning.

This is, of course, deeply familiar stuff for anyone who pays close attention to the way ‘road safety’ in Britain typically works. The people at risk – pedestrians, people on bikes – are told to ‘look out’, to make themselves visible, to get out of the way, to ‘stay back’, while the warnings for the people actually posing the danger are negligible or non-existent.

Against this background of transferred responsibility, ‘balanced’ road safety messages start to seem reasonable – what could be wrong with asking both parties to be responsible? – until you actually dig down into the detail.

What do I mean by ‘balanced’? Well, this kind of thing -

Peter Hendy: “If we are going share the roads – everyone has got to look out for everyone else”

— Tom Edwards (@BBCTomEdwards) May 20, 2014

That’s the Commissioner of Transport for London there, suggesting that ‘road sharing’ relies upon people on foot, or on bikes, looking out for lorry drivers (drivers, note, not lorries).

In a similar vein, Kent Police seem to think that road safety is merely a matter of ‘playing your part’, regardless of the risk you pose.

NEWS: Have you seen our new #ThinkBike video? We want all road users to #PlayYourPart to prevent serious collisions http://t.co/QmCcSMWytj — Kent Police RPU (@kentpoliceroads) May 23, 2014

California Police chose to launch ‘Bike Safety Week’ by suggesting that people on bikes had ‘the same responsibilities’ as motorists -

Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. #CycleSafely #BicycleSafetyMonth

— CA Traffic Safety (@OTS_CA) May 22, 2014

South Yorkshire Police chose to opt for a message of ‘mutual respect’, while Sussex Police – like Peter Hendy – evidently feel that the ‘look out for each other’ angle was the most appropriate. Preposterously, the news story for ‘looking out for each other’ is illustrated with this photograph.

That’s a man cycling on a slip road on a 70mph dual carriageway, ‘looking out’ for the man behind the wheel of the lorry bearing down on him.

All these messages amount to the same thing, memorably described by David Arditti -

The message is that “There are two sides to every story”, and its up to lorry drivers and cyclists equally to take responsibility for preventing crashes by understanding one another’s needs and behaving with appropriate caution. It implies everyone’s equally to blame when things go wrong, and the solution is shared understanding.

This completely false ‘balance’ amounts to a sloughing off of responsibility, a shifting of blame to parties who cannot possibly ‘look out’ for motorists, in the sense of preventing harm. And I suspect the ‘look out for’ message is spreading precisely because it is conveniently ambiguous.

Namely – ‘look out for’ means both ‘take care of’ as well as ‘watch out!’ (If I were to yell ‘look out for the lorry’, it’s probably quite obvious I’m not asking you to take care of it).

When Peter Hendy or Sussex Police urge cyclists to ‘look out for’ motorists, they are not urging a duty of care for motorists by those who happen to be cycling (because that would be silly) – in fact, they are simply stating that those who are cycling should ‘watch out’.

So while ‘drivers and cyclists looking out for each other’ sounds all lovely and harmonious, it actually conveys two very different messages with the same words, while simultaneously presenting an impression of ‘balance’ that resonates with the general public as one of equal responsibility.

It’s a horribly slippery concept.


Categories: Views

Transferring responsibility

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 27 May, 2014 - 09:14

A building in town is being renovated. There is scaffolding around the exterior, and around that is some wooden boarding, protecting the public from the building work inside.

There’s an entrance door to the site; it has a warning to the public on it – BEWARE OF DOOR OPENING.

But interestingly, on the other side of the door, the inside, there is no warning to the builders, cautioning them to beware of the public that might be on the other side of the door, when they open it.

So the warning sign here is directed at the innocent members of the public who might get hit by someone swinging a door open. Conversely, there is no warning not to do harm for the people swinging the door open in the first place.

The passive party, not posing any risk, are being told to watch out; the active, causal party, with the potential to do harm, receive no such warning.

This is, of course, deeply familiar stuff for anyone who pays close attention to the way ‘road safety’ in Britain typically works. The people at risk – pedestrians, people on bikes – are told to ‘look out’, to make themselves visible, to get out of the way, to ‘stay back’, while the warnings for the people actually posing the danger are negligible or non-existent.

Against this background of transferred responsibility, ‘balanced’ road safety messages start to seem reasonable – what could be wrong with asking both parties to be responsible? – until you actually dig down into the detail.

What do I mean by ‘balanced’? Well, this kind of thing -

Peter Hendy: “If we are going share the roads – everyone has got to look out for everyone else”

— Tom Edwards (@BBCTomEdwards) May 20, 2014

That’s the Commissioner of Transport for London there, suggesting that ‘road sharing’ relies upon people on foot, or on bikes, looking out for lorry drivers (drivers, note, not lorries).

In a similar vein, Kent Police seem to think that road safety is merely a matter of ‘playing your part’, regardless of the risk you pose.

NEWS: Have you seen our new #ThinkBike video? We want all road users to #PlayYourPart to prevent serious collisions http://t.co/QmCcSMWytj — Kent Police RPU (@kentpoliceroads) May 23, 2014

California Police chose to launch ‘Bike Safety Week’ by suggesting that people on bikes had ‘the same responsibilities’ as motorists -

Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. #CycleSafely #BicycleSafetyMonth

— CA Traffic Safety (@OTS_CA) May 22, 2014

South Yorkshire Police chose to opt for a message of ‘mutual respect’, while Sussex Police – like Peter Hendy – evidently feel that the ‘look out for each other’ angle was the most appropriate. Preposterously, the news story for ‘looking out for each other’ is illustrated with this photograph.

That’s a man cycling on a slip road on a 70mph dual carriageway, ‘looking out’ for the man behind the wheel of the lorry bearing down on him.

All these messages amount to the same thing, memorably described by David Arditti -

The message is that “There are two sides to every story”, and its up to lorry drivers and cyclists equally to take responsibility for preventing crashes by understanding one another’s needs and behaving with appropriate caution. It implies everyone’s equally to blame when things go wrong, and the solution is shared understanding.

This completely false ‘balance’ amounts to a sloughing off of responsibility, a shifting of blame to parties who cannot possibly ‘look out’ for motorists, in the sense of preventing harm. And I suspect the ‘look out for’ message is spreading precisely because it is conveniently ambiguous.

Namely – ‘look out for’ means both ‘take care of’ as well as ‘watch out!’ (If I were to yell ‘look out for the lorry’, it’s probably quite obvious I’m not asking you to take care of it).

When Peter Hendy or Sussex Police urge cyclists to ‘look out for’ motorists, they are not urging a duty of care for motorists by those who happen to be cycling (because that would be silly) – in fact, they are simply stating that those who are cycling should ‘watch out’.

So while ‘drivers and cyclists looking out for each other’ sounds all lovely and harmonious, it actually conveys two very different messages with the same words, while simultaneously presenting an impression of ‘balance’ that resonates with the general public as one of equal responsibility.

It’s a horribly slippery concept.


Categories: Views

The best roundabout design for cyclists. The safest Dutch design described and an explanation of why this is the most suitable for adoption elsewhere

A View from the Cycle Path - 23 May, 2014 - 09:56
Roundabouts are often disliked by cyclists because using them by bicycle can be fraught with danger. When riding on a roundabout, you rely upon drivers seeing you on your bike. There is a tendency for motorists to look right through cyclists while looking for other motor vehicles, hence the frequency of "SMIDSY" incidents. However none of this has to be the case. The best Dutch roundabout designsDavid Hembrowhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/14543024940730663645noreply@blogger.com0http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/05/the-best-roundabout-design-for-cyclists.html
Categories: Views

Travelling Denmark on the Copenhagenize Bullitt

Copenhagenize - 23 May, 2014 - 09:08

Copenhagenize über-intern, Dennis, rocking the Bullitt

At Copenhagenize Design Company we usually stick to urban bicycling, but some people, like our German intern, Dennis, like to take the bike off-road and get outside the city. Dennis decided to use the Easter holiday to discover Denmark together with his friend Enikö from Hungary. Now, you might be thinking, “Denmark?! That’s just Copenhagen and the rest is boring countryside.” But actually, the rest of the country has quite a lot to offer. And it is perfectly easy to cycle wherever you need to go. You just follow the signs from the national cycling routes (Denmark was the first country in the world to develop a national route system for bicycles, thanks to this man. 10,000+ km in all) and they will take you to the loveliest places.

Usually the routes follow calm country roads and the state is investing a lot of money to build first class bicycling infrastructure on the stretches which are a bit busier. Sometimes you still have to share the road with cars, but they are getting there.

When you travel long distances by bike you always have the problem of carrying capacity. A typical bike can only carry so much. But this becomes less of a problem if you use the Copenhagenize Bullitt. It is easy to carry a tent, sleeping bags and other stuff on the cargo bed. The rest went into the bicycle bags of Dennis’ mountain bike. Speaking of mountain bikes, you thought Denmark was flat, didn’t you? Well, it’s not. It has plenty of nasty hills. It is definitely not the Alps, but not flat like the Netherlands either. In the Danish national anthem, they sing about their hills and valleys. Anyway, if you don’t plan to do a 150km a day, it shouldn’t be an issue for anyone.



The yellow line on the map marks the route these two took – in total about 300km over the course of four days. The red dots mark the points where they set up overnight camps. Wild camping is not allowed in Denmark like in Sweden or Norway, but there are more than 900 natural camping sites throughout the country.  And that’s another amazing thing about Denmark: On those campsites you can typically find wooden shelters to pitch your tent in.

They protect you from the (usually strong) wind and the low temperatures at night.  And the best thing is that they are normally free of charge. Sometimes you have to pay a couple of Danish Kroner if you want to use the shower, but that’s it. Dennis and Enikö paid in total 50 Kroner for all three nights. That’s what we call a cheap holiday. But just because the lodging is cheap doesn’t mean it isn’t absolutely lovely. The first shelter was in the backyards of Kirsten and Torben Andersen’s farm (called Damgården) in Rødvig. Very nice people. And they raise all kinds of animals on their farm: Deer, rabbits, cats, goats… Really cool to wake up in the morning and enjoy the view over the beautiful farm and the animals.



On the way they stopped at some beautiful old villages. One of them is called Strøby. The fully loaded Bullitt looks pretty nice in front of this old church, don't you think?



Another amazing spot on the first day was Stevns Klint (Stevns Cliff). A beautiful place with a medieval church just on the top of the steep cliffs. Have you ever seen a church with a balcony just over the sea? Well here is is.



On the second day they cycled from Rødvig to Møns Klint. It was a long way with plenty of hills, especially on the island of Møn. The Bullitt has a great built in leg rest for the downhill stretches.



It was a great day through a beautiful landscape, running mostly along the coast. Quite spectacular is the way over the old bridge, which connects the island of Sjaelland, where Copenhagen is also located, with the island of Møn. The bridge is called Dronning Alexandrines Bro and can be accessed by bike.



It is truly amazing to wake up in the morning, hearing the rough sound of the sea and seeing the beautiful spring forest just outside the tent.

In the evening they finally arrived at Møns Klint, which is home to Denmark's highest cliffs. The bright chalk cliffs are just beautiful and there are shelters just on top of them. There is also a fireplace and a tap. Everything you need for a nice camp site.

On the third day Dennis and his friend headed back towards Copenhagen again. But not without having a closer look at the dramatic landscape of the island Møn. It is easy to navigate because you just need to follow the signs of the national bicycle route 9.


Along the route you’ll find a lot of surprises. Many times farmers sell their homemade bread, juice or marmalade. It is offered in front of the house and based on trust. So you just take as much as you want and leave you money in a little cash box.



And then there are the amazing farm house castles. Huge mansions with a long history. They just pop up suddenly when you don’t expect it.

You always think ”wow, ANOTHER castle!!”.



On the way back the two stopped at one last campsite in a nature reserve called Præstø Fjord. The new shelters are free and located just at the Fjord.


Thanks Denmark, you truly surprised us!Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
Categories: Views

“A less car-dependent society would be a better society”

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 23 May, 2014 - 00:28

My latest contribution to a continuing debate in Local Transport Today (see my last letter) comes in response to letters from two (I think) extreme advocates of motorisation in issue 646 here*:

My response is in issue 647 as published below:The Oxford English Dictionary definition of “fanatic” refers to “excessive and mistaken enthusiasm”. I believe it is accurate to use this word to describe the adherents of the car culture dominating the thoughts and actions of the politicians and civil servants dominating transport policy, as I did in my first letter (LTT 643). I don’t think it is in the least discourteous to describe Mr. Peat, and now Mr. Francis (LTT 646), as being on the extreme wing of this belief system.
Mr. Peat’s argument seems to be that there is a lot of car use in contemporary society, and that therefore that it must be necessary and good. We can, however, live in a less car dependent society and should aspire to do so in order to mitigate the numerous adverse effects of mass car use I referred to. The history of post-war transport in many European conurbations is often one of resisting the temptation to rip out traditional city centres and insert new roads and facilities for car use, going for walking, cycling and public transport instead. All this happens in fairly conventional capitalist, consumerist 20th and now 21st century societies on the same continent as us.
The precise mechanisms for reducing car dependence should actually be up to motorists and their organisations as part of accepting responsibility for their activities, but here are a few suggestions:
1. Enforcing existing road traffic law. Mr. Francis thinks that there is no exemption from the law for drivers. If some 40 – 50% of drivers break the law on speed with impunity in almost all cases, generally ONLY with the exception of enforcement at well-advertised sites, then they are indeed effectively exempt from the law. Just consider enforcing laws on speed, and the extreme cases of illegal behaviour: driving under the influence of drink or drugs, when blind, demented or simply unregistered. There is a problem here in that most offences are committed by the mainstream of typical motorists, which needs to be taken into account with any regime of enforcement focusing on the very worst. But the point is that some motor vehicle use (5%? 10%?) would be reduced by rudimentary enforcement of road traffic law. Then there are simple attempts at a civilised approach to traffic law, such as John Dales suggestion of re-taking “the test” from time to time (Street Talk, LTT 04 Apr), and the current debate on driver liability in civil law in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists to bring us into line with European and other societies (‘Accident liability debated’, LTT 02 May)
2. Re-allocating road space to non-motorised modes and public transport. From filtered permeability and gyratory removal through to basic traffic management techniques, these methods are on the agenda in London and elsewhere in the UK.
3. Paying a reasonable amount. Even conventional cost-benefit analyses – normally used to perpetuate the status quo – indicate substantial underpayment with regard to what economists call the external costs of motoring. Basic costs of living have risen over the last few years, with the costs of housing having risen dramatically over the last few decades – yet the costs of motoring have stayed the same or declined since New Labour came to power in 1997. Increasing fuel prices will be necessary anyway to encourage more fuel efficient cars as well as to avoid losing (inadequate) revenue from motoring.
These measures are justified anyway as part of living in a more civilised society, but would have the effect of reducing car use and dependence. This does not mean that there should be no cars about anywhere; it just means we are aware of the problems associated with mass car use and try to address them.
A key problem as shown by Peat and Francis is that the slightest questioning of motorist privilege leads to a panic stricken assumption that nobody will ever be allowed to drive a car ever again: For Mr. Peat “What are the alternatives? A society based on man-power? Or maybe the horse?” They really do need to stop equating their basic identity with the “right” to drive wherever and however they may want – while identifying themselves as an oppressed minority deserving of special treatment, subsidy and exemption from the law.
Dr Robert Davis, Chair, Road Danger Reduction Forum
LONDON NW10

* As stated before, rather than read my scans, the best thing is to subscribe to Local Transport Today in print or online.


Categories: Views

The unanswerable case for pedestrian helmets

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 22 May, 2014 - 10:20

From the Bristol Post -

Hanham mum: My son’s pedestrian helmet saved his life after crash

WEARING a pedestrian helmet was a choice that saved one 12-year-old boy’s life.

Charlie Baggot was walking to Hanham High School when he was hit by a car. He fell into the road and was left with a broken nose, as well as serious bruising and grazing to his face, arms and legs. But had he not been wearing a pedestrian helmet he may not have survived.

Paramedics, and a policeman who rushed to the scene, all told the Year 7 pupil that wearing his helmet – which bears a dent where Charlie’s head could have hit the road – had saved his life.

After the accident, which happened in Creswicke Avenue in Hanham on Friday, May 9, keen pedestrian Charlie was taken to school in the car by his mum because he was struggling to walk. It was then they both noticed how many children – and adults – were walking about without pedestrian helmets. His shocked mum Tracy, 40, has now begun a campaign to encourage all pedestrians to wear helmets.

She wants people to see her son’s injuries and to understand how much worse they could have been.

“After what happened to Charlie I was left completely shocked when we noticed how many pedestrians were walking without helmets,” she said.

“I can’t believe that some parents don’t enforce this with their kids – for Charlie it was always no helmet, no shoes.”

Charlie was crossing the road on foot when he says a car came around a corner very quickly, knocking him to the ground.

He rang his mum but as she couldn’t reach him, he managed to get to school, where an ambulance was called. It was after he was taken to hospital for stitches that paramedics and a policeman broke the news that he may not have survived if he hadn’t been wearing his pedestrian helmet.

He said: “Since my accident my friends have realised how important their helmets are. One of my friends who never wore one has had it on every morning.”

His mum’s campaign has already got the backing of his head teacher at Hanham High School, Phil Bevan, who told the Bristol Post: “The incident highlights the need for safety to be a top priority. It is absolutely vital that every student should wear a pedestrian helmet – the fact that Charlie was wearing his means that it might just have saved his life.

“I would compel every parent to make their children wear a pedestrian helmet when walking.”

And who could possibly argue with that, if it saves just one life?


Categories: Views

The unanswerable case for pedestrian helmets

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 22 May, 2014 - 10:20

From the Bristol Post -

Hanham mum: My son’s pedestrian helmet saved his life after crash

WEARING a pedestrian helmet was a choice that saved one 12-year-old boy’s life.

Charlie Baggot was walking to Hanham High School when he was hit by a car. He fell into the road and was left with a broken nose, as well as serious bruising and grazing to his face, arms and legs. But had he not been wearing a pedestrian helmet he may not have survived.

Paramedics, and a policeman who rushed to the scene, all told the Year 7 pupil that wearing his helmet – which bears a dent where Charlie’s head could have hit the road – had saved his life.

After the accident, which happened in Creswicke Avenue in Hanham on Friday, May 9, keen pedestrian Charlie was taken to school in the car by his mum because he was struggling to walk. It was then they both noticed how many children – and adults – were walking about without pedestrian helmets. His shocked mum Tracy, 40, has now begun a campaign to encourage all pedestrians to wear helmets.

She wants people to see her son’s injuries and to understand how much worse they could have been.

“After what happened to Charlie I was left completely shocked when we noticed how many pedestrians were walking without helmets,” she said.

“I can’t believe that some parents don’t enforce this with their kids – for Charlie it was always no helmet, no shoes.”

Charlie was crossing the road on foot when he says a car came around a corner very quickly, knocking him to the ground.

He rang his mum but as she couldn’t reach him, he managed to get to school, where an ambulance was called. It was after he was taken to hospital for stitches that paramedics and a policeman broke the news that he may not have survived if he hadn’t been wearing his pedestrian helmet.

He said: “Since my accident my friends have realised how important their helmets are. One of my friends who never wore one has had it on every morning.”

His mum’s campaign has already got the backing of his head teacher at Hanham High School, Phil Bevan, who told the Bristol Post: “The incident highlights the need for safety to be a top priority. It is absolutely vital that every student should wear a pedestrian helmet – the fact that Charlie was wearing his means that it might just have saved his life.

“I would compel every parent to make their children wear a pedestrian helmet when walking.”

And who could possibly argue with that, if it saves just one life?


Categories: Views

Jodenbreestraat in Amsterdam: given back to people

BicycleDutch - 21 May, 2014 - 23:01
Most people are cycling and walking in Amsterdam’s Jodenbreestraat today. But the street could have been so different if the 4 lane motorway of the 1970s would have been further … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Jodenbreestraat in Amsterdam: given back to people

BicycleDutch - 21 May, 2014 - 23:01
Most people are cycling and walking in Amsterdam’s Jodenbreestraat today. But the street could have been so different if the 4 lane motorway of the 1970s would have been further … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Here's to the adventurers...

ibikelondon - 21 May, 2014 - 08:30
Five years ago London cycle courier Julian Sayerer completed the fastest cycle ride around the world, returning home after 165 days on the road.  23 years old when he set off on his ambitious unsupported ride, with just the packs strapped to his bike and his wits to get him through, Sayerer took the uncompromising approach that his journey was for no one but himself, even going so far as to call his blog of the trip This Is Not For Charity.  

In a world of charity rides, corporate team building adventures and big budget round the world record attempts tailgated by support cars and logistics crew, Sayerer's paired back low-budget endeavour stuck out as uncompromisingly principled.  And he is uncompromisingly principled; his writing is often filled with accounts of the injustices of the world which we all know to exist but we choose to ignore or feel helpless to address.  


Julian Sayerer roadside in China.
After a technical delay surrounding the veracity of his round the world claim and an uncomfortable spat with fellow round the world cyclist Mark Beaumont, Sayerer was even described as the 'Angry Young Man' of adventure cycling.

Beaumont has gone on to write a string of books about his cycling quests, and is currently reporting for the BBC escorting the Queen's Baton as it relays around the world in advance of this summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Sayerer however has taken his time over how to present his adventure as he would wish.  His book, Life Cycles, is being published on June 2nd 2014, with a launch party at Look Mum No Hands on June 5th.  

The forthcoming launch of Sayerer's book reminded me that another long distance cyclist, Tom Allen of Tom's Bike Trip and "Janapar" fame, is currently attempting to travel from one length of the country to the other with no budget at all, getting by on offers of food and accommodation in bartered return for work and help given along the way.  Tom's FreeLeJOG adventure has already taken him through Cornwall and Devon but as too many miles in the saddle alone is want to do, it has led to him worrying about the exact definition of his journey and how he'll be perceived if the terms of his adventure change along the way.

 Julian Sayerer admires the view having ridden his bike somewhere I never will.
I don't have the balls that Allen has to set off without even a credit card in my pocket, and I don't have the courage or the strength in my own convictions to do things as entirely my own way as Sayerer has.  Out on the road they might each analyse every turn of the wheel, but I would encourage them to live in the present and hope I can send them on their way in the knowledge that for those of us stuck behind desks and veneers of conformity, sharing in any kind of adventure is an adventure in itself for some.  So here's to the adventurers, says I, and sharing in their endeavours from the comfort of our arm chairs...

Tom Allen's account of his meandering attempt to ride the world, and what happens when love stopped him along the way, "Janapar" is out now.  Julian Sayerer's book Life Cycles launches on June 5th and will be available at all good book stores and is available now for pre-order on Amazon.

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Categories: Views

Support the Space for Cycling Campaign

Vole O'Speed - 20 May, 2014 - 18:14
A few of the 5000 people on the Big Ride in support of the Space for Cycling CampaignThe London Cycling Campaign is running its Space for Cycling Campaign in the run-up to the local (and European) elections this Thursday. If live in London, and haven't already done so, I urge you to visit the Space4Cycling website and enter your postcode. The site then generates an automatic email to send to all the local election candidates (for whom it has been possible to find email addresses) asking them to support a measure in your council ward, agreed by the local campaign, based on one of the six campaign themes:
  1. Removal of through motor traffic from minor roads
  2. Protected space on main roads and at junctions
  3. Cycle routes through green spaces
  4. 20mph speed limits
  5. Cycle (and pedestrian) friendly town centres
  6. Safe cycle routes to schools
The themes, and the policies behind them, are explained further here.
If you do not live in London, there may be a similar Space for Cycling campaign in your area. The national campaign is being co-ordinated here by CTC, based around similar demands.
With one day left to the poll 41% of candidates across Greater London say they are supporting the asks for their ward. It's an impressive result for a clever campaign. The cleverness lies in it being highly specific and geared to the local elections in being hyper-local in its demands, yet those demands all being tied to broad policy themes. It doesn't allow politicians to get away with mouthing platitudes about wanting to "encourage cycling". To count as supporters, they have to agree with exactly what is being asked for in their ward, and all those things that are being asked for very specifically contribute to the overall strategic objectives. It's a centrally-directed and coordinated local campaign. It's a move on from the days when we just asked politicians to propose what they would like to do for cycling. It is far more pro-active, far more agenda-setting. We know that what we require is not just isolated measures, but joined-up policies, but the cleverer local campaigns have structured their ward asks so that, if they were all really done, they would join up, complement one another, and form the basis for a high-quality core cycle network usable by people on bikes of all capabilities. The campaign also relies on the policy decisions taken at the last LCC AGM, to campaign for one network for all cycling abilities built to specific standards in terms of the speed and volume of motor traffic with which sharing is tolerated.
Now I don't believe for a moment that after the elections we will suddenly get all these cycle tracks built and road closures put in and we will be living in a slightly less tidy version of the Netherlands. I doubt that many of the candidates fully understand the implications of what they are signing up to. It will be the job of campaigners in the next five years to keep on telling them and pushing them to honour what they have signed-up to: the campaign will not end at the election, it will enter a new phase. It's noticeable that candidates seem very willing to sign up to major roadspace reallocation proposals on big roads, but relatively unwilling to agree to simple measures like road closures on small roads to eliminate rat-running traffic. I can see why. The second category includes very precise and limited demands that it would be impossible to wriggle out of later. Thought the first category also includes measures that are precisely-defined, the "asks" can't go into details of all the concomitant changes that will be required: junction and signal redesigns, movement of car parking spaces, movement of obstructions such as street furniture and trees. 
It is these that will of course allow candidates to try to wriggle out of their commitments when elected. They will soon start claiming it is all to difficult, that they didn't understand the problems that have to be solved. Their true commitment will become clear when opposition gets organised by, for example, taxi drivers wanting to preserve one of their traditional back-street short-cuts (the opposition that crippled Camden's pioneering Severn Stations Link route) or local traders get together to oppose the removal of car parking spaces immediately outside their shops, which they misguidedly believe are essential to their continued solvency. As the London Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan said at the rally after the Big Ride in support of the campaign on Saturday, the next six months will be a test of strength between the pro and anti-cycling political forces in London.
The main thing that the campaign does is to start to get the arguments through to local politicians, who form the grass roots of the whole political system, about how our streets could be far better designed to facilitate both walking and cycling, with clear and specific examples. Many of these politicians who previously haven't had a clue about the subject, even if they still don't agree, or intend to do anything much, should at least get to understand that this is a big issue to a substantial proportion of their electorate.
If you have already sent your message to your local candidates, in the last day before the election, try to get all your friends and work colleagues and neighbours to send their as well. One thing about this campaign quite separate to its cycling theme is that it is actually succeeding in raising the profile of the local elections in London, which is welcomed by all the candidates.
The campaign is for safe roads and independent mobility for everyone from the guys in the blue to the guys in the trailer
Categories: Views

The connection between walkability and high cycle use

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 20 May, 2014 - 12:47

Figures for cycling in Bruges are a little hard to come by, but from this Fietsberaad document [pdf], cycling in the city seems to form between 15-20% of all trips.

It’s certainly the most ‘Dutch’ place I’ve visited outside of the Netherlands, in terms of the amount of cycling, and the types of people riding bikes – broadly, a representative cross-section of the population at large. It’s also a very walkable city. It feels safe and comfortable, and easy to get about on foot.

I think this connection between walkability and high cycling levels is more general. I found Strasbourg to be a very pleasant city to walk around – this is a city that has some of the highest levels of cycle use in France.

And of course Dutch towns and cities – with their high cycling levels – are almost always a joy to walk around, compared to their UK equivalents.

I don’t necessarily think there’s any causal connection here, but certainly there are reasons why having a high cycling modal share makes it easier to walk around cities.

Principally, it means that fewer trips are being made by car, which has several obvious advantages for those walking. It’s just easier to cross the road when there are fewer cars and more bikes. Bikes are far smaller, they travel more slowly, and the person on them has an interest in avoiding you.

A street with a high volume of people cycling. If these people were travelling by car, the street would be practically impossible to cross without traffic controls

Similarly, with high levels of cycling use, and low levels of motor vehicle use, the need for traffic control at junctions becomes unnecessary. That means no push buttons to cross roads, or multiple staggered crossings. Junctions are easy to walk across. The level of signalisation in Dutch towns and cities is far, far lower than in Britain, even in places with high levels of ‘traffic’.

Less directly, towns and cities with high levels of cycling are safer for pedestrians (there are simply fewer motor vehicles which have the potential to harm you), and they are also more attractive, and quieter.

We need to move beyond the notion that cycling is something antagonistic to walking – something ‘extra’ that needs to be accommodated in the streetscape alongside walking and driving – and realise that it is a crucial way of improving the experience of walking itself.


Categories: Views

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