Views

Road works vs the Dutch cyclist - a rural main route between village and city

A View from the Cycle Path - 19 June, 2018 - 13:23
Road works always risk placing cyclists at a dangerous disadvantage, which can result in people opting for another form of transport. To prevent this, cycle-routes must always be maintained, as can be seen in this video. There are many other examples of this principle being applied in many different situations.David Hembrowhttps://plus.google.com/114578085331408050106noreply@blogger.com0http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2018/06/road-works-vs-dutch-cyclist-rural-main.html
Categories: Views

Westminster Bridge bus stop bypass, revisited

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 19 June, 2018 - 11:48

In case you had forgotten, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust spent over £10,000 of NHS funding in an attempt to prevent ‘floating’ bus stops being built on Westminster Bridge (a detail uncovered by Tom Kearney).

This was part of an orchestrated campaign against the bus stop bypasses from hospital management. They sent out press releases to the Evening Standard, with quotes from their chairman –

Sir Hugh Taylor, chairman of Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS trust, said: “We believe that TfL’s plans for cycle lanes and so-called ‘floating’ bus stops on Westminster Bridge pose risks to both pedestrians and cyclists. We are particularly concerned about the impact on patients and carers, especially the elderly, disabled, and families with children in buggies and wheelchairs coming to Evelina London Children’s Hospital.”

They started a petition against the bus stop bypass design – garnering just over 1,000 signatures. They added news items on their website. They organised protest events.

Further FOI requests revealed this entire strategy may have originated with the local MP Kate Hoey, who wrote to the Trust in April 2016 suggesting a campaign against the bus stop bypasses would be

‘a great opportunity’.

Those same FOI requests contain a hilariously revealing admission from the Trust’s Secretary and Head of Corporate Affairs –

‘I don’t think we’ve any evidence [floating bus stops] are unsafe – even though we think they are’

Despite not having any evidence, this same individual was simultaneously claiming that 

‘The Trust is very concerned that Transport for London’s plans for the cycle super highway and “floating” bus stops on Westminster Bridge are dangerous’

The whole curious affair is covered in detail by both Cyclists in the City and by Paul Gannon.

Fast-forward a year to 2017, and it turns out that Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust…. aren’t actually opposed to bus stop bypasses at all, and drop their high court challenge. Construction started in the summer of that year, with zebra crossings across the cycleways at the bus stop islands. The official opening of this southbound section (in front of the hospital) was in the autumn.

Completed Westminster Bridge South works look great – new protected tracks on roundabout & bus stop bypasses on bridge. #beforeandafter pic.twitter.com/OoKQWcP7a0

— Will Norman (@willnorman) October 20, 2017

That means these bus stop bypasses have been running more-or-less normally for around eight months now. Has the predicted danger and chaos ensued? To give a flavour of how these stops operate at busy times, I filmed them earlier this month, at 5pm on a Wednesday. I stood here for forty minutes (until my phone battery ran out). The following video shows every single person who cycled (or scooted) past the bus stops between 5 and 5:40pm – around 100 people. The cuts don’t hide anything – they’re simply those periods when nobody was cycling past.

As you’ll see if you watch the entire video, it is very, very mundane. The vast majority of people cycling past do so without any interaction whatsoever – when interactions do occur, they are at slow speed and involve negotiation. This is hardly surprising. People cycling have an interest in not colliding with other human beings – they will injure themselves in doing so. While filming these clips I kept on having to remind myself that an NHS trust objected so strongly to something that is frankly pretty boring.

Nevertheless there are some moments that are worth commenting on.

  • The very first clip (0:13) shows someone overtaking someone slower, by using the bus stop island. There was nobody standing on the island at the time, so nobody was put in danger, and I doubt this manoeuvre would have been attempted otherwise. This is, however, one reason why I think it was a mistake to build the cycleway so narrow (1.5m, and with high kerbs) – it prevents overtaking, and more importantly it removes ‘negotiation space’ as people step onto the zebras, or accidentally step into the cycleway. In a misguided attempt to slow people down, I think the narrowness of the cycleway here actually makes matters worse.
  • From 4:38 onwards there’s a good example of some interaction on the zebra crossing.
  • 7:14 – probably the fastest cyclist of the clip.
  • At 7:25 a woman looking at her phone accidentally steps into the cycleway and stumbles. The man cycling seems to have anticipated this happening and is already steering around her.
  • From 9:16 we see an elderly woman in a hospital chair being wheeled across the zebra, to the island, to a waiting taxi. (Incidentally the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association claimed in their consultation response that “segregated cycle lanes will make it difficult to load people in wheelchairs and other mobility impaired people – this will be a particular problem outside St Thomas’ Hospital.”)
  • From 9:26 there is a minor near miss, as a woman steps into the cycleway without looking. A collision is avoided by the man cycling anticipating, and stopping. (There were a number of other minor incidents like this with people stepping into the cycleway without looking, but none were anywhere near as close as this).

I don’t think we can learn too much from all of this because I was only here for forty minutes. I know that Transport for London have been conducting more extensive rolling video surveys of the new zebra crossings on CS6 and on CS2, which will provide much more comprehensive analysis. However, this was a busy period of the day, at a time when lots of people were coming and going to get on buses. Just under a hundred people cycle past in this period too.

The design is not perfect. As I’ve already mentioned, I think the cycleway is too narrow, which will create problems. The bus stop islands seemed to cope with the number of pedestrians at this busy time, but they could (and should) be wider. To my mind the road here is still ridiculous wide – four lanes, with hatching, and an island – and I really think some serious consideration should have been given to narrowing the road to three (or even two) lanes, and indeed restricting the types of motor traffic allowed to use the bridge to buses and taxis only, which already dominate the traffic composition in any case. That would have allowed much more space for pedestrians, for people cycling, and for bus users.

But even with these problems, it is hard to see what all the fuss was about. My video shows forty minutes of pretty benign interaction (or non-interaction), and even when things go wrong and people behave badly or make mistakes, there are no consequences. Perhaps most importantly of all, the whole video shows buses and cycles flowing freely, without coming into conflict with one another, or impeding each other. Both modes benefit. It’s a stark contrast to the previous situation, where anyone cycling on the bridge had to mix it with these large vehicles.

The footway on the left here was also ‘shared use’, with people allowed to cycle on it, so the new arrangement is yet another improvement in that respect, clarifying where people cycling should be, and where they are expected.

It does seem extraordinary to me that these proposals received so much attention and outright hostility, while the road network across London remains such an unpleasant, dangerous and pedestrian-hostile environment – where ‘green man’ pedestrian signals still do not exist at busy junctions (and are blocked (in 2018!) on the grounds of modelled delay); where zebra crossings are so scarce; where people face massive delay and staggered crossings trying to cross even one arm of a junction. My hope is that as more and more of these types of bus stop are built, so the evidence base will build too, and we (and NHS Trusts) can start to focus our attention on the more pressing problems instead.

Categories: Views

Riding to the doctor’s

BicycleDutch - 18 June, 2018 - 23:01
One of the cycle journeys I make every now and then is to a health centre where my family doctor resides. When I had to go there recently, for a … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

The oldest grade-separated roundabout in the Netherlands

BicycleDutch - 11 June, 2018 - 23:01
Protected separated cycling infrastructure has been the norm in the Netherlands for quite a long time. The Utrecht “Berekuil” was the first intersection in the country with a separate level … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Groningen. Somehow the new infrastructure is never quite good enough

A View from the Cycle Path - 7 June, 2018 - 20:38
We've run cycling infrastructure study tours in this area for well over a decade. The tours are based in Assen where we live with (for three day tours) a day in Groningen which is just 30 km to the North. People always want to see Groningen because Groningen famously has the higher cycling modal share of any city in the world. It's certainly worth seeing, but Groningen's high modal share is David Hembrowhttps://plus.google.com/114578085331408050106noreply@blogger.com0http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2018/06/groningen-somehow-new-infrastructure-is.html
Categories: Views

Concrete cycle-paths. Smooth, maintenance free and generally preferable to asphalt

A View from the Cycle Path - 6 June, 2018 - 20:09
A lot of the cycle-paths in this area are made of concrete rather than asphalt. When I first moved here  it seemed a slightly odd choice because concrete is a more expensive material. I was surprised that we were getting the premium product while drivers on roads alongside those cycle-paths had the "cut-price" asphalt (immaculately laid, mind you). The advantages of concrete have become more David Hembrowhttps://plus.google.com/114578085331408050106noreply@blogger.com0http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2018/06/concrete-cycle-paths-smooth-maintenance.html
Categories: Views

From Railway to Cycleway

BicycleDutch - 4 June, 2018 - 23:01
It’s not often that I cycle across an international border but in this week’s video I do it 9 times! That is because I cycled on the former railway line … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

RDRF Response to CWIS Safety Review Survey 2018

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 30 May, 2018 - 18:51

In broad terms, we support the ideas and recommendations set out by Cycling UK in their excellent “Cycle Safety: Make It Simple” report.

In this report we look more closely at issues such as: side road junctions and engineering convention, the issue of equality in transport design and practice, and the need for parity of spending for roads transport so that it is fairer to women, children and the disabled.
This document follows the structure set out by the Department for Transport CWIS Safety Review Survey.
1. Infrastructure and traffic signs
2. The laws and rules of the road
3. Training
4. Educating road users
5. Vehicles and equipment
6. Attitudes and public awareness
We respond to questions with specific recommendations.

1.Infrastructure and traffic signs

Do you have any suggestions on the way in which the current approach to development and maintenance of road signs and infrastructure impacts the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users?
How could it be improved?

1.1 The Equality Act is not currently met by highways practice.

Highways practice needs to provide for those with protected characteristics. We would like to emphasise that the Public Sector Equality Duty and The Equality Act which requires councils not to discriminate on the basis of age and ability. Therefore, the roads we live on, or use to get about, need to be usable for all ages.

The Public Sector Equality Duty states that a public authority must, in the exercise of its function, have regard to the need to:
eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act” and “take steps to meet the needs of persons who share a relevant protected characteristic that are different from the needs of persons who do not share it;
There are legal duties placed on local authorities through the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to promote public health through transport. These are not being met by most local authorities.

Current practice and design standards do not adequately allow for the needs of children, who, by nature, will make unpredictable and spontaneous movements, run out unexpectedly and wobble as they learn to ride a bicycle. Children are also less able to judge speeds and negotiate with drivers. Our road environments need to be radically changed to ensure that they are usable for children of all ages. In order to be safe for all, road environments must not require behaviours and skills which are outside the cognitive, developmental, behavioural, physical or sensory development of the youngest in our society.

Figure 1: Pedestrian casualties per 1,000 population against population by age-band in Greater London 2009. Percentage of pedestrian casualties of known age against the percentage of Greater London population in five-year age bands. This again emphasises the disproportionate number of young pedestrian casualties, particularly those aged between 10 and 14 years.
Source: Transport for London, ‘Pedestrian casualties in Greater London’, 2010.

Children should not have to pay for a mistake with their lives. Speeds and traffic volumes on roads where children live or might live need to be substantially reduced through design, legislation and enforcement. We would recommend 5-10mph for all residential streets and that the priority should be with pedestrians, cyclists or children playing out. The nature of children will not change; the road environment must.
1.2 Side road junctions
Continuous footways should to be the norm for side road junctions
The most common conflicts resulting in serious injury to cyclists occur at side road or staggered junctions . London Cycling Design Standards and Manual for Streets state tight corner radii should be used in urban areas to reduce speed of turning traffic. “Designers should start from the assumption that corner radii should be minimised to benefit vulnerable road users, and then test whether this raises any issues.”

Figure 2: Extract of text and diagram from London Cycling Design Standards, p.132

 

However, even with tight turning radii, the visual priority remains firmly with the turning traffic because the line of the kerb follows the direction of travel of turning motorists, rather than the direction of travel of those continuing their journey along the footway. Therefore, this configuration – however tight – ensures pedestrians do not have (visual/design) priority if they wish to continue straight across the side road.
Engineering convention is therefore inherently prejudicial against pedestrians, particularly disadvantaging children who are:
• non-drivers, so dependent on walking, cycling, scooting for independent travel so must rely on the footway for their journeys
• often effectively confined to using the footway for scooting and cycling since the carriageway space rarely offers adequate facilities for these activities
• more likely to behave spontaneously
• physically smaller so potentially less visible to drivers
• less able to judge of motor vehicle speeds
• less able to make eye contact with drivers to negotiate the roads etc
The conventional side road configuration used routinely in the UK can be framed as a physical manifestation of unconscious design bias in favour of the motorist. By inciting pedestrians to cede to motorists, highways convention puts children at a disadvantage at every turn.

Figure 3: Recently constructed conventional side road geometry. Kerb line follows path of motorist to ensure visual priority for driver not the pedestrian (in contravention with Highway Code Rule 170) and higher turning speeds so more chance of cycle collisions. Bournemouth.

Figure 4: Newly constructed side road junction. Conventional geometry with slayed, wide junction, and ‘refuge’. Lack of priority and comfort contravenes aims of Equality Act by providing pavement-users with an inferior infrastructure/priority to carriageway-user

Figure 5: Blended footway: Despite the change in surface material and the raised table the visual priority is still with turning traffic due to kerb line and give-way markings. Wimbledon.  Figure 6: Blended footway, Sutton. Despite the raised table, motorists still assume priority.

Even where raised tables or blended footways are implemented, they do not provide priority over turning traffic. The kerb line follows the path of the motorist, so the motorist assumes priority; as illustrated above (Figure 5 and 6).

Given the established effectiveness in terms of comfort and safety of pedestrians of continuous footways these ought to become the default side road configuration, rather than the conventional side road geometry. Other countries systematically use continuous footways for side roads (see Figure 8). The UK should follow suit.

Due to the clear visual priority offered by continuous footways they are inherently ‘inclusive’ giving better physical protection, priority, safety and comfort to children, disabled people and the elderly in line with the Equality Act. In addition, continuous footways mean pedestrian journeys are not repeatedly interrupted by having to cede to turning traffic at side roads, so they improve journey times for footway-users.
As noted by Dorset Disability Group when consulted on continuous footways installed in Bournemouth, they “have the effect of making drivers think they are crossing a pavement (rather than pedestrians crossing a road) resulting in drivers giving way to pedestrians. . . This is excellent and could be extended to other future schemes.”
Tactile paving or other visual clues that pedestrians should give-way to turning traffic must not be included in the design of continuous footway; such features undermine the principle of the continuous footway alignment which prioritises the movement of people walking ahead.

Figure 7: Continuous footway Walthamstow. Enables children to walk independently and in safety and comfort.
Figure 8: Continuous footways are standard practice in Denmark.

1.3 Role of local authorities
Authorities who do not take every opportunity (including maintenance schemes) to improve priority for those with protected characteristic should be held accountable.

Local Authorities need to have some accountability when it comes to casualties, particularly where roads have been recently maintained. Local authorities have the powers to ‘design out’ injuries. There are physical measures which can be installed to reduce the risk and severity of casualties; modal filters on residential roads, crossings, protected cycle routes, continuous footways, removing centre lines.

Multiple duties require authorities to put people walking at the top of the hierarchy in design terms. There is research and evidence in the public domain on how best to do this. Yet, as is so often the case with maintenance schemes, often no attempt is made to update or improve the design of the road.

Councils should be obliged to take every opportunity, including maintenance schemes, to improve the safety and comfort of those walking. Councils who fail to update roads ought to be penalised where they simply re-instating what’s there which may well have been designed in 1970s or 80s or earlier.

A system more akin to Building Regulations could be considered for Highways. That is, all new or amended highways schemes should be reviewed by an independent body to check the design is in line with current design standards, prior to receiving approval.

A death on a road needs to be treated in a similar way to, for example, a death on a construction site. In that situation the incident would be extensively investigated, and appropriate changes put in place to prevent such an incident from occurring again. The same process should be applied to road design and policy.

1.4 Cycle-friendly design guidance.

We agree with Cycling UK that there should be a “single consistent source of cycle-friendly design guidance on cycle provision” which should apply not only to specific “cycle schemes” but to the highway environment in general.

 

2. The laws and rules of the road

Set out any areas where you consider the laws or rules relating to road safety and their enforcement, with particular reference to cyclists and pedestrians, could be used to support the government’s aim of improving cycling and walking safety whilst promoting more active travel.

2.1 Roads policing

Policing of close passing of cyclists and related policing (enforcing 20 mph, dangerous parking) as carried out by the West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team and other police services is essential. On the road activity has to be widespread and frequent, and must be backed up by high quality social media output (as for example by Surrey Roads Police) and well publicised facilities for third party reporting, as for example with Operation Snap.

Without this level of activity the central feature of this type of policing – that drivers should be aware that they should not commit rule and law infractions which endanger cyclists and pedestrians – will be absent and have minimal or at best inadequate effect.

We believe in massively increasing the numbers of road traffic police officers to reduce road danger, facilitate more and safer walking and cycling, as well as dealing with non-traffic crime associated with motor vehicle usage.

We are pleased to have supported the work of West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team (WMPRHRT), with which the Minster and his Department are familiar. An excellent summary of their approach is here and here. We support their view that: “the need for a continuous probable threat of prosecution to be present to ensure wide-scale compliance with the laws that are so commonly broken on our roads” (https://trafficwmp.wordpress.com/2017/06/) and similarly: “So drivers need to expect a zero tolerance approach for any offence involving a vulnerable road user, or an offence that could contribute to a collision involving a vulnerable road user. The only way to change driver behaviour and concentrate minds on looking out for vulnerable road users and change driving habits is through enforcement, and the resulting fear of being prosecuted.” (https://trafficwmp.wordpress.com/2016/09/ )

This is echoed by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Cycle Safety Team, who carry out the policing of close passing of cyclists with plain clothes police cyclists with their message that: “We can’t be everywhere but we could be anywhere”.

It should be noted that all of the policing carried out by WMPRHRT is done within existing legislation, usually involving charging under Section 3 or other sections of the 1988 RTA.
We note that this roads policing has resulted in dramatic reductions in cyclist casualties at a time when cycling in the Birmingham area has been increasing.

In addition, roads policing has additional benefits in that stopping motor vehicles often leads to charges for non-traffic law breaking.

The critical element in successful roads policing for cyclists and pedestrians has to be a firm level of commitment with integration between frequent and visible on road activity, social media, significant numbers of prosecutions (c. 500 have been made after charges by WMPRHRT) and associated education of drivers.

Regrettably, while at least eight police services are doing some form of policing of close passing of cyclists (with another ten or so considering or in the process of doing so), these actions are often not as widespread or frequent as necessary to make drivers aware of this kind of rule and law breaking and why they should not be doing it. Similarly, with these police services there may be inadequate or under publicised third party reporting systems in place and inadequate social media activity.

Without this integrated and committed approach the message is unlikely to be properly made known to the motorised public or to generate confidence among cyclists that behaviour which endangers them will be taken seriously.

2.2 Civil law

Strict/presumed driver liability should be introduced.

The UK should come into line with most other European countries to change civil law in this respect (with drivers being presumed liable in collisions involving pedestrians or cyclists). It is difficult to know how this would have a beneficial effect in reducing road danger to pedestrians and cyclists, but if publicised correctly it would seem likely to – but most importantly it would have a benefit on the civil rights of walkers and cyclists in obtaining proper compensation after incidents where they are hurt.

2.3 Criminal law

Revision of “dangerous” and “careless” traffic offences with sentencing policy revised accordingly. It is absolutely fundamental to the success of any attempts to reduce danger to cyclists and pedestrians that drivers should have awareness that any of their behaviour which endangers cyclists and pedestrians stands a realistic chance of resulting in driving bans (and custodial sentences in the more extreme cases). Such deterrent sentencing is required if policing is to have a proper effect.

This is an absolutely fundamental area for not simply providing cyclists and pedestrians with necessary confidence, but creating civilised response to road danger. We agree with Cycling UK (pp.13 – 14, “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”) on their definition of the current problems and what to do about them.

Associated with this we support our colleagues in RoadPeace with their insistence on transparency and effectiveness in crash investigation and the process of the Courts, including the Coroner’s. We repeat the recommendations made here: p.21 “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you”

 

2.4 The Highway Code

There are six main changes in the rules of the Highway Code which should be introduced as part of a long overdue revision of the Highway Code.
These are:
1. A rule at the beginning of the section of the Highway Code (HC) making it clear that use of a motor vehicle has a dramatically greater potential lethality than walking or cycling, and that there is therefore far greater responsibility and obligation from those in charge of them. This responsibility is greatest towards those outside motor vehicles, particularly walkers, horse riders and cyclists.
2. New rules on junction priority. These rules will be required with the introduction of separated cycle lanes and at other junctions. (See (p,15 “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”).
3. Rule on the safe space required when overtaking cyclists. Again we agree with Cycling UK (p. 15 “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”). It is not necessary to introduce specific laws on overtaking distances for there to be effective policing and successful charges under Section 3 RTA 1988 here, as the actions of WMPRHRT have shown.
4. Remove the requirement for cyclists to wear a crash helmet. If necessary this rule could be amended to “consider wearing helmet” as in the previous HC. We agree with Cycling UK that this gives drivers’ insurers a spurious basis for making financial and legal claims. We do not think there is adequate evidence to regard helmet wearing as of significant benefit: indeed we consider the evidence in real world studies to be notable in its absence of benefits in reducing casualty or even specifically head injury rates among helmet wearing cyclists. We believe that helmet advocacy has, unwittingly or otherwise, acted as a victim blaming red herring in discussions about cyclist safety.
5. Remove the requirements on cyclists and pedestrians to wear hi-viz clothing. Again, we believe the necessary evidence for benefits to cyclist and/or pedestrian safety is absent, and that it gives drivers’ insurers a spurious basis for making legal and/or financial claims. In the case of hi-viz clothing it furthermore works to reduce the age old requirement on drivers to watch out properly for those whom they should be looking out for.
6. Rule on opening all motor vehicle doors safely. (See p. 15 “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”).

In addition, Rules 66 & 67 do not match are not in with Bikeability training and need to be made so. When, where and why to use the primary and secondary positions is not mentioned and should be. There should also be an explanation of discretionary signalling and how this can often be more advisable rather than signalling for every manoeuvre which is implied if perhaps not intended in the current wording.

In rule 66 the wording on riding two abreast or single file is also inconsistent and illogical. As one of the reasons for larger groups to ride two abreast is ironically to enable safer overtaking it is illogical to say that riders should be in single file on bends where drivers should not be trying to overtake anyway. Riding two abreast at a corner will further discourage drivers from trying to overtake where they shouldn’t. Likewise the instruction to ride in single file on single track roads is similarly illogical as this can encourage drivers to overtake when they should not. It would be much better to explain when, why and where to ride two abreast or in the primary position to prevent unsafe overtaking and how and when to slow down and make space to enable motorists to overtake where the cyclist is in control.

Therefore, in support of these changes the rules for drivers should also have a new section on interacting safely with cyclists and pedestrians (see 2.4.1 above). This would explain why cyclists will ride in the primary position or two abreast and how this can actually benefit drivers.

3. Training

Do you have any suggestions for improving the way road users are trained, with specific consideration to protecting cyclists and pedestrians?

Again, we support the recommendations set out in the Cycling UK report. Driver training to ensure drivers leave as much passing space to cyclists and they do should be obligatory as should the obligation to turning drivers to give-way to pedestrians who have stepped out. We also believe that transport practitioners need more thorough training as outlined below.

3.1 Training of practitioners

The bar for highways design has been set unhealthily low in the UK. The inclusion of protected cycle facilities suitable for all is the exception not the norm. Continuous footways are the exception not the norm. Woonerven (not the weaker British home zone), modal filters and crossings, are few and far between. Standard highways practice focuses on, and prioritises, the movement of motor vehicles. For this to change there needs to be an overhaul of design standards and the training of practitioners.

The industry would benefit from a more diverse workforce. Currently 91% of heads of transport in UK local authorities are male, 9% female and around 70% are engineers . A multi-disciplinary team approach with professionals from a plethora of backgrounds – health, the environment, social science – could be instrumental in the future of transport. The lack of gender diversity at senior level in highways departments and transport academia may also be a barrier to more inclusive roads. Women favour different road layouts to men, for example, they place greater importance on being separated from traffic while cycling . Their needs are more likely to be overlooked if they are under-represented, not in positions of influence, or absent from the discussion and decision-making process.

Road design is a life and death issue; road deaths, pollution and health are all inextricably linked to the way roads are designed. Revalidation ought to be compulsory for transport professionals to ensure those charged with road design are kept abreast of contemporary thinking and best practice. The institutes (CIHT, ICE, CILT, TPS etc) could play a major role in updating the transport curriculum and ensuring practitioners are up to speed with current best practice.

A vital part of the training of practitioners must be an awareness of the ways in which transport professionals have been a key part in supporting a road transport system which has, in effect, discriminated against cycling. There should also be an awareness of how the creation of safer vehicle and highway environments for motor vehicle occupants has shifted risk on to the more vulnerable and benign modes of cycling and also walking.

Practitioners should be aware of he need to move beyond traditional road safety metrics such as cyclist deaths (or KSI) per head of the population. Not only should better measures including exposure (such as cyclist deaths/KSIs per journey/time/distance travelled) be used instead, but other measures should be used as well. These would include those such as London’s Cycling Level of Service which give a better understanding of the level of danger to which cyclists are exposed.

Practitioners should be fully aware of the existence of risk compensation (adaptation to perceptions of danger) as a persistent feature of road user behaviour, as well as an explanation of phenomena such as the beneficial effects of pedestrian guard rail removal in London, or the adverse effects of compulsory seat belt legislation on the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

3.2 Training of cyclists

High quality on-road “Bikeability” cycle training should be available for all children and all adults who desire it.

This training is not there for the same reasons as driving instruction, as we are dealing with a fundamentally different level of threat to others by rule or law breaking users. Cycle training will never be effective while it is seen as a way of controlling errant cyclists. (See p. 16 “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”).

We have concerns that current “cycle training” overemphasises the hazards of cycling and gives misplaced importance to the wearing of hi-viz and helmets. It should be made clear in training that cycling, even in current conditions, is generally a non-hazardous form of activity. We are particularly concerned that Bikeability courses will not generate sufficient confidence among trainees because of the lack of time given to training.

We believe it is imperative to allocate a far greater amount of money to the training of both adults and children. Approximately £60 per head should be allocated to providers for each child trained. Adults should have to pay a “booking fee” (c.£10) to be trained but otherwise the costs should be borne, as with child training, by the local authority financed by central Government
As well as increasing the amount allocated for training each child, Government should monitor Bikeability programmes to check that the original aims of Bikeability are being achieved.

3.3 Training of drivers

We support Cycling UK ((See p. 10 “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”) in their section on driver training, testing and retesting. It should be made clear to new drivers that having “passed their test” does not make them superior road users to cyclists and that they are still far more likely to endanger, hurt or kill others than those cycling and that they are for that reason required to have additional controls on their behaviour.

In fact we have doubts that the existing driving test does have a significant overall safety benefit, given the sense of entitlement which appears to be associated with all too many drivers once they have “passed their test”. Nevertheless, we are prepared to accept that a more stringent test taken periodically (to address problems such as that of poor driving by older drivers) may be appropriate.

 

4. Educating road users

Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve road user education to help support more and safer walking and cycling?

4.1 Reducing driver sense of entitlement

We have a major cultural problem of all too many drivers believing that they have a special right to the roads which cyclists and/or pedestrians do not have. A key element of making a safer road environment for all road users is to effectively challenge and erode this culture of entitlement. Doing so requires a transformation of education in schools, in driver training, and in messages to the media from central and local Government.

For example, the driver feeling of “owning the road” is related to the common – but incorrect – belief that they have a special right due to having paid a “road tax”. This belief must inevitably lead to feelings of superiority amongst such drivers over cyclists, with inevitably bad consequences for safety. This belief has to be tackled to reduce such feelings, as well as the personal abuse which is often directed at cyclists and which has an intimidatory effect on them and their chances of continuing to cycle.

4.2 Reducing the driver mentality of “owning the road”.

The “road tax” myth should be tackled by Government as a necessary way of reducing feelings of driver superiority to cyclists, which is a serious impediment to achieving safety for cyclists and pedestrians on the road. It will be necessary to not just tackle the historical confusion about “road tax”, but to point out that drivers do not pay for the external costs (such as pollution, congestion etc.) they incur compared to cyclists.

4.3 Educating cyclists and pedestrians.

For too long “road safety” messages have focused on the supposed responsibilities of cyclists and pedestrians at the expense of educating them about their rights.

Education of cyclists (for example, in Bikeability training) should include inculcating a sense of their rights as cyclists to be on the road, as well as their responsibilities to other road users. This education for cyclists and pedestrians should be based on emphasising the primacy of not endangering the safety of other road users.

4.4 Educating potential drivers

Forms of so-called “pre-driver training”, which have not been shown to reduce danger from new drivers, should be replaced by education which stresses the disbenefits of driving to society (ill health due to inactive travel; noxious, greenhouse gas and noise emissions; visual intrusion, community severance, cost due to non-payment of external costs; local environmental destruction, community severance etc.)This would emphasise the relative desirability of walking or cycling to driving.

4.5 Support give-way on turning

The recommendations outlined in the ‘Turning the Corner’ report need to be implemented. We also support the recommendations set out by Cycling UK in relation to driver training and policing. However, given the changes to the Highway Code and legislation may take some time, we believe that in the interim there needs to be much greater enforcement of the existing principle set out in the Highway Code Rule 170; “watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way”.

This needs to be emphasised to all drivers particularly given the short-comings of the conventional highways design of side roads (outlined in Section 1 above). In addition, the police should enforce this rule and charge drivers who fail to give-way on turning.

Drivers should be made far more aware of Rule 170; few currently give way on turning once a pedestrian has stepped out. There ought to be far more prosecutions for hitting pedestrian and cyclists when a driver is turning into or out of a side road given it is one of the most common types of casualty.

4.6 Safe speeds: 5-10mph on residential roads

What is a ‘safe’ speed? Cycling UK states “Safe Speeds : Make 20mph the default speed limit for most streets in built-up areas, with 30mph (or higher) limits being the exception that requires signing, not the other way round.” ((p.6 “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”).
“Lightly-trafficked low-speed streets or lanes, where through traffic is removed as far as possible, and which are designed to feel like community streets, with low speed limits” (p.7 “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”).

But the ‘safety’ of speeds varies according to who is using the road. For example, 20mph is too fast for young children cycling independently (e.g.: aged 4-10 years) and too fast for playing out but may be safe for older children.

Nearly two in three road collisions happen when children are walking or playing and the risk of being involved in a road accident when walking or playing is more than 10 times greater for a child with hearing difficulties. Children on foot are more likely to be killed in road accidents in Britain than in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain or Sweden. The dangerous years are 11 and 12 ; greater independence brings with it a hugely increased risk of being killed or seriously injured in a road accident.

Much good work has been done recently on reducing through-traffic from residential streets by installing modal filters. To maximise the use of these streets for everyone, including children wanting to play or cycle, the speeds should be 5 or 10mph, comparable to the 15kmph used on residential streets on much on the continent.

 

5. Vehicles and equipment

Do you have any suggestions on how government policy on vehicles and equipment could improve safety of cyclists and pedestrians, whilst continuing to promote more walking and cycling?

5.1 Cars which can exceed the legal maximum speed limit should not be sold in the UK. Technology which can control the speed of cars to ensure drivers to not break the law and speed limits are observed should be adopted.

5.2 HGVs and other large vehicles

The Road Danger Reduction Forum has campaigned since the early 1990s for a reduction in danger from lorries, particularly to cyclists and pedestrians in urban environments. We support the measures taken due to the campaigning by ourselves, Cycling UK, London Cycling Campaign, RoadPeace and Living Streets specifically in London which have now borne (some) fruit with the introduction of Direct Vision lorries being pressed for by the Mayor of London.

We support the measures advocated by Cycling UK pp18 – 19 in “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”).

5.3 Autonomous vehicles and new technologies

There is substantial discussion about the possible safety benefits of autonomous vehicles (AVs). We agree with Cycling UK (p.19 “Cycle safety, make it simple: Why wouldn’t you?”) that there are potentially both positive and negative features of AVs in this respect, and that there is a need to be aware of both. However, our view is that the negative – such as restrictions on movement of pedestrians and cyclists to – are more likely to prevail: we therefore think that there needs to be less enthusiasm for the AV project by Government, with funding for its development re-directed to active and sustainable transport

We do, however, believe in utilising new technologies which may be likely to address problems of road danger. Dashcam and helmet/light camera video taken by drivers and cyclists can be used in third party reporting. Dashcam and “black box” technologies should be encouraged for use on all motor vehicles to give legally valid evidence, particularly after collisions. Ultimately it should be a legal requirement to have such recording technologies on board motor vehicles, to be made available to police investigating driver behaviour, particularly after crashes.

 

6. Attitudes and public awareness

What can government do to support better understanding and awareness of different types of road user in relation to cycle use in particular?

We believe that this “understanding and awareness” should include that of transport practitioners (including highway engineers, road safety officers, transport planners) and those in related areas (particularly town planners) and associated areas such as public health and housing. Therefore 6.1 and 6.2 refers to the activities of these professionals.

6.1 Funding

Transport funding is currently skewed in favour of those who drive the most, despite road building schemes offering poor value for money (compared to walking and cycling schemes) and often, ironically, they exacerbate ill health and congestion.

No doubt some would argue that funding for roads also pays for better walking and cycling facilities. However, most of our roads, even new or amended roads, are not safe, accessible and comfortable to all ages on foot, bicycle, or mobility scooter. The focus for roads spending is overwhelming on congestion relief via expanding motor vehicle capacity with miniscule proportions (e.g.: 1 or 2 % of LEP funding ) going to walking and cycling. The funding imbalance means those most in need of safe, comfortable walking and cycling environments who ought to be protected by the Equality Act are being marginalised through the built environment; the government is falling short of its duties towards those with protected characteristics.

Annual commute trips per person, 2016. Source: Dr Rachel Aldred,

Spending needs to be re-balanced towards the benign modes. Walking and cycling funding needs to increase to be fair to those groups who either do not drive or don’t drive as much, and those who need less hostile road environments to walk and cycle; notably children, the disabled, older people and women.
Funds must enable local authorities to meet their walking and cycling potential as illustrated by the ‘Go Dutch’ scenarios on the Propensity to Cycling Tool. ‘Catch up’ funding is needed for walking and cycling in order for the UK to move towards the levels of cycling now seen in places such as Denmark or the Netherlands.
The vast majority of funding for roads focuses on commuting car trips. Funding for short local walking and cycling journeys remains inadequate. Again, this current spending is biased in favour of men who are more likely to make car trips, more likely to make commuting trips and less likely to be involved in escort education trips. The funding weighting prejudices children (who do not drive) and those who are most likely to make education escort trips most of which could be done on foot or bicycle, given the right road conditions.
Funding could be framed as a ‘Transport Equality Fund’ rather than walking and cycling; a fund to ensure that our roads are safe and accessible to all such that the government is able to meet its equality duties.

In addition, the change in awareness amongst local and central government practitioners concerned with potential changes to the safety of those cycling and walking should involve – in the context of discussions about funding – awareness of the massive unpaid external costs of motoring.

Here is a conventional economic analysis of such costs. This is relevant not just to justify increased funding for more cycling and walking, but to the mythology of “road tax” (see 4.2 above)

6.2 Raising the bar in highways design and legislation

All streets need to be safe and accessible for all ages. Significant increasing funding with specific spending remits for local authorities could ensure:
• All residential roads to have a minimum Level of Service of 80% (i.e.: modal filters, 5 or 10mph speed limits etc.)
• All main roads to have a minimum Level of Service of 80% (i.e.: protected cycle routes etc.)
• Continuous footways on all side-roads
• Regular crossings
• Roundabouts are continental geometry with crossings on each.

6.3 General public’s awareness

Much of the change required is referred to in sections 3 and 4. However, there will still be a need for announcements, policy papers etc. from central Government to make the general public aware of the need for modal shift to walking and cycling, and for those doing so to be at less risk from others.

This includes awareness of the problems associated with current levels of car use (such as physical inactivity associated with inactive travel and associated ill health; danger to other road users; noxious, noise and greenhouse gas emissions etc.) as well as the benefits of active travel to its users and the community as a whole.

As a general rule, education , training and general awareness should be based on generating or reinforcing understanding that cyclists have at least as much right to be on the highway as drivers and to not be discriminated against, particularly in terms of danger presented to them.

6.4 Abuse and expression of negative views of cyclists/pedestrians

Social media contain numerous accounts of verbal abuse, wilfully intimidatory driving etc. as well as “normal” rule and law breaking by drivers in the vicinity of cyclists. This kind of behaviour, as well as endangering cyclists also deters actual or potential cyclists from cycling, to their and society’s disbenefit. Such behaviour, however much it is presented as “a joke” should be taken seriously and repudiated and condemned.

Furthermore, road safety practitioners have consistently pointed out that being responsible for a collision when driving is “easily done”. While we have a higher opinion o drivers, particularly with their capacity to drive far more carefully if they wish, it is rue that there is an inherent potential to endanger, hurt or kill others – particularly cyclists and pedestrians, when driving. On that basis, negative attitudes towards cyclists and/or pedestrians should be seen as themselves dangerous and to be stigmatised and opposed.

RDRF: June 2018.

Photos by Lucy Marstrand unless otherwise stated. References available on request

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Views

Shortening the fast cycle route Arnhem-Nijmegen

BicycleDutch - 28 May, 2018 - 23:01
When the “RijnWaalpad” (the fast cycle route between Nijmegen and Arnhem) was opened in 2015, it wasn’t entirely finished. Some things that needed to be done at the time have … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

A huge cycle bridge in Zwolle

BicycleDutch - 21 May, 2018 - 23:01
One of the maybe unexpected side effects of the Sustainable Safety policies is that flow roads, which – as the name suggests – can only be for the flow of … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

From traffic sewer to city park

BicycleDutch - 14 May, 2018 - 23:01
People sitting in the grass of the Utrecht “Paardenveld” at a location that used to be an enormous intersection at the end of a motorway less than a decade ago. … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Traversing Boxtel on a bicycle

BicycleDutch - 7 May, 2018 - 23:01
Recently, I had to cycle all the way through the town of Boxtel, from north to south, on my way to film the fast cycle route between Oirschot and Boxtel. … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

REVIEW: “Bike Boom: The unexpected resurgence of cycling” by Carlton Reid. 2017 “Copenhagenize: The definitive guide to global bicycle urbanism” by Mikael Colville-Andersen. 2018.

Road Danger Reduction Forum - 5 May, 2018 - 19:31


First of all, an unequivocal endorsement of both these books from Island Press: They are essential reading for anybody concerned with the development of cycling as everyday transport for ordinary city dwellers – in fact anybody concerned with transport, public health, sustainability and urban life generally. And I am not someone who hands out plaudits freely!They also complement each other. Colville-Andersen pays his dues to Reid; “…reading a book like Bike Boom is absolutely the best way to get into the subject of the rise of the bicycle in history” (p.28). This relationship is worth looking at in more detail.

“Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.”

This sentiment is generally attributed to Antonio Gramsci. With these books you get the more detailed and sceptical analysis from Reid; with Colville-Andersen you get, well, the fun.

Let’s take Reid’s book first: Is this another book telling us that we are witnessing a “boom” in cycling which will take us to the promised land of a high cycling modal share and a sustainable transport system? The cover would appear to suggest this: but appearances are deceptive. Reid shows how the woman in the centre of the front cover (see above) was a fashion model planted on to demonstration. And the demo – in the middle of a short “bicycle boom” which was over two years later – didn’t succeed in its aim of installing cycle lanes on a San Francisco street.
This then, is “not a rose-tinted promotion of the joyful practicality of cycling; it is a work of history, unafraid to reveal some inconvenient truths”. Reid questions whether “bike booms” have really existed or not (generally they haven’t for “quite some time”), and the conventional wisdom of what is required to achieve them (infrastructure is likely to be necessary, but a lot more is required). Based on the highest quality historical research, this excellent work provides evidence for what may be needed for a genuine shift towards to cycling becoming a significant part of everyday transport in the UK.

I’m a long time sympathiser with the kind of caution exercised by Carlton Reid. My view is that we need a thorough examination of car culture, looking at issues such as the costs of motoring, traffic law enforcement and generally confronting unspoken ideas about transport which (some) “it’s just the infrastructure” cycling advocates miss out on. I’m interested in what happens where the highway environment isn’t engineered to eliminate danger to cyclists (particularly outside cities); and what lies behind the unwillingness to do such engineering in the first place. Colville-Anderson says “The global bicycle boom has been underway since 2007 and shows no signs of waning” – but in London and elsewhere that “boom” is minimal with plenty of doubts about the commitment from the powers that be to create or support it.

“The urban space is ours to do with as we please. If you don’t see cycling as a solution, you are part of the problem”

So on to “Copenhagenize”. The quote above is just one of many which zip off the pages of this book. Here’s another accompanying a photograph (Colville-Andersen should be well known to you as the maker of thousands of images of everyday cycling) of a yawning Danish cycle commuter: “If you don’t see cyclists yawning in your city, you’re doing something wrong”. Think about it…

This book is absolutely packed full of his and others’ photographs and other images with more of a coffee table format than other books I’ve reviewed. But don’t mistake that for it being lightweight. Serious (and contentious) argument abounds on every page. Did you, to take one of numerous examples, ever question white bike or “die-in” protests? I’ve always had some question marks, despite respecting the good intentions of the organisers, and so does Colville-Andersen (see page 254).

He’s good on helmets, cargo bikes, the origin of the term “jaywalking”, “the concept of big”, “climaphobia” – you name it.  “Design our cities for bicycles as transport and allow the majority to dress for their destination, not their journey”: there’s another quote. He’s fascinating on the failure to market environmentalism (“…the greatest marketing flop in the history of homo sapiens”): I have some disagreements there as I think that this is a question of political struggle rather than “marketing”. But that doesn’t matter: what matters is that he makes you think.

But above all, for this somewhat cynical and jaded transport professional, academic researcher and campaigner of many years standing, “Copenhagenize” is a book that puts a great big smile on your face.

Categories: Views

A new parking garage in ’s-Hertogenbosch

BicycleDutch - 30 April, 2018 - 23:01
The city of ’s-Hertogenbosch wants to have fewer cars in its city centre. To achieve that goal the city built a large car parking garage at the edge of the … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

King’s Day 2018

BicycleDutch - 27 April, 2018 - 19:01
The Dutch celebrated their national holiday Koningsdag (or King’s Day) on the 27th of April. The weather was good, the parties were great, and everybody went on a bicycle! A … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

In which we Make The Lane

At War With The Motorist - 27 April, 2018 - 09:10

This is just a notification for those of you who aren’t already following on the twitter (@steinsky). Because all the cool kids are apparently vlogging instead of blogging these days:

Like I say, I might do some more of these, focusing on showing some of the positive things that people are doing, and what good looks like. But only if it looks like there’s an appetite for it and people actually watch these things. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on that, and subscribe to the channel if you do want to see more.

Categories: Views

Safe roundabouts revisited: They're still the safest design and now there's more evidence for that.

A View from the Cycle Path - 25 April, 2018 - 20:19
The safe roundabout design for cyclists looks like this. Please read my previous blog post and watch the accompanying video as both of those describes the features of this design There's been quite a lot of news recently about roundabouts in the Netherlands and I'm pleased to say that the new statistics are highly supportive of my previous article about how a truly safe roundabout should be David Hembrowhttps://plus.google.com/114578085331408050106noreply@blogger.com0http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2018/04/safe-roundabouts-revisited-theyre-still.html
Categories: Views

More cycling fatalities than deaths in cars

BicycleDutch - 25 April, 2018 - 11:01
Disturbing news this morning: more people died on a bike than in a car in the Netherlands in 2017. A total of 206 people died on bicycles and 201 in … Continue reading →
Categories: Views

Complacency

As Easy As Riding A Bike - 24 April, 2018 - 12:58

The Netherlands is a wonderful country to cycle around, with a dense cycle network made up of motor traffic-free paths, low motor traffic access roads, and protected cycleways, all of which allow you to make door-to-door journeys in complete comfort and safety. That doesn’t mean, however, that everything there is perfect. There are many streets and roads across the country which are still poor. Dutch cycling infrastructure did not fall out of the sky; it had to be built, and many places are still waiting, even in the centre of famously cycle-friendly cities.

An unpleasant cycling environment in the centre of Amsterdam

In other places, there are compromises – clearly inadequate cycling environments, that are difficult to resolve. Again, just as with the UK, there are competing demands for road space. While in most Dutch urban areas those demands are resolved in favour of cycling and walking, there are streets where it is genuinely difficult to fit walking, cycling and major bus routes into the same space.

A major bus route into the city centre of Utrecht has to briefly share space with cycling

These poor streets should not to be used as examples to copy simply because they are ‘Dutch’. While thousands of people cycle every day on the street shown in the photograph above, even though it is shared with a significant number of buses, that does not mean that this is a good situation, or good practice that should be transferred to the UK. In reality this is a serious gap in the network. People are only cycling here because the rest of the network across the city is so good, good enough for them to tolerate sharing with buses (and some private motor traffic) for a few hundred metres.

The Dutch are also capable of making mistakes. It’s not always perfect, and sometimes it’s very silly – just as bad as anything in the UK.

A cycleway with a right-angle bend that then joins a bus corridor, again at right angles, in a new development in Delft

Again, this is simply bad. It’s an obvious mistake, made by someone who hasn’t considered how people cycling actually move about.

But worse than all these kinds of poor examples are the new designs in the Netherlands that take cycling for granted. The Netherlands has a tried-and-trusted formula for ensuring that cycling is a comfortable, safe and pleasant experience, with standard design templates that work extremely well. However that template sometimes get jettisoned, with depressing results. Like at this roundabout (or ’roundabout’) in Winschoten, in the province of Groningen in the north of the Netherlands.

Roundabout design that works well for walking and cycling in the Netherlands is well-established. One of the basic principles is that cycling – whether with priority or without – passes on a cycleway that is at a larger radius from the annular ring for motor traffic. This means that there is a waiting area for motor traffic to enter the roundabout, while keeping the cycleway clear, and also that motor traffic can exit the roundabout, and yield to cycle traffic, and pedestrians crossing on zebras, without blocking the roundabout.

A ‘standard’ Dutch roundabout with perimeter cycleway, with priority

These principles have been abandoned with this design. Motor traffic completely blocks the passage of people walking and cycling as people queue to enter the roundabout.

More dangerously, drivers exiting the roundabout are not meeting people walking and cycling at a perpendicular angle, as they are forced to do with the conventional, established Dutch roundabout designs. Instead they have to look sideways, or backwards over their shoulder. As people observe in the video, this is hazardous.

These drivers are having to look sideways to see if their passage off the roundabout  is clear. With a conventional Dutch roundabout any potential conflicts would be directly in front of them.

This roundabout design also fails to separate cycling and walking, lumping them together on an unclear shared paving surface. Walking and cycling are different modes with different requirements, and should be treated separately, especially at such a busy urban location. Pedestrians also lack the clear unambiguous priority of a zebra crossing.

In short, the design is ambiguous, dangerous, and unpopular. As the councillor observes in the video, it is better that ’roundabouts look the same. Because then you know where you stand.’

So what has happened here? This is an enormous space, with clearly enough room for a perimeter cycleway, and for separate walking space, with zebra crossings. Indeed, this new layout – built in 2014 – has replaced a roundabout with perimeter cycleways (albeit not very good ones). To my mind, it looks like a classic example of style over substance – an unusual hexagonal design with ‘shared space’ motifs like reduced delineation between modes appears to have proved more attractive to the town than the tried-and-trusted (yet rather mundane) basic Dutch roundabout.

There’s even a rather depressing comment below the video in Dutch, roughly translated as

… in the UK they are testing free junctions, just a whole lot of space and no signs and all … what has happened is that everyone drives more calmly and in percentage terms the number of crashes has fallen sharply

 This commenter is apparently unaware that in the UK, ‘shared space’ – with limited signs, clutter and delineation – arrived as a sexy, foreign concept… from the Netherlands itself! 

There are similar problems with sections of this recent road re-design in Oost-Souburg, in Zeeland – right at the opposite end of the country.

Photo from here

While parts of the road have excellent new cycleways, this section appears to have designed for cycling with shared use footways with no clear priority at side roads – the kind of awful approach we see all too often in the UK. Just as with the roundabout, cycling has effectively been ignored in the design, lumped in with walking, with both modes designed for in an ambiguous way. Again, there’s no shortage of space, but aesthetics appear to have been more important than functionality.

But although cycling levels are high in the Netherlands – certainly compared to the UK – cycling there doesn’t ‘just happen’. People can and will change their mode of transport if it becomes too difficult, too dangerous, too inconvenient, or too unpleasant.

There's a fair bit of complacency in the Netherlands about cycling. Sometimes people actually believe that nonsense about it being "in the blood". In reality cycling is a fragile mode which declined here just as elsewhere and it has never fully recoveredhttps://t.co/XAmjV0F3fB pic.twitter.com/4ymnBwHp5o

— David Hembrow #FBPE (@DavidHembrow) April 13, 2018

Although the story of cycling in the Netherlands is partly a historical accident, the current levels of cycling in the country simply would not have been maintained without serious, concerted action, action that made it a viable mode of transport for everyone at a time of rapid expansion in the use of the private motor car. As David Hembrow argues, cycling should not be treated with complacency. It is not ‘in the blood’, or innate to the Netherlands, just because everyone cycles, or because there is a long history of cycling in the country. It can, and will, decline if it is not cared for.

While older parts of the Dutch road network are still waiting to be redesigned to make cycling safe and attractive, and while mistakes in designs can happen, it’s troubling to see cycling effectively being ignored in new Dutch road designs, and well-established, proven principles of road design being ignored or abandoned.

Categories: Views

Fast cycle route Oirschot – Boxtel

BicycleDutch - 23 April, 2018 - 23:01
“It is possible, that you will have made an occasional cycle tour. At least some of your journeys must involuntarily have taken you to the cycle path between Oirschot and … Continue reading →
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