Policy Bash: Outcomes

This page summarises the policy bash discussions, and provides links to discussions in more detail

NB - all of these are still in draft form and are open to any member to comment on and discuss; nothing has been set in stone yet.

Overall priorities

We started by setting out our overall priorities both for the weekend and as an organisation. The Cycling Embassy is, primarily, all about the infrastructure and our main role is really in providing information to encourage and enable the UK to build the sort of cycling facilities that are taken for granted in places like the Netherlands and Denmark but which are as rare as unicorns in the UK. The policy bash worked along two work streams(with people swapping between the two from time to time), strategy and infrastructure. On the strategy side, we decided to concentrate on creating a plan for the year ahead and beyond, setting out our policies in concrete form and spreading the word beyond the narrow world of cycle campaigning of what we're about. On the infrastructure workstream, we concentrated on principles of separation, building a network, and then how to go about putting Dutch principles into practice in UK situations. Each one of these will be written up in more detail, but here's a brief overview:

Long term strategy & spreading the word

The plan is to write a book which sets out the sort of things we'd like to see implemented in the UK in a way that makes them easy to understand for the non-specialist. It will be full of photographs and illustrations clarifying what is possible with a bit of political will and hopefully answering the questions of those who fear that cycle infrastructure must inevitably be of poor quality or even downright dangerous. We'll be crowdsourcing this - both for ideas, illustration and examples and ultimately for funding too - so it's a way that everyone can get involved in shaping the future of the Embassy 


Policy points

There's a lot of nitty gritty decisions that have to be made on where we stand on a range of issues from helemt laws to bikes on trains. Many of them are pretty clear, but just have to be stated; others require more debate. We made a start, but a lot of these points will be for debate on the forum and can then be finalised at our AGM in May. There's a lot to sum up, but one overarching principle stood out over the two days: we want to see cycling facilities that ALL cyclists can use and will be happy to use, from a child on their first Christmas bike out with Granny to Mark Cavendish on his carbon road bike.


Principles of Separation and sustainable safety versus the Hierarchy of Provision

For a long time, UK cycle policy has been organised around the 'Hierarchy of provision' for cycling and walking which has not resulted in the construction of a road environment that's inviting for cycling, or even for walking in many cases. We've turned that on its head and looked at how the Dutch approach road design with sustainable safety and when it's okay to mix traffic or when cars and lorries should be segregated away from people on foot and on bikes. Although the UK roads are a much more heterogenous mix than Dutch ones, there's a lot we can still apply. Starting by asking what any given stretch of road is for, and where it sits in the network (both for bikes and other kinds of traffic), it makes decisions about prioritising and reallocating space much easier.


Thinking 'network'

It's very easy to get hung up on the details of individual junctions and roads but cyclists don't generally head out to cycle around Bow Roundabout, they are cycling to work, to school, or to the shops. Cycling facilities have to be put in where they're most important, based on the 'desire lines' for people on bikes. The key to making cycling not just safer but less scary (i.e. subjectively safe) is in the junctions - although the links are important too.


Designing a roundabout

We had to get the coloured pens out eventually! Taking a nasty roundabout in Glasgow as an example we had a look at how to re-model it along the lines recommended in the Dutch CROW manual. Along the way we applied some of the principles we'd already considered - thinking network and considering the roles of the roads in question. The result was illuminating - about how much there is to take into account but also about how in the end the Dutch designs do answer a lot of our fears as cyclists, even in the UK. We came up with a staged approach to improving cycling infrastructure and a process which should be applicable to creating a 'toolkit' for other junction types


'The Book'

One of the ideas that will have the most immediate impact was the idea of producing a book that would show in concrete (and aspirational) form what it is we're campaigning for. The exact form, shape and structure are yet to be determined but it will help concentrate our minds on the details of our policies and give campaigners something to point to when explaining just what it is we mean by 'first class cycling infrastucture'