CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Infrastructure

Cycle Network

(346 posts)
  • Started 7 years ago by Simon Parker
  • Latest reply from chdot

  1. Simon Parker

    Can't sleep ...

    Regarding the planning process, just read this from Ranty.

    I guess the reason why Cycling: the way ahead says that a minimum level of functioning is "a prudent course to follow" is that none of these "maniacal manipulations of movement" are necessary to begin with.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  2. Roibeard

    @Simon - so do I [think the roads are safe]

    Although this statement clearly needs expansion, I'm still going to bite.

    The roads may be safe, but the driving on them allows for no margin of error, either from the driver or the cyclist. Cyclists thus need to be fit, healthy and have an open attitude to personal risk (i.e. young males). And the consequences of those inevitable errors are not mitigated by design. Statistically they may be safer than many other activities, but they don't "fail safe" when someone makes a mistake.

    I'd be happy to lend you my children if you think that the roads as they stand are actually safe for everyone currently.

    Of course, you may mean something else by declaring them safe - the Transport Minister means "safe, so we don't need to do anything more, and why are you complaining anyway?" Probably not what you mean, given that you wish to see a network introduced...


    Posted 7 years ago #
  3. Simon Parker

    Robert, I agree with you.

    Of course, you may mean something else by declaring them safe - the Transport Minister means "safe, so we don't need to do anything more, and why are you complaining anyway?" Probably not what you mean, given that you wish to see a network introduced...

    I mean I rarely feel in any danger riding a bicycle (me personally). I mean my death is likely to be hastened by not cycling.

    We have to start where we are. Introducing a cycle network to the point where it functions is not the final step, either.

    Roger Geller remarks that one of the primary differences between Portland and the bicycle-friendly cities of Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, and so on, is that in those cities cycling is safer and more comfortable. This is borne out by the comparative crash data, he says, by conversations with officials from those countries, and by government policy documents that place a premium on designs that maximise the safety and comfort of bicycling.

    Safety and comfort have become fundamental to expanding cycling in these countries, Geller continues, in large part because the authorities need to appeal to their Interested but Concerned populations. The European approach recognises that, in the absence of good quality infrastructure, only the “cyclists” will cycle. If cycling is to be universally adopted as a means of transportation, then the concerns of the majority must be addressed. In this typology, that majority is the Interested but Concerned.

    We want to catch up with these cycling countries, but the idea that we can do this without doing some groundwork first - without laying a solid foundation - is not something that anyone is seriously suggesting, is it?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  4. chdot

    @ R


    Posted 7 years ago #
  5. wingpig

    "I would stress, firstly, that this is a strategic network, and secondly, that I make no claims for subjective safety. My view is that if you don't have Bikeability Level 3 training, then ... cycle with an adult, on the pavement, or get the bus. Long-term, of course, I would want things to be different."

    'He already thinks the roads are safe.'

    "So do I."

    There are already people out cycling on all the roads you're labelling as components of your network, but these are the people who are already prepared to cycle no matter how discouraging the road layout or how occasionally callous and threatening the behaviour of other road users.

    "Most of the barriers you talk about should be able to be dealt with during the Introductory phase"

    What about barriers to cycling such as vehicles being parked on a cycle facility, whether it's a dropped kerb or a painted-on advisory cycle lane or a mere painted bicycle sign or arrow signifying inclusion in a collection of labelled routes?
    Removal of officially-designated parking-spaces which intersect with cycle facilities' space cannot happen overnight. Changing the colour and number of the lines and stripes on the kerb and road to make a painted-on cycle facility more meaningful and usable cannot happen overnight. Constantly and persistently enforcing changes to the colour of the lines and stripes on the kerb and road to make them mean something is an additional problem.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  6. neddie

    In much the same way as there is for the 'car network', I think what is needed for any cycle network is route classification:

    • 'A' routes - off road or fully segregated, suitable for all ages and all abilities
    • 'B' routes - residential or minor roads with 20mph speed limit
    • 'C' routes - main roads, cobbles, steps, difficult junctions, etc.

    Although it might be better to use something other than A, B, C as we want to avoid connotations of speed on the off-road routes. Perhaps something like ski piste classification, Green, Blue, Red, Black...?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  7. Morningsider

    Simon - I'm not aware of any cyclist (campaigning or not) who would consider establishing a decent cycle network in this city as controversial.

    You argue that a network, which seems to initially consist of signs and advisory cycle lanes, would not make cycling less safe. I disagree. Unleash new cyclists on such a network and they will encounter many unexpected dangers. They will soon realise that the facilities they are using offer no protection over the roads they were scared of using and likely quit. This is particularly important for any politician who may have staked political capital in supporting such a network. They will take flak for supporting such a poor quality network and may even be put off ever supporting cycling again.

    If a network is to be established then it must offer something better than what is currently available.

    Effective cycle campaigning takes effort, time, political engagement and dirty compomise. No-one comes out of it smelling of roses, but hopefully something decent eventually emerges. Instead of criticising cycle campaigners, why not join them where the action really is.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  8. I were right about that saddle

    @Morningsider - Thanks very much for this post. I think you've summed up my thoughts in rather more lawerly and studied language than I could manage.

    With the best will in the world, Google Maps layers, postings here and e-mails to PoP are going to do nothing for cycling in Edinburgh. I'm all in favour of an Edinburgh cycle network, but this thread makes me want to cycle the wrong way round the bypass.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  9. Simon Parker

    @ wingpig

    What about barriers to cycling such as vehicles being parked on a cycle facility ... ?

    Chapter 4 of Cycling: the way ahead is definitely worth a read.

    This is what it says about the role of the police:

    When introducing facilities for cyclists, it is preferable to plan whenever possible a configuration whereby motorists are unable to block such a facility through negligence (sometimes installing small poles in strategic places is enough).

    But in situations where no protection against abuse is possible, the police have to intervene systematically to ensure that cycle tracks or lanes are respected, without which they become a loss-making investment. In cases where cycle tracks become unusable (through careless parking or through holes in the roadway), the loss may be heavy, both financially and in terms of image.

    Regarding your other points, I confess, it's not exactly clear to me what you are saying. I understand the bit about the parking spaces, but not the rest.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  10. chdot

    "the police have to intervene"

    Mmm that'll happen.

    They are not even willing to 'police' 20mph areas.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  11. wingpig

    The second page of the road marking guidance illustrations from the Highway Code is definitely worth a read.

    In lots of places there are neither red nor yellow painted lines at the roadside. Motor vehicles park there.
    In some places there are red and yellow painted lines at the roadside. Motor vehicles still park there.

    Sometimes an entire lane's width adjacent to the kerb is painted green, for buses to go on. Motor vehicles which are not buses go in them, sometimes parking, sometimes to deliver things.

    Sometimes half a lane's width adjacent to the kerb is painted red, with white bicycle pictures in, for bikes to play avoid-the-sunken-drain in. Even when augmented by yellow or red painted lines, motor vehicles park there too.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  12. Simon Parker

    The handbook Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities stems from the idea that the worst enemies of the bicycle in urban areas are not cars, but longheld prejudices. The handbook therefore corrects some of the prejudices connected with the use of the bicycle as a regular mode of transport in the urban environment. It also suggests some simple, inexpensive and popular measures which could be implemented immediately. Certainly the task is ambitious, but the essential thing is to take the first step, because while use of the bicycle is a choice for the individual, it is essential to launch the process by which your city builds on the initiatives and habits of some of your fellow citizens.

    (Ritt Bjerregaard, European Commissioner with responsibility for the environment, 1999)

    The "process" can be summed up as follows: Plan, study and then "introduce" a cycle network. Develop it further on the basis of priority interventions and a timetable.

    If anyone has any evidence to the contrary, please share it with us.

    People seem to be saying that cycling conditions are pretty bad in Edinburgh, but that's not my fault, so there's no point getting angry with me about it.

    Roelof Wittink, Director of the Dutch Cycling Embassy, said in his testimony to the Greater London Authority that we should not expect to solve all of our problems through engineering, and that education also has an important role to play.

    Indeed, the constant factors of a thoroughly-understood cycling policy are:

    i. network
    ii. parking
    iii. information
    iv. education
    v. training
    vi. promotion

    A cyclist’s safety depends on the physical features of his route (good road surface, clear signs and signals, possible separation of different types of traffic). But is also depends to a great extent on his physical abilities, know-how and experience (ability to anticipate). It also depends on the behaviour of motorists.

    Know-how consists both of a mastery of the bicycle (technique) and the knowledge of certain theoretical data, notably an awareness of the possible conflicts between bicycles and cars and of the nature of the dangers which may arise en route.

    (Chapter 4, Cycling: the way ahead)

    Posted 7 years ago #
  13. Morningsider

    Simon - you do realise that you cannot introduce, launch, lay a foundation or take the first step. I can't either. Nor can anyone else on the forum. I doubt even the leader of the Council could, without building a coalition of fellow politicians, officials and the wider public.

    The most effective thing any one of us can do is work together with groups like SPOKES, PoP and CTC to collectively press for change. Local politicians are the only people with the powers and budget to create a cycle network and they will only do so when they consider it both desirable, achievable and popular enough that it doesn't affect their chances of re-election. Our job is to help make those circumstances seem possible.

    Seriously, no-one is blaming you for cycling conditions in Edinburgh. No-one thinks a cycle network is a bad idea. You can keep firing quotes at us, but it doesn't change political reality, current plans for the development of a family cycle network or the law regarding road space reallocation.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  14. Simon Parker

    Thank you, Morningsider.

    You do realise that you cannot introduce, launch, lay a foundation or take the first step. I can't either. Nor can anyone else on the forum. I doubt even the leader of the Council could, without building a coalition of fellow politicians, officials and the wider public.

    Yes, I had realised that. I have written to Spokes and PoP in the past few days, emphasising that I am very keen to work cooperatively on this project.

    I have previously written to Roger Geffen. He replied:

    Just to say I like your 5-step process – that seems to me to make a lot of sense. It allows for a certain amount of ‘trial and error’ in the delivery, which makes sense given that this is bound to happen anyway!

    I responded:

    I think your point about this approach allowing for a certain amount of trial and error is well made. Cycling: the way ahead says on page 41: "Laying cycle tracks is only realistic if one has the resources for meticulous planning (because if an error of choice is made, the tracks are not used, and the space which has been set aside for them, and any investment made, will be wasted)"; and on page 56: "All the installation measures which call for little planning may be applied without major risk of error or loss. [...] Given their low cost, the small amount of extra work which they entail, and the possibilities of corrections in the case of error, such measures may be adopted automatically".


    I recognise that, on my own, I am not able to take my ideas beyond Step 2, and am therefore looking for a 'partner' to help me...

    He replied:

    If you want to see if our local campaigners in the areas you mention are interested in taking up your ideas (bearing in mind that you don't need a vast amount of money to get to step 4), then do say.

    Probably the time has come to get in touch with CTC Scotland. If you know a good contact there I'll drop him or her a line.

    I am a big fan of the Cycling Embassy, but whilst I very much agree with them about where to end up, I don't agree with them at all about where to start.

    Regarding your other points, I say again, the only people who would regard a cycle network "introduced" to a minimum level of functioning as controversial are cyclists themselves. I don't believe politicians would have any problems at all with it if the cycling lobby found it agreeable. The ball is in our court.

    Finally, the reason I keep firing quotes at you is because this constitutes evidence. I haven't heard anything at all to falsify it.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  15. Radgeworks

    @ Simon, well met sir, :-) and do keep up the good work too. I like having quotes fired at me, especially the ones i didnt know existed until i read them.
    Thats got real value for me.
    All the best.

    The Radgeworks

    Posted 7 years ago #
  16. allebong

    I've been following this thread and have struggled to find anything to contribute, as firstly it's been flicking about between various topics (a proposed network, something about needing bikeability training, whether the roads are dangerous or not etc), secondly there are people far more qualified than myself to talk about the legal side of things and dealing with politicians/councils etc, and lastly most of the points I'd have made have already been said more elegantly than I could likely manage.

    @Simon: I will say that firstly I admire the clearly very considerable effort you've put into both your proposal and your further explanations and discussion of it in this thread, so please don't take the following as me trying to rubbish it completely.

    You are not doing yourself any real favours by going on about 'the cycling lobby' though. I don't think anyone here would object if this network was to materialise magically overnight, so saying this:

    I don't believe politicians would have any problems at all with it if the cycling lobby found it agreeable. The ball is in our court.

    Comes across at best as lazy. I don't know who the cycling lobby are, I don't know if by being on this forum I'm part of it, and I especially don't know if it were to happen that we identified this cycling lobby and got them all to agree completely with this network, that that would change anything at all. As I said I know little of the 'official' processes involved in getting infrastructure developed but I'm inclined to side with the posters here who clearly have that knowledge and experience and are saying it's much more difficult and complicated than you're making out.

    I mean I rarely feel in any danger riding a bicycle (me personally).

    I find this very interesting as it's something that's been on my mind in a few bad traffic encounters I've had recently. I've begun to think I've become desensitized to just how difficult and demanding city riding on roads can be, and it takes a bad run in with a bus/car/taxi to remind you that for all the defensive riding and assertiveness in the world you're still a soft lump of unprotected flesh mingling with several tons of fast moving metal.

    I know people who ride the Innerleithen downhill trails every weekend that won't ride on a B road (and who can blame them?), I've ridden with people who are fine to do 100 miles on quiet paths and the odd back road but will be extremely hesitant on a busy stretch of 30mph road, and again, while I can handle it fine, I'm under no illusions about it being a safe or enjoyable experience.

    I've also felt the words 'Quality Bike Corridor' hanging over this thread, as everyone here has seen a lifetimes worth of half baked infrastructure, decent ideas that were badly implemented and flat out pure nonsense to boot.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  17. Simon Parker

    @ The Radgeworks @ allebong

    Thank you both for your comments.

    I thought I would begin my response by telling you about Darlington (if you don't mind).

    Darlington has the unique distinction of having been (concurrently) both a Sustainable Travel Demonstration Town and a Cycling Demonstration Town. The Guardian suggested in an article from 2006 that Darlington is "the crucible of a grand experiment".

    "What we would like to get out of the Cycle Demonstration Town project," Phillip Darnton from Cycling England explained, "is the clearest possible indication that investing at European levels will make a real difference to the number of trips people make by bike."

    There was a lot riding on it, The Guardian article noted. "If we're wrong," Darnton said, "we've blown it completely."

    With regards to the cycle network, the emphasis was on developing the quietest — not the most direct — routes to destinations. Indeed, as the local cycle campaign group noted in 2007: "A potpourri of recorded cycling situations in Darlington shows a town that is trying to build a series of cycle routes, some comfortable at times, some provisional, most never quite getting from A to B in any meaningful sense."

    [I am reminded here of the proposed cycle network for Manchester.]

    The local authority had set relatively modest targets, hoping to increase the number of people cycling by 200% (that is, to raise the modal share of cycling from 1% to 3%). However, according to the BBC, the increase was just 27% (that is to say, a shortfall of 173%). Even so, Cycling England hailed the project "a success".

    I think that if the UK is to develop a successful cycling culture, it is important that we profit from such "experiments", not by pretending something which isn't, but by trying again in a different way.

    The case is, a 'Network first' approach has never before been tried in the UK, despite some very strong evidence that it would be the most effective way forward.

    @ allebong

    I've also felt the words 'Quality Bike Corridor' hanging over this thread.

    But as Ricardo Marques Sillero (from A Contramano, Seville's cycling group) has pointed out: "Isolated cycle paths are almost useless if they’re not connected."

    Besides, the best time to develop 'Quality Bike Corridors' is when the road is resurfaced.

    If it is not possible to systematically remodel the entire network to better meet the needs of cyclists [all in one go], specific action can be taken on each occasion that works need to be done. Most of the time, the additional expenditure needed to meet the requirements of cyclists is comparatively minimal.

    Page 56, Cycling: the way ahead

    In a great many situations, the small excesses of expenditure for cycling will be reduced even further if thought is given to cyclists already at the stage when changes to the roadway are planned. Costly installations are rare (these are, above all, cycle tracks and special traffic lights).

    Page 45, Cycling: the way ahead

    My impression is that doing Step 4 ought not to be too difficult, but doing Step 5 is going to be a challenge. That's what I think, anyway. But then again, I also think that you've got to take the long view. For example, forty-one years after they started, the Dutch are still working at it.

    Regarding the debate about whether or not cycling is dangerous, Ashok Sinha was asked by the Transport Select Committee if he would say it's safe to cycle in London:

    In general, yes. I would still say to people that with care and attention it is a safe way of getting about. But I think my answer would need to be nuanced. I think there are places in London at times in London where you are not protected as well as you should be as a cyclist, and you will face real risks, such as at major junctions. I advise people that it is safe to cycle in London, but at the same time, I am very wary about my children cycling in London, because I know that a mistake that can easily be made by a young person could lead to their death and serious injury.

    So my answer has to be nuanced. I would say to people, "Yes, keep cycling, it is a safe way of getting around; but there are dangers in particular places and particular circumstances.

    My view is that cycling would be made safer if there were regular physical cues available to people — what Doug Gordon (author of the website Brooklyn Spoke) calls "clarity of design".

    As he explains, when you're cycling down a street, you don't always have very long to make complicated decisions. "You just want those choices to be made very, very clear for you."

    Image from London Cyclist

    I am no Franklinite; and I know that these markers do nothing to address issues such as dooring, and do little to make cycling subjectively safer (for the Interested but Concerned, I mean). But in my opinion, for as long as a vehicular cycling environment persists, these are a reasonably okay solution (at least in the short-term, at least until something better can be installed).

    Anyway, love them or hate them, this is how things are going to be in London. (Well, it's either these or nothing, and I know which I would prefer.)

    Stressing that I am talking here about short-term solutions, another measure — which is linked to a different aspect of good cycle provision — is to make alternative cycle routes more numerous, more comfortable, easier to follow, and more convenient (by removing annoyances for cyclists, for example).

    I don't think anyone here would object if this network was to materialise magically overnight.

    Saying this ... "I don't believe politicians would have any problems at all with it if the cycling lobby found it agreeable. The ball is in our court" ... comes across at best as lazy.

    I surrender.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  18. fimm

    Simon. What, if anything, are you hoping to get from the participants in this thread?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  19. cb

    "However, according to the BBC, the increase was just 27% (that is to say, a shortfall of 173%). Even so, Cycling England hailed the project "a success"."

    I don't think the journalist who wrote that BBC piece understands percentages.

    Initially the article states: "And with an increase of 27% more bike journeys being made"

    But later on says, "A few years ago less than 1% of all journeys were made by cyclists in Darlington, so new claims of a jump up to 27% should be quite a big deal, and something you'd notice."

    Posted 7 years ago #
  20. Morningsider

    Simon - Darlington achieved an increase of cycling modal share from 1% in 2004 to 3% in 2008. The data is available in table 13.7, page 270 of "The Effects of Smarter Choice Programmes in the Sustainable Travel Towns: Research Report", which you can find at:

    Your last post, recommending the use of London cycle superhighway style markers, is wildly inconsistent with posts earlier in this thread in which you roundly criticise the London Cycle Network/Cycle Superhighways, the London Cycle Campaign and Transport for London.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  21. Simon Parker

    fimm, it's a good question you ask, and I will respond to it fully this evening.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  22. wingpig

    "Simon. What, if anything, are you hoping to get from the participants in this thread?"

    Local knowledge?

    Whilst some bits of the proposed network are relatively free of motor traffic, they're still not exactly safe to cycle along, even for those with Bikeability Level 3 training.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  23. Simon Parker

    Working with local cyclists in order to arrive at a preliminary design good enough to warrant further study has definitely been one of the big positives I have got from this, wingpig. The other positive has been the opportunity to put my interpretation of the strategy detailed in Cycling: the way ahead to the close scrutiny of my peers.

    I'll be able to answer more fully this evening, but thank you to everyone for their contributions to this thread.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  24. I were right about that saddle

    @wingpig - Local knowledge indeed! Can't say it had ever occured to me to cycle from Braid Hills Approach Road to the Hermitage of Braid, but if I ever do then the proposed 'through the iron railings, across a field and down a precipitous heavily wooded gorge' route will be just the ticket.

    I think what we have here is a typical internet disconnect. The bulk of us share road space in the same city - some of us know each other in the real world. One poster at least seems to be getting in a cyber-lather in their front room in London. Tell you what - if this network ever comes to anything I promise to ride my ratty nineties hybrid over the exact line of the proposed Braids-Hermitage Death Plunge.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  25. Baldcyclist

    The case is, a 'Network first' approach has never before been tried in the UK

    A number of New Towns were built with the "Network first" approach in the 60s/70s. Livingston is the most local example of a town which has an extensive off road cycle network, which is, well, devoid of any cyclists.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  26. Simon Parker

    @ Baldcyclist

    The point you raise about the new towns is a fair one, but is it in fact the case that Livingston has a cycle network?

    I also remember reading somewhere - can't find the link now, so must have been a comment on someone's blog - that Livingston is quite a small place, and that it's just as easy to walk as it is to cycle. Does that sound about right?

    Regarding the new towns in England, Milton Keynes probably has the best network, and Stevenage as well. It's a whole new debate as to why these places do not have a high cycling population, and one which I am reluctant to spend any time on now.

    As a general rule, when I talk about a 'Network first' approach, I mean plan, study and then "introduce" a network.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  27. Baldcyclist

    The network in Livingston is quite extensive. May have been my blog you mention (here), it is indeed small, but perfectly cyclable.

    I guess the point I was making is that the 'Build it and they will come' approach hasn't really worked. In Livingston, the town was deliberately built in a way that pedestrians and cyclists did not interact with cars, and the paths are more direct than the roads. If I could be so bold (many will disagree), it's the closest thing to a Dutch style segregated network that we have in this country and it is largely unused.

    I'm not arguing against networks, we need them, and they need to be segregated, like Livingston (or not like Livi depending on your opinion, but segregated all the same). But getting people to use them takes more work, Livingston seems to prove that and the danger is that where Livingston could be held up as a 'model town' (I argue that), it could equally be held up as an example of failure. Perhaps the reason we don't have 'modern' equivalents of Livingston style infra is because it isn't used, and it is expensive to create and maintain (West Lothian Council often cite the cost of maintaining such an extensive network).

    We need to address both issues to make a successful network, perhaps not so much in Edinburgh but certainly in most other places where cycling rates continue to be low..

    Posted 7 years ago #
  28. Simon Parker

    Good blog. Thanks.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  29. Simon Parker

    Morningsider, a government body hits their target but doesn't even mention it in the summary report, preferring instead to publish this information on Page 270 of a report which hardly anyone is going to read? You don't say.

    According to the local cycle campaign group:

    The core aim of this project – and indeed of cycle campaigners – was to increase the modal share of cycling in the town from a miserly 1% to a level that would make cycling “normal”, somewhere around 7%.

    The first results from Darlington’s CDT work were announced at the Cycling Campaign’s Darlington Cycling Symposium in March 2007. They showed a very promising jump in bicycle trips between 2004 and 2006 by 66%. Even more encouraging, car trips dropped from 41% to 37%.

    As the CDT project progressed, the Cycling Campaign sought to liaise with the local authority when new cycling infrastructure was proposed, and to represent the cyclist’s point of view regarding its design. This was developed via the council’s consultation mechanisms, the Transport and Cycle Forums. But engineers’ thinking was – and still is – highly car-centric, with a key unspoken rule that road space for motorised traffic should not be compromised. As a result, whilst good cycling infrastructure has appeared here and there, its coherence is compromised in equal measure at key points.

    Then, in 2011, both the Transport and Cycle Forums were abolished.

    In 2010, Cycalogical quoted from an Active Travel Strategy document, which apparently said that Darlington "achieved a 113% increase in cycling modal share". If we accept this figure as correct, this still means that the target was missed by quite a long way.

    I have spoken to officers at Local Motion in Darlington, and they say that about 7% of children cycle to school. This is the thing they are most proud of, and it has been achieved largely through training and promotion.

    In Lancaster, Dave Horton reports: "The fact we ever were a Cycling Demonstration Town is being erased."

    It isn't just that the CDT project failed, it's more that it left such a weak legacy.

    In Germany, several towns were enabled to "introduce an entire pro-cycling policy (network, information, promotion) [...] on the basis of €5 per inhabitant per year for a period of five to seven years". This was reported in Cycling: the way ahead, so this would have been in the 1990s some time. What are the chances that if we were to visit those same towns now, the cycling environment would have further improved?

    Your last post, recommending the use of London cycle superhighway style markers, is wildly inconsistent with posts earlier in this thread ...

    I don't agree. On page 1 I talk about "introducing" the network - "even if only to a minimum level of functioning to begin with". On page 2 I talk about "a low-engineered high-density network". On page 3 I talk about the Enthused and Confident cyclists, who "are comfortable sharing the roadway with automotive traffic". On page 4 I talk about the benefits of a 'network first' approach, which included helping "to reduce potential conflict, firstly by raising the awareness of drivers, and secondly by enabling cyclists to ride in the correct position relative to other traffic". On page 5 I talked about the importance of regular physical cues, which "can take the form of ... repeat markers painted on the road surface". I also showed a picture from bicycledutch of some campaigners painting their own repeat markers on the road surface.

    You roundly criticise the London Cycle Network/Cycle Superhighways, the London Cycle Campaign and Transport for London.

    Again I disagree. I haven't said a word against the LCN or TfL.

    I have made the point about CSHs that they "are basically just rebranded versions of the LCN / LCN+", which is not a criticism, but a fact.

    As for the LCN+, only the historians of cycling would know now that it ever existed.

    And as for the London Cycling Campaign, please read the comments of this blog.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  30. Simon Parker

    fimm, to answer your question more fully, in addition to the reasons I gave earlier, I have to say that my experiences dealing with cycling groups in England have not been very positive.

    Bristol, Cambridge, Ely, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle.

    Four of these did not even respond to my several emails. Two of these took my work and tried to pass it off as their own. One of these finally replied as follows:

    Dear Simon,

    Thanks for your several e-mails on this. I regret that as a campaign run by volunteers we do not have as much time as we would like to deal with everything that comes to our attention, and that we therefore have to prioritise things. We get an enormous amount of e-mail, and keeping up with it is a real challenge due to the natural constraints of volunteer time. We are impressed by your persistence on your idea.

    We forwarded each of your e-mails to our group, which generated discussion. However, it was felt that your proposals were not something we could prioritise at this time, with only lukewarm support at best.

    Our priority instead is campaigning for actual infrastructure change along key routes and elsewhere - something which sadly takes a lot of time, effort and relationship-building to obtain political buy-in and funding allocation.

    Accordingly, we have chosen to prioritise campaigning on achieving convenient and safe infrastructure in order to address the actual barriers people face.

    In other words, the same old, same old piecemeal approach.

    I recently exchanged emails with Schrödinger's Cat (the Alternative DfT). He wrote:

    Thanks for your contributions to the blog, it's good to get differing opinions on there. It's much better than the old-fashioned "behind closed doors" approach!

    And this is exactly the point. I want to be able to discuss my proposal in a public forum. I prefer to do this in writing rather than in some shouty arena. I am very well aware that I am saying something different to a lot of other cycle advocates, and I know that the greatest pain to human nature is the pain of a new idea. So this forum is absolutely a godsend to me.

    I want to work cooperatively on this project. I strongly believe that if the politicians were to receive an uncontroversial, inexpensive, tried-and-tested proposal, which was widely supported by the cycling lobby, they would be falling over themselves to support it.

    I want to work cooperatively on this project. But I have to worry that if I were to submit a proposal directly to the local cycle group — not necessarily Spokes; I am talking generally here — it would get considered by one of their committees, and then what? Would anyone really take the time to understand what I am saying? Some people (it seems to me) go out of their way to misunderstand me: would they not also go out of their way to muddy the waters for everyone else?

    So I want everything out in the open.

    The other thing, as I said, is that the five-step plan is my interpretation of a strategy laid out in Cycling: the way ahead. But it doesn't actually say, "Step 1, do this, Step 2, do that ..." So maybe there's something which I have missed which is, if you like, lost in translation.

    If this strategy is going to be taken forward by the politicians, they would want to know that it has been thoroughly peer-reviewed.

    The final thing is that, having planned the network, provisionally at least, it needs to be studied. I have the (GeoVation-funded) software to enable this study, and it could easily be adapted so that it fits Edinburgh. But I can't do this study positioned as I am: it needs people at your end to do this.

    Depending how people respond to my most recent comments, I think I am more or less done here for the time being. I have written to Spokes and PoP, and I hope that they reply in due course.

    Thanks again to everyone for their input. Oh, and I were right about that saddle ... I loves ya. -->

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    Posted 7 years ago #

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