Discussion in 'Helmet Discussions' started by downfader, 7 May 2011.
I don't take the idea too seriously because out of the whole book the author picks on 'cadence and sprint speed' and then when asked what would they change says
It's exactly the sort of run of the mill view you have to put up with in cycle campaigning. Usually the other side gets exactly this sort of dual carriageway- loving false picture painted on it and then gets very ranty. I think the problem is that certain people like going on about vague grandiose schemes and 'visions' and as someone else has said to me hate 'details' or strategies to do with something else. You just have to nod and listen and then get your points in when the egos have calmed down.
It is a very silly and unhelpful starting point for an argument. While there is IMHO a reasonable question to ask about how much of the population is willing to take up the type of vehicular cycling described in Cyclecraft, Franklin's influence can scarcely be blamed for the proliferation of useless on-pavement cycle paths and other rubbish cycle infrastructure in this country, much of which has made things worse for cyclists that having no dedicated provision at all.
same old vehicularist vs segregationalist arguments being trotted out in the comments there. hardly advancing the cause of cycling. we divide ourselves time and time again over this issue instead of holding highway authorities' people's feet to the fire, and thus we get conquered over and over.
The car isn't going away. UK urban planners are not suddenly going to build dutch/danish style infrastructure, even if there were the room, nor are taxpayers going to fund the same. We have an existing road infrastructure that would be used effectively by cars and cyclists alike IF driver behaviour were modified.
I suggest that modification of behaviour could be achieved overnight if all existing speed limits on shared use roads were converted from mph to kph i.e. 30 mph becomes 30kph, or if, at the very least, urban default speed limits were reduced to 20mph and enforced..... It's the Portsmouth model and it appears to work.
Talking of alternative systems I think it's a shame that the UK system evolved to use units of 10mph rather than fives. In many 20mph zones (not that they are big swathes of the country) it ends up being more along these lines and a 25mph urban default would avoid the worst waily ranty excesses of objectors whilst still getting some of the benefits of a lower speed limit for traffic flow, neighbourhood feel and safety.
For me, there are a few different types of cycling and we're trying to accomodate all within a small spectrum. I dont like the idea of tribalism in cycling (eg "he's a roadie, she's a hippy commuter, etc") but we have 3 various uses for cycling - transport, utility and sport.
To support one more fully might deter people from another.
I pretty much thought, and said, the same in my comment on his blog. We cyclists need to speak up for ourselves a little more, we need to let politicians know that this is an electable issue and can make or break society if we get it wrong or right.
I'm not sure we need to change speed limits or the m to a k. I think we have to seriously think as a society how we want to progress, as you say - the motor is not going to go away. I think that by making things easier to use and understand and more accessable we could indeed have a knock on effect where motor use could improve for those that genuinely need it. Less congestion, more efficient travel, more efficient and on-time deliveries...
your man 'aseasyasridingonabike' has his head stuck up his fundament. As I have comprehensively proved cycling in the Netherlands is not so much safer than cycling in other places, particularly London. He should get out more.
And cyclists should grow up a bit. Cycling in and of itself isn't important. Making streets safe and congenial can be achieved with or without cycling. It's up to cycling campaigners to demonstrate that cycling can make a contribution.
I agree. The difference in cycling safety between the Netherlands and the UK can be explained completely by the Safety in Numbers effect. And the one thing that cycle facilities do no do, as shown by the Dutch, Danish, German and Irish experiences and our own in Milton Keynes, Stevenage and East Kilbride, is increase the numbers cycling.
The "safety in numbers" is one explanation. Although it may not be the right one - after all who knows? Dutch cycle safety is better - and by a distinct margin - than UK, but this can be to a vast number of different factors. Also, the numbers may not tell the whole story - what does the different cycling demographics in each country do to the safety record for instance?
It is interesting about Milton Keynes. I have never been cycling there, but people say it has a large off-road cycle network. I have driven through the town and it is a mess of fast roads and roundabouts, so I can imagine on-road cycling isn't the most pleasant. So why does Milton Keynes fail to encourage cycling and a similar town in the Netherlands can have cycling as the norm? Is this purely cultural or does road design have some bearing?
Your numbers showed that cycling in the Netherlands is distinctly more safe - but that the numbers are really quite large in both cases, which indicates cycling is a pretty safe activity in both countries.
I do wonder why most people in the Netherlands use a cycle as transport at least occasionally (once a week) and why most people in the UK don't. Surely this has to do with urban planning to some extent? It cannot all be cultural? It certainly isn't down to better motoring ability in the Netherlands.
I agree cycling isn't important in itself. It should be viewed as simply a method to get places - the overwhelming majority of people do not care about cycles or cycling at all - in the same way I am not that fussed about cars or driving (but am still a regular motorist). The core issue is how the environment treats people not using a car - and often this is really poor. As an example, the tow-path under Lea-Bridge road is shut at the moment and pedestrians (and cyclists) have to cross this fast and busy road with no assistance at all. So, on Sunday, on can see the sight of families with small children scurrying across the road in between the traffic. I doubt this would be allowed to happen in the Netherlands - a crossing point would be established which gave pedestrians priority. There just seems to be a different ethos to road use in general.
As to cyclecraft - well it helped me a bit with cycling. But my wife (who has started to cycle occasionally) just laughed all through it. She hates interacting with cars and is - by her own admission - much slower than the average cyclist in London at the moment. So this lack of speed and unwillingness to mix it with cars makes her cycling experience completely different to mine. I don't think she is alone in this - I can easily imagine the "unwritten rules" of vehicular cycling have put off more than one person looking to cycle. I completely agree that techniques in "Cyclecraft" are useful for vehicular cyclists, but much of the population has absolutely no interest in engaging in this activity.
When I see new cyclists wobbling around on Boris Bikes or people on old mountain bikes mooching along the road with little regard to "cyclecraft" I rejoice. It means that we are starting to get "normal" people on cycles and they - not us vehicular cyclists - are the ones with the capability to change the nature of our roads.
This video would suggest otherwise: the difference is because of segregation
actually there isn't that big of a difference, and, yes. MK and Stevenage tell a really sorry tale (I've not been to East Kilbride)
If you look at the CTC curve then I'm afraid that the case might be made that the Netherlands segregationalist approach contributes to cycling deaths rather than reduces them.......
http://www.ctc.org.u..._in_Numbers.pdf (page 3 refers)
and that is the key question we need an answer to. I'd argue that by limiting the speed of the cars to 20mph in areas where peds and cyclists are present the environment is immediately made more conducive, or as dell might say convivial, to human powered transport. I'd also contend that the reason why many folk have leapt on boris bikes with gusto is that, in the zones they are available the avg traffic speeds are very low making cycling safer and quicker. well, that and 70 million people a year using a victoria tube station. I find cycling in the pack streets of the west end and city far more enjoyable than trecking down, say, the mall where cars cabs and other cyclists are hazards.
it's not just about roadways though. Look beyond cycle lanes (which will generally detract from the conviviality of streets), and ask - is this street meaningful? Do people want to be here? Is it a flourishing place? Do the people who live and work here think of it as their own? Does it have a character that is particular to the area? Does it have the mix of shops, history, dwellings, places of worship. people and whatever that gives identity?
Untamed car traffic destroys streets.
- Streatham High Road is a grim car canyon beside which pedestrians hurry along for fear of having their ears blown out by the noise. Economically it's on its arse-end, beggared by traffic and the huge supermarket down the road.
- Tooting High Street, one mile away, and nominally of the same A-road importance as SHR, has been re-captured by local people, helped, in part, by the vehicle speeds being cut to next to nothing by parked cars, pedestrians who insist on crossing the road, buses stopping traffic and zillions of pesky cyclists. It doesn't hurt that the enterprises along Tooting High Street are largely owned by people from the Subcontinent who socialise out of doors. Economically it's doing very well indeed
- St. Johns Road. Closed to cars. Booming. Woolies closes, Waitrose opens in its place. Pedestrians cross the road without fear, least of all fear of cyclists who would be well advised not to presume that they have the right of way.
To go back to the beginning........John Franklin has achieved his eminence because he took cycling 'best practice' and made it in to good advice. He's used his eyes and ears. We could all do with a bit of that....
than extra-urban cycling in Britain? Assuredly so. Than urban cycling in Britain? Not really.
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