Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Brock, 27 Oct 2007.
Pasted from www.quickrelease.tv
Any reason not to add a vote for Sustrans when the time comes?
No chance I'll be voting for Sustrans. All my riding is on the road, and Sustrans don't want to encourage cycling on the road, because they seem to concentrate exclusively on segregation. No fanks.
Hmmm ...... I'd love to like Sustrans but I find their trails contrived, awkward, obtuse and, well random. I bet they sell a lot of maps though.
I quite like the sustrans routes I use, plenty of signed on road non-segregated sections, as well as some pretty useful cinder path / converted railway sections.
I do agree cycling should be encouraged on to the road, where it belongs, as a sensible form of transport, but I think a decent cycle network can only help towards that end by encouraging non riders onto the saddle... Anyway.. it's 50million quid, I'd like to see it go to a cycle-centric organisation, even if they do waste money on things like that ridiculous 'cycle hero' campaign.
When I tell people around here that they could follow a signed national cycle route all the way from Dover (down the road) up to Edinburgh and beyond they're astonished and intrigued. I'm sure it's not a bad thing. Better than the Eden project anyway.
You do realise you're already allowed to ride on the road as much as you like don't you?
Good point Brock but I think Sustrans provokes a bit of a "reaction" from cyclists as it is seen by many as promoting "not on the road" as being the "correct" place for cyclists to be. And non-cyclists believe this.
There should be some cohesive solution but different organisations cannot seem to sort out the "politics"
The problem for me is, the more the Sustrans message sinks in with the general public, the more bikes are seen as leisurely Sunday family transport on their own traffic free paths instead of a serious means of transport on real roads. The more this sinks into the general conciousness, the more we'll get abuse for being on the roads. And this is a Very Bad Thing, in my view.
Many people are scared to cycle because 'it's too dangerous'. I'm all in favour of encouraging these people to cycle but the paths do encourage a mentality of 'if there isn't a path then I can't cycle'. Plus their routes and paths are often f*cking awful.
I find myself thinking along similar lines to Mikey and RhythmThief tbh. I think the "anti" argument is outlined fairly well in the first post in this thread on ACF;
This in particular strikes a chord with me;
I don't get the Eden project: It's kinda of impressive in a 'wow, what a project' kinda way but ultimately boring and self-defeating. That place in Machynlleth, Centre of Alternative Technology, gets the same message across in a far more personal and less commercial way (www.cat.org.uk).
I do use Sustrans routes but only because they grew up around places I used to cycle anyway or because I come across them after picking my own routes on a map. Everytime I've looked at doing one of their long distance routes, I've always thought 'where the *u*k is that going', the C2C being a case in point, though I know loads have done it and enjoyed it but I guess if it encourages people to cycle it's no bad thing......is it?
Edit: too slow a typist: Take the others point about 'Sunday pootling' but contrary view is, the more people who experience riding a bike the more they understand a bikers perspective. And let's face it if they're following a Sustrans route, they're gonna be off-route on a main road dicing with death at some point!!
So.....there's a fear that at some point the offroad sections of Sustrans routes will reach a kind of critical mass causing a sudden decree that bicycles needn't be on the roads any more? Is that why the cool kids don't like them?
Anyway, other than the possibility that some people might misinterpret their aims, is there any other reason why I shouldn't chuck them the spare 50 million from the lottery?
I've already signed up.
IMO, Sustrans have done a great job in developing local and long distance cycle routes, and in encouraging more people to cycle.
However some purists will oppose the lottery bid on the grounds that Sustrans will use some of the money to develop off road routes, which they will see as the thin edge of a wedge to get all cyclists kept of the roads.
Personally I think this sort of thinking verging on the paranoid, but there's no accounting for folk.
Maybe it depends on how you use your bike - the bulk of my time in the saddle is commuting - a small portion of that (a bit that goes under a hellish roundabout near home) is segregated path (paid for by the developers of a recently built retail park, I think), and everything else (save for a stretch of shared use through Whitworth Park) is on road. It will never be anything else, I suspect, because the area is too built up, and too heavily used. I suspect most potential commuters (and that, I reckon, is where the milage is, if you look at where people are going in their cars most of the time) would find the same.
Given that, a lot of money spent on segregated paths (when the roads are already there) seems a bit pointless. I'd love to see this proposal compared against the Cycling England one referred to here that revolves more around training for new cyclists and education of other road users. I think that sort of project a better use of such a large amount of money, and of more use to the vast majority of people who are going to have to cycle at least some distance in the company of motorised transport, even if the rest of their journey is completed via segregated path.
I don't think I'm anti-NCN or segregated path as such (I've done the odd Sunday pootle on them) but they don't go where I'm going 90% of the time, and I don't think they ever will, tbh.
As for encouraging more cyclists, although the BBC doesn't quote the report their figures have come from, the linked article quotes a study saying journeys by cycle have fallen by a fifth over the last 10 years
Most of my cycling is road, but I'm also a sustrans volunteer ranger...this afternoon, did 14.5 miles on one of their paths with my 9yr old youngest kid. Have done this a lot with her...she's a keen cyclist...it's fresh air, healthy etc. Can't be anything wrong with that can there? I prefer the roads, but I'm lucky to be able to cycle almost deserted country roads 5 mins from my door. If not, I'd be on the paths and trails a lot more....
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