Friday 26 September 2008


Three years ago I took this photo in Bottisham near Cambridge in the UK. It shows the UK's National Cycle Network route 51 distance from Bottisham to Newmarket as being 15 miles in length (turn left here) while the road route for cars is just 6 miles (turn right).

How is anyone going to see cycling as a convenient way of getting anywhere if cycle routes are indirect ? In this case the distance is over double the distance by bike as by car.

Cycling needs to be convenient. Dutch planners know that and you tend to see the opposite on sign posts in this country: Shorter routes for cyclists than for drivers.

The second set of signs are positioned on the route between Assen and Groningen. From this point, the indicated distances on the cycle routes are shorter than those on the driving routes for three out of the four destinations on the boards, and the same for the fourth destination.

Make it safe and make it convenient. That's surely what you do if you want to attract people to cycling.


Anonymous said...

If a few more local councillors and Highways Department officials in the UK bothered to get off their ample backsides and tried cycling for a few hours each week they might begin to understand and even show an interest in the needs of cyclists. Otherwise much of it is posturing and trying to look good while doing as little as they can get away with.

David Hembrow said...

I agree that officials not cycling is a large part of the problem. They don't understand what matters and even those who have an inkling of that rarely have any idea what is possible, either with regard to what infrastructure ought to look like or what a massive effect it can have on the level of cycling.

This is an ideal place to see all this.

Try getting your local councillors and highways department people to come and take a look. That's what we do the Study Tours for.

I've not yet updated the website for the tours for 2009, but we're intending to do one or two tours in May, or can organise a tour more or less any date for your local officials if they wish to get in touch.