|London: A bridge over a cycle-path which you can't cycle under|
for risk of losing your head
It's another of those stories which actually creates a fog rather than making anything clear. There are various large figures being bandied about, but the LCN+ network funding has been cut in half.
What is Boris thinking of ? Not long ago I pointed out that Boris' transport advisor announced that there "should be no hierarchy of transport users but instead everyone should have the opportunity to use the roads.", when it comes to encouraging cycling.
|London: A dead end cycle-path|
A diversion of £10M from the cycling budget this year to improve traffic lights simply serves to continue to make driving more popular than cycling.
|London: Dismount often|
|London: Dismount here too|
Assen is a very small city by comparison, with just 65000 people. However, they make between 70000 and 80000 cycle journeys per day. Between 35% and 40% of all journeys are by bicycle. Assen takes cycling seriously and builds good quality infrastructure for cyclists. The cycling infrastructure budget is around €27 per person per year, or £23, and that's for a place which benefits from 30 years of investment.
|London: Anyone heard of social safety ?|
This is why London's cycling rate remains low. The level of subjective safety on routes suitable for making real journeys is too low, and the practicality of routes like this one is also far too limited. Cycle routes need to be both direct and safe. People shouldn't have to choose between safe or direct and it certainly should not be as in London, where the "safe" routes are not really safe and the "direct" routes are not as direct as they could be.
Sadly, the design of transport infrastructure across the English speaking world emphasises driving above other modes. This is why English speaking countries share some of the lowest modal share for bicycles at around 1% of journeys.
It had been a while since I looked at this post but the article on the Guardian website which it links to makes a little more sense now. The announcement of the "largest ever" £168m funding package was of course referring in the main to money made available for the "Boris Bikes" bike sharing scheme. This has gobbled up a huge amount of money but of course has failed to make London into a "true cycling city" because as I wrote two years after this post, "a shortage of bikes was never the reason for the low cycling rate of London".
The problem all along was the poor infrastructure and five years after this blog post, London has again been fobbed off with inadequate plans by Boris. The 2013 plan still does not offer enough. It again does not have enough money allocated for it, again much of what is allocated is destined to be consumed by the hire bike scheme, and the target set is for just 5% of journeys to be by bike.
In June 2006 my friend Terry and I cycled from Cambridge where we then lived to the North bank of the Thames in London and back again. It was a practice ride for our Land's End - John o'Groats tour a month later. The photos all come from that ride, and show various aspects of infrastructure which really needs some money spent on it on what is mostly a Sustrans route in London. In order they show a 5' (1.5 m) headroom sign on a cycle route, a dead end, a barrier around which it was impossible to take a bicycle without lifting it and which follows on to a path which is difficult to cycle on, is narrow and shared with pedestrians, a corrugated surface by a canal which provides excellent traction for horses but is painful on a bike and another lack of headroom with a barrier. The alternative route was composed of busy roads. It's pretty obvious that there is a lack of quality here. Sustrans are not helping the UK by rubber-stamping junk.
Ten years later, @seanlondonandon took a photo of the same bridge as at the top of this blog post. It's been "improved" - a metric sign has been added...