Yesterday was the annual Cycle to Work Day across the Country, perhaps you noticed a few more people out and about on two wheels???? Always on the lookout for a relevant theme for our travel plan blog I agreed that I’d take on the challenge of writing this week’s post.
I live less than 2 miles from our office, easy cycling distance, even for a novice like me, and although I have cycled on a handful of occasions this year, I’m not what you would call a regular or enthusiastic cyclist. I was initially going to write about why I don’t cycle more frequently and how behavioural change techniques could help me overcome my aversion to getting organised in a morning, however my journey home gave me the inspiration I needed as I very nearly fell off my bike on what is supposed to be a cycle friendly path!
I’m what you’d describe as an ok-ish cyclist. I’m not afraid of cycling on the road if I have too, but I figure that if someone at the Council has gone to the trouble of putting in a path or crossing for a cyclist then I should probably use it. But yesterday might have changed my mind, as I struggled to negotiate the too tight corners and the stopping and starting every few hundred meters to cross over junctions / entrances.
A few months ago my colleague wrote about the joys of cycling in Amsterdam and how cycle infrastructure is in a different league to the UK (outside of London). And this week Boris Johnson unveiled plans for yet more cycle superhighways across London, and the plans look great! Cyclists will get their own space, not just a couple of meters dodging the drain covers and dis-guarded coffee cups or sharing it with pedestrians. And that’s what struck me yesterday, when trying to negotiate a downhill section of shared use path reminiscent of the Stelvio pass; That cyclists are as different to pedestrians as they are to cars, and need their own space that is designed specifically for their needs, not a bolt on that to coin a phrase from my Father in Law “Is good enough”.
So in the future when I’m advising our Clients on walking and cycling routes I’m going to bear in mind my epiphany and try to design a solution which takes into consideration pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers needs and doesn’t look for a compromise which doesn’t really meet anyone’s need.