Here is one very important thing. How the Dutch help cyclists to get around town is radically different from the way used in the UK. Why? Because they do not consider cyclists as boat or train operators that need special canals or rails to be able to move around.
Wise Public Expenses for A Dense and Humble Cycling Network.
Tip A. A HUMBLE CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE FOR EVERYONE
Town planners, urban designers, council officers and ward councillors in London are lucky enough to have a direct role in improving safety on the street – for cyclists and all other road users at the same time. How do they take their decisions in terms of investment and priority in cycling infrastructure?
In the Netherlands, planners know cyclists are only pedestrians on bike, that need to go EVERYWHERE, not only on dedicated routes
How do Dutch urban designers and planners do to encourage people to cycle? They treat cyclists just as pedestrians, pedestrians who temporary use a bike for their journeys – short or longer ones. Just like pedestrians, cyclists need to be able to to go EVERYWHERE, not just to go to work through dedicated paths to use their bike as main mean of transport.
So every street is made safe to cycle while not prohibiting routes to other road users (like the Mini-Holland schemes often do in the UK). How? Residential streets are designed so pedestrians and cyclists have the priority and motorised vehicles have to drive slow (woonerf design). High streets have well marked bicycle lanes that let all road user know that cyclists have an important place as well. Highways and railways between cities are often joined by a cycle highway! (Just between cities, not within cities). Have a look at Amsterdam’s cycling infrastructure below and compare to London’s cycling bits.
As a result, people use their bikes for EVERYTHING. They also cycle to do their groceries, visit their friends, go out, go to their sports club and bring their children to school. This can mean they can do up to ten small journeys each day, and sometimes more. And by the way, in the Netherlands, cyclists do not wear any special outfit to cycle. It would be really too time-consuming and unpractical to dress and undress ten times a day!
Because cycling is as easy as walking to move around, while being three times faster, there’s no need to have expensive campaigns urging more people to cycle under these conditions! It is not only safe to cycle, but it is also free and flexible – no need to rely on buses or trains. Cyclists can travel door-to-door with only one transport mode. This is also because they usually can park their bicycle just outside the place they want to go to, attached to a rack or not. That’s the beauty of cycling in the Netherlands, and it exists in UK as well, for instance in Cambridge!
In London, there are two choices for cyclists now: Be a warrior on car-dominated streets or go find and hide themselves on dedicated cycling paths
Here in London, there are maps, plenty of maps, that show quietways, cycle superhighways and other recommended routes for those courageous cyclists who still dare to cycle while hearing nearly every month that a cyclist has been victim of an accident again. (Amsterdam doesn’t have any cycling maps except for tourists, as London has currently 21 – confusing – maps).
What kind of message does this give to the common Londoner? To cyclists and potential cyclists, it says: ‘Please use these maps and dedicated ways to keep safe’. To the other road users, it says: ‘ Actually cyclists should be cycling on bike lanes only, they have nothing to do on ‘regular streets and roads’ and you don’t need to give them the priority’.
Is that a good strategy to encourage people cycling and instill a respectful culture into other road users?
Imagine if we would use the same London logic for pedestrians and not provide them with sidewalks everywhere (like in Cairns, Autralia… capital of car-design!). We would build a few dedicated footpaths far from high streets, that they would need to reach as quick as possible to be able to walk safely. This looks very similar to mistakes we made in the sixties by removing pedestrians from traditional and busy high streets (total disaster, yeah).
Cyclists are people too, and they can even boost London’s local economies
Pushing cyclists aside from high streets, is killing the opportunity to help our local economies grow. There are now plenty of studies that show that giving more space to pedestrians AND cyclists on high streets, make sales figures increase for all local traders.
Why? Because slower modes of transport and ease of stopping can mean potential spontaneous/impulsive shopping. In a car, cab or bus, people can’t just stop whenever they want if they see something nice through a shop window or remember they need to buy something while passing along their favourite a shop. And it is even not possible at all while on the tube or in the train, On a bike, it takes two minutes to stop and park and be inside the shop.
— 21st Century City (@urbanthoughts11) 5 mars 2017
In conclusion, what do you think is the best decision to make in terms of investment?
Continue to develop super expensive cycling schemes that only quietway residents and cycle superhighway racers might want to cycle on and that promotes cycling as a side mode of transport (= show-off and be exclusive?);
Spend a little amount of money to make EVERY single street in London (but its unfortunately rare pedestrianised shopping streets) safe for all types of cyclists to use (= show modesty and be inclusive?).
Let us know what you think!
(Remember this is a satirical website about serious cycling stuff)