Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

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Mick F
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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Mick F » 12 May 2019, 9:50pm

LollyKat wrote:Climate - Amsterdam is 1109 mm (43.7 in) drier than Glasgow, with an average annual precipitation of 766 mm / 30.2 in compared to Glasgow's 1109 mm / 43.7 in) (Source ClimaTemps.com). I think the rain does put some people off - I admit that since retiring I am less inclined to go out in a downpour unless I really have to.

Hills - Glasgow's not that hilly but it is certainly not as flat as most of the Netherlands.

None of these three reasons really stands up to scrutiny, but it is all about perception, and a lot (most?) of people think they are valid reasons not to cycle. Not unique to Scotland, of course.

............... and not unique to most places in UK.

I've cycle commuted in Glasgow and in the West of Scotland.
I know about the damp and the (few) hills.
Try it down in Cornwall. We have damp and far more hills than Scotland, but I know full well that it puts most folk off cycling here. Glasgow has it easy but I know what you mean.
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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby irc » 12 May 2019, 10:52pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:Air pollution and inactivity place a heavy burden on society, yet they have both only got worse over the past decade despite a commitment to increase levels of cycling to combat these problems to some extent.


I thought air pollution has been greatly reduced in the UK over the last 50 years and is still on a downward trend.

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47777103


As for inactivity? You can take a horse to water .......... If people choose not to be physically active no amount of reports, initiatives, and plans will change that. Walking? Most people with the choice will drive to and from work then drive to the gym rather than walk an hour or more a day.

As for weather not putting people off? I won't cycle if there is a risk of ice. That's a significant number of days per year. But it is probably cultural more than anything else. A lot of kids don't seem to use bikes at all these days. I seem to remember 45 years ago all my friends had bikes and used them. Rose tinted specs?

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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Paulatic » 13 May 2019, 8:15am

Why not use air quality closer to home? "Glasgow more polluted than London"
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland- ... t-41816722
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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 13 May 2019, 3:16pm

Perhaps Glasgow council is wrong about having an air pollution problem and it’s just another example of civil service wastefulness? Or perhaps 50 years ago the greater quantities of pollutants were just poisoning Scandinavian forests, and now the vast numbers of cars in our cities are poisoning the people that live in them with smaller quantities of pollutants emitted in a much closer proximity to lots of people?

There were lots of people cycling to work back in those days when there was a lot of air pollution, I wonder how all the workers got to the ship yards in Glasgow? I expect that quite a few of them were riding bikes, although I could well be wrong. Perhaps back in those days there weren’t any hills in Glasgow and it never rained though.

Increasing levels of obesity and diabetes seem to have been documented in Scotland, and there seems to be a view that the NHS is under increasing pressure, but perhaps this is just a Chinese conspiracy to trick us all into damaging public health and the NHS.

The only things that a decade of commitment to increasing levels of cycling seem to have achieved are increased car ownership, more traffic on the roads, and more air pollution problems in towns and cities. Perhaps that counts as a success for those responsible for implementing it?

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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 13 May 2019, 7:37pm

...what is the money wasted on?


If you started out with the view that the Scots just won’t cycle and wanted to demonstrate it you could build half decent routes that were isolated from any other reasonable facilities, don’t join real destinations together, and are in rural areas with a limited population. The stretch of the NCN74 between Lesmahagow and Junction 11 of the M74 would seem to be an ideal example of this, and apparently cost about a million pounds. It doesn’t seem to have facilitated cycling because it doesn’t join the places that people need to travel between, and the local population is pretty limited so the potential for increasing levels of cycling is at best minimal. As far as increasing the proportion of journeys made by bike in Scotland that doesn’t seem to have been very successful, and if you were to assess value for money in terms of how much progress is made towards the stated aims (10% of journeys in Scotland being made by bike by 2020) then it does look rather like a waste of money.

On the other hand, if Scottish people really aren’t ever going to cycle then is spending around 8% of the country’s transport budget on trying to increase levels of cycling anything other than simply wasteful? Would it not be possible to do something more useful and constructive with all of the money that has been spent failing to increase levels of cycling in Scotland since 2010? I am sure that there are a multitude of projects which could have had a positive impact on public health which could have used the money, and in doing so provided even greater benefits for the NHS in Scotland.

The results of the Scottish Household Survey Transport Data (2013) were summarised in the Annual Cycling Monitoring Report 2015, and indicate that over a third of people cite the main reason why they don’t cycle to work as some aspect of the roads being too scary or dangerous. The reasons given are “too many cars on the road” 13.9%, “traffic travels too fast” 11.7%, “and inconsiderate drivers” 9.0%, which comes to a total of 34.6% of people surveyed. The greatest proportion, 36.2%, say that it is “too far to cycle”, and the weather (“too cold/wet/windy”) accounts for most of the remainder, with “too hilly” being 6.5%. That’s a lot of people who would potentially cycle to work at least some of the time if they felt that the roads, or routes they needed to use, were less scary or dangerous. I appreciate that I have aggregated three categories into a general “road danger” issue, but the three categories I have aggregated collectively explain why people don’t cycle on the roads, and because you need to use roads to get places this probably goes a long way towards explaining why people just don’t cycle. I suspect that having several different categories for this is really just a way of trying to make it seem like it isn’t really that much of a big deal, but they all basically amount to the fact that the roads are just too scary for ordinary people to consider cycling on them. There are even a couple of other minor categories relating to road surfaces and pollution that could be added to this, but the ones I have aggregated all relate to the traffic on the road and the effect that has on deterring cycling.

Over half of the Scottish population lives in the Greater Glasgow area, and in Glasgow city 73.1% of journeys are shorter than 5km, which is probably about as far as people should really be expected to cycle for utility journeys. Nationally the proportion of journeys which are shorter than 5km is 61.1%. I don’t know what the proportion would be for Greater Glasgow, but I think that it is fair to assume that it is somewhere around about two thirds of journeys. Combining these reveals that somewhere around one third of all the journeys made in Scotland are short journeys of cyclable distances within the greater Glasgow area. This means that if a concerted effort had been made in the greater Glasgow area it would only have been necessary for about a third of the short journeys made in the greater Glasgow area to be made by bike to achieve the original objective of making 10% of all journeys made in Scotland by bike. Given that about a third of the population would cycle to work if it wasn’t for the road danger issue it doesn’t seem all that unreasonable to think that this would have been achievable. The 2017 Annual Cycling Monitoring Report suggests that cycling is the main mode of travel for only 1.2% of journeys in the city, and that it is probably not any higher in any of the other local authorities that would count as Greater Glasgow.

I suppose that the morale of the story is that as long as you are prepared to ignore the fundamental reasons why people don’t cycle then it is possible to spend vast amounts of money without achieving anything.

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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 13 May 2019, 8:34pm

Wise words. However, the reason most people don't cycle is in fact not a genuine reason at all, but simply an excuse not to do so. Address the stated reasons, and a fair whack will find another excuse instead, because they are self-entitled and bone idle lazy. Simple human nature. The excuse making culture is too entrenched, too widely accepted as the norm, for decent infrastructure provision alone to make a significant dent in the problem.

The only way to get the majority on to bikes, their feet, or public transport, is to force them to do so, either by legislation or punitive pricing. Once they have no choice then they'll do it. While they have a choice, no matter how illogical or daft, the majority will carry on using cars for pointless, short, inappropriate urban journeys, and will carry on making excuses to justify it.
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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 13 May 2019, 10:03pm

I can only think of a single example of somewhere in Little Britain that has installed reasonably good infrastructure for cycling along important routes. Whilst I have never experienced any of the Cycle Superhighways in London first hand, and indeed have some serious reservations about suggesting that they are high quality, everything I have heard about them suggests that people are using them in significant numbers.

We can certainly claim that if the option was there people would still not bother to use it, but so far where it has been built to a reasonable minimum standard the evidence would seem to suggest that they will indeed come.

Is my understanding of the success of the routes in London misguided? So far the justification for not bothering seems to be that if woefully substandard and inconvenient rubbish is provided, and not maintained, people won’t bother using it so there isn’t any point in doing anything worthwhile. It’s a strategy that I’ve deployed myself when it comes to admin “don’t ask me to do it I’m utterly incompetent and the results would be rubbish”, but I certainly wouldn’t settle for incompetent rubbish if it could be done effectively by somebody else.

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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 13 May 2019, 10:10pm

People are using the London bicycle superhighway, and in significant - for UK cycling - numbers, but those numbers remain insignificant compared to the transport of people by private vehicle. And that's London, where the private car is one of the most inconvient and inappropriate means of personal transport, yet the car still remains the dominant road transport life form.
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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Cugel » 14 May 2019, 9:30am

Lance Dopestrong wrote:People are using the London bicycle superhighway, and in significant - for UK cycling - numbers, but those numbers remain insignificant compared to the transport of people by private vehicle. And that's London, where the private car is one of the most inconvient and inappropriate means of personal transport, yet the car still remains the dominant road transport life form.


London is a special case. It costs a great deal of money to run a car in London, as my daughter and son-in-law can testify. As well as the usual car-costs they have huge parking costs and congestion/pollution charges. A car is also dead slow compared to other modes of getting about in London, including walking.

A bike looks like the fastest, least expensive and most efficient mode of going about in London - by a long way. Even though the public transport is still ubiquitous there, the costs are large compared to those of a bike - and not exactly a pleasure to use..

As the previous post about Scotland and Glasgow indicate, so-called cycling infrastructure achieves nothing unless it firstly goes places most people want to go; secondly, caters for do-able journeys on a bike; and thirdly is the least expensive choice by a huge margin.

The obvious place to begin encouragement of a move from car to bike is to deal with the fundamental problem. That's the nature of the car and the way it's driven to match that nature. Why do cars have to be configured as dangerously heavy items sold as macho-things that encourage pointless high speeds and the pleasures of pretending the driver is in a race? Why are they allowed to do so through places populated with lots of vulnerable pedestrians? Why is dangerous behaviour in cars not detected and punished at levels that will be preventative of all the deaths and maiming they cause?

Fixing car and driver dangers would be far more encouraging (and far less expensive) to cycling than building lots of badly-designed tracks "from nowhere to nowhere else". Fixing car and driver problems would also solve a huge number of other socio-economic problems besides the population's disinclination to cycle.

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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Pete Owens » 14 May 2019, 9:45am

A while ago any thread on anything vaguely safety related would be hijacked by helmet advocates. Anyone trying to follow the subject of the thread would have to wade through many posts reiterating "The Helmet Debate" - whatever the notional subject of the thread. The solution was the sub-forum on helmets. I think the time has come to do the same for the segregation debate.

This is not censorship or suppression of debate, there is still plenty of that going on on the helmet forum. It is just a way of enabling discussions on other subjects.

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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 14 May 2019, 9:58am

Cugel wrote:London is a special case. It costs a great deal of money to run a car in London, as my daughter and son-in-law can testify. As well as the usual car-costs they have huge parking costs and congestion/pollution charges. A car is also dead slow compared to other modes of getting about in London, including walking.


Absolutely buddy, and despite all these massive drawbacks your average Joe would, and indeed does, still prefer the car in London. This group will never change, no matter how many cycle lanes and facilities there are - only the removal, or effective removal, of their vehicles by pricing or legislation will get them out of them, and even then they'll only go kicking and screaming, with all sorts of bleating from Quentin Willson and Edmund King.

It's a cultural laziness problem, justified and perpetuated with imaginary excuses dressed up as genuine objections, and that will take decades to change without some real serious might brought to bear. The culture is so entrenched that many people who should know better, such as keen evening and weekend cycling enthusiasts, will trot out the same objections to justify driving the car 5 miles to work every day, or half a mile to the shop.

Even as a cyclist, 15 years ago I used to make the same excuses, and I even genuinely believed them. Then one day something kind snapped inside me and I just got on the bike and went and did it, started commuting by bike, completely refused to use the car unless there was no other option whatsoever. Despite all the barriers to cycling I'd come up with and believed in up until then the world didn't end, the sun still rose each morning, and I still got where I was going. It was only after I'd taken that first step I realised that I'd been so convincing with my objections that I'd genuinely believed them myself, and could now see what a load of tosh they all were.

I'm 50, I live in a village 9 miles from the nearest town, have a young daughter and a disabled Wife, and still manage to cycle virtually everywhere. I'm not a superman or some kind of super-fit exercise junky, I'm just a guy who as fortunate enough to suddenly recognise the bullpois for what it was and had the fortitude to do something about it. But I know Cugel, I'm preaching to the choir on that one.
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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 14 May 2019, 10:07am

Lance Dopestrong wrote:People are using the London bicycle superhighway, and in significant - for UK cycling - numbers, but those numbers remain insignificant compared to the transport of people by private vehicle. And that's London, where the private car is one of the most inconvient and inappropriate means of personal transport, yet the car still remains the dominant road transport life form.


A quick look at this site suggests that simply isn’t true. Cars might be big and visible but they are not moving the majority of people.

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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 14 May 2019, 10:15am

Cugel wrote:Fixing car and driver dangers would be far more encouraging (and far less expensive) to cycling than building lots of badly-designed tracks "from nowhere to nowhere else". Fixing car and driver problems would also solve a huge number of other socio-economic problems besides the population's disinclination to cycle.


That doesn’t mean that there is no point building high quality facilities, indeed the London experience shows that big changes are possible in a short period of time with even relatively limited amounts of good quality segregated infrastructure.

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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 14 May 2019, 2:01pm

According to road.cc they won’t be backing the proposal any way because they have decided that it wouldn’t work. It seems very similar to the justification for not bothering with segregation, we have decided it wouldn’t work so we aren’t going to try. Rather ironically they claim
“We are now actively delivering some good quality infrastructure in Scotland.
which presumably refers to the massive motorway building projects they have undertaken in recent years.

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Re: Why not a campaign for 20mph speed limit in Scotland, like Wales?

Postby irc » 14 May 2019, 4:11pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:Perhaps Glasgow council is wrong about having an air pollution problem and it’s just another example of civil service wastefulness?


Overal air quality improving is compatible with some pollution hotspots. The pollution hotspots in Glasgow are places where there are large numbers of diesel taxis and buses. So the fact the average private car is far cleaner now and the fact very little coal is burnt for heating now is irrelevant there.In fact the monitoring station in Hope St is at a point where cars are banned by a bus/taxi gate just outside central station. City centersneed electric buses and taxis to get air qulity up. [/quote]

imgID137005889.jpg.gallery.jpg
https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15886359.revealed-the-most-polluted-streets-in-scotland/

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Wanlock Dod wrote:There were lots of people cycling to work back in those days when there was a lot of air pollution, I wonder how all the workers got to the ship yards in Glasgow? I expect that quite a few of them were riding bikes, although I could well be wrong. Perhaps back in those days there weren’t any hills in Glasgow and it never rained though.


Back then owning a car wasn't a choice for most people. The fact we are now a wealthier country and that car ownership is an option for most people is a plus not a minus. Get us back to 1950s income levels and I'm sure cycling journeys will increase,