Crap cyclepaths

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TonyR
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby TonyR » 1 Sep 2013, 4:45pm

Si wrote:Let's turn it the other way round...where is your proof that cycle facilities which may not be up to Dutch standards, but which are used as an integrated part of projects such as the one I work with, are not a key aspect in getting people cycling?


What a strange world it would be if we followed your logic. Drug companies would be able to sell whatever they liked and it would be for the sceptics to prove they were not safe or effective. The convention is that the burden of proof is on those proposing an intervention to prove it is safe and effective not on others to prove it isn't.

But cycling in London has doubled over the past few years to the point where it is now the dominant mode of commuter transport in many areas. It has not involved segregated facilities and it has not involved much in the way of training either. In fact one of the big factors seems to have been untrained cyclists wobbling around London's mostly unsegregated streets on Boris Bikes and then going out and getting a bike of their own. Experience in Dublin with DublinBikes is similar while their 200 miles of Strategic Cycle Network construction was associated with a 15% fall in commuter cycling.

Given that there are half a million bicycle journeys a day in London, remind me of how many people your scheme has into got cycling so I can judge whether it has been a key aspect of getting people into cycling or not?

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Si
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Si » 1 Sep 2013, 5:11pm

So that'd be a 'no' to my question then.

As for London....two factors that it did involve were Congestion Charging and terrorist bombings. The former has little chance of being introduced in most other places in the UK and the latter we don't really want thanks very much. Take these away and tell me where cycling in London would be now?

It should also be remembered that London had higher levels of cycling than my area even before the 'great boom' and was much better suited to cycling...ask yourself why
London had so many cycle couriers whereas places like Birmingham have virtually none.

However, you seem to be missing the point of the thread, which is not whether or not cycling infrastructure is needed (although London suggests that it is with it's most excellent bit of cycling infrastructure: the Congestion Charge) but does it all need to be built to the same level? Does every cycle path need to be the equivalent of a motorway, DC or major A road?

TonyR
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby TonyR » 1 Sep 2013, 5:44pm

Si wrote:So that'd be a 'no' to my question then.

As for London....two factors that it did involve were Congestion Charging and terrorist bombings. The former has little chance of being introduced in most other places in the UK and the latter we don't really want thanks very much. Take these away and tell me where cycling in London would be now?


Only a "no" if you ignored the bit where I answered your question (which you clearly didn't as you tried to argue back against it. But I'm sorry, I must have missed the bit where you answered my question on how many people exactly your project had got into cycling.

Where would London be without the Congestion Charge and bombings? Probably where it is now. Neither have had any influence on the recent rapid rise in cycling that has occurred. The Tube and buses are just as crowded as they were before the 7/7 and Congestion charging was introduced over a decade ago so has had nothing to do with the increase in cycling in the past decade much of which is anyway outside the CC zone. What it did do was replace stationary traffic with WVM free to drive around at speed in the CC zone.

However, you seem to be missing the point of the thread, which is not whether or not cycling infrastructure is needed (although London suggests that it is with it's most excellent bit of cycling infrastructure: the Congestion Charge) but does it all need to be built to the same level? Does every cycle path need to be the equivalent of a motorway, DC or major A road?


Claiming the Congestion Charge as segregated cycling infrastructure in order to make your argument really is scraping the barrel.

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Si
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Si » 2 Sep 2013, 8:32am

TonyR wrote:Where would London be without the Congestion Charge and bombings? Probably where it is now. Neither have had any influence on the recent rapid rise in cycling that has occurred. The Tube and buses are just as crowded as they were before the 7/7 and Congestion charging was introduced over a decade ago so has had nothing to do with the increase in cycling in the past decade much of which is anyway outside the CC zone. What it did do was replace stationary traffic with WVM free to drive around at speed in the CC zone.


OK, if that's what your want to tell yourself. So you are seriously expecting everyone to believe that the rise in cycling in London is down to Boris bikes (as you started a post or two up)? Despite the fact that the rise started before they were introduced? And that numbers demonstrably rose after the CC and the bombings? Or are you saying that cycling numbers will just rise naturally everywhere if we do nothing? Really? Well, you do seem keen to criticise any efforts made by others but seem to fall shy of outlining what your solution is, or indeed, what you are doing to increase cycling.

TonyR wrote:Claiming the Congestion Charge as segregated cycling infrastructure in order to make your argument really is scraping the barrel.


You really do need to reply to what people write rather than what you might like them to have written in the interest of perusing a good argument! No where did I write anything about CC being anything to do with being a segregated bit of infrastructure.....one has to observe that the barrel seems firmly in your possession for the scraping of :wink:

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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Vorpal » 2 Sep 2013, 9:04am

Si wrote:Does every cycle path need to be the equivalent of a motorway, DC or major A road?


No it doesn't, but IMO, every facility should do something to improve conditions for cyclists. I have come across very many facilities that do nothing of the sort.
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Mark1978
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Mark1978 » 2 Sep 2013, 9:17am

The popularity of cycling in London is due to many factors, the CC only forms a small part. e.g Congestion in coming in by road, cycling is faster. Expensive and crowded trains, expensive and crowded underground, same with the buses, and a lot of people coming to work in the city centre. It's just the size and density of the city and cost of other modes which helps cycling be a cost effective alternative.

Which is why you can just say e.g. put a congestion charge in Leeds and watch cycling skyrocket, because there's a lot more to it.

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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 2 Sep 2013, 9:40am

TonyR wrote:Where would London be without the Congestion Charge and bombings? Probably where it is now. Neither have had any influence on the recent rapid rise in cycling that has occurred.


That's not what the Canal & River Trust say. They directly attribute the biggest surge in cycle usage of the Regent's Canal towpath to 7/7, and bear in mind that they can put real data behind this: they have counters on the towpath so they can actually measure these things.

The canal towpath is, of course, one of the rare bits of car-free infrastructure in central London.
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Si
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Si » 2 Sep 2013, 10:06am

Mark1978 wrote:The popularity of cycling in London is due to many factors, the CC only forms a small part. e.g Congestion in coming in by road, cycling is faster. Expensive and crowded trains, expensive and crowded underground, same with the buses, and a lot of people coming to work in the city centre. It's just the size and density of the city and cost of other modes which helps cycling be a cost effective alternative.

Which is why you can just say e.g. put a congestion charge in Leeds and watch cycling skyrocket, because there's a lot more to it.


(my hi-lite) yep, hence my comments about cycle couriers.

My feeling about it is, as you say, a lot of factors come into play, each one adding to the numbers of cyclists until we get to, dare I say it, a critical mass where it is the number of cyclists that that actually creates more cyclists because it becomes seen as a 'normal' thing. But we wouldn't have reached the tipping point had it not been for a lot of contributing factors, as you say, and that the geography, both human and physical, of London also helps (as does the lack of a 'Concrete Collar').

In some places each particular London factor either can't be implemented or would not have the same effect, thus we have to look for other solutions and tailor to the requirements.

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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Mark1978 » 2 Sep 2013, 10:23am

Si wrote:My feeling about it is, as you say, a lot of factors come into play, each one adding to the numbers of cyclists until we get to, dare I say it, a critical mass where it is the number of cyclists that that actually creates more cyclists because it becomes seen as a 'normal' thing. But we wouldn't have reached the tipping point had it not been for a lot of contributing factors, as you say, and that the geography, both human and physical, of London also helps (as does the lack of a 'Concrete Collar').


The Concrete Collar is an important factor too, as many cities have this issue that no matter which way you approach them, you are going to end up with exceptionally busy multi lane roads that nobody except the most fearless cyclists will even attempt to go near.

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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby mjr » 2 Sep 2013, 10:43am

Vorpal wrote:
Si wrote:Does every cycle path need to be the equivalent of a motorway, DC or major A road?


No it doesn't, but IMO, every facility should do something to improve conditions for cyclists. I have come across very many facilities that do nothing of the sort.

Actually, I'd settle for a maxim that every facility should make conditions no worse. Rightly or wrongly, I do currently agree with Si that simply having space marked for cycling can increase number of cyclists as part of a wider promotional campaign. Many people new to bikes are scared of being on the road (usually wrongly, but you can only change so many attitudes in one step).

However, any "flagship" cycle route that is going to be use as a blueprint for further cycle facilities should be the cycling equivalent of a motorway. Otherwise, the compromised route is used as a blueprint and then further compromises get added and before long, we've some real crap being built, yet being trumpeted as good practice! At the very least, the first proposal should aim for the ideal route - then it's clear what compromises were made.
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby mjr » 2 Sep 2013, 10:50am

Si wrote:
mjr wrote:
Si wrote:The project is also acting as a blue print for rolling out similar schemes in other areas of the city.

A blueprint for rolling out compromised less-than-ideal routes? I'm not sure that's a good thing :-S


Why are they less than ideal when, as already explained, they get people cycling and the alternative is no route (and thus not getting so many people cycling)?


They're less than ideal because the short-term number of people cycling is not the whole story. Each compromise which takes the route below standard is a future capacity limit, an increased crash risk, a barrier to some types of bike, or some other problem, and each one of those can mean not as many people cycling in the long-term, because they're fed up with cycle-traffic jams, or with their trailer being blocked by an A frame, or they're laid up with a broken collarbone following a crash on a tight bend that had tactile paving installed too close.

There aren't many fully segregated, wide , direct, priority over side roads, type cycle paths. I can offer many in Norfolk that are fully segregated, wide and direct, but priority over side roads hasn't happened TTBOMK. Personally, I feel this is because there is always someone (are your ears burning, Sustrans?) willing to compromise and bless a crap cycle path in the interest of getting a good press release and their little route logos on more signs.

I know there are wider benefits to even bad projects, but please don't use crap cyclepaths as a blueprint - use them as inspiration to do better next time: if a crap one can do this well, imagine what a good cyclepath could do!
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Si
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Si » 2 Sep 2013, 11:27am

this comes back to the interpretation of 'crap'. To some it's anything that isn't big wide, fully segregated, with priority over side roads, etc. Like the motorway of the cycling world. But not every road in the country is a motorway and much lesser roads seem to do their jobs OK. Now, if a path stops at every drive way and has several bus shelters in the middle of it then I think that we'd all happily call it crap. But what about the middle ground...and where are you drawing the line?

What the experienced cyclist might call 'crap' is very different to what the newcomer might call 'crap' and that's because they want different things of the cycle path. So, is, for instance, a path 'crap' because it meanders through a nice scenic park - because of other park users you certainly can't do 20mph on it, and it takes longer to get to the popular destination than using the DC next to it, but it gets you there, without the threat of motorised traffic, and the new cyclist can do what is for them a healthy and safe speed, while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.. Crap or not?

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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Mark1978 » 2 Sep 2013, 11:32am

Si wrote:this comes back to the interpretation of 'crap'. To some it's anything that isn't big wide, fully segregated, with priority over side roads, etc. Like the motorway of the cycling world. But not every road in the country is a motorway and much lesser roads seem to do their jobs OK. Now, if a path stops at every drive way and has several bus shelters in the middle of it then I think that we'd all happily call it crap. But what about the middle ground...and where are you drawing the line?

What the experienced cyclist might call 'crap' is very different to what the newcomer might call 'crap' and that's because they want different things of the cycle path. So, is, for instance, a path 'crap' because it meanders through a nice scenic park - because of other park users you certainly can't do 20mph on it, and it takes longer to get to the popular destination than using the DC next to it, but it gets you there, without the threat of motorised traffic, and the new cyclist can do what is for them a healthy and safe speed, while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.. Crap or not?


I think one of the main issues is the lack of standards in this area. In terms of surfacing, minimum width, lack of obstacles etc, and no you don't need to be able to do 20mph on a shared use path, but you should be able to do 10mph and still not give to give way to a residential road every 30 seconds, if you do then the situation would be far better resolved with the path being narrowed and provision made on the road proper.

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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby mjr » 2 Sep 2013, 11:46am

Si wrote:... But what about the middle ground...and where are you drawing the line?

Hey, I'm not the one trying to make a false line between "crap" and "blueprint"! I think the cart track around the coast serves a purpose, but I'm not going to use that as a blueprint for a new motorway. Some paths aren't crap and aren't blueprints but still do a job well enough for now. There are shades of crapness and only the crap-free ones should be blueprints. The slightly crap ones could be inspirations, experiments or testers that might still do a job well enough for now. Just don't hold them up as exemplars.
Si wrote:So, is, for instance, a path 'crap' because it meanders through a nice scenic park - because of other park users you certainly can't do 20mph on it, and it takes longer to get to the popular destination than using the DC next to it, but it gets you there, without the threat of motorised traffic, and the new cyclist can do what is for them a healthy and safe speed, while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.. Crap or not?

If that's all that's wrong with it - it meanders and is busy with other users - it's not crap.
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby mjr » 2 Sep 2013, 11:51am

Mark1978 wrote:I think one of the main issues is the lack of standards in this area.

Maybe I'm wrong but https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... port-notes includes LTN 2/08 Cycle infrastructure design which is pretty good. Sadly, Norfolk and North Somerset both seem to treat its standards as wildly unobtainable targets, rather than minimums. We've got standards but no-one seems to be enforcing them... tiny carrots, no sticks.
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