Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

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GeorgeWagstaff
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Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby GeorgeWagstaff » 28 Apr 2018, 6:28pm

Hi,

I study at the University of Manchester, and for my dissertation I am producing a piece of research on public perceptions to cycling infrastructure.

Hopefully what I produce will be useful in making the UK more cycle friendly.

I will produce a questionnaire regarding cycling infrastructure provision, I want to know your thoughts and invoke some qualitative discussion - cycle infrastructure is great for making cyclists feel safe and it encourages people to switch from cars.

I am still producing the questions, however I would just like to test the water to see what the response would be.

A few questions to think over, please feel free to reply with as much or as little detail as you want!

1. What are your thoughts on the UKs provision of cycling infrastructure, is it adequate?
2. Could more be done, would you like to see the UK cities following in the footsteps of cities like Copenhagen?
3. Does cycling infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes make you feel safe, or do you prefer the freedom of the open roads?
4. Would you prefer more green lanes, such as routes following canals - integrated into urban routes to enhance the experience?
5. Do you enjoy your cycle commute, what would make it better?

*If anyone is from Manchester, I would be also very interested in your opinions of cycling in manchester*


Seen as cyclists have a common aim of encouraging and enhancing cycling opportunities - I am hoping you will find this discussion interesting!

Thanks for your support,

George Wagstaff
University of Manchester

george.wagstaff@student.manchester.ac.uk

brynpoeth
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby brynpoeth » 28 Apr 2018, 6:42pm

There was a cycling conference in Manchester recently, organised by the Labour Party, search these fora for a report of it
Sir Chris Boardman made a speech
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
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thirdcrank
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Apr 2018, 7:03pm

Welcome to the forum and good luck with this.

Don't be surprised if you never get past the stage of receiving a lot of advice on how to construct a survey.

FWIW, the UK isn't short of guidelines on how best to provide for cycling. Among the things that are lacking are the political will to deliver and a system of government to ensure policy delivery.

If this course of study is a step on the way to becoming a transportation professional of some sort, the best jobs seem to go to the big misters who provide for motor traffic. Don't be deterred by any apparent bitterness on my part: it's just me being bitter. Best wishes for your future and don't mind me.

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gaz
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby gaz » 28 Apr 2018, 7:08pm

1. What are your thoughts on the UKs provision of cycling infrastructure, is it adequate?

The UK has an inadequate amount of cycling infrastructure. Much of the cycling infrastructure the UK has is inadequate.

2. Could more be done, would you like to see the UK cities following in the footsteps of cities like Copenhagen?

More could be done but it won't be. Politicians are happy to perpetuate the dominance of motor vehicles in our towns and cities. The majority of the public are not just happy to accept this, they demand it.

3. Does cycling infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes make you feel safe, or do you prefer the freedom of the open roads?

I'm struggling to see how that is an either or question. For some journeys I find the infrastructure helpful, for other journeys I'll avoid it. Likewise the road network.

4. Would you prefer more green lanes, such as routes following canals - integrated into urban routes to enhance the experience?

Would I prefer more green lanes? In preference to what?

5. Do you enjoy your cycle commute, what would make it better?

I usually enjoy my cycle commute. Better quality infrastructure would improve it. Higher standards of driving would improve it more.
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Psamathe
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby Psamathe » 28 Apr 2018, 7:28pm

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:1. What are your thoughts on the UKs provision of cycling infrastructure, is it adequate?
Often seems a Highways Authority buying a pot of whote paint and trying to persuade cyclists that sharing the pavement with pedestrians is "infrastructure"

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:2. Could more be done, would you like to see the UK cities following in the footsteps of cities like Copenhagen?
More could always be done. Just saying "do more" is to broad. Do more what? More white paint pointing cyclists onto the pavements with pedestrians?

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:3. Does cycling infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes make you feel safe, or do you prefer the freedom of the open roads?
Rarely use them. Where i cycle there are few cycle lanes beyond riding amongst the push chairs and pedestrians.

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:4. Would you prefer more green lanes, such as routes following canals - integrated into urban routes to enhance the experience?
I think much would depend on the locality and where people in that locality want to ride. I wonder if it's a fairly specific question to what I'd assumed a braoder survey.

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:5. Do you enjoy your cycle commute, what would make it better?
I don't commute. Don't just focus of one particular type of cyclist or one reason people ride.

Ian

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby Tigerbiten » 28 Apr 2018, 7:54pm

1. What are your thoughts on the UKs provision of cycling infrastructure, is it adequate?

Very very patchy and whats there can be very very iffy.
2. Could more be done, would you like to see the UK cities following in the footsteps of cities like Copenhagen?

Not bothered by cities as I try not to go in them.
Good wide well maintained cycle tracks alongside main roads would help.
3. Does cycling infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes make you feel safe, or do you prefer the freedom of the open roads?

Because I ride something non-standard (recumbent trike) most cycle tracks are to narrow so I don't/cannot use them, so I've mostly on the road.
Also the junction on them tend to make them slower and/or less safe than being on the road for me.
4. Would you prefer more green lanes, such as routes following canals - integrated into urban routes to enhance the experience?

Green lanes tend to be in the middle of nowhere, but yes as long as they are well maintained.
5. Do you enjoy your cycle commute, what would make it better?

Don't commute, but less cars would make cycling more enjoyable.

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Cugel
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby Cugel » 28 Apr 2018, 10:27pm

Too many leading questions.

Your agenda and scope seems to be anticipating the answers that are currently fashionable.

Perhaps you might also consider asking what various cyclists don't want? One answer might be "I don't want so-called cycling infrastructure". Another might be, "I don't want a legal system that provides the drivers of large and dangerous vehicles to kill & maim with little or no penalty or other means to prevent them doing so".

Cugel.

esuhl
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby esuhl » 28 Apr 2018, 10:44pm

Hi, and welcome to the site! :D

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:1. What are your thoughts on the UKs provision of cycling infrastructure, is it adequate?


It's really bad -- far from adequate, whether in cities, suburbs or countryside.

There is a segregated cycle lane (solid white line on the road) near me. At points it is less than 2ft across. This kind of infrastructure is dangerous because motorists expect cyclists to be able to "stick to their lane". With lanes so narrow, this is dangerous and encourages reckless overtaking.

Official cycle routes (the bike equivalent of an A-road) often pass through town centres where cycling is banned during the day. Can you imagine following a trunk road in your car, then being told to get out and push it for a mile?! Crazy!

Cycle infrastructure is incredibly disjointed and fragmented. Anyone who wanted to travel between two points might be lucky enough to have some (totally inadequate) cycle paths along the way, but they will still need to cycle on dangerous roads. Until safe cycle routes can be joined up, only the most confident of cyclists will want to cycle.

Even where there are cycle paths, they stop unexpectedly, forcing cyclists to dismount and cross the road, only to have to dismount and cross back again 100 metres later, and then they are directed onto the pavement to use a pedestrian crossing, before being directed back onto the road. This doubles the time of any bike journey! If people are going to be motivated to get out of their cars, a cycle journey has to be quick, easy, and safe.

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:3. Does cycling infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes make you feel safe, or do you prefer the freedom of the open roads?


The only thing I like about "the open roads" is that I can ride fast and get to places quickly. I don't drive, so my bike is a lifeline. I have friends that live 30 miles away. I'm a slow rider, often load up my panniers, and take a very indirect route to avoid some huge hills, but I can do it within 3 hours.

If I were to ride on all the (anti-)cycling infrastructure, it would have taken well over 4.5 hours. That makes it unfeasible. If I can't ride without major interruptions every few hundred yards, I can't visit my friends. I'd love nothing more than to feel the freedom of open cycle-paths so long as they are as fast as the road!

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:4. Would you prefer more green lanes, such as routes following canals - integrated into urban routes to enhance the experience?


Absolutely! Fast direct routes, as well as slower scenic routes sounds like cyclist heaven. For this to be successful, you'd need to consider the needs of commuters (who just want to get somewhere fast) and leisure cyclists (who are happy to meander slowly down a more scenic route). And the cautious commuters who are somewhere in-between. There needs to be a safe space for pedestrians too.

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:5. Do you enjoy your cycle commute, what would make it better?


I enjoy cycling, but travelling in rush hour can be stressful. Motorists' drive very aggressively and dangerously even when they are stuck in traffic. There is room for a cycle lane through the village, but motorists position their cars across the lane in such a way that it takes 5 minutes to get through the traffic. So the worst thing about commuting by bike is the aggressive behaviour of motorists who aren't moving anywhere. And the fragmented cycling infrastructure that causes cyclist to come to a halt when traffic is blocking the roads.

Mike Sales
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby Mike Sales » 28 Apr 2018, 11:11pm

Are you aware that the Warrington Cycle Campaign has featured on its website a Facility of the Month every month since March 2001?
There is no shortage of lousy or ludicrous examples.

http://warringtoncyclecampaign.co.uk/facility-of-the-month

reohn2
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby reohn2 » 29 Apr 2018, 5:50am

It's hard to add anything positive to what's already been posted.
UK cycle infrastructure is dire or extremely patchy at best with a significant minority of drivers having no respect for cyclists,it's the same story on shared used cyclepaths and bridleways with pedestrians/ramblers.
Cycling is seen at best as a slightly eccentric outgroup and at worst as a nuisance,rather than an alternative and benign way of travel that should be regarded as a solution,not a problem and means of keeping fit and active for all ages.
This state of affairs is reinforced either by direct or indirect inaction of local and national government's blindness and or lip service to cycling,ie;saying a lot and doing little or nothing for cyclists.
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Si
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby Si » 29 Apr 2018, 8:55am

1. Inadequate in both quantity and quality

2. Yes and yes

3. Yes, if they are done properly (i.e. W9de enough, has priority over side roads, protect the cyclist at junctions, dont overly inconvienience the cyclist. But reyain theoption ofusing the road for those who may be more confident, experienced or faster.

4. Canal tow paths can make nice liesure routes but are rubbish for modal shift as they are not scalable. Green routes often have rubbish surfaces.

5. Sometimes. Fewer people trying to kill me, less noise, less fumes, less aggression, etc.

De Sisti
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby De Sisti » 29 Apr 2018, 9:03am

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:Hi,


4. Would you prefer more green lanes, such as routes following canals - integrated into urban routes to enhance the experience?

Routes making detours to follow canals!!?

Seen as cyclists have a common aim .......


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foxyrider
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby foxyrider » 29 Apr 2018, 9:03am

Your biggest problem - apart from asking closed questions is to whom you are addressing them. Pretty much everyone on here is a confirmed cyclist and will happily go on for hours about how bad cycle facilities are around the UK compared to for example northern Europe. If you actually want meaningful answers we are the wrong audience to ask.

The people you should be asking are the less committed / non lifestyle riders and non riders. Why don't they cycle? Where do they cycle? I know this might seem a bit odd but you'd be better asking the readers of Mumsnet than CT.

I've just come back from Germany, an event where cyclists from 2yo upwards rode distances from 1km to 200km, mostly in a landscape devoid of cycle infrastructure. Thousands of participants all enjoying themselves for a day on their bikes. A lot of the 'family' riders actually use their bikes to go to the shops, school, visit friends - all without infrastructure.
On the flip side, where there is infrastructure it is designed to ease cycle use not as in the UK make it more difficult. For example, a cycle lane following a main road will rarely cross that road and at junctions joining traffic gives way to that cycle lane (although you need some caution to watch for foreign drivers!). Cycle routes between towns / villages will use direct routes, not take you on huge inappropriate (hilly, poorly surfaced etc) routes, often barred to all but local traffic. And people ask why I enjoy riding there so much, what's not to like.

Cyclists do not want segregation at any cost, that just encourages the car lobby. A cycle route that adds both time, distance and effort to the ride is not good infrastructure. For it to be useful itneeds to get from a to b by the easiest route not a slow complicated, stop-start, rubbish strewn, cyclist dismount strewn route. If there is a steep climb on my route I want to avoid it not be directed up a steeper alternative - I power the bike, let the motorised road users go the steeper route with all the stops.

I don't need to commute these days but when I did, on a good day it was possible to get to work in 10 minutes not using the 'infrastructure'. Same journey using the bits of infrastructure and stop start with TL's and traffic could take 25 minutes. And it was downhill for most of the 6km journey.

So my advice, Mumsnet and look at what infrastructure is useful to cyclists.
Convention? what's that then?
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tatanab
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby tatanab » 29 Apr 2018, 9:21am

1. Infrastructure in urban areas is little more than an afterthought and obviously by somebody who has not used a pedal cycle except as a toy. It also assumes that the single occupant bicycle is the only sort of pedal cycle. Try using some of these routes with a tandem or tricycle, then add a trailer (kids) or a pair of panniers. The way I describe it to non cyclists is "imagine you are driving a 32 ton lorry along a signed goods vehicle route. You would not expect to find sections suitable only for a 7.5 ton vehicle would you?" Rural infrastructure is for people to drive to to take their annual 2 mile cycle ride. For a cyclist going somewhere they can be difficult to use due to dog walkers etc - which is not to say that the other users are in the wrong since this is a leisure facility much like a swimming pool or public park.

2. Urban infrastructure is generally poor. See comment above.

3. I believe in safety through integration rather than segregation. Certainly different in urban areas versus rural.

4. No. I travel from A to B and do not want to spend time (except when leisure riding) on poor surfaces that do not go where I want tham to, or at least not directly.

5. My commuting days were split between small cities and rural commutes. Mainly fine.

Some probably contentious views there, such as "safety through integration not segregation". A problem with our infrastructure is that it is of absolutely no use to the visitor. A tourist may be passing through town and can clearly see on road signs a way through. There may be a perfectly acceptable alternative using cycle facilities but the visitor will never know because the sign posts are to "Fred Blogg's school" or "swimming pool". So here's a question - are such facilities intended to aid only local travel or can planners recognise that many people cycle further?

flat tyre
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby flat tyre » 29 Apr 2018, 4:54pm

1. What are your thoughts on the UKs provision of cycling infrastructure, is it adequate?

As it stands at present it is completely useless, confusing arrows and lines painted on road surfaces, very few useful sign posts, very difficult to link routes together to make a journey

2. Could more be done, would you like to see the UK cities following in the footsteps of cities like Copenhagen?

Yes and yes but this is unlikely to happen.

3. Does cycling infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes make you feel safe, or do you prefer the freedom of the open roads?

No, in most cases around where I live the segregated lanes are "shared use", which makes them far more dangerous than using the roads as one has to contend with loose dogs, children, pedestrians and joggers with headphones, it's generally safer and much quicker to use the road.

4. Would you prefer more green lanes, such as routes following canals - integrated into urban routes to enhance the experience?

No, these suffer from the same problem as 3 above, plus the surface is usually appalling and only suitable for mountain bikes or people who only want to cycle half a mile to the pub.

5. Do you enjoy your cycle commute, what would make it better?

I don't commute as I no longer work, but I nearly always cycle into town for shopping etc (does this count?). Usually I enjoy this, particulary as I live in a town with a central market place and streets with shops, so one can cycle up and park right outside each shop which is much quicker than taking the car.

Other comment. I believe that money spent on cycling infrastructure is usually wasted and we would be better off not bothering as the result is generally useless. (See other comments above about poor design etc, etc)