Cars are anti-democratic…

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  • Cars are anti-democratic…
  • Seemed that last time I was in the Netherlands people of all shapes and sizes were riding bikes, no reason at all that wouldn’t or couldn’t be the case in the UK

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    molgrips wrote:

    You’re missing the point. I’m no different to any other able bodied healthy 30-something. I’m alright, so there’s no reason millions of other people shouldn’t also be alright.

    No, you’re missing the point. You’re a cyclist. Education and cultural shift (however you think that’s going to happen) isn’t going to solve this one alone. Not when most people aren’t already cyclists. I’m certainly not keen on new infrastructure for my own ends (well not for riding a bike, but I might use it for other purposes and can certainly see the benefit for being able to get around with my kids), but if it is what it takes to get more people riding then I’m all for it. Done properly, obviously, not with just a tin of pink paint and a truckload of “cyclists dismount” signs.

    towzer
    Member

    things change
    canal
    railways
    bicycle
    motorbike (*sidecar)
    car
    very reliable car
    imho every step was an improvement (I’m of the generation whereby we had a family motorbike, then sidecar(as dad got a talking to for having me, mum and the dog on the bike), then unreliable car and now reliable car, the hideous factor that has to be dealt with now is that for a variety of reasons (cost, overcrowding, ‘commuting lifestyle’ etc etc) that the choice for people is going to get worse* rather then better

    jfletch
    Member

    Cycling in the Netherlands as a keen cyclist can be a pain in the arse. Bike path’s often take the long way round a junction, they are full of other cyclists going slower than you would like to, the odd pedsetrian, they have traffic lights and pedestrian crossings etc. It would be faster to use the road.

    But to resist dutch style segregation is to miss the point. To claim it’s not needed is wrong.

    These paths aren’t aimed at us, the keen cyclists who ride anyway or who ride quickly for sport. They are for the kids, and your mum, and the bloke ambling to work in his suit, and the woman who got squashed by a dumper truck. Step of your road bike or super quick hybrid and hop on a heavy dutch utility bike (or a hire scheme bike) and you will understand what using a bike as a tool is about. Normal clothes, no helmet, no hi viz; just the cheapest, easiest, safest way to get about.

    brooess
    Member

    Education and cultural shift (however you think that’s going to happen) isn’t going to solve this one alone.

    On the one hand, I agree with this. On the other, it’s already begun. Using London as an example of what can be achieved nationwide:

    “Cycling in the capital is on the up; since 2001, cycling on London’s major roads increased by 173 per cent. The Mayor wants to go further to really make a difference to how Londoners get about their city.

    The Mayor is working with TfL to deliver a 400 per cent increase in cycling by 2026, compared to 2001 levels, while making two wheeled transport safer, more attractive, and more convenient. TfL is investing more than ever before in cycling and funding is increasing to the point where levels of investment are approaching those of other leading European cycling cities.”

    From London.gov.uk

    The current fuss is mainly because the masses aren’t very good at coping with change, they’ll get used to it eventually…

    I suspect that central and local government have looked at how much debt we already have, looked at the costs of the obesity and mental health crises, looked at the costs of congestion, looked at the costs of pollution, looked at the capacity of the current transport infrastructure and realised that getting more people on bikes will make inroads into all of these problems which are going to cost us an absolute fortune at a time when the developing world is very keen to eat our lunch…

    Sadly if you’re in good physical health and of healthy weight in the UK, you’re in a minority, so they haven’t half got a way to go 😯

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    if [more cycling infrastructure] is what it takes to get more people riding then I’m all for it.

    Fair enough, but I don’t think that is really what it’ll take. London didn’t have to do much, after all. If you’ve never been down there recently it really is incredible how many cyclists there now are.

    jfletch
    Member

    Fair enough, but I don’t think that is really what it’ll take. London didn’t have to do much

    The explosion of cycling has many drivers but a lot of them are temporary (its very fashionable right now to cycle, people do not have much money, we had a dry summer etc) and therefore it is fragile. Also the low hanging fruit have already been “got”, every additional cyclist will be harder to persuade than the last.

    A few negative impacts and numbers could start to decline. The biggest negative impact will be people getting killed and the best way to stop that is infastructure and segregation. It is what takes cycling away from being a niche activity for people up for a battle with the cars and turns it into the best way to get about.

    brooess
    Member

    JFletch. I know it’s anecdote but London was rammed with cyclists this morning – as many as I’ve seen.
    Coldest day of the winter so far and only a couple of weeks after we lost 6 riders…

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    London has lots of people moving into it. I think some of them are including cycling in their plans when they choose a place to live.

    However London’s not that great of an example in many ways, thinking about it. Driving’s so impractical for so many people, so it’s bike vs tube vs bus which is a much more level playing field!

    jfletch
    Member

    Brilliant, lets hope it lasts.

    But lets hope that it speads to other cities. In Nottingham this morning I saw very few and was sat in traffic which is primarily caused by people doing short journeys.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    was sat in traffic which is primarily caused by people doing short journeys.

    How do you know, though?

    jfletch
    Member

    How do you know, though?

    I don’t have any stats but it is a reasonable assumption since there are few viable alternatives, it’s school run time and there is no eveidence of large numbers of people either walking or cycling, and they are local roads rather than trunk roads.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Fair to assume that most local trips are being made by car, but you don’t know how many of the cars on the road are on local trips. They could be going further afield.

    But anyway I agree with your sentiment.

    Peyote
    Member

    The DfT do a National Traffic survey:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-travel-survey-statistics

    Okay so it’s not going to be specific to Nottingham’s local road network, but it should give an idea as to likley proportions.

    the majority of trips are short (over half of car trips are less than 5 miles, over three quarters are less than 10), so it’s a fair assumption to make

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    You’re missing the point. I’m no different to any other able bodied healthy 30-something. I’m alright, so there’s no reason millions of other people shouldn’t also be alright.

    I rode my bike to work before my town had a bunch of money spent on cycle infrastructure and, at that point, I was a firm believer in vehicular cycling, helmet use, training, MingTFU, etc.

    Post-cycle demonstration town funding, I still ride my bike to work, but almost entirely on off-road paths. It’s a hell of a lot nicer and I see a lot more other cyclists now. I’m now a firm believer in infrastructure being the main thing we need, and this belief is backed up by a lot more knowledge and understanding of the issues than my old belief.

    The main difference post-CDT funding: my mam rides her bike into town. Pre-infrastructure, almost every cyclist was a relatively young man, but now we get women in their 50s riding their bikes.

    What they did here wasn’t perfect, and they wasted a lot of cash on promotion and training before there was infrastructure in place, and the infrastructure’s only there for some trips, but it’s a huge improvement on what we had before.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I think it probably depends on the city to an extent.

    jfletch
    Member

    Yep – Cycling (as a means of transport) is never going to catch on in Sheffield to a great extent due to all the hills.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    The only barrier to getting 1 in 3 cars off the road are cultural and safety issues.

    There’s masses of folk who live in this country who will only view bicycle riding through the prism of “that’s what poor people have to do” . Straw poll of the people in my dental practice right now ” no way. it’s all up hill” and “I live 10 miles away” ( weirdly she will go to the gym though….)

    These are young healthy folk how spend a good deal if their time telling patients about healthy lifestyles…go figure as they say across the pond.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It’s mostly young people in London. The question that hasn’t been answered is what will these young people do when they get older?

    Premier Icon ononeorange
    Subscriber

    I think cars are a tyranny. To me they are certainly a luxury and not a right. I do own one but think very carefully before using it – always walk / use the bike locally. But in doing so it is clear that I am relegated to an absolutely subordinated position to those far less vulnerable than me.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    To me they are certainly a luxury and not a right.

    You don’t live in the countryside then.

    aP
    Member

    I’ve lived and worked and cycled in west London for just under 20 years.
    I know a whole range of people who cycle, its not just young people – actually in my office, most of the people who cycle are in the 40s or above – our oldest cyclist is 66. Almost none of the young group currently working here cycle – they all come from cultures that revere motor cars and revile cycling and public transport.
    When I first starting commuting and cycling in London in 95, if I saw another cyclist it was a major event – even in town it was pretty much only couriers tooling around, almost no one else cycled. Nowadays, on my 5 mile commute that in 2000 I’d see maybe 1 other cyclist a week, I see about 6-10 each way. That’s a big difference, and its good.
    I cycle 10 miles a day, I don’t wear funny clothing (well except that my normal clothing might be considered funny), when I go to meetings at other people’s offices they expect me to turn up by bike and usually say something if I don’t and these are people responsible for spending £100m’s every year.
    There is a sea change in London where people just get on bikes and cycle – there’s still a lot of people for whom cycling seems to involve dressing up for a 2 miles ride (but then Brits love pretending to be professional at their hobby activities). Personally I leave the funny clothing for my riding at the weekend when I’ll go out for 4-5 or more hours and the proper clothing works best.

    aP
    Member

    Oh, read Mayer Hillman for a sensible viewpoint on this, and his thoughts on how the giving over of our towns and cities to motor vehicles has proven to be disastrous for communities and individuals.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I only dress up to avoid getting my work clothes sweaty, as I am basically unable to cycle without getting at least a bit sweaty!

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