Cycling in the UK is actually in a very positive place… isn't it?
Despite all the anecdotes and frequent daily experiences of regular riders, it occurred to me that cycling in the UK is actually winning at long last (and this is probably the main reason why so many of the ‘reasons’ given by the antis are hogwash and lies – people aren’t too good at dealing with change)…
1. Massive growth in numbers
2. Massive growth in the number of organised events
3. Huge success at pro level (2 TdF winners in 2 years, dominant at the Olympics and on the track)
4. Huge spectator turnout for Tour of Britain and the Prudential thing – public opinion is NOT all anti.
5. Overall deaths are not increasing despite increase in numbers
6. Much more present in the media and national conversation
7. Car usage is dropping – especially amongst the youth, who will carry their behaviour into adulthood
8. Even though it may not seem like it, lots more political attention on providing facilities (I suspect when Boris saw the projections for growth of London population and growth in capacity for buses and Tubes he realised he HAS to get people on bikes cos public transport won’t cope otherwise)
9. Self-driving cars are under serious consideration
10. The antis are having to make up their arguments and rely on generalisations and prejudice – which are easily countered with stats and figures… (we just need to do more of this)
11. Road safety is under increasing examination e.g. 20mph limits, mobile phone use
12. Pressure is mounting on proper sentences being handed down to drivers who kill cyclists
13. Social media gives a disparate group a voice which we didn’t have before
14. Chris Boardman – at last we have a credible and strong spokesperson
So just possibly we’re at the tipping point and in 10 years time a lot more people will be riding and harassment and aggression will be the exception rather than the norm, and today’s experience will be a distant memoryPosted 4 years agoaPMember
Since 1995 I’ve been cycling to work in west London and in the early days if I saw another cyclist a week on my 5-6 mile journey it was a big deal. On my cycle in today I saw about 20 cyclists in about 20 minutes.Posted 4 years ago
there’s been a huge paradigm shift in London at least, although in that time traffic has also increased substantially and congestion along with that, to the point where I just don’t understand why people still drive so much within London.clubberMember
Are you me, aP? 🙂
I don’t live in London any more and it’s amazing when I go back how many people now do. I reckon that on my 5ish mile ride to Hyde Park to work in the mid to late 90s I usually pass maybe 5 cyclists. Now I’d quickly lose count.
Same in Bristol and I hope elsewhere. I guess that teh issue is that many drivers haven’t caught up with the change and also that the roads still aren’t properly designed for cyclists so we’re seeing more trouble now that there’s more of us.
It’ll start to improve I think – we’re getting close to critical mass I reckon (or at least in the next few years) but in a natural rather than confrontational (CM) way. Each petrol price rise will help too and there’s going to be plenty more of those.Posted 4 years agoandypaul99Member
It is but…
The goverment needs to do more than paint a picture of a bike on an old roman road, which seems to happen a great deal round here in Essex. We need a dedicated cycle path network. DEDICATED, the roads arent wide enough in the UK for us to cycle safely and for cars, lorries and whatever else to use the same patch.
I know we are improving, but you only have to cross the channel to see we are still about 20 years behind most of Mainland Europe.Posted 4 years agokimbersSubscriber
numbers have increased since I started cycling in London about 10 years ago
but still a long way to go
and the car is still kingPosted 4 years ago
I first came to Bristol in 1999, when cycling appeared relatively popular – but it’s boomed recently, as with other places.
The “Cycling City” work did result in some good changes very locally to me (just south of the city centre), including: additional cycle racks, narrowed junctions and a blanket 20mph limit. This was in addition to the wider developments such as cycle mapping and a generally higher profile for cycling.
I’ve got young kids, so not all my short / local car journeys are over – but I’m otherwise cycling to the shops, commuting by bike, having groceries delivered and generally only using the car for longer journeys as a family.
I suspect the trend of decline in car use *per capita* UK-wide has much further to go.Posted 4 years agowobbliscottMember
Same here in little old Derby. I genuinely thing self driving cars will be with us before we think. In 30 – 40yrs time people will look back in absolute horror that people were actually allowed to control lumps of metal at high speed by themselves and thousands of people a year died as a result of accidents. I love cars and part of me thinks this is a great shame (not the deaths of course), but then again I see the state of the roads, in terms of their condition and levels of congestion, and I think it is absolutely pointless paying the premium for a performance car when you can’t use its performance.Posted 4 years agojekkylMember
Great post Op. and can I add.
15. large increase in the number of facilities built specifically for cycling… in 2013 alone we’ve had bike park wales, sandwell valley (birmingham) and Clayton Vale (manchester). Anymore you can name?
Mountain Biking and cycling in general is on the up and up.Posted 4 years agoCaptainFlashheartMember
Yep, all round good news, I’d say. London is simply awash with cyclists, and it’s becoming more and more ‘normal’ to use a bike as a mode of transport. I still think we need to move away from the “I’m on a bike, so I shall dress in lycra and race everywhere” mentality, but the overall feeling of cycling is that it’s a perfectly everyday thing to do. Ten years ago or so, people thought it rather odd.
I think it is absolutely pointless paying the premium for a performance car when you can’t use its performance.
You’ve clearly never seen some of the lunatic FredVagens being ridden on the etape du Embankment most days! They do get rather rankled when some chap in normal clothes on a Brompton bimbles past them. 🙂
Of course, it could just be that they enjoy buying and driving/riding nice things. Good for them, really.Posted 4 years agomogrimMember
I know we are improving, but you only have to cross the channel to see we are still about 20 years behind most of Mainland Europe.
Not Madrid, though even here bike use is growing – when I first started living here (17 years ago) nobody went by bike; these days, while still very much a minority, there’re always a few about.Posted 4 years ago
s absolutely pointless paying the premium for a performance car when you can’t use its performance
Agree. I went to Guernsey a couple of years ago – there is one main road round the island (less than 50 miles in total), most of it limited to 30mph and just a short stretch at 40mph. But I also saw drives with shiny new Maserati’s, Ferraris etc on them – made me smile at the pointlessness of itPosted 4 years agobokononMember
I went to Guernsey a couple of years ago – there is one main road round the island (less than 50 miles in total), most of it limited to 30mph and just a short stretch at 40mph. But I also saw drives with shiny new Maserati’s, Ferraris etc on them – made me smile at the pointlessness of it
Sounds like Jersey not Guernsey – speed limit is 35mph, there is no 40mph sections on Guernsey, and the total distance around the whole island is 31 miles on the coastline, nearer 26 miles on the road.
There is also a massive driving culture on the Islands – hence the cars, which to be fair could be either island – but really crap public transport, cheap petrol, free parking (on Guernsey) and no MOT leads to easy availability of cars, and people use them, a lot, and it’s engrained from a young age.
To bring it round to the OP – I think it’s right, there are things aligning which are to the advantage of cyclists, and there will, at some point, be a critical mass of people doing it, meaning it tips over into being something that is less odd to do – which is not the case in other places, where the circumstances for change are not yet in place.Posted 4 years agoti_pin_manMember
at last a positive thread about the rise of the cycles!
I guess the thread is poorly responded to as most of us agree. At least I hope so.
I concur, I think critical mass is coming and kind of inevitable, we just have to keep ‘spreading the word’ and supporting it.Posted 4 years agoMoreCashThanDashSubscriber
I agree with all the positive points above. Getting busier with cyclists riding into Nottingham every day. We haven’t quite got the critical mass to really get the societal and infrastructure changes that we would maybe like but we are much closer to it than we were 10 years ago.Posted 4 years agobrooessMember
Agree. I went to Guernsey a couple of years ago – there is one main road round the island (less than 50 miles in total), most of it limited to 30mph and just a short stretch at 40mph. But I also saw drives with shiny new Maserati’s, Ferraris etc on them – made me smile at the pointlessness of it
There’s never been a clearer illustration that cars are primarily used as status symbols rather than forms of transport.
On the OP, maybe we should all get gilets with ‘more people are choosing to ride bikes, get over it’ – Richard Dawkins style 😀Posted 4 years agobokononMember
sorry for minor thread hijack, but I know which island I was on – what a weird place this is
Good for you – however, there are no sections of road with 40mph speed limits on Guernsey (but there are on Jersey), and the speed limit generally is 35mph or 25mph – I don’t think 30mph used at all on either island and Jersey is just under 50 miles all the way round (where as Guernsey is not…).
So you might have known where you were, but you weren’t paying much attention, and your description didn’t sound like Guernsey very much – and sounded a lot more like Jersey.Posted 4 years ago
Ok – yes I got the speed limits wrong (working from memory), but in my defence I didn’t have a car or a bike while I was there. I said less than 50 miles, knowing it was probably less than that, but without taking the time to measure it on a map. Anyway I’m glad you like both islands – I haven’t been to JerseyPosted 4 years ago
The topic ‘Cycling in the UK is actually in a very positive place… isn't it?’ is closed to new replies.