Street Talks session with John Dales (Director Urban Movement http://www.urbanmovement.co.uk/index.html)
Dec 5th, 2013 at Look Mum No Hands, Mare St
Interesting evening hearing about a TfL commissioned study looking at cities that had markedly increased their level of cycling in recent years.
John Dales and others had visited 12 cities, some well-known European cycling cites (Utrecht, Berlin etc), some less well-known for cycling (New York, Minneapolis, Christchurch NZ) and some in the UK (Brighton, Cambridge).
Common features of cities successfully improving cycling included:
- Strong political leadership accompanied by strong professional support from traffic and transport officials. Emphasises the need not just to run political campaign, but also to clear out the dead wood of poorly-trained, petrolhead transport ‘professionals’ from the Dept of Transport and our local authorities. Sad view seemed to be we just have to wait for such people to retire (and with the rising retirement age this could take for ever…).
- Cycling seen as “just a way of getting around”.
- “Clarity of network”. Better connectedness. None of the nonsense we are so used to of cycle tracks just stopping, with no indication of how you continue or get to the next bit.
- Minimise the number of places where cyclists have to stop. So better priority at junctions, longer bike (and ped) phases etc.
- A motor driving culture more “respectful” of cyclists (and again peds). John Dales had been struck by the difference in motorist behaviour when cycling in London the day following cycling in a northern European city. You just feel safer! Is it driver education? Or is it that when cycling mode share is 40% the bulk of drivers are also regular cyclists? Or should we just ban Top Gear?
Movement for Liveable London http://movementforliveablelondon.com/ who put on the Street Talks may put the slides from the talk on it’s site, but for now can get a lot of information from the Urban Movement site, eg Copenhagen, http://www.urbanmovement.co.uk/2/post/2013/04/copenhagen-my-two-kroner-christopher-martin.html; Amsterdam http://www.urbanmovement.co.uk/2/post/2013/08/a-pragmatic-look-at-cycling-in-amsterdam-by-a-traffic-engineer-oli-davey.html