Author Topic: Don't commute it will hospitalise you  (Read 4760 times)

Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #50 on: March 29, 2020, 09:51:50 am »
My point is about  "infrastructuralists"  obsession with infrastructure as the only answer to the challenge of  getting our country cycling and their dismissal of other views.
But that is rather different to suggesting that high quality segregated infrastructure can reduce serious injuries, and arguably detracts from the common aim of improving the overall situation by dividing supporters of cycling into us and them. Perhaps we would be better off recognising the common ground than focusing on the differences of what might give the biggest gains.

The most useful piece of cycle infrastructure is the Mk 1 bollard, converting a rat-run into a residential street.
Although we have known this for several decades at least so far real progress in this area has probably been somewhere between bugger all and sweet FA. I don’t doubt that it is a fine approach in The Netherlands but the limiting factor over here seems to be the lack of any will to even give it a try.

Limitations on car use certainly facilitate cycling in this country, but so far that mostly seems to be limited to constraints on road building imposed by historic architecture, e.g. in places like Cambridge, Edinburgh, York, Dumfries, and Lancaster and several of those still only seem to have fairly modest levels of cycling.

It is my understanding that London has seen some significant increases in cycling, and there have been suggestions that this is at least in part due to the provision of some segregated infrastructure that isn’t completely rubbish. It is entirely possible that the congestion charge has also been an important part of this, but l doubt that it is entirely responsible, after all presumably most people need to get to central London to take advantage of the lower traffic levels there.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #51 on: March 29, 2020, 12:28:37 pm »
Bollardisation of the very centres and restricted residential areas took place in both Bristol and Bath in the early 90s.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #52 on: March 29, 2020, 12:39:55 pm »
Birmingham has announced a plan to do something of that ilk within the inner ring road.  Unfortunately, they have a habit of announcing things that never actually happen, so I'll believe it when I see it.

Like London, we've seen a couple of pieces of cycle infrastructure constructed that are actually fit for purpose, and people are certainly using them, but it's a significant increase in a tiny overall level of cycling.  We've also had a mass rollout of 20mph speed limits, which have slowed down cars a bit, but done approximately nothing for cycling (not least because some of them have come with new pinch points for the motorists to bully you at).  I think the major benefits of both of these are felt by pedestrians (in the case of the cycle infra, because proper traffic light controlled pedestrian crossings were included in the re-modelling of nasty junctions).

Generally in the UK, bollardisation of rat-runs tends to be something that happens almost by accident.  We tend to prefer one-way streets, to keep the cars flowing.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #53 on: March 29, 2020, 12:54:17 pm »
It is my understanding that London has seen some significant increases in cycling, and there have been suggestions that this is at least in part due to the provision of some segregated infrastructure that isn’t completely rubbish.
There are some good cycle lanes, but there's also a lot of bollardisation and similar things - closed road ends with cycle cut-throughs, one-way exemptions and so on - that are really useful and make coherent routes.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #54 on: March 29, 2020, 01:55:31 pm »
Generally in the UK, bollardisation of rat-runs tends to be something that happens almost by accident.  We tend to prefer one-way streets, to keep the cars flowing.
Observation locally would be that it tends to be implemented in the rat runs which are pretty.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #55 on: March 29, 2020, 03:01:31 pm »
It is my understanding that London has seen some significant increases in cycling, and there have been suggestions that this is at least in part due to the provision of some segregated infrastructure that isn’t completely rubbish.

I've been told by people who would know that growth in London doesn't correlate particularly strongly with where new infrastructure has been put in. Cycling mode share is tiny enough that there's still a big pool of young / fit / brave people to draw from without it. I'd suspect it's mostly driven by tubes and buses being expensive and full, and young people having different attitudes to fitness and greenness etc. And no one owning cars.

Though if you want proportionate numbers of women / older people / "normals" to cycle you need shedloads of infrastructure / traffic reduction.

Quote
presumably most people need to get to central London to take advantage of the lower traffic levels there.

A lot of what's going on now is radial and providing routes out to the suburbs in friendly boroughs.

One big problem in London is Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea councils, both of whom hate infrastructure and love cars, and between them make up a huge chunk of what people consider central London. Without a quality way of distributing people who make it as far as the centre there's a big deterrent to cycle commuting to zone 1.

(and this all reflects the world pre CV. I don't know if we'll ever get back on that timeline)

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #56 on: March 30, 2020, 09:11:18 am »
I'm not going to try to quote from the last post, but the Kensington, Chelsea examples are very similar to what happens out out here in non-London.
Leicester, as you may have heard, is making great strides in building generally very good infrastructure, and has a progressive attitude to cycling in the pedestrianised city centre.
But its the City - which has its own mayor, and is a unitary authority The city is surrounded by regressive motor-centric District Councils and Leicestershire County Council.
Once you get outside of Leicester City (and arguably outside of the student ghettos within the city) the infrastructure stops.
All this rambling goes to suggest that while there may well be good, even excellent, examples of cycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and promotion, there is no, zero, zilch, coordination or planning.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #57 on: March 30, 2020, 03:23:55 pm »
I'm glad to hear that Leicester is improving.

Years ago I rode through a few times, following the old A6 on a route between Hertfordshire and Cheshire. Then one time I went back, and they'd pedestrianised it and diverted the A6. This was the first time I encountered the work of road planners who had entirely forgotten that (a) cyclists who ride into town need to get home again and (b) some cyclists are riding across, and not into, town. As a result, there were plenty of cycle signs to "Town centre", but none to get anywhere else, and I got completely lost and ended up heading for Lutterworth or somewhere.

I had always imagined that the cycling population of Leicester was now stranded in the town centre, unable to find a way home, so it's good to know that they have been rescued ;D

guidon

  • formerly known as cyclone
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #58 on: March 30, 2020, 06:52:55 pm »
You could argue that the reduction of speed to 20 mph has softened up the environment for cyclists in towns, as evidenced by studies in wider Europe - as has the mixing of zones with removal of traffic signalisation.... the UK is slowly coming to the party but it is not a rapid thing - less than 5% year on year.... So it shouldn't see an increase in hospitalisation (cf original post)

Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #59 on: March 31, 2020, 03:17:40 pm »
Its not  yet clear if , in London, that the new infra made a significant difference to numbers cycling or if they were  riding already and then shifted their routes to the new infra. The latter is not a bad  thing.

What  we  do know is that number cycling seem to be plateauing and  cycle  commuters  are largely white men under 35  heading into the centre.  The ratio  of men to  women is about 70/30  but  higher on  some  routes. But  I learnt  from a friend doing an Msc in active  travel that the quality of the  data on the number of people cycling or walking is poor. No one really knows  how many are cycling , who they are ,and why they do it.

From personal observation, I speak as some one whose been  riding in  London  since 1980 ,  I would say that  that  whilst  the number of cyclists has increased significantly, the  proportion  of M to W cyclists hasn't changed  much. What has changed is the social class  of my fellow  road users. In the past , students apart, cycle commuters  used to be mainly "tradies" ie skilled  but not senior management and certainly not  high earners or people working in  financial or legal. Over the last 20 years, and this I think reflects how central London has changed, the social composition of cyclists and cycle commuters has changed. Now, significant numbers are high earners  working  in FinTech, legal etc in the city. At a hospital we don't have the consultants car park but we do have the consultants   bike rack.


As  for  local utility cycling in London and its boroughs, then  I see  very little  change. Few people do it and its even fewer the further you are from central London. What  I do see , however, is a conflict emerging between pedestrians who  have to share  space , especially at  bus  stops with cycle paths that are inadequate .


Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #60 on: March 31, 2020, 10:24:39 pm »
Though if you want proportionate numbers of women / older people / "normals" to cycle you need shedloads of infrastructure / traffic reduction.
I think this is essentially at the heart of it, whilst the have been some efforts made in some places people are generally still choosing not to cycle. Cyclists seem to be quite pleased with the stuff, but it’s just not doing it for most of society even if they aren’t going far. Are we just designing cycling infrastructure for cyclists, who are at best a bit of an odd lot, when it really needs to be designed for people that don’t cycle so that they might consider giving it a try.

Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #61 on: April 01, 2020, 08:33:29 am »
That's  true  but my problem with the group  who  call  "infrastructuralists " eg London  CC  is that they emphasise infrastructure over culture.

For example on Twitter there's a healthy  but largely pointless culture war  between Infrastructuralists and any one who they perceive to disagree with  them.  Their  phantom enemy is Vehicular Cycling.

Time for a confession. I have taken part in the above pointlessness.

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #62 on: April 01, 2020, 08:39:11 am »


Quote
Are we just designing cycling infrastructure for cyclists, who are at best a bit of an odd lot, when it really needs to be designed for people that don’t cycle so that they might consider giving it a try.
This is the big elephant in the cycle path, and it touches on Joy of Essex 's comment about' tradies'.
UK cycling has been sold as a sport. You need special clothing and an expensive bike to be part of the crew.
When I see a 'normal' they are unusual enough for me to take notice - it should be the 'cyclists' who stand out if we want mass cycling in the UK.
I have a faint hope that ebikes might be rebalalancing the situation
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #63 on: April 01, 2020, 11:30:32 am »
Arguing whether people cycle or not is monofactoral is a cycle-path to nowhere, of course it's a combination of things, both practical and cultural. I'm not sure anyone really thinks that [high quality] cycling infrastructure is the sole arbiter of whether a person gets on a bike or not. But being able to get from (a) to (b) is a way that feels and is safe is a key part of people's thinking. The prospect of bouncing down the gutter of an A road to an accompaniment of speeding, close-passing traffic isn't one that is ever encouraging cycling (indeed my first 'commutes' into central London were excused by the proximity of the Waterlink Way, which while not exactly ideal infrastructure, offered a mostly traffic-free route as far as Deptford). These days, when I regale people of my ride home down the A23, the typical response is similar to if I'd told them my new hobby was learning to juggle unexploded ordnance.

I would argue that without a clear way of safely getting from (a) to (b) without having to undertake vehicular combat, the hurdle will be such that most people won't contemplate cycling as an option. Having lived in Croydon and Bromley in recent years (and now just beyond the London pale in Surrey) where there is no cycling infrastructure, well, effectively no one cycles (other than the occasional person who has mistaken the A22 as a good way to get the North Downs and beyond and the few inveterate malcontents like me).

Yes, there is culture. London is relatively unique when it comes to cycling (and yes, I'm one of those affluent middle-class types who feels secure enough not to turn up everywhere in a Mercedes). But in addition to types like me, there's a combination of youth, perhaps a more a gung-ho attitude to life, expensive travel options, and a need to commute.

Anecdotally, 12 years since I hopped on a bike one Sunday to cycle up the Waterlink Way, all the way to the leafy Regent's Park surrounds of the Royal College of GPs (which seemed an epic journey, and yes it rained), there are certainly a lot more people cycling in London. I work by one of the new cycle routes (Blackfriars Road) and it's packed during peak times, and every morning I'm part of a peloton from London Bridge along Southwark Road. Despite it being a shit route, CS7 (which I sometimes get), is probably oversubscribed by the number of cyclists (leastways till South Clapham). In that respect, it's reassuring.

Demographically, it's not changed that much. It's whiter than a KKK rally, and there are probably more women, but you're unlikely to run out of fingers counting them (don't do this, they'll think you're odd). The majority are still 'roadies' (and that's not a judgement, just an observation). As a bloke who ambles along in his chinos (I am that stylish), I'm still a bit casual for the movement. I expect if you plotted age-adjusted income quartiles, we'd all mostly be in upper quartile. I speculate that's in part that we don't have anything to prove (or we're proving it by not proving it). The social status psychology of car usage and ownership is one of the more difficult things to unthread, there have been decades of effort and advertising entwining social status and personality with the car (which, I find sad, but if you're a young black man on a council estate in south London, I can at least comprehend why you don't wake up every morning and wish you had a road bike).

I confess, I've seen little conflict with pedestrians (and I'm both). Yeah, there's the occasional dick, but outside of the newspapers most people get on reasonably despite their mode of transport.
!nataS pihsroW

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #64 on: April 01, 2020, 12:34:27 pm »
Right now there are lots of new cyclists going up and down the streets for transport and "sport" ie getting out in the air a bit, without any infrastructure whatsoever. All down to the absence of cars. Well no, not only that, it's also the presence of (effectively) free time.

Yes, there is culture. London is relatively unique when it comes to cycling (and yes, I'm one of those affluent middle-class types who feels secure enough not to turn up everywhere in a Mercedes). But in addition to types like me, there's a combination of youth, perhaps a more a gung-ho attitude to life, expensive travel options, and a need to commute.
Quibling like a, well, like a YACFer, because I agree London has a unique culture, but one of the things it does not have compared to most of the country is expensive travel. Absolutely the opposite.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #65 on: April 01, 2020, 12:36:07 pm »
In my view, culture is more important than infrastructure, but if you don't have the culture, infrastructure can help create it.

Eg, Oxford has a culture of cycling and a lot of people cycle as a means of getting about. There are at least a couple of bike shops that basically just stock commuter type bikes. The infrastructure (barring one or 2 bits around the edges where there was space to put in entirely separate cycle lanes) is basically crap - painted lines on the floor that no-one really takes any notice of. But because of the quantity of cyclists, drivers have to be aware of bikes all around them, and in general cycling as a means of transport works (doesn't stop close passes etc). Re-drawing the map of Oxford to have good cycling infrastructure would be hard, and probably not change very much about who cycles and when.

However, once you are out of the city, cycling becomes completely dominated by sports cyclists, and there is a massive traffic problem as a result of people driving to Oxford as well as around it. It's like the ring-road is basically the boundary between cultures. I believe that infrastructure could absolutely change that behaviour, whether it's making it easier to continue your journey by bike from the park and ride, or by providing good routes in from the surrounding villages/towns. I think that's where the structure of local government really falls down though - it's outside the remit of the City Council, and it just doesn't feel like the County Council care about cycling at all.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #66 on: April 01, 2020, 12:53:58 pm »
Are we just designing cycling infrastructure for cyclists, who are at best a bit of an odd lot, when it really needs to be designed for people that don’t cycle so that they might consider giving it a try.

No, clearly not.  When's the last time you saw a piece of cycle infrastructure that appealed to you as a cyclist?

In general, what existing (ie. to some extent 'vehicular') cyclists want from dedicated cycle infrastructure is something that goes where they're going reasonably directly, that isn't obstructed by parked vehicles/bins/debris, with a good quality surface and decent sightlines to enable a reasonable speed, and a minimum of faffing about at junctions that causes them to lose momentum.  Otherwise they'll just use the road.

Whereas what people who don't currently cycle tend to want is something that goes where they're going, that keeps the motor vehicles away, with a non-muddy surface, nowhere for muggers/rapists/Pedobear to lurk unseen and a minimum of complicated, dangerous junctions.  Otherwise they'll use a car or public transport.

In other words, the infrastructure that appeals to both groups is basically the same thing.


Meanwhile, what we actually tend to get is cycle infrastructure for people who want to spend a minimum of money, not take away road space from motor vehicles, and not encourage 'anti-social behaviour' by giving the oiks somewhere to ride motorcycles.  Hence the current mix of magic paint car-parking lanes, barriered dog-emptying paths, and sporadically legalised pavement cycling.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #67 on: April 01, 2020, 12:58:07 pm »
Mass cycling informs culture, by normalizing the activity. No one is surprised to see people cycling in central London. It is a reasonable thing to be doing. There's nothing other about it. This is true of anywhere where there's mass cycling.

There's normalcy gradient in my commute home, the further out I thread, the worse it becomes. Once you reach Croydon, you're an outlier, the traffic is more aggressive and there no alternative to combat. By Surrey, you feel you may have inadvertently signed up for a suicide mission. The entire environment is out there to other you. You feel illicit. I don't even like riding to the local supermarket.
!nataS pihsroW

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #68 on: April 01, 2020, 01:00:51 pm »
Right now there are lots of new cyclists going up and down the streets for transport and "sport" ie getting out in the air a bit, without any infrastructure whatsoever. All down to the absence of cars. Well no, not only that, it's also the presence of (effectively) free time.

Yes, there is culture. London is relatively unique when it comes to cycling (and yes, I'm one of those affluent middle-class types who feels secure enough not to turn up everywhere in a Mercedes). But in addition to types like me, there's a combination of youth, perhaps a more a gung-ho attitude to life, expensive travel options, and a need to commute.
Quibling like a, well, like a YACFer, because I agree London has a unique culture, but one of the things it does not have compared to most of the country is expensive travel. Absolutely the opposite.

To qualify, expensive for Londoners, for example if you live in zone 3, there's a significant and necessary expenditure that is easily quantified.

(In practice, living anywhere where you have to fund a car is obviously likely to be expensive, but I don't think that's how most people rationalize their costs for a commute.)
!nataS pihsroW

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #69 on: April 01, 2020, 01:47:27 pm »
I've also noticed an increase since the lockdown in the 'semi-mobile': people walking with sticks or generally hobbling with obvious slowness and difficulty. Partly this is coincidence, because my neighbour recently had a knee replacement; but her activity coupled with the others I'm seeing shows it's also increased opportunity, in other words, they were kept indoors before. She's not a large woman but when she has a stick in each hand she is wider than the gap between recycling boxes and badly parked cars on the already narrow pavement. Now there's virtually no motor traffic on the streets here, she doesn't have to take any notice of the pavement, just walks, stick-clonk-stick-clonk, up the middle of the road.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #70 on: April 01, 2020, 03:20:58 pm »
Ian , there is a strongly held belief within the London Cycling Campaign that if you build dutch style infra then , as if by magic, people  will cycle.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #71 on: April 01, 2020, 04:08:56 pm »
I've also noticed an increase since the lockdown in the 'semi-mobile': people walking with sticks or generally hobbling with obvious slowness and difficulty. Partly this is coincidence, because my neighbour recently had a knee replacement; but her activity coupled with the others I'm seeing shows it's also increased opportunity, in other words, they were kept indoors before.

It might just be making them more visible:

Barakta is currently using her day's hobbling quota on walking in circles[1] round our block, rather than hobbling to the swimming pool for hydrotherapy or getting a taxi to Mordor Central and using it for work and the commute.

I'm sure she's not the only one using their limited stamina on 'exercise' rather than normal day-to-day activity.


[1] Well, zig-zags, because bins.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #72 on: April 01, 2020, 04:10:55 pm »
Ian , there is a strongly held belief within the London Cycling Campaign that if you build dutch style infra then , as if by magic, people  will cycle.

Dutch style infra gives people a way to cycle without being driven at by cars, so I don't think it's magic.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #73 on: April 01, 2020, 04:30:28 pm »
I've also noticed an increase since the lockdown in the 'semi-mobile': people walking with sticks or generally hobbling with obvious slowness and difficulty. Partly this is coincidence, because my neighbour recently had a knee replacement; but her activity coupled with the others I'm seeing shows it's also increased opportunity, in other words, they were kept indoors before.

It might just be making them more visible:

Barakta is currently using her day's hobbling quota on walking in circles[1] round our block, rather than hobbling to the swimming pool for hydrotherapy or getting a taxi to Mordor Central and using it for work and the commute.

I'm sure she's not the only one using their limited stamina on 'exercise' rather than normal day-to-day activity.


[1] Well, zig-zags, because bins.
I think it comes to approximately the same thing in the end. Barakta is hobbling in circles round the block, whereas she would normally be hydrotherapising, and my neighbour is hobbling along the carriageway of our street.

Another factor is I might be seeing the most local people more because I'm not going far from home, spending more time doing my own turtle-impressions on those same streets.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Don't commute it will hospitalise you
« Reply #74 on: April 01, 2020, 04:36:08 pm »
Ian , there is a strongly held belief within the London Cycling Campaign that if you build dutch style infra then , as if by magic, people  will cycle.

I'm not sure I should engage with this, but the alternative viewpoint is that if only drivers were slightly nicer and cyclists were slightly more _____ *, everyone could share the road in harmony with no infrastructure required. Which is definitely not magical thinking.

(* fill in the blank, usually a euphemism for "were as skilful a cyclist as me")