The UK governments cycling strategy has come under scrutiny this week as several people have died on London’s roads. At the same tine the transport minister for England has suggested in Parliament that cycling will fall in England to 2040 after some growth in the next few years. This is despite the launch of a shiny new cycling strategy a few months before. In Scotland the SNP government also suffers from a paucity of cycling vision with cycling spending not rising enough to meet a target of 10% of all journeys to be made by bike by 2020. All governments in the UK both devolved and national seem wedded to idea of the car and road building with cycle spending being a fraction of road spending. This is ironic since as reported on this blog previously car use in the UK may have peaked (probably due to high oil prices).
We can argue about when peak oil will occur, but it seems very unlikely that there will be much oil around by 2040! It would seem sensible to try to encourage cycling properly, rather than make half hearted attempts to satisfy the cycling lobby with a token cycling strategy.
Cycling is much safer than people think despite the recent high profile accidents suggest. Once the number of cyclists reach about 3% of the total vehicles on the road then accidents fall. There are particular problems though at roundabouts, at which one of the recent deaths in London took place, with lorries turning left and at the end of cycle lanes where they run out and hit the road. We need to educate motorists about the dangers they pose and equip lorries (as some are) with wide vision mirrors which allow better vision down the left hand side. As far as cycle lanes there are two alternative ways forward. In Amsterdam cycles dominate and the law is such that the presumption is that if motorist hits a cyclist its automatically their fault. But they share the road with cars. I have not been to Copenhagen but my understanding is motor vehicles and cycles are separated. As they are in rural parts of Holland and Germany. In practical terms in a crowded island we probably will require both ways forward.
By the way as we were taking the picture above the woman owner appeared and said that unfortunately she was going to sell her bike since her children were getting too big to fit on it.