Monday, 21 January 2013

How to get more people on their bikes

A local resident has criticised the Greens for wanting people to cycle claiming that our transport policies are regressive. Apparently, he is happy for the UK to continue to top the obesity league in Europe and enjoy the dubious distinction of being near the bottom of the league when it comes to cycling – along with Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus. We cycle less than any of our European neighbours – only 2% of British children ride to school compared to 40% in Denmark. Only 2.2% of the population use cycling as their main means of transport.

Cycling reduces emissions, eases congestion and is good for our health. Holland and Denmark lead the way with road schemes which promote and encourage cycling – and the figures prove their success. The Dutch are even going to heat their cycle lanes this winter to reduce accidents with heat stored underground during the summer.

Perhaps South Eastern Trains could take some lessons from the Dutch on how to keep their trains running on the third rail this winter!

Common features in Holland and Denmark are segregated schemes where cyclists have their own continuous cycle lanes with physical separation from road traffic by a kerb or other barrier and protection at junctions. Evidence shows that improved infrastructure is needed to increase take up of cycling.

To quote the mayor of Bogotรก, Columbia, “a cycle path that is not safe for an eight year old is not a cycle path.”

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