Cycling’s bogeyman

There was a bit of a monkey fight over the nascent Cycling Embassy of Great Britain recently thanks to an article by Carlton Reid on Road.cc (since rebutted by Jim).  Given that the organisation in question has only had a preliminary meeting and has not even launched yet, I don’t think it’s worth responding to any of the speculation and fantasies that have been flying around.  But the episode revealed something fascinating about the way the minds of veteran British cycling campaigners work.

They are all constantly in a state of abject fear that cycling is just about to be banned.

I found it very difficult following all of the comment threads on and about the Road.cc articles.  Cycling Embassy supporters kept being accused of wanting cyclists to be banned from the roads, but I could never trace the accusation back to anything relevant that the accused people had actually said.  And then I stumbled upon a fabulous forum thread that started with a very simple two sentence post, and it all fell into place:

‘Cycling Embassy of Great Britain’ have it VERY wrong
IMO. Their way will lead to cyclists being banned from Britain’s roads.

The Embassy folk and other onlookers were as baffled as I when it came to the origin of this “ban” theme in the comments.  But I now realise that many of our venerable vehicular cycling campaigners are thinking about cycling bans every second of the day.  Everything they see and do, the first question they ask themselves is: will this lead to cycling being banned in any way?  They can’t get out of bed in the morning without first contemplating what effect such an action might have on the likelihood of a cycling ban.

It’s difficult to blame them: you really do get the occasional powerful nutter who genuinely does do something to try to get cycling banned (and when it does happen, every cyclist I know, whatever their colours, will be there fighting them and mocking them).  The most widely known story in British cycling campaigning is the legend of Daniel Cadden, convicted of inconsiderate cycling because he rode on a Telford (horrible 1960s new town designed entirely around a network of fast driving routes) B-road, when he should, so the citation goes, have been riding on the inadequate (and, being British, presumably badly maintained) cycle path, that ran alongside.  By reaching a conviction, that case demonstrated an alarming combination of powerful people who agreed to ban cycling: the policeman, the CPS case handlers, and the judge.  Another example currently going around the cycling campaigns and forums is the man whose response to his son, while cycling on a Uttoxeter dual carriageway, having been killed by a texting trucker, is to call for cycling to be banned from the road.

But, with the help of the CTC’s legal fund, Daniel Cadden’s case was easily overturned in an appeal heard by a sensible judge, and even the Daily Mail called the original conviction bonkers and laughed at the judge in the case.  While there genuinely are a few people out there with the motivation and maybe even the power to get cycling banned, there is a massive force of cyclists that can easily be manoeuvred against them.

So vigilance against these occasional loonies is important.  The problem is that many of our more hardened cycling campaigners seem to be in a state far beyond vigilance: they are absolutely paralysed with fear, too afraid to do anything at all that might fix any of the massive problems faced by cyclists and would-be cyclists just in-case doing so might somehow trigger cycling to be banned in some way.  There are cycling forums out there that seem to be nothing more than an echo chamber for Chinese whisper re-tellings of the legend of Daniel Cadden.  And it all leads to the most spectacular absurdities, such as that anybody who thinks cyclists deserve proper infrastructure must be working for the car lobby.

Vigilant cycling campaigners are important.  The paranoid ones are safe to ignore.  If in conversation one raises at random the spectre of a cycling ban, you’re probably talking to the latter.

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33 responses to “Cycling’s bogeyman

  1. I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that.

    Firstly, there is a very real threat that helmets will be made compulsory in Northern Ireland. So if that does go through, as “At War With The Motorist” has said cycling (without a plastic hat) would indeed be banned in part of the UK.

    The more important point is the way in which segregationism chimes in with the age old idea that cyclists shouldn’t really be on the road. this is supposedly because “it” (for which read the Great God Motor Traffic, which can never be questioned or criticised) being “too dangerous”.

    This involves all sorts of negative attitudes, from “not paying a test or taking a tax” (or is it the other round? – it doesn’t matter with bigots), through to not having adeqaute parking at home or elsewhere, through to more formal restrictions. These can be contributory negligence issues re-insurance claims, lenient sentencing for motor criminals, inadequate and biased policing etc. You know the scene.

    So integrationists aren’t (neccessarily) paranoid. There is that negative component to segregationism – the fact that the negative and discriminatory views of cycling are not held by the CEGB doesn’t meanthat they aren’t out there in the wider car-crazed culture and that segregationism (unwittingly) feeds them.

    I think there’s a lot more I could say: but frankly I would rather just look forward to the Street Talk and talking of the evils of the “road safety” lobby. I could go on about how integrationism is maligned, but I would rather get on with something we can agree with.

  2. Thanks, Robert. I would actually put helmet laws in exactly the same category as road bans — something that needs vigilance but not paranoia. I have been reassured that there is little chance of the Northern Ireland bill lasting this assembly session, let alone ever actually becoming law — thanks to people who were vigilant and fought and mocked the AM who proposed such nonsense, and made sure that the other AMs knew the facts.

    I have a couple of relevant posts lined up half written that I need to get on with — because I mostly agree with the sentiment and ideology you describe. Segregation is a mere means — a stepping stone to the same ends we both seek. And I just haven’t seen any really successful alternatives yet. Engineering is simple and can be changed on a political whim. Psychology and culture are really complicated and take time. People often get those the wrong way around.

    • I disagree: the threat of a helmet law is real and powerful. It would be interesting if you could tell us who has reassured you of this.

      Even if the Bill fails to make it through this session, if there is no sign of any opposition to it the Bill will simply be carried over to the next one. This is why these things need fighting.

      Helmet promotion alone is incredibly damaging to a nascent revival in cycling. Perhaps that is what lies at the heart of the matter: the cycling organisations are too busy fighting the bad stuff, and too jaded by past battles, that they don’t have the energy to put into portraying a positive future? If that is the case, why not let them get on with that (without criticism) while the rest of us get on with creating a positive story.

      When it comes to road bans, I would agree. However, we need to have a sound procedure for ensuring that any alternative route is up to standard. The German’s have this and they regularly have to defend cyclists right to cycle on the road where the alternative facility is below standard.

      Presently the ‘right to the road’ demand results in crazy cycle facilities, like the hilarious idea that cyclists would use the A34 or A3, both of which have narrow cycle lanes running alongside 70 mph dual carriageways in parts.

      • I have second hand reassurances from MLAs Dawn Purvis, Danny Kinahan and Paul Butler, who all say that it has little chance of passing the remaining two stages (those reassurances came via a vigilant person who lobbied every MLA on the issue).

        “If that is the case, why not let them get on with that (without criticism) while the rest of us get on with creating a positive story.”

        Absolutely. I’m happy with the former — as long as they’re happy with the latter. I only raise the issue because their approach risks harming the work of people who are trying to actually make progress.

  3. There is certainly a minority view that the roads are not ‘for’ cyclists – this has probably developed out of the alarmingly prevalent view that cyclists do not pay for the roads.

    But you are right that the correct response is vigilance, rather than simply opposing, in knee-jerk fashion, anything that could conceivably move us towards cyclists being banned from the roads.

    Let’s not forget that there is probably even more hostility towards cycling on the pavement then there is towards cycling on the road. Cycling cannot be banned from everywhere – the Daily Mail would love to get its teeth into a story like that, just as they did with the Daniel Cadden case.

  4. “There is certainly a minority view that the roads are not ‘for’ cyclists – this has probably developed out of the alarmingly prevalent view that cyclists do not pay for the roads. ”

    I think it’s a more pervasive view that the roads are for *nothing but motor traffic*. Look at the focus in road safety campaigining in the UK – an awful lot of it is to do with keeping people out of the way of the cars, rather than getting drivers to moderate their behaviour.

  5. The problem is that there does exist a sizable minority (or is it a majority?) of drivers, local authority officers, police officers and journalists who do want cyclists banned from the roads.

    They may only think this when they’re “held up” for a few seconds by cycilsts who have legally but “sneakily” used the cycle lane provided to get into the advanced stop box; it may be only when they have to drive at 15mph instead of 40mph along a twisty country road because there is a group of cyclists in front of them; it may even be misplaced sympathy for an injured cyclist that prompts them to start thinking about getting cyclists off the road onto a poor cycle path or insisting cyclists should wear funny hats; but it still exists.

    Even idiotic comments from colleagues about how brave/foolhardy/eccentric/healthy/green you are for cycling to work (a perfectly unremarkable activity in most countries and, until about 1960, in this country) have at their root an urge to stop you cycling.

    Most drivers (in fact, most people, including the police) are unaware (or don’t want to know) that cyclists have a right to use any road except motorways and a few tunnels, and object to our using the roads. Because of this, a ban on cycling on roads is always a possibility, and we need to be vigilant.

    This does not mean existing in a permanent state of quivering fear or fury; it simply means watching the media for signs of anti-cycling actions, opinions and propaganda and rebutting them.

  6. I agree with the sentiment: vigilance over paranoia – every time.

    The integrationists out there really should be more sensitive to the fact that cycling on busy/fast roads has already been banned. Integrationists get confused – they focus on law, and test court cases – which is fine. For me, though, it’s simpler than that. Just take a look out there, nobody is cycling these busy, horrible roads. Cycling has already been banned!

    To make sense of this situation, there needs to be an understanding that there’s more than one way to enforce a ban.

    I, for one, plan my routes to avoid A and B roads. Unless you’re in London, or some other highly populated area, I never see other people cycling on fast A/B roads – you’d be mad to cycle on them (or a time trialist). So, I don’t ride busy roads, I don’t see other people doing it either…so, you know, we’re already there – cycling is already banned. Integrationists get confused about how bans are enforced – they forget that high motor vehicle speeds, aggressive driving, passing too close, actual bodily harm, oh, and death, all contribute to an ‘actual’ ban.

    Most people in this country do not want to cycle busy roads (including die hard cyclists like myself).

    That’s why I’m fairly indifferent to the right to ride the road lobby – we lost the right to ride the road years ago. We need to move on as a group, consolidate our argument, focus on schemes with a proven track record. For me, that’s all things Dutch.

    That’s why Cycle Campaigning in this country needs a change in direction.

    • Sorry, Chris, we have a legal framework that enables and supports cycling of all types and for all people on every just about road except motorways. What we need is for this legal framework to be enforced.

      The last thing I want to see is a tendency to the Dutch model. It’s too late for Britain to even think about it.

      The Dutch system pre-dates most major roads and was completed many years ago. If we can’t even build one high-speed railway line without decades of faffing about and a huge fight against the Nimbys, how on earth do you think we’ll ever see a cycle route system that joins every front door to every other front door, which is what they have in the Netherlands?

      Or do you expect a government of any stripe to divert all road investment into cycle-route building, which is what it would take?

  7. Sorry John, but I don’t see much ‘enabling’ and ‘supporting’ of cycling. The reality, at 1-2% modal share, is that cycling has all but been removed from UK roads.

    Let me try and understand your point of view… you’re saying that the Dutch Modal has nothing to contribute to the way we do things here in the UK? How do you propose we get 30% modal share here in the UK?

    I sympathise with your point of view – it will certainly be tough to persuade politicians to start building decent infrastructure, to change the law, and all the other things the Dutch have done to attain very respectable cycling modal share. But I don’t see that as reason not to start lobbying. Quite the reverse. I see it as a challenge that we’ve just got to get on with (we’re already way behind).

    It seems to me, John, you’ve given up.

    • A Dutch-style system would be great if it could be magicked into existence now. It can’t. In almost all of Britain, to cycle from A to B you have to use roads and there are no alternatives.

      The Dutch have had nigh-on 100 years to build their system, which was the primary system of personal transport when it was started.

      We’ve only had a few pathetic, badly-thought-out and underfunded stabs at it during the 1930s and 1960s in places like the A217 through Morden, Surrey (cycle lane now used as a car park) and new towns like Stevenage and Milton Keynes (no sensible signage and poor maintenance) – and even then the express purpose of building cycle routes was to get dem pesky cyclists off “our” motor-roads. We’re so far behind the curve that demanding a system like the Dutch have is a distraction.

      The Dutch have several thousand miles of cycle routes – at least as much mileage as the Dutch motor road system – and from experience I know that they work well and can get you just about anywhere in the country without using a road. We have a few hundred miles at most, badly-surfaced, badly maintained, piecemeal, under-signed and rarely with priority – or even any sort of control – at junctions.

      I say again, cycling on our roads could be even safer, and pleasant, if only existing traffic law was enforced so that people taking their bikes onto the road know that, if a driver threatens their safety and well-being, the driver will be punished, according to the law.

      That’s a damn’ sight cheaper than spending £billions on cycle routes.

      • I see. So, you think that the Netherlands has door-to-door cycle paths, and that there’s more cycle paths than there are roads?

        I’d be interested in seeing some data; I don’t believe either to be true. But I could be wrong.

        Unless there is a massive reduction in the number of cars driven in this country (I doubt you or I will ever see that) I don’t see cycling as something the masses will ever find ‘pleasant’ or attractive. You talk of enforcement, but there’s a huge cost associated with it. Most councils are looking to save money, switching off their cameras. As for the police, well, they lost interest in traffic enforcement years ago. Can’t remember the last time I saw a traffic police car – perhaps it was on the motorway (fat use to cycling there).

        Talking of cost – when you look at the total UK transport budget, there’s plenty of money that could be used to implement decent infrastructure. A couple of M25 widenings, an M6 extension…- you’re done. It’s simply a question of re-allocation (at the top level). Now, I’m not saying the lobbying task will be easy, but as we get more congested, more obese, the argument will turn from ‘cost’, to how can we afford not to.

        The sooner we start lobbying, the sooner we can unlock the potential in our urban enviroments.

        It’s not that your approach has no validity – I think it has merit, especially when coupled with the Dutch Model. I just don’t think, standalone, it will encourage me, grandmothers, small children, Mr Pickles, to venture out on those busy fast roads.

      • “The Dutch have had nigh-on 100 years to build their system”

        I don’t think that’s correct. As far as I know, the construction of segregated systems started in the early 1970s. Obviously this is a large head-start on us, but nowhere near the timescale you describe.

        “The Dutch have several thousand miles of cycle routes… and from experience I know that they work well and can get you just about anywhere in the country without using a road.”

        I don’t think that’s right either. Dutch segregated routes are generally only provided on the busier urban roads, or alongside inter-urban trunk roads. On quieter urban and rural roads, you have to cycle with traffic. In urban areas, these are streets that are usually traffic calmed, or difficult to navigate by car (one way access only for cars, for instance) – but they nevertheless involve sharing the road network with motor vehicles. Take a look around Utrecht, for instance, on Streetview.

      • John Snuggs

        Hmmm.. When I toured the Netherlands for two weeks 20 years ago we were off road almost all the time, with no motors, and circumnavigated the entire north of the country.

      • That sounds very nice!

        Unfortunately it doesn’t really answer my point that the vast majority of quieter urban and rural streets in the Netherlands are not segregated.

        I’ll try and dig up some stats as to the % of the Dutch road network that has segregated paths on it.

  8. @Joe

    “I only raise the issue because their approach risks harming the work of people who are trying to actually make progress.”

    Ooh. Nasty. Some might say the same about your approach! ;)

    I’m really not sure that just putting ‘high quality cycle facilities’ at the top of your list of priorities automatically ensures that those high quality facilities materialise.

    I think we need to be much more sophisticated than ‘I want therefore I get’. I remember learning that’s not how it works at the tender age of 2.

    I’ve seen very little strategic thinking of how to get there so far.

    (btw apologies for “German’s”…)

    • “Ooh. Nasty. Some might say the same about your approach! ;)”

      Some were. I wrote a post about that. It’s at the top of this page.

      “I’m really not sure that just putting ‘high quality cycle facilities’ at the top of your list of priorities automatically ensures that those high quality facilities materialise.”

      What? Next you’ll be telling me that putting “reducing traffic” at the top of the hierarchy of provisions didn’t automatically ensure that traffic was reduced.

      “I think we need to be much more sophisticated than ‘I want therefore I get’.”

      Which is why a group of people got together to discuss and decide exactly that. And you’ll see the outcome of it when it actually launches. You could even be involved in the discussions and meetings if you wanted to be…

      • “Some were. I wrote a post about that. It’s at the top of this page.”

        Yes, I am suggesting you are being hypocritical – defensive of the criticisms of a embryonic ‘Cycling Embassy’ whilst claiming that everyone else is useless.

        “What? Next you’ll be telling me that putting “reducing traffic” at the top of the hierarchy of provisions didn’t automatically ensure that traffic was reduced.”

        Exactly my point, Joe. But, since we’re going to be plucking utopian solutions out of the air, why not choose one that has huge ancillary benefits to society – motor traffic restraint?

        Your blog is, after all, called ‘At War with the Motorist’ yet you don’t endorse the first prioritisation of reducing traffic? Strange. Perhaps you have already capitulated, barely 9 months into the war…

        Btw, there is one excellent example where the Hierarchy of Solutions has in part been employed with some success: central London. Freewheeler may still attempt to maintain his one-person fiction that cycling in London isn’t growing, but in reality it is showing a 10%+ annual growth rate, whichever indicator you examine.

        In part that is because motor traffic restraint has been successfully implemented. I don’t doubt that really high quality cycle paths would accelerate this growth even more, but seeing what £25m has bought us in Cycle Superhighways so far, I don’t hold out much hope of a rosy future, CEGB or otherwise.

      • “But, since we’re going to be plucking utopian solutions out of the air, why not choose one that has huge ancillary benefits to society – motor traffic restraint? Your blog is, after all, called ‘At War with the Motorist’ yet you don’t endorse the first prioritisation of reducing traffic? Strange. ”

        Are you sure it is fair to assume that Joe (or indeed the CEGB) is not in favour of motor traffic restraint?

  9. I think that the CTC, LCC and almost all cyclists – apart from a few speed freaks – will be utterly delighted if the activities of the CEGB led to the construction (and maintenance) of Dutch quality cyclepaths alongside those busy main roads that none of us, if we’re honest, really enjoy cycling on. But it won’t.

    The traffic planners who want to get us off the road will respond gladly to the demands of CEGB – with white paint and little pictures of bikes on the pavement! Maybe they’ll make the occasional actual cyclepath, but it still won’t even come close to Dutch standards. It’ll be bumpy and narrow and give way to every side road – even driveways. And the reason for that, in case you hadn’t noticed, is that in Britain, drivers are not well motivated to avoid running into cyclists, so they cannot be relied upon to give way where they should. So it’s always the cyclist who has to stop, since we can be motivated by fear.

    You’re right, the authorities won’t ban cyclists from the roads. They don’t need to. They can rely upon the British driver to see those little blue signs above the pavement and drive even closer than usual to any cyclist with the temerity to ignore the “facility” provided and (they think) paid for out of “Road Tax” and fuel tax. And if he accidentally drives too close – you know the score!

    In the Netherlands it’s completely different. Any motorist who hits a cyclist or pedestrian is in big trouble. That engenders completely different driving behaviour. Far from bullying: drivers pull back from junctions and would rather let a cyclist go first, even when the cyclist does not have the right of way, than risk the legal and insurance consequences of a collision.

    We already have an organisation campaigning for segregated facilities. It’s called Sustrans, and a lot of cyclepath mileage has been built in their name. Some of it is good and useful, but a lot more of it is narrow, rough and gives way to every side road or driveway. They didn’t mean it to turn out that way, but that’s the best they could get out of authorities unwilling to spend more than a pittance or inconvenience drivers. Do you think the CEGB will be more effective than a charity with thousands of supporters and a lottery grant of £42 million burning a hole in its pocket?

    What CEGB should be campaigning for FIRST is Dutch-style laws to protect vulnerable road users from careless, bullying drivers. All the other countries in Europe with the good cycling facilities we’d like to copy have similar legislation. Without it, nothing works. With it, everything becomes possible: uninterrupted roadside cyclepaths and a safer riding all the places paths don’t reach – will never reach. Even in Dutch cities 60% of cycling is still on roads.

    • @Chris Juden

      Everything that Chris Juden says merely confirms what I thought. Here is another example of someone that has simply given up on the political situation here in the UK. Someone that knows what the right thing is when he sees it, but has simply given up campaigning for it because he thinks the political situation is hopeless.

      I’m a family man. I contribute to Sustrans, I’m a member of CTC, LCC and BC – and yet none of these organisations truly represent me as a family man. Chris Juden, you’d do well to understand that when you’re criticising the likes of CEGB. However lofty and ideal CEGB goals happen to be (or will be), I for one sincerely hope it fills a hole in the market that’s not currently being filled. It all comes down to representation. I demand representation. If I’m going to spend hours and hours in meetings, I’d prefer to do that building a new organisation, with solid foundations, something that hopefully represents me (and the 99% of people out there that currently don’t use a bike to get from A to B). That seems infinitely more palatable than spending hours in meetings with Vehicular Cyclists rubber stamping crap like this (http://crapwalthamforest.blogspot.com/2011/02/whats-so-magical-for-cyclists-about.html) telling me to be more assertive and to re-read my copy of Cyclecraft.

      You know, I can almost concede that at a local campaign level Dutch Model Infrastructure seems like an impossible ask at the moment. I can almost accept that ‘this is how it is’. What I find unacceptable, however, is that our cycling organisations at a national level simply won’t talk about Dutch Model Infrastructure. All them are hamstrung by Vehicular policy. Fair enough. Just don’t be surprised when organisations like CEGB pop up, that’s all.

      CEGB may ultimately fail – but we’ve got to start lobbying for the right stuff, and the right stuff now. As you say, it’s going to be a tall order. Why then, are we waiting? If it’s going to take 30 years, like it did the Dutch, what are we waiting for?

      As it happens, I agree with you, strict liability legislation is a wonderful idea – we’ll have that too. But please, let’s not get into protracted arguments about which policy should be implemented first. The Dutch Model happens encompass such legislation. From what I understand it was implemented quite late on in the re-birth of cycling in the Netherlands. I’m not religious about it though. I’m more flexible, I’ll gladly accept it when it comes. And BTW, I don’t speak on behalf of CEGB, but I have a hunch that strict liability will be on their agenda. There, something we can all agree on.

      Is it any wonder we have bumpy cycle paths, splashes of white paint and general crap when there’s no one UK organisation that truly understands Dutch Model Infrastructure (including Dutch law)? If the government turned around tomorrow seeking genuine transport advice on boosting cycling, who would they turn to? There’s no one organisation that’s credible. It pains me to say it, but they would have to go abroad for such advice.

      Chris, I suspect we agree on a lot of subjects – but it truly sounds to me like you’ve given up. Are you really surprised that organisations like CEGB spring up?

  10. A couple of facts:
    to those who fear the NI helmet compulsion, as the nutter who emailed every single MLA with an email address on this matter, linking them to various pages on the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation website, I have had a total of nine replies, of which only one supported the proposal.The other eight all said that they had voted against and would continue to do so at future readings, but in any case they were comfident that the bill would fall through lack of time – they certainly didn’t say that it would just carry over to the next session. Even the supporter acknowledged that the proposals isunlikelu to make law, but could be seen as a good way of getting a decent road safety debate going in NI
    to the poster who thinks there are more cycle path km in the Netherlands than roads, the fact is that there are 140,000km of roads and about 20,000 km of cycle paths. Conclusion – on 120,000km cyclists have to share with motors (I gather it is indeed true that they can’t use roads where cycle paths are provided, but those paths are fully segregated, generally well maintained, and at least 4m wide if two-way).
    Segregation is not necessarily a panacea, or indeed immediately achieveable in the UK, but it might become more likely if we can get opinion more firmly onto road safety issues generally in a pro-people as opposed to pro-machine way. Universal 20mph away from key strategic routes, strict (or proprtionate) liability, a simple segregation of existing lanes (where wide enough) by painting in a solid white line instead of broken, cyclists who are recognisably human beings and not rainbow-coloured “Area 51” escapees, etc

  11. To an uninformed bystander like me, all this impassioned debate just comes across like two bald men fighting over a comb. Considering the meague resources currently allocated to cycling, whatever the “solutions” we get, whether on the road or segregated, they will more than likelybe crap.

    More learned people than me can debate their various faith positions to their hearts content, I think it will make almost no difference to the conditions for cycling. I’d rather see the different groups coming together and campaigning for cycling to get its fair share of transport funding, even if that is simply the same percentage as current modal share (but it would of course be lovely if it were nearer the still stupendously unadventurous figure of 5%). I’d much rather argue the toss over how to spend £500 million than the crumbs currently on offer.

    • “More learned people than me can debate their various faith positions to their hearts content, I think it will make almost no difference to the conditions for cycling. I’d rather see the different groups coming together and campaigning for cycling to get its fair share of transport funding”

      I think the word ‘rather’ here paints a false dichotomy.

      Different cycling groups can come together, as you suggest, and campaign for a fairer allocation for cycle funding. We’re all in favour of that, regardless of what particular aims different cycling groups have. But that does not mean debate has to cease.

      (And, of course, we are still left with the issue of how the money should be spent. Agreement is rather hard to reach without debate).

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  13. “Are you sure it is fair to assume that Joe (or indeed the CEGB) is not in favour of motor traffic restraint?”

    I hope he/they are, but I said ‘first prioritisation’ which was a tautological way of making my point.

    We should first of all push for motor traffic to be reduced and in most cases that is the most equitable, environmental and progressive thing to do.

    In some cases, where we really can’t achieve reductions in motor traffic (for instance, much of the strategic road network), other approaches should be used, such as high quality cycle paths.

    I’m just not sure why a blog doesn’t follow it’s name and fight the motorist, rather than running away.

    • As I’ve said countless times before: cycling infrastructure is just a means to an end. Cycling itself is just a means to an end. More liveable and less dangerous, smelly and intimidating streets and places is what I want. Places that are pleasant to live in and easy to get around. Mass cycling is known to be an effective means to that end. And there are few, if any, examples of mass cycling having been achieved in modern Western developed nations without dedicated infrastructure. If a convincing alternative mechanism were discovered I would be delighted. But so far merely “pushing” for motor traffic to be reduced has not looked like such a plausible mechanism.

      Prioritising traffic reduction over cycling infrastructure would be a category error: they are not competing methods, one is a means to the achieve the other.

    • In some cases, where we really can’t achieve reductions in motor traffic (for instance, much of the strategic road network), other approaches should be used, such as high quality cycle paths.

      High quality cycle paths are a means of motor traffic reduction. This is true not just where they take the place of an existing lane of motor traffic, but also where they are created alongside existing high-volume, high-speed routes, where people who currently just don’t fancy mixing it with traffic on a bicycle might be tempted to switch from their cars to make the same journey.

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  18. Wake up! Roads are NOT for cyclists especially high speed ones.

    Stop the foolish playing in traffic and slowing motorists down.

    Selfish VC cyclists are those who are making people want to ban cycling.

    VCers are so annoying, that though I have cycling, only with NO vehicle, I want to get a car now. Why? Because cycling is so dangerous due to their crazy antics with playing in the streets.

    In San Diego, we have gone from having a phony, fear of a cycling ban which is promoted by VCers to having cycling as a pivotal issue in the government.

    In only THREE years with a very few activists (not me though), they have achieved all this.

    Cycling facilities (NOT segregated, when I see this word, I think of racism, a cheap trick) will make cycling more populare and safer. It will also be more QUIET and relaxing.

    How to ride VC with QUIET? Tell me someone please. Oh, I can’t hear you over 100 KM traffic noises.

    How to meditate on my bike while “moving laterally in traffic with normal rules”?

    VC is all nonsense. I only meditate when I get to the tiny separated bike path on my morning commute. The rest is literally a dangerous headache. I think hateful thoughts at you each time I am forced into traffic. Thanks VC jerks for preserving my precious right to ride in the most annoying way possible!

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