That “is it worth asking for” campaign asks graphic

I posted a picture on twitter and it received questions and feedback that don’t fit in a tweet. Here you go, here’s the latest revision of it:

That -is it worth asking for-- graphic

(The back story: I posted a picture on twitter from Cycle Superhighway 5. Somebody responded to it with a vacuous slogan about how roads should be for all transportation types. I was flippant: “we tried that and it didn’t work”. They responded that there were still plenty of options to try before resorting to protected Cycle Superhighways.)

So in answer to the Qs:

1. Yes, these positions on the graph are all just things I’ve made up with 2 minutes thought, but they are based on 8 years of looking at these things. Want to know why I’ve placed items where they are? The Cycling Embassy Canards pages are a good place to start, then Crap Waltham Forest’s what won’t bring about mass cycling series and David Hembrow’s what not to do posts. Your tweets have done nothing to change my verdict on “strict liability”, 20 mph limits or Bikeability training.

2. Because, whatever the merits of strict liability or training, the issue at the heart of the original discussion was: what will remove barriers and enable cycling for all demographics, making it a genuine option and creating the conditions for mass cycling to improve our cities and supply our transport demands? So this concentrates purely on that outcome. Policies can have other outcomes too, so, yes, 20mph limits are a good thing worth campaigning for — but because of the sum of the outcomes, not because they will enable mass cycling.

3. No, the fact that something’s in the “not happening any time soon” category doesn’t automatically disqualify it from being worth asking for. Because, if you use the tactic carefully, going in with a big ask can make it easier to achieve a smaller one: we got the relatively small but very worthwhile victory of Cycle Superhighways by blazing in with the big ask of Go Dutch. And once the Cycle Superhighways are open, Go Dutch itself will creep ever higher towards the plausible region.

Your assessments may vary. Go ahead, make a copy and do with it whatever you like.

11 thoughts on “That “is it worth asking for” campaign asks graphic”

    1. Haha BRILLIANT, the bleedin bike powered smoothie maker keeps on being wheeled out at my place, (a local authority) anything to do with healthy eating or exercise, OUT it comes.

  1. You ask, “What will remove barriers and enable cycling for all demographics, making it a genuine option and creating the conditions for mass cycling?”

    According to the European Cyclists’ Federation, the development of a comprehensive, city-wide cycling network is a basic pre-condition of mass cycling. In other words, you ain’t going to get mass cycling without a comprehensive, city-wide cycling network in place.

    You have placed protected cycle superhighways in the useful-enough-to-be-worth-asking-for section, but I am really being serious now, Joe, what is the evidence that isolated pieces of high quality infrastructure are effective?

    Finally, a cycling network at Dutch density and quality is (very obviously) the destination, and as you say, it’s not going to happen any time soon. One of the things we could do more immediately, therefore, would be to develop a bare bones network, such as they did in Portland. As you probably know, the cost of developing Portland’s low-engineered network was just £40m, and yet it was sufficient to take the cycling modal share from 1.8% in 2000 to 7.2% now. Now there is a solid foundation in place, and a healthy cycling population to boot, the authorities in Portland are truly in a position where they can properly begin to develop an all-ages-and-abilities cycling network, and this they have started to do.

    So I think there should be space in your graphic for a low-engineered network. But where would it go, I wonder? Perhaps somewhere outside the box?

  2. Bike-powered smoothie maker would be bottom left! They have them all the time at local council run stands about “getting fit by cycling” and other daft schemes, but they achieve f-all!

  3. You have “Boris Bikes” very far to the left; I don’t have any experience of the Boris Bikes themselves, but I did live in Dublin when a similar scheme was introduced there and it was transformative, it had a substantial effect on cycling numbers and on driver behaviour; it seemed to normalize cycling as a transport mode and, along with the ban on big lorries a couple of years before that, it certainly felt like it made cycling a lot less scary.

    Cycle provision in Dublin is pretty weak, there are very few proper cycleways, but cycling in Dublin was a lot better than cycling where I live now, Bristol; I think the Dublin Bike Scheme had a lot to do with that. Cycling provision is also now a big topic in Dublin with lots of discussion and some ambitious plans, again, the increase in modal share that followed the scheme is a big part of that.

  4. Can’t argue with that. Perhaps would move ‘shared space’ a smigeon to the left, and ‘safer lorries regulation’ a smigeon to the right (it might not do much to bring about mass active-travel, but I think it might save a few lives in the meantime), but that’s about it. ‘Filtered permeability’ I think could be moved right or left depending on just how many ‘back streets’ and how much filtering one is talking about.

    And maybe ‘more widespread, and higher-priced, congestion-charging’ and ‘greater taxation on pollution’ might be on there somewhere?

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