Cycling org British cycling normally serves the lycra crowd, but has nonetheless released a new report that promotes everyday urban bicycle use. Gold medalist Chris Boardman writes in the introduction:
Getting people to choose cycling is not an impossible task. In fact, the solutions are actually very simple. Almost half of Copenhagen’s residents travel everywhere by bike. The Netherlands has the highest rate of cycling in Europe with a total journey share of more than 28%. Between 1985 and 2005 it witnessed a 45% increase in cycling and a 58% decrease in cyclist fatalities. How? This did not happen by chance but from a sustained and long-term strategy to prioritise cycling that both countries took in the 1970s. Today they are reaping the benefits.
The ten point plan is in fact relevant anywhere, not just in the UK.
Cycleproofing: accommodate cycling in everything we do- decent bike infrastructure in new road planning and fixing the existing.
Cycle-proofing means that all relevant policy- making specifically addresses the impact a new infrastructure plan will have on the convenience, desirability and safety of cycling. The outcome is roads and junctions that accommodate cycling through better road design and traffic management.
Meaningful and consistent investment- Five times what the governments are spending now.+
Consistent political leadership for cycling- -governments should set out action plans and stick to them.
Improve the justice system to protect and support vulnerable road users-
Review how incidents where people on bikes are killed or seriously injured are investigated and prosecuted to give all road users the confidence that the justice system will protect them.
Add cycling safety to the driving test- ensure that those in cars know how to share the road.
Strengthening cycling safety provisions in the highway code- interestingly, the current code specifies that cyclists should wear high visibility clothing and helmets.
[This] is detrimental to our aims to normalise cycling in everyday culture. We want to see people cycling in everyday clothes. Putting an onus on cyclists having to wear a uniform and a helmet is having a negative impact on our aim of increasing participation. Prosecutors often cite a lack of this clothing as mitigating evidence even though their effectiveness is highly disputed.
Road and cycle safety awareness- national safety campaigns focusing on reducing risk.
Reducing the risk to people on bikes from heavy goods vehicles- fixing the design of new vehicles to make them safer, better training for drivers.
Collisions with HGVs typically account for around 20% of cycle fatalities in Britain, and over 50% of those in London, despite making up less than 5% of traffic.... The majority of HGV cabs are designed in a way that is wholly unsuitable for sharing the road in close proximity to people on bikes. The lack of direct line of sight is the biggest contributory factor to road collisions involving HGVs in London. The government must support efforts to lobby the European Union to update design standards.
Cycle training for children- start them young, as Zach points out, they do in the Netherlands.
Reduce speed limits to save lives of all road users.
It is now time to reduce the default national speed limit for residential and urban streets from 30mph to 20mph. This move will help save councils money by reducing the need to make legal orders, it will de-clutter signage from streets and encourage more people to walk and cycle because they are both more comfortable when motor traffic is travelling at lower speeds.
Perhaps finally the message with get through in North America that speed kills.
In his introduction, Boardman is talking about Britain, but his words would apply everywhere.
When we look at the major problems in our towns and cities, cycling is the solution to so many of them. Encouraging cycling is not simply about reducing congestion, it is about making our communities healthier and more active places, encouraging more community engagement and generally creating better places to live.
He's right, "We just have to choose cycling."
Read the whole ten point plan at British Cycling.