BBC Bristol currently has a phone in program about cycle city, I get a bit wound up when i listen to programs like this. Am i the only one that can see both sides of the argument?. I can see why folk get annoyed with some assertive/aggressive cyclists, i can see why car drivers get annoyed with bicycle users taking up the road and being difficult to get past (adding a few minutes to a journey!).
For the record , this is my opinion,
3 things are required for safe and increased bike usage.
1) destinations with safe secure clearly marked cycle storage.
2) safe (segregated) cycle lanes, even if it’s just a kerb instead of a white line.
3) the right bicycle, one that can carry stuff safely, for urban cycling, one that is comfortable and sit up n beg style. This style of bike its ideal for confident riding with a good pace and good vision.
The cycle industry want to sell sports bike, that’s where the margins are…where the money for the upkeep of workshops is.
I think (we) the cycle lobbyists have to be careful not to lose sight of what it is that they (we) want.
It’s not better facilities for cyclists, its bigger than that, it’s a better way of life for everyone. This is a fight for local not global, a struggle for personal freedoms and the right to travel freely without the aid of a motor car. This is not a time for arguments between factions (inc internal ones) but to campaign for what the cycle city should have been about all along and that is the 3 cycle constants, safe destinations, safe segregated routes and selecting the right bike for the job.
Just as the government is going to dig up areas of outstanding natural beauty to build a new rail link…they should be prepared to fund a proper cycle route system. overhead routes, underpasses, segregated paths…why not…lets all think outside of that box…the metal box we cling to…the car.
Its about facilitation, without facilitating the bike user, taking away threats and discouragements, its not about promotion and perks but a enabling people, mobilising folk, to do more, carry more, get out more.