All things cycling work in a sort of tandem action, you'd have thought. It's not quite like that in the UK where a concerted effort is made to split and fracture the cycling community and even foster in-fighting. This is achieved by providing funding for only certain kinds of things thereby creating industries with vested interest and setting the scene for cock fights.
I am sure ministers bet on the outcomes and chuckle at the success of their cunning plan.
national groups dealing with cycling, Sustrans and the CTC, have been
bought and herded into niches by being permitted partial power at
government tables and restricted access to limited funds and grants. Both will
probably find it very hard to get out of this tangled web of dull
dependence if they tried.
What about the academic
landscape? Research into barriers to walking and cycling is never really
fully funded, or if so, findings are amply ignored: hotly debated, then
ripped apart before getting discarded (sustainably re-cycled
Followers follow, and we are again veering
away from the real focus: "What's the magic ingredient that gets the UK
cycling and walking?"
I for one would like cycleways
rather than witnessing people getting trained to use the current crap.
It's a question of vision of course, and confidence (to communicate that
vision). Relying on cycle training is setting the bar too low. It can
only be seen as something temporary. It's a coping mechanism, a skilful
ploy by a government that hates the idea of making cycling available
to everyone for fear of losing their chummy ties to the oil, petrol
and automotive industry.
Only when we stop looking at cycling as an insider deal requiring
special skill and attention, training and confidence-building, including
outfit and equipment, will we have made in-roads into the fiercely
blowing headwind of the 'everyday cycling opposition'.
When opening up cycling to everyone - only then will people cycle. And how do we do this?
As Colin Pooley puts it, despite it being complicated, and requiring national coordination...
to this conundrum are obvious but difficult to implement because they
require integrated policy and extend well beyond the usual remit of
transport policy and planning. It is argued that to achieve any
significant increase in levels of walking and cycling it is necessary to
reverse the balance of power between different transport modes. In
short, it is necessary to make travel by car for short trips in urban
areas more difficult and, most crucial, make it feel abnormal and
exceptional. In contrast, policies have to be put in place that make
walking and cycling easy, safe, comfortable, and accepted as the normal
and obvious way of moving around urban areas for most people. We
identify several specific areas where policy change is needed.
He then continues to outline what is important:
it is essential that the urban environment is made safe for cyclists
and pedestrians. This requires the provision of fully segregated cycle
routes on all arterial and other busy roads in urban areas. It is clear
from the research that most non-cyclists and recreational cyclists will
only consider cycling regularly if they are segregated from traffic and
that pedestrians are hostile to pavement cyclists.
2) better design of urban space
3) curbing motorised traffic space and speeds
4) putting fairness in the legal system
5) tackling spatial planning
6) incentivising sustainable travel
7) changing the image of walking and cycling
Full text here http://guidance.nice.org.uk/PHG/Wave20/84/Consultation/ExpertTestimony2/pdf/English
When speaking about top priorities he's not talking about soft measures such as training and promotion much, is he? These will be background activities, with more pressing needs addressed foremostly. Of course, it'll take time. But at least the vision is there.
I am certain that in a few decades we'll look back and it'll all be so obvious.