From the Street Talks Archive – Cycling lessons for London: Conclusions from TfL’s International Cycle Benchmarking Study

Street Talks with John Dales, Director, Urban Movement: Cycling lessons for London: Conclusions from TfL’s International Cycle Benchmarking Study (5th December 2013)

Videos produced by Brian Jones from Media for the Web.

From the archive: If not now, when? Prospects for a cycling revolution in 2012/13

If not now, when? Prospects for a cycling revolution in 2012/13Presentation to Newcastle Cycling Campaign by Bruce McVean (12th June 2012)

What’s next for Cycle Safe?

At June’s Street Talk we asked people to share their thoughts on what The Times Cycle Safe Campaign should do next by responding to the following questions – you can see the reponses to each question and add your comments/suggestions by following the links below (please note the deadline for additional comments is 2nd July):

1a) Did we get our manifesto right? What would you have in there if we wrote it again?

1b) Many senior politicians including Boris Johnson have pledged their support for the campaign, how should they be held to account and their track record assessed?

2) Local councillors and local government representatives have the final say on how money is spent in their area; how do we reach them and convince them this is important?

3a) What are the priority issues that need to be addressed to make London and other cities fit for cycling?

3b) What are the short, medium and long term opportunities to make London and other cities fit for cycling?

4a) What articles should The Times commission to encourage non-cyclists to support the aims of the campaign?

4b) Are there campaigns/organisations that The Times should support/partner with to achieve the aims of the Cycle Safe campaign?

What’s next for Cycle Safe? Question 1a

Did we get our manifesto right? What would you have in there if we wrote it again?

This is one of seven questions that people were asked at June’s Street Talk. The responses below are unedited and in no particular order. We’d welcome further comments/suggestions – comments will close on 2nd July.

  • Bigger focus on children and future of our cities.  Otherwise, very good?
  • 20 mph should be default speed limit in all urban and residential areas regardless of cycle lanes or not.
  • More emphasis on adopting best European practice – learning from those countries that are successful.
  • Freight consolidation centres and night-time deliveries.
  • £100m? Not enough if we want 10% of journeys by bike = 10% budget, 20% of journeys = 20% budget
  • Better integration of cycling and public transport would encourage more people to cycle, esp. For longer trips. (This would include secure cycle parking, which is noticeably deficient across the UK)
  • DfTs Mode Hierarchy should be mandatory, not optional for local authorities/highways
  • Sensors on lorries don’t help if drivers on phone and not paying attention.
  • 20 mph zones need to be polices, problems in Edinburgh in 20 mph residential zones where cars are speeding and going on to pavement to avoid speed bumps.
  • Ask non-cyclists what they need to see to be tempted onto a bike and work from there.
  • Item 6 suggests that 30 mph speed limits in residential lanes are ok where there are cycle lanes – not the case (ignores needs of children, pedestrians, older people, pets and social functions of streets)
  • Needs to include introduction of assumed liability
  • Every local authority (or group of authorities) to have a specific officer in charge of cycling (and walking) and to liaise with local cyclists etc – no fake consultations.
  • “Road safety” is flawed, health and safety pyramid is needed on roads where personal protective equipment (hi viz, helmets) is LAST and removing danger is FIRST
  • Zero fatality approach as starting point in road design, as would be expected for construction sites etc
  • Get commitment to Road Danger Reduction (RDR)Charter:
    1) Identify and tackle sources of danger
    2) Develop science of RDR including street design
    3) Use RDR to support and encourage sustainable travel
    4) Promote actions and charter widely
  • Science includes Understanding risk ‘thermostats’ and what influences risk-taking/compensation
  • Like the idea of encouraging % of road danger for next generation road users…..need to ensure figures available to counter claim that cyclists don’t pay for roads
  • Mostly yes – but quite a conservative manifesto, should push hard for implementation soon
  • Balance reducing danger and positive aspiration
  • There is no one element, no golden bullet (infrastructure, training etc) The problem with cycling in the UK are a systematic failure from uninsured drivers using the roads, to the roads themselves, to the CPS dropping charges and it goes on and on like E$ repeating Friends or Dave repeating Top Gear or whatever
  • Don’t have a manifesto with specific policies.  They know how to do it.  The information is out there we just want it to get better.  Let the councils decide how.
  • 20 mph on all city roads. Cyclists and pedestrians don’t just get killed/injured in residential areas.
  • I think the manifesto is good, but I would. There’s a lot of data on the number of cyclists and accidents out there already, does it need to be in the manifesto or replaced by something else? Encourage cycling training at schools?
  • Include justice system – highlight problems with investigation, prosecution, sentencing and compensation
  • More money essential but also:
    – Rewrite DfT guidance to dutch standards
    – Major road schemes built around cycle infrastructure rather than vice versa
    – Make change in subjective safety a target. See DfT surveys etc.
    – 2% budget commitment – while laudable – is unambitious. Bar set too low as a negotiating position – should be wider to include all public realm improvements, and road maintenance budgets
  • Why for 500 most dangerous junctions?  Why not if there is a certain level of danger deal with them even if turns out to be 5000!
  • Stop calling us ‘cyclists’: talk about ‘people’ on bikes
  • Infrastructure and money should be higher on the list
  • Health, health, health!
  • Adopt a road danger reduction approach
  • Dutch-style infrastructure – cycle tracks – the populace wants it!
  • Not quite, look at southwark cyclists manifesto: all about stopping ’intimidation’ of cyclists either by segregation on main roads or calmer residential routes. Check their website for their very detailed manifesto.
  • Drop the sponsorship nonsense – nobody will do it
  • We have, have, have to move this beyond simply a cycling issue. We cannot simply appeal to common humanity around road traffic incident/victims and move to making it a children walking to school and pedestrian issue.  The dutch won this around ALL road victims.
  • Does not mention looking to Holland & Denmark (and Seville, NY etc) for solutions
  • Ask people who don’t cycle!

What’s next for Cycle Safe? Question 1b

Many senior politicians including Boris Johnson have pledged their support for the campaign, how should they be held to account and their track record assessed?

This is one of seven questions that people were asked at June’s Street Talk. The responses below are unedited and in no particular order. We’d welcome further comments/suggestions – comments will close on 2nd July.

  • Introduce a ‘Ben test’ the non-cyclist is the one who matters and can judge whether interventions have worked
  • Ensure consistency of measuring from year to year
  • Invite them to cycle with children and local LCC groups to show them the problems
  • ‘Reference panel’/mystery shoppers??(perhaps involve Which??)
  • Data on number of children cycling, mode share of child cyclists, ditto for older people. Mode share of journeys
  • Number of streets per year which have reintroduced 2-way cycling
  • Challenge them on every statement they make e.g. cyclist error
  • Boris (TfL) produce quarterly report – what has been achieved, and what can be expected in the next 3 months.
  • Whip them!
  • The Mayor could highlight best practice across all London boroughs and actively encourage all communities to respond and engage (ultimately name and shame) (The biking boroughs at £30k per year doesn’t muster).
  • How about an independent commission to monitor how well he’s doing? And to monitor all levels of government – they can’t pass the buck.
    – Cycling England did some of that holding local authorities to account on spending.
  • Quality audit for cycle facilities – could be based on what Dutch Fietsersbond [Dutch Cyclist’s Union] have been developing
  • Encourage discussion between different levels of government. Forum of local and national government so as to avoid tendency in which one camp sperately blames the other and no action is taken.
  • Focus on individual promises and track each one, e.g. Boris has been allowed to get away with woolly promise of ‘something’ at Vauxhall Cross and Greenwich and nobody’s quite sure what he was on about.
  • Track ‘cycling is booming” speeches, press releases v. 3 year rolling average modal share.  See Joe Dunkley’s blog for graph of soundbites versus cycling rate
  • On street survey of opinions – what impression do people have (qualitative)
  • Fact checking and evidence
  • Keep emphasising what cycling can do for them
  • Number of children walking to school and cycling
  • Identify/agree key indicators for each manifesto point and do annual review e.g. has TfL done enough to bring in HGV safety technology – NO!
  • DfT (Baker & Penning) will blame everything on local authorities who
    a) Have no money
    b) Are given crap instructions by DfT
    c) Are constrained by crap rules, laws etc e.g. bicycle specific traffic lights
  • Dft casualty stats compared to DfT cycle counts…
  • Survey subjective opinion of safety. Ask your readers “Would you feel safe cycling in borough X?” etc and compare the results.
  • Write letters t local and hyper-local media showing how individual politicians have or have not delivered on their promises.
  • Video capture and disseminate widely when they say things contrary to the pledges they made in April 2012.
  • Record and track cycling numbers.
  • Boris will say it’s up to local communities to decide (e.g. when 20 mph introduced) but he should hold LA’s to account and get their feedback on what works.
  • Money allocated to real facts on the ground.
  • Identify clearly measurable indicators and get politicians to endorse them.
  • Ask people what they think – use interactive mapping – this has been used successfully in Copenhagen and Hounslow

What’s next for Cycle Safe? Question 2

Local councillors and local government representatives have the final say on how money is spent in their area; how do we reach them and convince them this is important?

This is one of seven questions that people were asked at June’s Street Talk. The responses below are unedited and in no particular order. We’d welcome further comments/suggestions – comments will close on 2nd July.

  • Remind them they can ‘tick so many boxes’ by investing in cycling : health, air quality, obesity, air quality, transport numbers, economy, better public spaces, climate change
  • Ask them to lead 10 children on a cycle-ride across the borough. If they are not comfortable the problem is not solved
  • Getting readers to keep writing/e mailing councillors/political reps
  • Getting people to support cycling in the first place should automatically make it an issue councillors want to take on board.
  • Make sure focus is always on enabling their population (electorate) to benefit from using bicycles, NOT about (existing) cyclists
  • Cost benefits of cycling/walking -reduced NHS bills, potholes, more local shopping
  • Survey your readers about safety in each area and ‘name and shame’ the worst and praise the best
  • Politicians care about their relative standing, so produce league tables of casualty rates and subjective safety
  • Learn from mayor of Mexico city – make them cycle to work once a month
  • Look at the benefits of other road users too, particularly walkers, safety of kids etc.
  • They worry about not getting re-elected so run stories , persuade them that they can encourage cycling for the benefit of their electorate without losing votes
  • Name and shame bad design and engineering companies
  • Give them solutions- help them
  • Convince councils that cycling is central to delivering liveable cities and is in their economic interest – note current decline of traditional town centres
  • Refer to their strategic objectives I.e. sustainability, high street regeneration and ensure this linked to why cycling is important to help.-yes cycling needs to be seen as ‘strategic’, this helps empower councillors to challenge demand for e.g. Parking
  • Suggest that all interventions are not costly. ‘except cyclist’ signs under every ‘no entry’ sign is cheap as chips or should be.
  • Prove by example
  • Steal it
  • If your street goes 20 mph we will cut council tax by 2% because we know that money will be saved!
  • Residential car parking is always a heated debate. More cycling will ultimately help in this regard.
  • Name and shame bad councils – seems to have worked in Waltham Forest. Public embarrassment the only way to get past the complacency (and corruption frankly) of many rotten boroughs, of all stripes, where councillors have jobs for life.
  • Get them to cycle through identified hotspots and explain how these locations could be made more people-friendly.
  • Corporate man slaughter
  • Attention to Dutch protests of 60s/70s demanding cycle improvements – improvements possible with political will.
  • Cyclists spend 10-15% more in shops – +ve for local economy
  • More protests/media pressure
  • Cycle friendly streets encourage more frequent shopping. High streets benefit
  • Simply list pros of cycle friendly environments
  • Point out that it will encourage people to shop local(ish)
  • Spending on making toads safe for cycling improves hem for pedestrians, older people, children, public transport users – most of the population
  • Get them out on bikes in their local areas
  • Don’t. Use local government to enforce standards and make sure local government does things properly
  • Economic benefits of reducing traffic/increasing bikes in local areas/towns/cities
  • Talk about poor choices especially wasted money
  • Point out that it’s the only way to solve their parking problems
  • When there is a death, single them out!
  • Use legislation that is there – prove we know what it is and how to hold them accountable to it
  • Select one ward to ‘Go Dutch’ and see what happens
  • Invite them (or even pay them) to book on David Hembrow’s cycling study tour Drenthe, The Netherlands. Next tour September.
  • Events like Skyride show how popular cycling is, especially for kids and families when a safe space is provided. Politicians under-estimate how much support there is for cycling.
  • Allow children (as the next generation) to speak directly to politicians/policy makers about how the current design/management of streets inhibits their freedom, makes them less active, independent, etc [intergenerational justice issue]
  • Explain how streets safe for kids to cycle = less pressure on public transport
  • More cycles and fewer cars means the roads suffer less damage and cost less to repair
  • Cost : benefit ratio – best value is walking and cycling
  • Get them on to bikes
  • Walking and cycling are different. Therefore no shared pavements
  • Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy – but other cash flow needed
  • Norman Baker has given a directive to all councils to improve cycling but NO funding. On already squeezed budgets this is not seen as a priority
  • Challenge them to tour their area by bike
  • Cost of obesity/lack of physical activity e.g. Enfield £58 million a year for obesity
  • Start at the top. Department for Transport models on ‘value’ and ‘economic benefit’ completely ignore people on bikes. A taxi passenger is ‘valued’ at 5x a bike rider! If the DfT changes the valuation = more money for local councils

What’s next for Cycle Safe? Question 3a

What are the priority issues that need to be addressed to make London and other cities fit for cycling?

This is one of seven questions that people were asked at June’s Street Talk. The responses below are unedited and in no particular order. We’d welcome further comments/suggestions – comments will close on 2nd July.

  • Ambitious and definitive cycling targets for +10/20 years
  • Cycling provision (e.g. safe storage and showers) in planning regulations for new buildings, especially offices. – precedent for new San Francisco law
  • Visible and quick changes when feedback/issues raised by cyclists (and accepted as justifying action)…
  • Subjective safety: feeling that it is safe enough for children
  • Safe enough for the 8 – 80 year old to be happy cycling.
  • Investment, investment, investment – specifically stop the free travel for 60-64 year olds and invest in public realm (cycling and walking) instead. The Freedom pass costs wandsworth £56m or £560 m per annum – accept that this is controversial but for the benefit of their grandchildren
  • Take a look at Bristol’s 1 hour street closure every afternoon after school!
  • Get more people to run Saturday cycle clubs in schools. In Bromley the Saturday GoRide is so popular there is a waiting list and they can’t get enough club leaders. They are splitting it in two to give it to more kids but with less attention each.
  • Make traffic law enforcement a priority.
  • Road crime is real crime.
  • Get more police on bikes.
  • Recognise that some travel modes present more danger to the public and act accordingly in enforcement.
  • Take on the Evening Standard and take on their anti-cycling stance.
  • Congestion charge £25 a day
  • Deliveries to shops before 7 a.m. and after 12 p.m.
  • Obsession with motor-capacity: there is so often no excuse for motoring in cities
  • 1000 Londoners killed in 10 years on our roads. How many speeding or driving carelessly tickets have been issued by the MET!
  • Speed. Junctions. Lorries.
  • Impose Congestion Charging – not referendai which people can gainsay
  • Reduce speed – 20 mph as default speed i all residential and urban streets.
  • Police ASLs properly.
  • Policing of motorcyclists’ behaviour is needed. Encroachment by motorcyclists on cyclelanes/ASLs is now endemic.
  • Address perception of road danger as well as actual danger, at source
  • Congestion charging outside London
  • Reduce parking – if you have to walk half a mile to get to your car you think twice before using it.
  • A journey is as bad/good as the worst part of it – too often there are ok bits joined by seriously unpleasant barriers
  • Subjective safety
  • Home zones <10 mph
  • Going Dutch
  • 20 mph
  • Rush-hour lorry bans
  • Reform police/CPS/courts. Currently they don’t care.
  • Get Boris to change the cycle prevalence target – 5% modal share by 2026 is too small and far too far away.
  • Make roads less accommodating of car usage and let the rest take care of itself e.g. Hackney and permeability.
  • Dutch-style infrastructure and road laws of course. Coupled with community cargo bikes!
  • Proper punishment of death by careless and dangerous driving
  • Making respect on the road the norm….less adversarial
  • Enforcement!
  • Discourage unnecessary overtakes – pinch points, 20 mph zones, narrow lanes.
  • Easier to mix transport – leave bikes at rail station, take bikes on trains etc.
  • Cycle storage (residential) on-street so that its as easy tp take the bike as the car.
  • Shared spaces with pedestrians. Badly organised ones are creating a division that is stopping the debate getting beyond the ‘inconsiderate cyclist’ stereotype.
  • Introduction of assumed liability as in many European mainland countries.
  • Segregated facilities on main road networks
  • Traffic calming more important than specific bicycle infrastructure.
  • Speed and volume of motor traffic
  • Cycle lanes that are fit for volume of bikes. Better roads with fewer potholes.