New investment for cycling

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8 hours ago (9:17 PM)
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Comments:

donagga

Sorry to be pedantic, but there is a tax on shoes: it's called VAT! We all have to pay it, whether we object or not - motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. :)

jregan57

All the things that this mayor, and the last one, want to do re cycling only ever relates to the inner boroughs. I live in Bexley and i am expected to help pay but receive none of the benefits, i.e boris bikes, cycle highways etc

HenryG

The only real solution to the problem of too much traffic is to improve public transport and make it much cheaper! If we knew we could rely on a bus coming along in the next 5 minutes or so, which would take us to our destination or a nearby tube station (where, in turn, we could rely on a train coming along in 5 minutes or so) AND it was affordable, we wouldn't need to drive everywhere!

So please take that £154 million a year and use it to make public transport cheaper (and to replace those signals that keep failing on the tube)!

emishi55

@HenryG
"The only real solution to the problem of too much traffic is to improve public transport and make it much cheaper! ... AND it was affordable, we wouldn't need to drive everywhere!"

Well no actually. YOu see there are about 10,000 people coming into london every month - (to stay).
More and more people want to cycle (they/we all need safe infrastucture)
The Victorian infra is not sufficient to cope with extra motor traffic and even buses and tubes cannot keep with demand.

The E -W route alone caters for the equvalent of several tube loads of passengers daily.
They are an amazingly efficient means of moving people through the centre of town.

Imagine if all those cycling decided to go by car instead.
Wouldn't be very nice would it!
Imagine if all those cycling decided to go by take the tube or bus instead!
There'd be a few delays then I think

tssoaamanda

I absolutely welcome any and all measures above. As an elderly cyclist, I suggest that deterrents to dangerous driving need to be increased as they are barely existent now:
car driver speeds seem to go unchecked and the 20mph limit is generally ignored.
Perhaps develop a speed app for smartphones so that walkers and cyclists can speed check and take photo of offending car reg at the same time with a link to the local police station..harnessing of people power.
I also suggest the commissioner elicits local cycling/green etc group support to produce a map of where pavements are wide and generally uncrowded enough to accommodate a cycle lane...these may well join up better than the current intermittent road lanes. Cyclist+pedestrian sharing pavements would be accompanied by signs indicating, pedestrian priority and 'considerate cycling only'.
Instigation of larger vehicle liability law with stiffer loss of license penalties http://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/wiki/dutch-cycle-because-strict-liabil... would be another deterrent.

EalingJohn

As the father of three grown-up offspring who all regularly cycle in London I am very much in favour of these highway developments. This is despite the inevitable short-term disruption to normal road traffic.

kscterry

This is a vast amount of taxpayers money that will deliver relatively little benefit. These seem to do little apart from appease those on the far left of the Green Party.
- The GLA needs to start listening to local residents and stop the cycle super highway at Swiss Cottage. Cycle campaigners have tried to bully and intimidate local residents with their reaction to the plans. I think there are probably ways in which the needs of both sides could be met and these should be considered. Sadiq should remember Swiss Cottage is a marginal ward and residents are not afraid to show their objections at the ballot box.
- The cycle superhighway programme needs to be suspended until we have more conclusive evidence this actually is providing benefits to all. Existing cycle superhighways are under utilised and construction has caused havoc locally. Bus use is significantly down from where commuters have packed on to over crowded trains and tubes to avoid the bus due to delays. Look at the 115 - a 15% drop last year in usage due to the construction of the cycle superhighway. They are also an eyesore - a big blue strip down Clapham High Street is far from visually acceptable.
- Why have the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf Bridge plans not included access to buses? Can we please give the hard working commuters to Canary Wharf that put so much in to TFL coffers a little respite? Cross rail is predicted by some to be at capacity virtually immediately on completion. Why not allow Rotherhithe residents access to new buses and access to shopping at Canary Wharf?
- Mini Holland schemes haven't been massively successful either. Business owners in Waltham Forest have been suffering from lost business due to the chaos of the implementation of this scheme.
- What will this walking and cycling commissioner actually do? This seems like more tax payers money being spent on beaurocrats that strut around achieving very little. Can this not be done within the existing scope of current roles in the GLA?
- If the mayor wants to expand cycling, more Santander cycle points should be made available across London. In areas such as Canary Wharf there should be a significant number of docking stations to cater for more people getting to work by Santander cycles.
To beat London's congestion issues we need to think a little more outside the box.
Go anywhere in Central London and a surprisingly small amount of traffic is made up of private cars. Most now is delivery vehicles and also huge numbers of minicabs. I don't think this is the answer.
I imagine TFL will just proceed anyway given the poor receptiveness to objections at other schemes.

emishi55

@kscterry

This is a vast amount of taxpayers money that will deliver relatively little benefit.

The GLA needs to start listening to local residents and stop the cycle super highway at Swiss Cottage. Cycle campaigners have tried to bully and intimidate local residents with their reaction to the plans.

Are you suggesting the mayor should be concerned by those opposing the Regent’s Park gate closures…! Have you give any consideration to what this means for users of the park (and I don’t mean 4x4 users who like to cut through at high speed).

Astonishing that in this age of ill health, pollution, climate change and road violence etc etc -
not to mention the deprivation of a generation of children to be able to freely cycle or walk to school - that anyone in their right mind can decide to join a ‘protest’ that actually stops a park from being returned to it’s original purpose i.e. ….a park!!

I mean to actually attend a protest that is actually designed to allow the current infestation of speedophiles and rat-runners (try walking along by the zoo - the noise and menace of these anti-social motorised vermin is a disgrace) over and above the rights of children to walk or cycle to the park.

Can you image it!!

Can you imagine that some people have actually taken upon themselves to actually ORGANISE such a protest - furthermore they somewhat perversely argued for ‘“no to pollution”!! even having the audacity to say there would be increased rat-running -
what planet are they on these people?
they conveniently of course overlook the fact that TfL has already agreed to work with Camden council at mitigating the problems of rat-running traffic using side-streets in Hampstead.

But worst of all, over all these years, not one of these ‘protestors AGAINST the CS11 (Regents Park measures) has ever shown any interest in cutting the ongoing and historic infestation of the streets of NW3 and surrounding area, by anti-social traffic blight.

Staggering isn’t it.

One more reference to your points -

“Mini Holland schemes haven't been massively successful either. Business owners in Waltham Forest have been suffering from lost business due to the chaos of the implementation of this scheme.”

Wrong again I’m afraid. But you will hear business users complaining at first.
One of the biggest fallacies is that businesses lose from a stream of filthy, polluting, potentially lethal motor vehicles carrying the sole occupant to their shop.
The se sore losers hardly deserve the benefits that they will and do get from increased (smaller and more frequent trips) trade from those cycling.

“Go anywhere in Central London and a surprisingly small amount of traffic is made up of private cars.”

Tell you what - lets get everyone back in their cars shall we! Lets make driving cheap and easy. Reduce petrol prices. Make the roads through London bigger, wider, enabling faster traffic to race around to it’s detention shall we!
Might need to knock some things down though…
Any suggestions for this enlightened and alternative view of how to do things!?

michaelsil

Cycle lanes increase congestion and do not solve the problem, which is that many (not all) cyclists don't always use them, have no balance, possess no road sense, no understanding of the dangers of the road, no self awareness, no anticipation, no knowledge of the Highway Code and no consideration for other road users. How about introducing some simple, low cost measures which will save some of that £158 million, such as: compulsory cycle proficiency training and testing to improve ability and awareness, compulsory registration with visible numbers on the rear of the bike or body bib for accountability and compulsory bicycle insurance to protect the 3rd party in the event of a collision or incident. Have I missed anything?

Terry Vaughan

Yes, Michael. You forgot road tax and helmets and lights and health checks and MOT tests for bikes and earphones and pavements and red lights, all points that people make time and time and time again. As if any of those things would have any significant impact on accident statistics. As if cycling had no part to play in reducing congestion, air pollution, obesity, ill-health and city noise levels. As

Terry Vaughan

Yes, Michael. You forgot road tax and helmets and lights and health checks and MOT tests for bikes and earphones and pavements and red lights, all points that people make time and time and time again. As if any of those things would have any significant impact on accident statistics. As if cycling had no part to play in reducing congestion, air pollution, obesity, ill-health and city noise levels. As

drglister

I agree entirely - it seems that many cyclists seem to think their road use is a divine right but without any need to follow the law. Cycling will and should become an increasing (and increasingly safe) part of the transport mix in London, but it should be properly regulated as there are other means of transport which are not going to go away, particularly for a city this size. No point comparing us to Amsterdam or most other cities in the world. They are predominantly much smaller and often have a much better road system anyway. Motor transport will necessarily have to continue - it should become much less polluting however. (This money would be much better spent in my view buying less polluting buses.)
Then finally we might have a more balanced approach to road use rather than spending millions gumming up what few good through routes we ever had in central London.

JeremyHop

Currently it is cheaper to drive than to take a train, bus or tube, and during rush hours many public transport routes are unpleasantly overcrowded. I welcome the cycling improvements, and agree that we should encourage people to make healthier and environmentally beneficial journeys. But public transport needs investment and lower fares too.

TedShaw

I walked along the road down from Lombard St and then toward London Bridge - 6-wide cycle lane and absolutely NOBODY cycling. Meanwhile traffic snarled up in a narrow single lane causing much more CO2 than if they were having a 'smooth' journey, go figure!

Terry Vaughan

It's a funny thing, Ted, but I recently drove along one of the main roads near me. Very wide pavements, with few pedestrians on them. Lines of parked cars. Wide carriageway with enough room for four lanes of motor traffic. No cycle track, not even an advisory cycle lane of the kind usually used for parking in. It was choked solid with cars. No bikes, can't think why.

rabaldor

I think absolutely we should invest more in encouraging more cycling. London is choking on the fumes of vehicle traffic. And our attempts at building in cycle safety and appropriate road space for cyclists is embarrassing compared to other cities' efforts. Yes, please and increase charges on more polluting road users to pay for it!

Graeme Thomson

The balance is hard to achieve but I suspect that the increase in cycling is here to stay. However, I believe that education of both cyclists and other road users is imperative. I have cycled (and driven) for many years and I am appalled by how little road sense and knowledge many cyclists have. Helmets and basic safety kit such as lights, reflective items should be compulsory, as should insurance and a certificate of road safety before getting on the road. Drivers need to be made more aware of cyclists and safe manoeuvres.

Terry Vaughan

Graeme, there's nothing wrong with education, but it has little or no effect on actual or subjective safety. Many children undergo Bikeability training, but their parents look at the motor traffic and understandably refuse to allow them on the road. Most motorists take lessons and have a licence, but still break the law and Highway Code all the time.

If we want to make it possible for anyone to cycle, the way forward is to build the kind of cycle tracks that TfL are planning. Nothing else works.

hatler

@Graeme Thomson
"Helmets and basic safety kit such as lights, reflective items should be compulsory, as should insurance and a certificate of road safety before getting on the road."

It's not going to happen.

Paul Hagger

I agree cycling is vastly preferable to cars in terms of both health and air quality. However, in terms of the limited space on London's roads, I wonder if we are pushing too much money in this direction - several times recently I have been on a bus stuck behind a single cyclist for a section of road. Surely a bus full of passengers is the best way to transport large numbers of us on our limited capacity roads? Both cars and cycles are far worse in this respect. Perhaps we could spend more on a carrot and stick approach to getting people out of their cars and onto buses or walking? Buses would become more reliable with less other traffic on the road. The Mayor's Bus hopper fare is a great first step. Local councils could be given more money to make sure pavements are cleared of leaves at this time of year (encouraging walking). More roads/junctions could be adapted to make them more friendly to pedestrians. The Highway Code could be changed to make it a requirement for motorists to wait behind a bus when it is at a stop? (as in other countries).

Terry Vaughan

A full bus is probably more space-efficient than a large group of bikes. But walking and cycling are better for public health. Walking will never work for most people doing longer journeys, so cycling is probably the best option.

The only people who cycle in bus lanes are those prepared to ride in traffic. It helps them, but other people won't do it. Bus lanes are not cycling infrastructure. This is why TfL are planning proper cycle tracks.

denise julien

Well said Dan, I agree that cyclist need to be registered so that they can be held accountable

Terry Vaughan

And yet other countries don't seem to think it helpful Denise. As you know, it would be expensive and complicated to administer, reduce cycling levels and bring little benefit. So why do you think we should do something so counterproductive?

Robert Munster

Funny to see the pro-cycling brigade demanding others check their facts, whilst making all sorts of unsubstantiated claims themselves and without bothering to provide any evidence of their own.

I can't be bothered refuting all the absurd posts made by emishi55 and some others, so here are just a few facts:

1) Modal share in London (by distance)
Rail 32.00%
Bus/tram 11.90%
Car 49.68%
Cycle 1.59%
Walk 3.17%
(Source: LTDS. This excludes freight traffic, of course.)

So even if cycle usage doubles, which is roughly what the target is, the impact on usage of other modes will be negligible, and will also be far outweighed by rises on other modes due to expected population increase.

People often quote numbers of journeys, but forget to weight them by journey length. Remember, targeting short journeys will not by definition have much impact on the overall figures. Many short journeys are local trips that don't even go onto any congested or polluted roads.

Also, the damage caused to the remaining 98% of travel will almost certainly exceed the direct benefits from those who do switch to bikes.

2) Overall motor traffic levels in London have fallen 10.59% since 1999 (source: DfT table TRA8901). Only 4 boroughs have seen increases - Barking, Enfield, Havering and Redbridge. Inner London boroughs have seen falls typically around 25% - Camden saw a drop of 29.19%. On many roads in central London there are now hardly any private cars. These figures also mask much bigger drops during peak hours, balanced by increases during evenings and Sundays.

Those who advocate reduced car use as the solution to anything need to explain why, when car use has already fallen sharply, the improvements they seek have not yet materialised - indeed, the reverse has happened.

3) It's possible that bikes are more efficient users of road space than cars, but this is doubtful. Most people completely misunderstand what causes congestion. The size/footprint of a vehicle is almost irrelevant, as all vehicles have a comparatively huge safety margin around them which needs to be factored in, and this is the same size (or even bigger) for a bike as a car or bus. Serious congestion is usually a result of insufficient road capacity, and road capacity depends on how long a vehicle occupies road space for. Bikes are slow, so in many situations actually use more road capacity than cars do. Watch traffic move off from a set of traffic lights with and without cyclists at the front of the queue, and you will see what I mean.

People who don't own cars are presumably much more reliant on home deliveries by van. Collecting goods by car is far more efficient.

It is irrelevant anyway, as you are making a false choice. The real choice for most people is between bike and bus or train, and between car and train. Bikes are clearly far less efficient than buses, and trains get people off the roads altogether.
---
I don't think actually the problem is so much the cycle superhighways themselves - where there is sufficient space and sufficient volume of cyclists it is useful to have them segregated, so that cars and cyclists do not get in each other's way. The problem is on the 99%+ where there isn't and never will be segregation, and where the big increase in cycling has resulted in a big increase in congestion.

All this spending on cycling is well-intentioned but entirely misguided. Short of massively increasing road capacity, which isn't really practical, the only option is to massively improve public transport. Rail is seeing decent investment, but there are massive bus service cuts on the way thanks to the Mayor's fares freeze, so I can only see things getting worse.

For the record, I used to be an occasional cyclist, and only use a car when I have to (mainly for shopping trips). I don't currently make any trips at all where a bicycle would be suitable.

Robert Munster
London Bus Routes

emishi55

@Robert Munster
"Funny to see the pro-cycling brigade demanding others check their facts, whilst making all sorts of unsubstantiated claims themselves and without bothering to provide any evidence of their own. I can't be bothered refuting all the absurd posts made by emishi55 and some others, so here are just a few facts:"

1) It's late. I haven't the time to deal with whatever point you are attempting to make here.

2) It is unclear what your point is or the purpose of printing your list of 'stats' is.

3) You claim that the 'pro-cycling brigade' are...how do you put it...? ..."making all sorts of unsubstantiated claims".
Care to be a bit more precise Robert? It would be useful to know.

4) You sign off as 'London Bus Routes'. Employment? Hobby? Passionate interest?
I'm all for buses (but only up to a point). But you haven't shown any actual understanding of the essence of the problem here. And if you are employed by an authority that oversees bus-timetables etc, are you actually entitled to contribute your opinion on a forum such as this? (the validity of which appears to be, at first glance, somewhat out of kilter with all available evidence and information.

5) With regard to one comment you make -

"but there are massive bus service cuts on the way thanks to the Mayor's fares freeze, so I can only see things getting worse."

I wonder if there is not some conflict of interest here? If not then, I suggest that you consider the points I have made and search for the "unsubstantiated claims" you regard as having been made in the above posts. It would be useful..

hatler

I'm going to focus only on the third point of this post.

"3) It's possible that bikes are more efficient users of road space than cars, but this is doubtful."
"This is doubtful." That's hardly a stats driven statement is it. I say nonsense. See http://usa.streetsblog.org/2016/05/10/how-can-cities-move-more-people-wi...

"The size/footprint of a vehicle is almost irrelevant, as all vehicles have a comparatively huge safety margin around them which needs to be factored in, and this is the same size (or even bigger) for a bike as a car or bus."
Again I call nonsense, as indicated by the link I posted above. Try a quick thought experiment. At a set of traffic lights, populate the street with bikes. One one phase, how many bikes can get through ? At the same lights, with the same interval, how many cars would get through ? Even if each of the cars had four people in, I am pretty sure that more people would get through the lights if they were all on bikes.

"Serious congestion is usually a result of insufficient road capacity, and road capacity depends on how long a vehicle occupies road space for."
Sorry, I may get accused of repetition here. Again, nonsense.

For a traffic lane the highest throughput (number of vehicles passing per minute) is achieved if all the vehicles are travelling at 18mph (and assuming that all vehicles keep the Highway Code recommended minimum separation distance apart). Vehicles going at 18mph will be travelling for longer than a vehicle doing 70mph. Therefore, congestion does not directly depend upon how long a vehicle is travelling for.

I contend that congestion results from there being too many vehicles to get through junctions where passage of vehicles has to be controlled. If a junction can handle 100 vehicle movements per minute, and 99 vehicles arrive, there is no jam. If 101 vehicles arrive, a jam forms, and continues to grow. We have established that bicycles can move more people, so by simply swapping people from cars to bikes not only does the junction capacity increase, but if perhaps only one or two drivers could be persuaded to leave their car behind and jump on a bike, that might bring the number of motorised vehicles just below the junction threshold. And lo, the jam would never form in the first place.

In a London style streetscape, all that the three second delay involved in passing a cyclist safely causes, is for the driver of the vehicle to arrive at the back of the next traffic jam three seconds later than would otherwise have been the case.

"Bikes are slow, .. "
Bikes generally get away from a set of lights quicker than a vehicle does.

"... so in many situations actually use more road capacity than cars do.""
No they don't, as explained above.

And here's the extraordinary thing.
Have you noticed how sweetly the traffic flows during school holidays ? That's because the amount of traffic on the road is **slightly** reduced.

The thing that causes jams is too many large footprint vehicles on the road which means junction capacities are overwhelmed. One way to help solve that is to tempt just a few drivers out of their vehicles and onto bikes. You see, it doesn't need everyone to swap from car to bike, just a few.

But do you know what, most people won't even consider doing that because "the roads are too dangerous / drivers are lunatics / I'm scared of traffic".

Oh the irony. Who would have thought that vehicle drivers are not only the cause of the problem, but they also have in their hands the ability to solve the problem, but, en masse, they choose not to do so.

The only logical conclusion therefore, if we are to overcome congestion, is that behavioural change will have to be forced.

And the real bonus is that when that happens we end up with a generally nicer, safer, quieter, more efficient and healthier environment and a fitter, less obese, less stressed, longer living population.

It's just win win win win.

Robert Munster

Thanks for a reasoned response to my post. (I do not dignify trolls with responses!)

I am not sure of the relevance of the link you have provided. They seem to have just plucked a few figures out of the air - some of them are way out, e.g. a railway line can carry as many as 60k people per hour, rather than the 10k-25k quoted. Most railway tracks in London routinely carry 30-40k at peak times. What on earth does "mixed traffic with frequent buses" mean? That is almost every main road in London, but there are clearly enormous variations within that category. Not surprisingly, the figures for bikes (around 1 per second) are rather optimistic, whilst those for cars seem to assume single occupancy which is unduly pessimistic.

Also, this seems to be for a section of open road, whereas congestion normally occurs at junctions and is a result of conflicts between different flows. Not everybody is going the same way. You might at times have a nice efficient pack of bikes going along, but then one needs to cross over to turn right and everybody behind has to stop. I can cross the road safely if there is a 3 second gap between cars, I cannot do this if there are two 2 second gaps between bicycles. We need real world evidence, not fancy theories based on non-existent hypothetical scenarios!

You are quite right that it is best if everyone travels at the same speed - which is why bikes are a problem, as they are generally unable to keep up with free flowing traffic. Bikes don't even travel at the same speed as one another - their speed in free flowing conditions can be anything from 10mph to 30mph.

I don't know where you have got your 18mph figure from. In theory, at least, the most optimal speed is infinity - road capacity increases steadily as speed increases, although the gains become insignificant above about 30mph.

The Highway code guidance is inconsistent and also unrealistic. Maintaining a full stopping distance separation is only necessary if there is a possibility of the vehicle in front stopping dead, which of course there is not. The 2 second gap applies to "higher speeds," yet it is only above 40mph that the stopping distance would require more than a 2 second gap! At 20mph the official stopping distance is only 12m - you would suffer serious visibility issues if you drove or cycled that close to the vehicle in front. A 2 second gap is only 16m, which is still not enough. So at lower speeds the time gap increases.

In practice the gap is usually closer to 1 second on motorways, rising to 1.5-2s on 30/40mph main roads and around 3s at 20mph or less. In addition you have the time for the length of the vehicle itself to pass, which is inversely proportional to speed. Bike is roughly 2m long, car 4m long, bus 11m long. So at 10mph the separation (rear to front) is 0.45s, 0.89s, 2.46s respectively. At 20mph it is 0.22s, 0.45s and 1.23s respectively. At 30mph it is 0.15s, 0.30s and 0.82s respectively.

You say "Bikes generally get away from a set of lights quicker than a vehicle does." That might be true if the bike moves off before the lights change - which actually I don't have a problem with (but why only bikes). Acceleration and top speed are much lower though. According to Google a typical cyclist has a power of about 250 Watts to power a total load of about 100kg, so 2.5 W/kg. A basic car has a power around 45kW (60BHP) to power about 1200kg, so 37 W/kg, 15 times as much.

It may be possible for two bikes to ride alongside each other in the space occupied by one motor vehicle, but given the huge disparities in cyclist speeds this does not happen very often. And it obviously only works in locations which have high volumes of bikes. Don't forget that many cars do have more then one person in them - the average occupancy (in London) currently stands at 1.57, based on LTDS data.

It is probably fairly marginal either way whether bikes are more or less efficient than cars. There are certainly many situations where either is true, and I've never seen anyone attempt to quantify them. But you have to remember that more cycling won't simply mean one less car for each extra bike - the majority of the extra cyclists are likely to come from buses and trains. I don't have any quantitative evidence for this, but I challenge you to disprove it, as your argument depends on my claim being wrong!

"In a London style streetscape, all that the three second delay involved in passing a cyclist safely causes, is for the driver of the vehicle to arrive at the back of the next traffic jam three seconds later than would otherwise have been the case." This is an argument often made in relation to 20mph speed limits, but it is simplistic nonsense. Yes, quite often that will happen. On other occasions, the car/bus driver would have got through the traffic lights a couple of seconds before they went red. That 3 second delay then mushrooms into a minute or so while the lights go through their phases. The average delay is still 3 seconds. Plus, the car/bus you have held up by 3 seconds has maybe now gone from being the 100th vehicle in the previous phase to the 101st in the next phase, to use your earlier analogy!

A bus travelling between stops can quite easily be delayed 10-20 seconds by a slow cyclist, finally manage to overtake when the road is wide enough, only for the bike to get back in front at the next stop and the whole process repeats over and over again, which may add up to several minutes' delay to the bus and its 30-50 passengers.

You talk of a junction with a capacity of 100 vehicles per minute, and the effect of varying this to 99 or 101. The theory is sound, but it is oversimplistic. Your theory makes the heroic assumption that every road is running almost exactly at capacity! Even if the average vehicle flow reaching the junction is exactly 100 per minute, it will fluctuate a lot. So you may get 150 vehicles one minute and only 50 the next, then 125, 100, 150, 75 then 50. More realistically, during peak hours you may get an average 150 vehicles per minute for a 20-30 minute period leading to a huge queue, after which it falls as low as 25 per minute and the jam quickly clears. So actually, no, marginal reductions are unlikely to make more than a marginal difference.

You assert that low traffic congestion in school holidays is due to a marginal reduction in car traffic. Don't fall into the trap of assuming that correlation is evidence of causality! I would suggest it is much more likely to be because of the huge reduction in pedestrian traffic. Pedestrians are often allocated as much as a third of the total cycle time at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings (despite being usually less than 5% of the total people movement). I'm not saying this is wrong, but remove the pedestrians, and the capacity for other traffic is increased by up to 50%, which is not marginal at all.

If, as you say, we only need a few people to switch from car to bike (or other modes), which has already happened over the last few years, why is it that congestion has become dramatically worse? As I said in the part of my post you decided not to comment on, car traffic has already fallen by over 10%. The worst increases in congestion have actually been where the biggest falls in car use are.

I totally agree that it would be good to reduce car traffic, but we have to be realistic about what is possible. I have never come across any research into car user behaviour that investigates what journeys people are actually making and what alternatives they might have. It is often claimed that "most" car journeys are cyclable, but where is the evidence? How do you or I know how far people are travelling, whether there are facilities for parking bikes and changing clothes at both origin and destination, whether the driver is fit enough to ride a bike, whether there is any luggage in the car for that journey or another part of the same overall car trip? Travelling by car in London is a complete nightmare as it is, and very expensive, so I doubt many people do it for the fun of it.

I don't doubt your motivation, but I am afraid you will have to carry on dreaming as the utopia you describe will never happen!

Robert Munster
London Bus Routes
(More information about me readily available via Google!)

hatler

@ Robert Munster

Apologies. Watch out for a long post.

"Also, this seems to be for a section of open road, whereas congestion normally occurs at junctions and is a result of conflicts between different flows."
Agreed. Hence the content of one my earlier posts, which links road capacity to the constriction points, at junctions. Even with a car occupancy of 2, does anyone really think that in one phase of a set of lights that more *people* can go through those lights in cars than they can on bikes ?

"Not everybody is going the same way. You might at times have a nice efficient pack of bikes going along, but then one needs to cross over to turn right and everybody behind has to stop."
And that's one of the joys of bikes. They're narrow enough that if one bike tries to turn right, very little extra road width is required to allow other bikes to pass by. Not true with cars and buses.

"I can cross the road safely if there is a 3 second gap between cars, I cannot do this if there are two 2 second gaps between bicycles."
But, to cross the road between a string of cars you have to move at least 8' (say a car is 6' wide and you want to be at least a foot clear either side). To cross the road between bikes passing in a line you only have to move 4'. Moving 4' takes less time than moving 8'.

"You are quite right that it is best if everyone travels at the same speed - which is why bikes are a problem, as they are generally unable to keep up with free flowing traffic. Bikes don't even travel at the same speed as one another - their speed in free flowing conditions can be anything from 10mph to 30mph."
I don't think that has any relevance. But in any case, some bikes can keep up with city traffic pretty easily. Cars don't move at the same speed as each other. Milk floats ? Slower drivers ? But I don't see that as a significant problem that impinges upon road capacity. And in any case, bikes are narrow, so if they are slow, it is easier to overtake them (safely) than if it were a car that was going slowly.

"I don't know where you have got your 18mph figure from."
Calculation. First principles, using the HC's stated separation distances.

"In theory, at least, the most optimal speed is infinity"
No. HC separation distances are a function of the speed squared (energy dissipation). Infinite speed would require an infinite separation distance.

"But - road capacity increases steadily as speed increases, although the gains become insignificant above about 30mph."
No it doesn't. As I said, peak capacity is at 18mph.
Why do you think smart motorways lower the speed limit from 70 when traffic volumes increase ? It's to enable smooth flowing traffic and to maximise flow.
This site is rather fun - http://traffic-simulation.de/index.html. You can play with the parameters to see what happens when you try to increase the speed of the traffic above a certain traffic density.

"The Highway code guidance is inconsistent and also unrealistic. Maintaining a full stopping distance separation is only necessary if there is a possibility of the vehicle in front stopping dead, which of course there is not."
Or of someone stepping out in front of you immediately behind the car in front.
I'll let you take that one up with the Police.

"You say "Bikes generally get away from a set of lights quicker than a vehicle does." That might be true if the bike moves off before the lights change."
Except that on a bike I am already in gear and can get rolling quicker than a car. No need to jump the green.

"It is probably fairly marginal either way whether bikes are more or less efficient than cars."
I don't believe this is marginal in any way. Bikes are clearly more efficient users of space and in a fixed time interval you can get significantly more bikes through a junction than cars.

"But you have to remember that more cycling won't simply mean one less car for each extra bike - the majority of the extra cyclists are likely to come from buses and trains."
I agree with you completely on this. In central London I imagine that for every 20 new cyclists, perhaps only one has stopped using their car. However, the further out from the centre you go, I would think that that ratio would reduce (so, for every 10 new cyclists, one has swapped from a car).

""In a London style streetscape, all that the three second delay involved in passing a cyclist safely causes, is for the driver of the vehicle to arrive at the back of the next traffic jam three seconds later than would otherwise have been the case." This is an argument often made in relation to 20mph speed limits, but it is simplistic nonsense. Yes, quite often that will happen."
If it happens 'quite often' then it can't be 'simplistic nonsense'

"A bus travelling between stops can quite easily be delayed 10-20 seconds by a slow cyclist, finally manage to overtake when the road is wide enough, only for the bike to get back in front at the next stop and the whole process repeats over and over again, which may add up to several minutes' delay to the bus and its 30-50 passengers."
Unless we are to take the slightly more radical view of some posters on here and ban all bikes from London, then this is as good an argument as any for providing segregated lanes for cyclists.

"You talk of a junction with a capacity of 100 vehicles per minute, and the effect of varying this to 99 or 101. The theory is sound, but it is oversimplistic."
It was intended as an illustration of a principle.

"Your theory makes the heroic assumption that every road is running almost exactly at capacity!"
I made no assumptions at all. It was an illustration.
In the real world it is clear that traffic flows are not uniform. The principle however remains. A junction has a capacity throughput, and if that capacity is exceeded a queue will result.

"So actually, no, marginal reductions are unlikely to make more than a marginal difference."
I do't think that your assertion is necessarily safe. This would be an interesting modelling project. I contend that my experience (12 years of commuting in outer London) leads me to believe that reduced queues during school holidays is evidence that a slight reduction in the number of cars on the road reduces congestion significantly.

"You assert that low traffic congestion in school holidays is due to a marginal reduction in car traffic. Don't fall into the trap of assuming that correlation is evidence of causality! I would suggest it is much more likely to be because of the huge reduction in pedestrian traffic. Pedestrians are often allocated as much as a third of the total cycle time at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings (despite being usually less than 5% of the total people movement). I'm not saying this is wrong, but remove the pedestrians, and the capacity for other traffic is increased by up to 50%, which is not marginal at all."
The causation/correlation thing is something I am conscious of. However, on my route I can say without fear of contradiction that pedestrians on my route have no significance on the throughput of the junctions I go through. Of the nine sets of lights, only two are pedestrian only, and for both of those, any queue encountered there only ever delays one's arrival at a much bigger subsequent queue at a major traffic junction. Of the remaining seven light controlled junctions, none of them have a pedestrian only phase and pedestrian crossing is coordinated with the stopped traffic lane.

"If, as you say, we only need a few people to switch from car to bike (or other modes), which has already happened over the last few years, why is it that congestion has become dramatically worse?"
I don't have an answer for that.

"I don't doubt your motivation, but I am afraid you will have to carry on dreaming as the utopia you describe will never happen!"
Dreaming does appear to be paying dividends though. We've got £770m of cycling investment coming.

My utopia is where no-one is dissuaded from cycling anywhere due to a thuggish minority who believe it is perfectly acceptable to use their vehicles to bully and intimidate cyclists. I'm grown up and can handle a robust environment, but there are thousands, possibly millions who are too scared to use their bike on the roads and are thereby denied the incredible sense of freedom and health benefits that will result.

Because the authorities have not been able to eliminate (or even recognise that there is) the thuggish minority, they are rather using a sledgehammer to crack the nut, to wit, £770m on segregated cycle lanes.

I would far rather that this level of infrastructure build hadn't been necessary, but sufficient numbers of vehicle drivers have proved themselves incapable of playing nice, so segregated cycle lanes it has to be.

Robert Munster

I was going to reply point by point, but then realised I would largely be repeating what I said earlier! I would re-emphasise that we need to base our analysis on real world data and observations, not on theoretical models.

So just a few additional comments:-
<i>""Not everybody is going the same way. You might at times have a nice efficient pack of bikes going along, but then one needs to cross over to turn right and everybody behind has to stop."
And that's one of the joys of bikes. They're narrow enough that if one bike tries to turn right, very little extra road width is required to allow other bikes to pass by. Not true with cars and buses."</I>

You are missing the point I was making. According to highway code drivers should allow a bike the same room as they would a car (although I know this isn't always adhered to!). So bikes are only more space efficient in situations where two or more bicycles are sharing the available space, as is the case on a segregated cycle track provided it is well-used. To get more bicycles along a road than a single general traffic lane can accommodate, you need them to ride two abreast. That is fine, until inevitably the one on the left needs to turn right or the one on the right needs to turn left, and suddenly you have a bottleneck. (The same happens with cars on multi-lane roads, of course.)

<I>"To cross the road between bikes passing in a line you only have to move 4'." </I>

Not really, if I moved that close to a bike I'd be accused of "stepping in front of it"! A bike is much more likely to wobble off course than a car so I'd allow the same 8' clearance. Basically, 8' is the width of the traffic lane, regardless of whether it is a car or a bike running along it. (Unless it is a cycle lane, of course.)

Just how many milk floats are there on the streets of London these days!?

<I>""I don't know where you have got your 18mph figure from."
Calculation. First principles,"</I>

Okay, having done the calculations, 18mph is correct based on highway code stopping distances, for a vehicle 5m long. 10/10 for theory. But don't forget that actual stopping distances vary greatly by vehicle type - in general lorries, buses and bikes have longer distances than cars due to higher centre of gravity.

If vehicles travelled infinitely fast the distance between them would also be infinite. Even better, as there would never be any vehicles moving on the road, there would never be any accidents!

<I>"Why do you think smart motorways lower the speed limit from 70 when traffic volumes increase ? It's to enable smooth flowing traffic and to maximise flow."</I>

Quite right, but that is to slow fast vehicles down to match the speed of slower vehicles, it is not because the road capacity is higher at 50 than 70. Also, it is used to stop vehicles joining queues where speed drops as low as 10-20mph so that capacity is less still.

<I>"If it happens 'quite often' then it can't be 'simplistic nonsense'"</I>

You said that it always happens, not that it 'quite often' happens.

<I>""You say "Bikes generally get away from a set of lights quicker than a vehicle does." That might be true if the bike moves off before the lights change." Except that on a bike I am already in gear and can get rolling quicker than a car. No need to jump the green."</I>

The amber phase gives more than enough time to get a car in gear. Indeed, many drivers start rolling before they get the green, which is perfectly safe and legal if you stop a bit back from the stop line. (I've no problem with cyclists jumping the green by the way, even though it is illegal, so long as it is safe!)

<I>"Unless we are to take the slightly more radical view of some posters on here and ban all bikes from London, then this is as good an argument as any for providing segregated lanes for cyclists."</I>

Except that any road that is wide enough for a segregated cycle lane (few are) is wide enough for a bus to overtake a bike safely and easily anyway.

<I>"Of the remaining seven light controlled junctions, none of them have a pedestrian only phase and pedestrian crossing is coordinated with the stopped traffic lane."</I>

Okay, but do bear in mind that if any such pedestrian phase is called it is still likely to alter the sequencing of the lights, usually in a way that is suboptimal for road traffic. I don't actually know how much difference school holidays make to overall traffic levels - it would be an interesting study. But I suspect that either the difference is not marginal at all, or the differences in congestion are due to other factors.

I've already said a couple of times, segregated cycle lanes are all well and good where there is space for them and the volume of cyclists is high enough to fill them up. However there are very few roads in London where either condition is true, let alone both. So the reality is that most cyclists will have to carry on sharing road space with other vehicles, and for the various reasons already outlined that will result in the opposite of what is desired.

hatler

Life's too short to address all your points.

"Quite right, but that is to slow fast vehicles down to match the speed of slower vehicles, it is not because the road capacity is higher at 50 than 70."
The primary aim of reducing speed limits is to increase capacity, and it does that by helping all vehicles travel at about the same speed.
Road capacity is higher at 50mph than 70mph.
http://www.highways.gov.uk/smart-motorways-programme/

Ref the school run problem - see https://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/cms-service/stream/asset/School%20Run%20Sc...
"In Camden the effects of taking children to and from school are most noticeable in the Belsize Park in Hampstead areas where it is been estimated that journey times increased by 50% to 60% because of the numerous schools, including many independent schools in the vicinity."

drglister

Many points well made - there is just not enough joined up thinking going on in this debate. It is all becoming ideological and not a lot of intelligence is being applied. It is quite unrealistic to expect a city the size of London to be accessible largely by bike. The distances are simply too large and there are so many journeys that are necessary but totally impracticable by bike principally for loading or health/fitness reasons. Public transport is great radially but poor circumferentially and again impractical often for those same load/health reasons.
To reduce pollution we should be helping increase the fluidity of movement of our traffic (not increasing congestion) and encouraging more hybrid/electric vehicle use.
Furthermore cycling superhighways benefit those who are rich enough to leave near central London far more than those who live (as I do) nearer the periphery - for me a visit to central London is an 18 mile round trip with Sydenham hill in the way (twice!).............
Of course lets make cycling safe in London, but lets be fair and realistic about how our very poor road resources are used so that the maximum people get the most efficient use from them.
More intelligence less mantra please!

emishi55

drglisternew
"Many points well made - there is just not enough joined up thinking going on in this debate."

There is sof course within this current debate, a blatant ignorance of facts and evidence, much from the shrill tabloid-feeders, but also shown by those who might appear to have more dubious reasons for enetring into this conversation..
Those overly convecerned with bus-time tables for example aren't necessarilly in possession of the facts and evidence that show that cycling and walking proviosn (supported by public transport) are the modes that need to be prioritised - and fast.
A cusory glance at what's going on will show us that Sadiq, for all the right promises and intentions, has decided that asking people to breathe less (I kid you not - warnings at bus stops ask people to refrain from exercise when pollution levels are high!!) - but people driving cars meanwhile can carry on as usual....!!!
(Even nearby PAris has taken the necessry steps of restricting private car use on pollution spike days).
How can this be?

On this thread, some of us have the best interests at heart of those members society, who ought to be demanding - the right to breathe - but also the same rights as granted in other cities and in some cases enitre countries, of a choice of transport mode that is healthy and benfits eveyone else as well as the environment - but impoprtntly does not carry a potential death warrant.
This can be achieved by creating a system of safe, attractive, well-designed cycle routes.

The evidence for the feasibilty and proof of how fully it can transform society exists in The Netherlands where transportion by cycling is totally normalised. Integrated with train links for longer distances cycling for transport is increasing with the building of longer routes for ebikes (now being used by some for up to 80km round trip commutes).
Elsewhere, Copenhagen has more recently seen cycle use overtake car use.

Regarding the size of London: the capital can be regarded as is a cluster of villages each with distict characteristics - Croydon for example, being of a similar size to Amsterdam.
But far from it being unrealistic to expect London to be accessible largely by bike, London can, when reasonable cycle routes are designed, enable longer distances. It is (for the most part not especially hilly - Crystal Palace and Swains Lane at Highgate being exceptional examples - but
where hillier areas are concerned, there is arguably a case for trialling the kind of ebike hire programme that was due under the last mayoralty in Haringey in 2013.
Ebike usage is increasing in German cities and elsewhere and is better for those who's fitness levels might not permit them doing everything they want to by regular cycle.

And ok - sometimes you might need to use a car! (But not to the same blinkered and extravagant degree that remains the current norm).

You say "public transport is great radially but poor circumferentially" - this is true re buses, but not of the overground which - despite the many and frequent non-usable periods as upgrading work continues, has provided an entire circular route linking most zone 3 boroughs for the last few years (the restrictions on cycles being carried means that again, peopl wanting to use cycing as a means of transport - have greater deterrence in place than somewhere like Holland).

Re your point on deliveries, if you look at the whole of the UK, almost 40% of journeys currently made by car or van are under two miles (which would take about 10 minutes cycling).
Half of all commuters in England travel less than three miles to work (about 15 minutes cycling).

With the right street design, most people could easily cycle these distances, and, using roughly the same amount of effort as walking (but it's quicker and more convenient to cycle of course).

You also say: "To reduce pollution we should be helping increase the fluidity of movement of our traffic (not increasing congestion) and encouraging more hybrid/electric vehicle use".

I disgaree here. Not that we shouldn't reduce congestion, but, as I've repeatedly said - London is simply - not designed for the amount of traffic we have or can expect to have - hybrid / ecars or otherwise.

The amount of vehicles tha clutter up the streets and park elsewhere - in London alone means that 75Km2 of space is taken up. Add the space reuired to move to and from this space (ie this figure is for back to back vehicles) and the figure is larger (TfL source).

Smug denialists of facts and evidence ought to do their homework before trotting out spurious, irrelevant stats (offered above by others). Those who purport to have a 'professional' interest need to ensure they are not supporting the blatant bias and distaotion so prevalent in the media since:

(1) It damages the reputation of other bodies by association
(2) It reflects badly on the situation we have at the moment - and moreover have had for the past twenty years or so, as engineering has catered for and thus increased the use of the motor vehicle as a lazy, routine and unthinking choice of transport - (although to be fair - and this is the CRUX...who would want to cycle on the roads as they currently are - and furthermore with the criminal behaviour displayed with impunity by all too many drivers).

There is alos the problem of victim-blaming - an insidious attitude demonstrated by a large nuer of trolls on this thread. The most recent example can be seen in the disgraceful episode by the minister retaining office for Transport, Chris Grayling where he 'doored' a cyclist, though did not exchange details
Helmet? Hi-viz? Lights? Going too fast? Going too slow? Riding on the left hand side? (Where one is expected to in order to resch the ASL box!!), Riding on the outside (where there may or may not be room to do so), etc etc.
The Dutch educate their drivers when they take their driving test. THEre is procedure whereby you open you car door with the ‘opposite arm’ the means you are forced to look behind you before risking injury to a passer-by.

But cyclists in the UK, still have, as members of a sub-group, and out-group status that means they can be subject to ll of the hatred and the bile, denied (by law) to be shown to members of other 'out-groups'. (though debatable in the post-brexit / post-trump / post-truth world!).
And worse - they can be disregarded by those granted with the responsibility for controlling a highly dangerous item of machinery.

In the Netherlands, you cycle as you would walk. It's a non-issue almost (except there's not enough cycle-parking and...they have actually been historically, a little over-generous with the road space allocated to cars!.

Here in London and most certainly the rest of the UK. We still find the opposite (although the new infra shows that when you put the measures in place - cyclists will come - and they have - outnumbering cars on peak flows on the new CS 3 and 6 routes).
Why only peaks? Because these wonderful CS routes, are only as good as the links they have to other wonderful routes and....they simply don't as yet, connect to other routes as comprehensively as they need to. In short, it's like building a bit of a bridge.
If a bridge does not extend all the way to the other bank, then, like the CS routes so far, you'll only get the braver,(faster?), commuting cyclist using it, who’s already used to mixing it with skip trucks, HGVs, white vans and black cabs (not an appealing prospect if you want to ride with your eight year old daughter to the museum.

There are quieter routes - but these are often not…'quiet'.
QW1 - running along Guiford Street in Bloomsbury is truly horrendous for example.
There is no justification for through traffic to plague these routes.
We need a great deal more ’Access Only'.
I'm repeating myself. Enough for now.

Terry Vaughan

Robert, so many comments here amount to little more than ‘I hate all cyclists’. Yours is more interesting, but there are points that you do not address and that I think mean you are wrong.

There are a number of reasons to increase levels of cycling. It is hoped that it will reduce congestion, reduce air pollution, reduce climate change, reduce traffic noise, improve the street scene, improve public health, reduce obesity, reduce traffic accidents, injuries and deaths, reduce the need for cars and therefore the need for on-street parking (a major cause of congestion), reduce the strain on public transport, and make it possible for children to play outdoors as they used to. There may be more.

There is another issue. Even if none of those outcomes were to be achieved, people have a right to travel in safety, including by bike if they wish. Those people currently pay their share of the cost of the roads, but find them not fit for purpose.

The current TfL target is to double cycling levels. This is from an extremely low starting point. The work will not be complete until anyone who wishes can cycle in actual and perceived safety from door to door, a point which the plans fall very far short of. That is more or less the position in Amsterdam, where the cycling modal share is 32% of traffic movement. In the city centre, 48% of traffic movement is by bike. 63% of residents cycle daily.

http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/Media-Centre/city-hall/dossier-cycling/Cycl...

Those levels of participation were achieved from a low starting point, by means of infrastructure development and traffic management, and nothing else has been found to give such results. As we approach that level of participation, the effect on those problems will become increasingly significant. Even now, any person who cycles regularly can expect immediate health benefits, and will be contributing less to those problems.  

The greater part of the necessary cycle network can be provided at low cost, with some disadvantage to motor traffic, but considerable advantage to pedestrians and residents. It simply requires closing residential streets to rat running. Only roads carrying through motor traffic normally require protected cycle tracks.

There will always be a need for motor traffic. But even without statistics, you can hardly deny that some journeys now could be made by other means. Some people making such journeys will switch to cycling if they are enabled to do so.

Others may switch to public transport, particularly if it is improved and/or made cheaper, or if driving becomes even more frustrating. If they do, that will also help achieve some of those targets. But it will not improve public health or affect obesity levels, both major problems, and possibly not air quality unless exhaust emissions are reduced.

Robert Munster

The quality of some of the contributions - on both sides - is certainly rather cringeworthy! I certainly don't hate cyclists, and they are perfectly welcome to use the roads if they want to, provided they show the same respect and courtesy towards other road users as is expected of everyone else. What I do however object to is politicians meddling with matters that they clearly do not understand!

The figures for Amsterdam initially look impressive, but then I realise that they are not true modal share but the split of traffic movement. Given that you can fit several people onto a car and loads of people into a bus or tram, this skews the figures. I can't find true modal share figures (by distance) for Amsterdam, or the data needed to calculate them, but I can calculate the equivalent figure for Greater London from the LTDS data (albeit excluding freight and empty buses/taxis) - it is 4.4%. So actually the Amsterdam figure is "only" 7 times higher. Therefore bicycle modal share in Amsterdam is probably around 10%.

On the other hand, public transport usage is much higher in London - according to Wikipedia the figures are 44% for London and 29% for Amsterdam, although like so many, they forgot to weight the journeys by length, making them fairly meaningless other than for comparative purposes. Car use is not so much different, at 27% in Amsterdam and 34% in London. Given that London is around 10 times the size of Amsterdam, it will have much higher numbers of "long" journeys, which are inherently less suited to public transport or cycling. So you would expect car use to be slightly higher here (and London is much hillier too!). This supports my contention that car use in London may already have been reduced pretty much as far as is possible, the only difference being that in Amsterdam people who don't have to drive tend to cycle, whereas in London they tend to use public transport. And even if car use can be brought down further in percentage terms, it is likely to go up in absolute terms because of the rising population.

I've not been to Amsterdam, but I can see from a map that the city has a very limited railway network and, actually, a very good road network. Also, they have the luxury of space, space, space! There is loads of room to put in all the segregated cycleways you want on major transport corridors, and plenty of space on the pavements for cycle racks everywhere. In summary, Amsterdam is clearly nothing like London.

So it makes sense to encourage cycling in Amsterdam, as they presumably have plenty of spare road capacity. In London, main roads are generally well over capacity, but it is relatively easy to increase railway capacity, so we should be encouraging people to switch from roads (all modes) to trains wherever possible. Indeed this is precisely what has already been happening over the past 20 years, with rail use almost doubling, thanks to steady investment in longer and more frequent trains, even before big projects like Crossrail have opened. This has successfully kept car traffic down. Unfortunately, congestion and pollution on the roads have nonetheless got worse, because the capacity of the road network has been severely reduced.

If, as in Amsterdam, the majority of long-distance traffic uses "motorway" type roads, then that frees up the local roads for local traffic including bicycles. A major problem in London is the almost complete lack of a proper road system, which means that through traffic has no choice but to travel long distances along unsuitable residential roads. The A205 South Circular is perhaps the most notorious example. So, perversely enough, the best way to encourage more cycling might actually be to build more roads.

By the way, I'd be interested to hear your definition of "rat run." The problem with road closures is that it forces even more traffic onto other roads that are already over capacity. The extra traffic far outweighs any numbers switching to bikes as a result of the closure scheme.

As to the aims of increasing cycling you list, most are laudable enough (but why on earth is it desirable for children to play on the street!? We've moved on from Victorian slums with no back gardens). But I think it is very unlikely that these will be achieved; "progress" so far has delivered the reverse.

As to safety, then of course we would wish no deaths, but surely even in Amsterdam they have cycling accidents! In any case, most cycling accidents in London could have been avoided if the cyclists concerned had taken a few more basic safety precautions - this is not "victim blaming" but simply stating the facts, RAIB style. Additionally, quite a few cyclists die each year in accidents not involving motor vehicles (usually by falling off their bikes), or simply from over-exertion. More cycling can only mean more deaths by these means.

Robert Munster

Replying to my own post ...

http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/Media-Centre/city-hall/dossier-cycling/Cycl...

"The chance of being involved in an accident while cycling is actually relatively slim. In excess of 223 million bike journeys are made each year – that’s 613,000 every day. Unfortunately, between 15 and 20 fatal traffic accidents occur on Amsterdam’s roads each year – 20% to 30% of these are cyclists.

"Approximately 900 people are seriously injured in traffic accidents each year. More than half of these are cyclists."

Scale up to London's population and you would expect there to be 30-60 cyclist deaths per year. There are less accidents here simply because people cycle less. Surprisingly enough, it doesn't appear that cycling is any more dangerous in London than Amsterdam.

Terry Vaughan

Robert, certainly people fall off their bikes. I've been injured myself. It's less of a risk on properly built and maintained cycle tracks. Here, what few cycle tracks we have are poor quality and get little or no maintenance.

In London, really only young fit adults cycle, and they tend to bounce. Children and old people don't cycle. If they did, the death rate would be a great deal higher. In Amsterdam (and it's not just Amsterdam, high cycling levels have been achieved in many places), roads are divided into categories. Some are for through motor traffic. They have cycle tracks. Others are protected, either residential or business districts. Through motor traffic is engineered out by selective closure, so they are considered safe for cycling. They are quiet, with little noise, better air quality and little traffic and congestion, but still accessible to any driver.

We have yet to classify roads like this, but what I call rat running is the use of what should be classed as a residential or shopping street by drivers who are just passing through. They do it to take a shortcut or to bypass traffic lights, for example. I doubt if it reduces congestion because there is delay when they rejoin the main road. It would be for the highway authority to classify the roads in London. A judgement would have to be made on whether to improve the 'road' network to ease traffic flow (getting rid of parking would go a long way toward that) or to leave them slow to discourage people from making unnecessary journeys. I would guess that on through routes in Amsterdam problems like noise and poor air quality are significant.

Your assertion that "most cycling accidents in London could have been avoided if the cyclists concerned had taken a few more basic safety precautions" is odd. If you cycled yourself you would know that cycling fully in accordance with the law and highway code and recognised good practice is not enough to keep you safe. Near misses are a daily occurrence, and the commonest bike accidents are things like drivers overtaking and turning across the path of the bike, drivers turning into or out of a side road into the bike's path, drivers entering or leaving a roundabout across the bike's path, drivers overtaking and running into the bike, doors opened into the bike's path and pedestrians stepping into the bike's path. The risk of some of these can be reduced by the rider, but often only by increasing the risk of other collisions. Police investigations show that the driver is usually the cause.

Of course it is desirable for children to become more active. We have some of the fattest children in the world. Fear of traffic is a major reason for them not being allowed out of doors.

You point out that increasing population will drive up congestion etc. This may be true, but even so, every car not on the road makes the problem that bit less than it would otherwise be.
And you say that bike riders are welcome provided they show the same respect and courtesy towards other road users as is expected of everyone else. You aren't suggesting that drivers are always courteous and respectful to others, are you? Don't you drive?

Still, though, you focus on congestion. That is just one of the issues.

Robert Munster

You make some interesting points, and I will reply to your posts where relevant as you are taking the trouble to set out your thinking clearly and coherently.

The point about the makeup of London cyclists is very true, although looking at Amsterdam on Google Streetview, I did not actually see many old or young cyclists there either! I also am doubtful whether children would really be more likely to be injured - certainly child pedestrians are statistically more likely to survive being hit by a car than adults (contrary to popular belief!). They might be more careless than adults, I guess. The elderly are a lot more vulnerable though. Either way, it does not alter the fact that if Amsterdam levels of cycling and Amsterdam levels of safety were both achieved in London, far more cyclists would be killed than is the case today. The only saving grace may be a reduction in pedestrian deaths - which make up about half of the total.

Thanks for your thoughts on "rat runs," but I am still unclear what you think the definition should be, in such a way that you could definitively say "this is a rat run" or otherwise. Unfortunately London does not have a proper arterial road network; London's traffic has never worked on a major/minor road model, and has always been reliant on through traffic dispersing along as many different routes as possible. Those roads that are designated as A or B roads are in general little different from other roads where through traffic is discouraged, other than that they happen to join together into a reasonably direct route and are managed in such a way as to allow greater traffic flow. Almost all main roads are fully residential, and many are only able to accommodate heavy two-way traffic because all parking is banned.

I would point out that I did used to cycle quite regularly, mainly for pleasure. I only stopped cycling because I "leant" my bike to my sister-on-law's nephew after his was stolen, but sadly never saw it again, and never bothered to replace it. I did have one accident, when I was coming down a hill in the countryside, braked for a bend and skidded on gravel, slamming into an earth embankment and breaking my collar bone. But I never had any major problems with vehicle drivers, nothing that sticks in memory anyway.

If you look at the circumstances of most cyclist fatalities in London, whilst the cyclist may not have done anything illegal or contrary to the highway code (not that there are many rules for cyclists to break!), in most cases they have done something that defies common sense, such as riding close to vehicles. In particular, many accidents involve lorries turning left - quite clearly the lorry must have been there first, and any possibility of injury is easily avoided by staying behind.

I do see almost daily examples of crass stupidity by cyclists. For example, I was on a bus turning left into a side road where its path was blocked. A cyclist came up the inside, round the corner beside the bus into the side road, and round the FRONT of the bus to carry on along the main road! The bus was just about to move off, but luckily the driver checked his mirror at a moment when the cyclist was not in his various blind spots, and waited. Recently, when driving my car, I slowed to about 15mph to let a bus move from a stop, for a cyclist (who must have just come from a side road) to overtake me on the inside, squeeze between my car and the bus, overtake the bus on the offside, and pull in front of the bus, causing the bus to brake sharply. I followed the cyclist for about 10 miles and he continued being aggressive towards other road users. In another case, a truck stopped at a junction to let a van turn right in front of it, and a cyclist (completely invisible to the turning van) shot out on the inside at more than 20mph - luckily the driver spotted him and did an emergency stop. Very often you see cyclists swerve from pavement into the road at speed without checking to see if there is any traffic coming along behind. These are just anecdotes of course, and don't prove anything, but I am amazed that the cyclist death toll is not far higher, which I can only put down to the high level of vigilance by most drivers.

Having said all that, there are certainly plenty of bad drivers, and I do not deny that for a minute. I would refrain from getting into quantitative debates about bad driving and bad cycling as it is not really relevant - two wrongs do not make a right. There is anyway no reason to think that modal shift in itself will reduce bad driving. Dangerous drivers, dangerous cyclists and dangerous pedestrians should all be targeted with equal vigour. What I think many drivers resent is the way they are targeted for things that in general aren't actually dangerous, such as minor infringements of the speed limit.

I didn't say children shouldn't be more active, but I see no reason why this should be done in the street, which is a pretty hostile environment regardless of the traffic conditions.

Terry Vaughan

Robert, we can speculate about how safe children would be cycling on the road, but of course none do. If they did, they would be careless. With so many careless drivers, that would be a bad combination. It’s a pity, because they can't legally cycle on the pavement either, and there are very few safe cycle tracks. In the Netherlands, it is normal for children to cycle to school, because it is considered safe.

I’m not about to define what is a rat run. Anyone with local knowledge will be able to identify roads that are used now for getting from one place to another, and lesser ones that are simply used as shortcuts in an attempt to bypass queuing traffic. It is for the highway authorities to decide which roads are appropriate for through travel and which not. Those used for through traffic will need cycle tracks. As you say, the through roads will normally have residents, who will not benefit from the greatly reduced traffic in the ‘closed’ streets.

Your comments on the causes of cycling accidents amount to victim blaming. If coming close to vehicles is enough to cause an accident, it demonstrates the urgent need for cycle tracks. Your statement that “many accidents involve lorries turning left - quite clearly the lorry must have been there first, and any possibility of injury is easily avoided by staying behind.” is nonsense. It’s commonplace for drivers to pull up alongside a bike at a junction. It’s commonplace for a driver to overtake a moving bike then immediately turn across them.

Here is a comment made by someone on another forum about some recent bike/lorry incidents. I can’t vouch for the truth of the assertions, but I haven’t seem them challenged.

"The lorry driver who killed cyclist Alan Neve was uninsured, had toilet rolls stacked against his windscreen, had no licence and had jumped a red light.
The lorry driver who killed Catrona Patel was drunk and fiddling with a mobile phone. He had been banned from driving 20 (twenty) times.
The lorry driver who killed Eilidh Cairns had faulty eyesight (the police didn't even bother to discover this until the same driver killed another woman.)
The lorry driver who killed cyclist Brian Dorling turned across his path.
The lorry driver who killed cyclist Svetlana Tereschenko was in an unsafe lorry, failing to indicate and chatting on a mobile. The police decided to charge him with..nothing.
The lorry driver who killed cyclist Deep Lee failed to notice her and smashed into her from behind.
The lorry driver that killed cyclist Andrew McNicoll failed to notice him and side swiped him.
The lorry driver that killed cyclist Daniel Cox was in a truck which did not have the correct mirrors and whose driver had pulled into the ASL on a red light and was indicating in the opposite direction to which he turned."

I included in another comment a reference to police findings that 98% of bike/motorist collisions are solely the fault of the driver. You have seen some examples of poor cycling. I don't see that. My experience is that all drivers break the law on every trip (your assertion that exceeding the speed limit is not dangerous is nonsense), and that many are dangerously distracted or careless. I’ve been run into four times by incompetent drivers while cycling in recent years. You say you don’t want to get into quantitative arguments about cycling and motoring, but it's very clear which causes the most accidents and does the most damage. However, you are right that it's not really relevant, because most bike riders are drivers anyway, and everyone makes mistakes. Those are reasons to provide cycle tracks.

As for children playing in the street, that’s what I did once upon a time, and it’s what they do now where there is no through traffic. If they can’t play there, then where?

Robert Munster

Clearly, yes, it is for the highway authority to determine whether roads are suitable for through traffic or not. However that surely only depends on things like the width of the road, not whether a road is a "short cut". Obviously it's nice for some residents to have less through traffic, but I don't see why some should be given special treatment because it happens to be possible in some cases but not others. Surely it is a good thing if some traffic can use shorter or less congested routes, as that typically reduces overall congestion, pollution and accidents. People who don't want traffic on their streets are pure Nimbys.

I live in a quiet street with little through traffic - it is not quiet because anyone has done anything to restrict through traffic, it just happens not to be a natural through route to anywhere. I do like the fact that there is not much traffic - including few cyclists and pedestrians. However, neither I nor the other children living in the street have ever used it is a playground, except during the occasional organised street party when the road is closed fully, and even then it does not strike me as pleasant due to all the dirt and hard asphalt.

My comments about cycling crashes in London are not victim blaming. I said nothing about blame. I am pointing out that, considering the sequence of events that led to each crash, in most cases the cyclist could have taken steps to prevent the accident. Any cyclist who takes these steps will be pretty safe. This in no way exonerates the other parties involved. It might sometimes be the case that people overtake a cyclist and then turn left (although I have to say I don't remember ever seeing that happen); but that is not what happened in any of the cases referred to, as far as I am aware.

I have not had a chance to look into the West Midlands Police study. (I visit Smethwick reasonably regularly, and cyclists seem to be very rare there!) At face value the 98% figure seems too extreme to be believable - there is no obvious reason why one group should be more guilty than the oher - but it may be true in a very narrow legal sense. Careless driving is an offence which covers a huge range of mostly minor misdemeanours, and which, as you say, probably all drivers are guilty of on every trip; and if a crash occurs, one or more of these is quite likely to have taken place, so the motorist is deemed to be guilty. I am sure cyclists are also guilty of comparable misdemeanours on almost every trip as well (just how often do you see cyclists indicate before turning?), but in their case it is not an offence. Should it be? It would be nice to think that cyclists don't need laws to help them protect (mostly) themselves, but maybe they do. Either way, this unequal treatment does create rather a lot of anomalies when you start looking at data.

I did not say "exceeding the speed limit is not dangerous". Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. In theory speed limits should be set at the maximum "safe" speed, or marginally below, but since mandatory guidance was abolished, increasingly they are being set much lower than necessary on many roads. With the amount of speed cameras around on roads with unduly low speed limits, it is quite easy for a driver to lose their licence without actually having done anything particularly dangerous (although failing to spot a speed camera might be an indication of poor observational skills!).

Having said all that, it is a bit of a side issue to the point of this discussion and you are right to bring us back to the cycle tracks. And I agree that cycle tracks are a good idea in principle. The problem, which I have mentioned a few times but nobody has not addressed, is that most main roads in London are not wide enough to accommodate a segregated cycle lane.

Spot the difference - I think each pair comprises broadly comparable types of roads.
Amsterdam:
https://goo.gl/maps/VJNWyHQJEft
London:
https://goo.gl/maps/ET67k68i27k

Amsterdam:
https://goo.gl/maps/qfbmR9AdqGK2
London:
https://goo.gl/maps/jiTJvB5tbo12

Amsterdam:
https://goo.gl/maps/4wR2jrt1Wm92
London:
https://goo.gl/maps/5iHyxmXSaZP2

Amsterdam:
https://goo.gl/maps/VDKZcwQRBJn
London:
https://goo.gl/maps/VfPT2YkwoXQ2

It might be possible to send cyclists and motor traffic along different routes, but cyclists (understandably) seem not to like being relegated to back streets, and residents don't generally like motor traffic using back streets as through routes, so that seems unlikely to work. And even if you can build a cycle track along the side of the road, there will still be junctions, which cannot be physically segregated, and it is there where most of the accidents happen anyway.

What I believe should be done is to tackle busy junctions, and introduce grade separation with pedestrians and cyclists on one level and motor traffic on another. Elephant & Castle was a huge missed opportunity to try something like that.

Robert.

Terry Vaughan

Robert, subject to guidance, the highway authority would use whatever criteria it saw fit to achieve the right balance. They would take into account road width and directness of route, and no doubt a great deal of local politics. They could have a network of parallel routes, one way systems or whatever. The network could be dense or thin. All those routes would at times carry fast, heavy traffic, and would therefore need both pavements and cycle tracks. To manage traffic flow, other streets would be access only, and the through routes could be designed to maximise traffic flow or to reduce it. It would then be possible for anyone who wished to cycle from door to door, or as good as. Junctions can be segregated by timed signals and by changing priority so that motors give way to bikes and pedestrians. That’s the Dutch model, which has seen a huge increase in cycling.

Nimbyism is indeed an issue - everyone wants their own street to be a cul de sac and all others to be open. It’s where the politics start. Putting traffic on streets where people live or work should be avoided where possible because it is very harmful, but as you said previously, almost all our roads are residential, and sometimes nettles have to be grasped. Streets without through motor traffic will be quieter, less polluted, less congested and safer. Unless there are other problems, they will be used for play. There is an estate near me with one entrance point. Outside the rush hours, children play on the street, including on their bikes. The problem comes from people driving onto the estate to park - if that were dealt with, conditions would be better.

I can assure you that so-called ‘left hook’ incidents in which a driver overtakes and immediately turns are commonplace. So are incidents where a driver pulls out of a side road or turns right across the path of a bike. On one recent trip I experienced all three within half an hour, though in each case the driver realised their mistake in time to avoid a collision. Together with dangerously close overtakes and other poor driving, they can be almost an everyday occurrence. There is no way to avoid such incidents, because too many drivers are careless, distracted, incompetent or aggressive. Although things can be done to reduce those risks (sometimes at the cost of increasing others), cycling with motor traffic is not ‘pretty safe’. It’s inherently dangerous. Such incidents happen in broad daylight, with perfect visibility, and sometimes are deliberate. And it’s not just the statistical risk that counts, it's the appearance of danger that stops most people cycling.

When a road has a high number of driver accidents, steps are taken to reduce them. That might involve putting in barriers, improving lighting, easing tight bends, etc. These things are expected. The equivalent for cycling is putting in safe cycle tracks, and it’s high time that vulnerable road users were treated equally.

I take that police study at face value until it’s shown to be invalid. That’s because it rings true. The people you see cycling are generally commuters well used to riding in traffic. They do their best to avoid collisions - would you expect otherwise? They have more incentive to do so than do drivers, who are protected against minor collisions. We all see lawless cycling, but I personally don’t see dangerous cycling. There is a difference.

hatler

@Robert,

"What I believe should be done is to tackle busy junctions, and introduce grade separation with pedestrians and cyclists on one level and motor traffic on another. Elephant & Castle was a huge missed opportunity to try something like that."

I can't see anyone paying for that level of infrastructure anytime soon.

Flyovers for motors have a horrible deadening effect on an area. They are oppressive and polluting and attract more motorised traffic, aside from the devastation of local businesses and homes required to build the things.

Tunnelling is slightly more acceptable but massively more expensive.

Far simpler (and cheaper) to dissuade people from using motorised vehicles wherever possible.

KJL001

I drive, ride, cycle and walk and I want no more resources thrown at a loud minority i.e. cyclists. If TFL would stop narrowing roads and forcing road users into conflict with each other, and cyclists took responsibility for their own destiny there would be no problems. Cyclists should be made to undergo the same level of training that motorcyclists are and be identifiable while on the road. I cant see any justifiable argument against this.
As for 'encouraging' one thing or another, it is none of TFLS business how I need to travel on a day to day basis and outlandish to punish me by obstructing my way when I travel by van or car.
I have no sympathy at all for these self righteous middle class prigs who head down bowl through red lights, pedestrians, in front of larger moving vehicles,.. it's only astonishing more collisions don't happen, and credit for that is due to the licensed drivers of vehicles not the oblivious cyclists.

john ackers

It's absolutely TfL's business about how you need to travel. You travel in a very crowded, growing city and your choice of mode of travel affects everyone around you.

Terry Vaughan

KJL001, we sometimes read comments from fools who accuse cyclists of being arrogant and self-righteous and self-entitled. They can’t compete with you. Not another penny should be spent on the roads until you and every other motorist stops drunk-driving.

emishi55

@KJL001

The engine-powered mob needs to be curtailed.
More people want to be able to cycle when and where they choose.
Motors are an extravagance. Please be clear about that. A nuisance. An inconvenience.
Anti-social. I don't pay my taxes exceesive volumes of vehicles to foul up my breathing space, and prevent me from entering/exitin residential areas.

The car is a privilege not a right. Children are deprived of the right to basic forms of movement by excessive nd non-essential car use.

Please consider this. try riding your bike a bit more. But also see if you can imagine children riding to school or anywhere else.
It's not all about you - or me actually.

k.aldo

yawn

JeremyHop

Roll on the advent of driver less cars I say! Perhaps it might reduce the number of people on this discussion group who use driving to channel all their anger...
The actual issues are about getting everyone where they want to travel as fast and comfortably as possible. Also about keeping people healthy and improving the environment - to a certain extent. Finally it is about economics, incentives to ensure that people are motivated to do the best thing for everyone and efficient use of money, and about social justice, making sure that the cost of travel is witin the means of almost everyone.
It is not about getting pissed off because someone cut you up nor about self righteousness about breaking laws. Let's keep this discussion rational folks....

JeremyHop

Roll on the advent of driver less cars I say! Perhaps it might reduce the number of people on this discussion group who use driving to channel all their anger...
The actual issues are about getting everyone where they want to travel as fast and comfortably as possible. Also about keeping people healthy and improving the environment - to a certain extent. Finally it is about economics, incentives to ensure that people are motivated to do the best thing for everyone and efficient use of money, and about social justice, making sure that the cost of travel is witin the means of almost everyone.
It is not about getting pissed off because someone cut you up nor about self righteousness about breaking laws. Let's keep this discussion rational folks....

denise julien

I have just received this...
Dear Denise,

Thank you for your email on 14/12/2016 to the Mayor's Office for Police And Crime (MOPAC) regarding cycling.

No injury on London's roads or pavements is acceptable, and the Mayor is working to make our city safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Cycling on pavements is illegal and we expect police officers to enforce the law and deal with these offences in an appropriate way. I am concerned to hear about your experiences and will ask my office to raise this matter with the Metropolitan Police for their attention.

You may also find it beneficial to visit the latest press release on the Greater London Authority website regarding the Mayor's upcoming plans for cyclists in London - not only will it make cycling in London safer for cyclists, but also for pedestrians. You can see all the information here: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-secures-record-in...

I hope you have found this information is useful. Thank you for your email to MOPAC.

Many thanks,

Benn Cain
Directorate Assitant
Information Team | Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime
Telephone 0207 983 6532 | Email Enquiries@mopac.london.gov.uk | Website www.london.gov.uk Address: City Hall The Queens Walk, London SE1 2AA

emishi55

Well done Denise.
you must feel so proud of yourself. HAve a brownie point, Excellent work.

You're not contributing to lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, stunted growth etc etc in children are you...!
By encouraging more car use...thus depriving children of the option of travelling to school by bike...you're not doing that are you?

I just wanted to be sure that you're claer about that.

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