New investment for cycling

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1 week ago (12:47 PM)
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Comments:

Terry Vaughan

Michael, I think Hatler may have been a little too kind in his comment, but at least you have taken the trouble to argue your case. This thread is about the provision of infrastructure for cycling, necessary because most people will not risk cycling on roads that ‘should be accessible to all’. You write as if there is equivalence between pedestrians, bike riders and drivers. Yes, all these groups have a tendency to lawlessness, but in terms of harm done, there is no equivalence. You tell of 20 bike riders careering round a blind corner in just 10 minutes. Assuming that wasn’t the annual outing of the Irresponsible Cycling Society and was typical of what was going on there, it suggests that there should have been a significant number of accidents at that location. I wonder if that is the case?

While those people were receiving FPNs, there were drivers across the city speeding, driving while phoning or texting, drunk or drugged, with poor eyesight, unlicensed or banned, in uninsured, overloaded and defective vehicles, driving on the pavement, jumping red lights, weaving from lane to lane, ignoring 'no turn' and 'keep left' signals, and no doubt more, normally with impunity. Those drivers kill and injure substantial numbers of people, including a lot of pedestrians on the pavement. Driving licences and registration numbers don’t make them accountable in practice. At least, not enough to stop their offending. Of course two wrongs don’t make a right, but you have to take into account the scarcity of police resources when deciding what to do with them. The fact that PCSOs can take action demonstrates that offending bike riders are quite easy to catch, whether or not they have licences or their bikes are registered. This may be the reason for targeting them.

And if you insist that bike riders are better regulated, why not make it illegal for pedestrians to step off the kerb without looking? That causes many accidents, and the PCSOs could lie in wait and issue FPNs to them. Especially if pedestrians had to carry visible ID.

I’m sure you are right that many bike riders haven’t read the highway code. As far as I can tell, not many motorists are all that familiar with it either.

hatler

Terry,

Sadly we appear to inhabit a world where pragmatism and rationality isn't enough to satisfy the baying mob. Incontrovertible evidence doesn't seem to be enough to conclusively prove a point which would thereby lead to an uncontroversial direct action to resolve the issue. Sorting out the massive damage, loss, injury and carnage caused by motor vehicles first is the obvious way to go, but the warped reality is that we will need for the 'authorities' to show some balance.

In other words, they will have to ensure that the law is seen to apply to all, otherwise they will face cries of 'favouritism' or 'prejudice', and their overall credibility will be undermined.

Where resources are limited it is a fine balance to strike, and I would say impossible to keep all the people happy all the time. I am certainly unhappy with the concept of the Police (or the Minister of State or the Mayor) choosing which laws to enforce.

Far better that we have a properly funded enforcement system and a more appropriately drafted set of laws (which would help eliminate cries of 'Unfair'). And neither of those is going to happen any time soon.

Terry Vaughan

Hatler, you may be right. I have no objection to action against dangerous cycling, where it exists. A crack team of PCSO's could do it. But remember that some lawbreaking is done to prevent accidents. In particular pavement cycling and red light jumping. Where there is a proper cycle track, a ban on pavement riding is easier to justify. And where junctions take the needs of people cycling into account, a ban on light jumping too.

hatler

Good point. That last paragraph of mine would be better as follows : -

"Far better that we have a properly funded enforcement system, a more appropriately drafted set of laws (which would help eliminate cries of 'Unfair'), and an environment that both lessens the need and reduces the opportunity to break the law. And none of that is going to happen any time soon."

yaxow

I'd like to see more done for cyclists. GBP 154 isn't nearly enough ... The popularity of the segregated East-West Embankment cycle path demonstrates the high demand.

- As a priority all non-main roads should be 20mph, and actively enforced.
- The congestion charge zone should be increased in size to cover up all of London and the charge increased to GBP 50. The revenue could be used to fund public transport, and improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.
- There should be an additional charge for 4x4 vehicles ... When involved in accidents these vehicles cause greater injury to pedestrians and cyclists, so should be discouraged.
- There should be greater pedestrianisation of city-centre streets, with cycle routes provided ... We could start by restricting traffic from the whole of Soho and Oxford street (access allowed for emergency and delivery vehicles).

hatler

Let's all try stopping being quite so bombastic for a bit and reflect upon where we are, and how we improve things.

It is unlikely that any of the following are going to happen, so, for the purposes of focussing debate, let's accept the following and please stop banging on about them. It unnecessarily prolongs and diverts the debate.
* Cyclists will not be required to be licensed
* Cyclists will not be required to be insured
* Bikes will not be required to be registered
* Bikes will not require a bike equivalent of Vehicle Excise Duty
* Bikes will not be required to undergo a roadworthiness test
* Cyclists will not be required to wear helmets
* Cyclists will not be required to wear hi-viz/reflectives

In addition to that, we have an established (uncontroversially so) problem with the following : -
* An obesogenic environment
* Traffic congestion
* Public transport nearing capacity at peak times
* Poor air quality

There are beliefs, supported by a good range of evidence, that : -
* Many more people would cycle if the environment in which bikes have to operate were to be less threatening
* Motorised vehicle-centric townscapes result in reduced pedestrian activity, divided communities, scared children, etc etc etc

One further fact, the Mayor has just committed to spending £770m over five years on improving things for cyclists.

So, what next ? What do we do to address the four established and two perceived (probably real) problems above, beyond what's already being done ?

Practical, realistic, pragmatic solutions only please. Thinking outside the box definitely welcome. Think the unthinkable. Imagine a city transformed that not only works for business and its citizens but also makes it a delight to live in and travel around. What would that look like ?

Natasa

How about adding monorail, high above to carry public around, another form of public transport that once established won't need roads. Maybe then we can reduce busses - eliminate the polluting ones, thus free road space and reduce congestion.

denise julien

hatler, you left out "bikes will not be permitted to rid on pavements"

hatler

Denise,

That's already the case. Highway Code Rule 64.

**********************************************************************
You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.

Laws HA 1835 sect 72 & R(S)A sect 129
**********************************************************************

For the sake of clarity I only included those elements of the current legislative framework as it pertains to cycling which are regularly cited as needing change. A diminishingly small number of people wish to make footpaths available for use by cyclists. However, for completeness, I will add to the list above : -

* Councils will not re-designate footpaths as accessible to cyclists over the age of 10.

Terry Vaughan

Denise, do you support these plans for cycle tracks or don't you?

peter caton

Could somebody of authority explain to me why the Mayor has decided to spend all this money on cyclists and not on the poor motorist who is finding it more and more difficult to go about his business in town and having to pay the ridiculous congestion charge ,for what I would like to ask and being continually harassed by the mad cyclists trying to get themselves killed due to their poor road skills, overtaking on the inside and regularly colliding with pedestrians going about their business but I forgot he is labour and they have never been able to balance the books always running up debt and asking for more from the tax payer to bail them out.

hatler

Write to the Mayor's office.

And please, please, try adding to the debate. Your bombastic, ill-informed and overly emotional style of posting isn't helping progress this discussion.

Buried away in your diatribe you do raise an interesting point though (albeit obliquely).

To make London a great city to live and work in, will we all have to pay more tax for it ? If the funds available to City Hall aren't adequate, where is the extra cash going to come from ?

How much extra would you be prepared to pay on say your council tax to have a city that functions in a way that would make a real difference to your, and everyone else's life ? If that money is not to be raised through council tax, what other sources could provide an increase in revenue ?

emishi55

@peter caton
"on the poor motorist who is finding it more and more difficult to go about his business in town and having to pay the ridiculous congestion charge ,for what I would like to ask and being continually harassed by the mad cyclists trying to get themselves killed due to their poor road skills, overtaking on the inside"

Sarcasm yes?

I mean I can't imagine a more obnoxious and idiotic posting that soemhow gets past the moderator on here?

There is a moderator I take it....?

I call troll here. Deliberate. Blind ignorant. Highly offensive. Sociopathic. Hater.

If this guy doen't understand that there are cycle lanes leading on the left side of the lane to the ASL box (that's ADVANCED STOP LINES sonny - try observing it sometime!) law that entitles cyclists: ie THOSE ON BICYCLES to ride on the left/inside of traffic to gain access to this 'hallowed ground' - he should never have been given the keys to operate a lethal piece of machinery like a motor vehicle in the first place.

hatler

I do think it reasonable to question whether someone who is so clearly anti a particular type of vulnerable road user has a level of mental stability which allows them to operate perhaps two tons of powerful machinery in a public space.

emishi55

Further reading.
(Essential for users of motor vehicles of all shapes, sizes and engine capacity who find themselves so compromised with available road space they find themselves unable to keep their vehicle from occupying the aforesaid box.)

Happens all the time. All over London.
An expressionof contempt for cyclists? Yes of course it is. Look at how they drive into this space even as they arrive at the junction where the lights have been red for several seconds.
For those that try to beat the lights - and don't forget tricksters, amber means 'get ready to stop'.
Another rule conveniently forgotten once that pesky and annoying thing called a driving yest is out of the way.

Advanced Stop Lines - Metropolitan Police Service
content.met.police.uk › ... › Travel safety and security advice › Cycle Safety Advice
Motorists.
DO NOT ENTER THE ASL BOX WHEN THE LIGHT IS RED – THIS SPACE IS RESERVED FOR THE SAFETY OF CYCLISTS.
Crossing the first or second ASL line when the light is red makes you liable for a £100 FIXED PENALTY, THREE POINTS ON YOUR LICENCE, AND ENDANGERS VULNERABLE ROAD USERS.

hatler

Sorry, I'm going to be really picky now ref your comment about an amber light.

From https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/light-signals-controlling-t...

"AMBER means ‘Stop’ at the stop line. You may go on only if the AMBER appears after you have crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to pull up might cause an accident"

"RED AND AMBER also means ‘Stop’. Do not pass through or start until GREEN shows"

And guess what green means. No, not "Go", but
"GREEN means you may go on if the way is clear. Take special care if you intend to turn left or right and give way to pedestrians who are crossing"

mkorda

hatter bombastic too

pavements: for pedestrians (as opposed to wheeled vehicles)
AND pedestrians share with other items not allowed on roads such as
lamposts, traffic signs, shop boards, telephone boxes, rubbish bins various sizes, domestic rubbish, services housings, bike stands, bike racks, bus stops, bus shelters, bollards, benches, trees, flower beds, plant pots, scaffolding ... endless list of obstacles for footfallers to encounter goes on and on

hatler

"pavements: for pedestrians (as opposed to wheeled vehicles)"

Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.

I try hard not to be bombastic.

From Chambers : -
Bombastic adj said of language, etc: sounding impressive but insincere or meaningless.

I'm trying to post in as sincere and meaningful a way as I can, avoiding personal comments and working hard at not being confrontational, or closing down debate.

emishi55

"I'm trying to post in as sincere and meaningful a way as I can, avoiding personal comments and working hard at not being confrontational, or closing down debate."

Admirable sentiments Hatler.

Unfortunately, when you've heard the trolling brigade barking like a pack of dogs as often as I have, and you recognise the complete lack of human empathy embodied in the kind of shrill non-thinking and deliberate obfuscation that causes actual death and injury, as well as being responsible for the demonisation of an 'out-group' (currently), you soon realise patience, rational debate and logic doesn't cut it with them.

Well done to you and others on here, especially Terry Vaughn for keeping a level head and having the tenacity to keep trying to reason with those holding such an offensive and frankly debased agenda.
It's a battle against the mob.

hatler

Thank you. I am keen to move the debate either beyond or around the tiresome and entirely predictable anti-cyclist rants which add nothing and only really serve to reveal some people's apparently deep and irrationally held beliefs. It is hard though.

Terry Vaughan

mkorda, the things on the pavement that annoy me the most are parked vehicles (it's interesting that you forgot to mention them) and large signs for the benefit of motorists. Those couldn't be put on the carriageway because they would 'cause' accidents.

There are streets near me where the rubbish bins and parked cars together force people to walk in the carriageway. Both are there as council policy. Pedestrians are almost as low a priority as bike riders are. Though they do have pavements to walk on.

peter caton

The comments on this site by various people being rude to others because they don't agree doesn't help the discussion, everybody in this country is entitled to their opinion and people should learn to agree to disagree. Just because some people don't like the behaviour of some cyclists doesn't mean they hate them as it's a very good healthy exercise but they should take more care in our cities if they don't want to be injured or injure other people. Maybe as this is the season of good will some commentators could show some to others.

hatler

And, more importantly, all road users (and that includes pedestrians) should show good will and consideration to all other road users, all the time.

And those with the greater ability to inflict more damage should be especially careful when encountering more vulnerable road users.

This is particularly pertinent to those who have effectively externalised virtually all of the risk (ie, transferred the risk from themselves to 'someone else') by wrapping a vehicle around themselves.

Remember, they are the ones who cause damage out of all proportion to their numbers.

Terry Vaughan

" everybody in this country is entitled to their opinion"

But, as has been said elsewhere, not to their own facts, Peter.

mkorda

Peter, thank you and, worryingly, the forum appears not to be moderated.

Terry Vaughan

mkorda, it is.

Terry Vaughan

Some complain about the great numbers of people who cycle on the pavement. Others complain about money being spent when not many people cycle. Pavement cycling represents the tip of the iceberg of demand for cycle tracks. When an authority gets complaints about it, it should ask itself how to provide for the demand, not how to stop it.

denise julien

Terry I am very much in favor of a cycle route. For many like me, pavement cycling is more of a nuisance than a safety matter. We have the right to walk with our heads in the clouds without having to step aside for cyclists or being unnerved by them. So yes bring on cycle lanes.

Terry Vaughan

Denise, I agree with you. Pavement cycling doesn't bother me, but your comment is fair. If you think I'm in favour of it, I'm not. I just see it as the least bad option in some circumstances.

steve899

I think cyclists need a range of measures, not just a "super highway". There needs to be a mix of schemes, to better cater for a mix of cyclists. Also, some in outer Boroughs, not just Inner London. Car users have had this for around 100 years!

Talk London


Hi all,

Many thanks for all of your comments so far, which raise some great points on the complexity of balancing concerns around congestion, safety, air pollution health, the economy and making all areas of the city accessible to all. The transport team here at City Hall have been reading the discussion with interest.

One of the main things mentioned in the discussion is whether infrastructure like Cycle Superhighways can actually cause congestion rather than alleviating it. The Transport team tell us this:

“even though the Cycle Superhighways can result in some redistribution of existing traffic flows, the main cause of congestion is too many vehicles. The worst places for congestion in London are on the M25 and the north and south circular roads. Proposals to make walking and cycling more attractive will contribute to reducing motor traffic congestion by encouraging people to walk or cycle short trips run trips, instead of driving.

In Waltham Forest, where the first of the Mini-Holland village schemes is now in place, including road closures to prevent through traffic on residential roads - Traffic on 12 key roads in the village scheme has fallen by 56 per cent, though there has been a 3 and 11 per cent increase on the main roads - Hoe St and Lea Bridge Road. Overall, the net change has been a 16 per reduction in traffic.”

And, on Cycle Superhighways in general, they added this:

“In five months since the launch of four new cycle routes, there has been more than a 50 per cent increase in the number of cyclists using the East-West and North-South Cycle Superhighway routes compared to pre-construction levels, taking the total number of cyclists to 8,400 using Blackfriars Bridge and 7,000 using Victoria Embankment each day in the morning and evening peaks.

The new routes are proving efficient at moving people. Weeks after opening, the CSEW and CSNS corridors were moving 5 per cent more people per hour than they could without cycle lanes, a number that will increase as they attract more cyclists.

On the upgrade to Cycle Superhighway 2 and Cycle Superhighway 5, journey times for motor traffic are now comparable to those pre-construction, generally within 5 minutes of pre-construction levels, despite the removal of a traffic lane. On CSNS, since completion of construction, southbound journey times have reduced to approximately what was experienced pre-construction. Northbound journey times were between 5 - 7 minutes pre-construction and reached between 8 - 12 minutes during construction. Since the completion of the scheme the northbound journey times have stayed at around 10 minutes.”

You’ll also be interested to know that earlier this week the Mayor appointed London’s first full-time Walking and Cycling Commissioner.

Please do keep sharing your views with us.

Talk London Team
 

Terry Vaughan

TLT - Finally! Thanks for this input. You might want to say something about how the figures were arrived at, because some here will refuse to believe you. There are grumbles about the cycle routes being unused outside peak hours - is there information about the number of people moved per day?

Does the Team have any information about air quality changes related to the cycle routes?

Robert Munster

Indeed! Having said that, I for one don't disbelieve the figures - but many of the statements are so vague as to be practically meaningless. (Bombastic, I think the word may be ...) No doubt this is deliberate, to prevent effective scrutiny. The GLA's and TfL's capabilities are somewhat variable, but they are certainly highly proficient in the sphere of spin! They have to be, in order to be able to "justify" implementing the policies of different politicians, which are inevitably based on populism rather than proper analysis. Fare cuts, fare rises, fare freezes, more Routemasters, no Routemasters, artics, Boris buses, more bus lanes, more cycle lanes, equal pay for bus drivers, sod the laws of arithmetic ...

"the main cause of congestion is too many vehicles" - well yes, obviously. So why pursue policies that increase the number of vehicles? Even in the best case scenario where each extra bicycle completely replaces one car, that is still only keeping the number of vehicles the same, not reducing it.

"worst places for congestion in London are on the M25 and the north and south circular roads" - interesting claim, but how is this measured, let alone arrived at? Is it the ratio of the average actual speed to the speed limit, averaged across the length of the road, perhaps? If so, not necessarily the most helpful measure. Certainly the SCR is very congested and the M25 can be so. In my experience the NCR is generally quite good, apart from the short sections where the planned upgrades were cancelled after responsibility was handed from DfT to the Mayor. However there are many other roads across London where traffic really crawls along - very often just one problem junction in an area where traffic otherwise flows well, such as Fulwell crossroads, where I work.

"Proposals to make walking and cycling more attractive will contribute to reducing motor traffic congestion by encouraging people to walk or cycle short trips, instead of driving." This is a triumph of hope over experience. More people are walking and cycling already, but motor congestion has got far worse. As I've pointed out before, short car trips don't contribute much to congestion in the first place, so targeting them won't change much. TfL define "cyclable" as up to 8km (5 miles), plus various other considerations - they did a study on this a few years ago although, as they say themselves, that left a lot of questions unanswered:

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/analysis-of-cycling-potential.pdf

The key finding was that (then) 7% of potentially cyclable trips were being cycled - so the number of cycle trips could theoretically be increased 14-fold. Of course, since then, cycling use has greatly increased already. 63% of these trips would come from cars, though I would suggest that car users would be much less likely to switch mode than users of public transport given the relative convenience of each mode.

However, like almost all debate on the topic, the results were not weighted by journey length. So the report is interesting as far as it goes, but (like most contributors to this discussion) does not address the questions that actually matter.

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/technical-note-14-who-travels-by-car-in-london...

has a pie chart showing car journey lengths. This does not give a breakdown above 5km, but putting in a realistic distribution of figures up to 50km (the diameter of London) you find that whilst around 80% of car trips are under 8km, this accounts for only 40% of car travel by distance. This is the figure that matters.

Returning to the first report, 63% of 4.3m, or 2.7m, car trips are potentially cyclable. Looking at the raw LTDS data this is based on, there are 7.6m car trips per day, so 6.1m under 8km. That means only 44% of car trips under 8km are deemed to be cyclable, with the main obstacle being the carriage of heavy/bulky goods. Assuming the same ratio applies to all journeys regardless of length - doubtful, as the other factors seem more likely to be the main reason for making car trips where the distance is short - means only 17.6% of travel by car, by distance, is cyclable. Of course, you will never get everybody who could possibly cycle to do so anyway, and there are other barriers to cycling that are not taken into account; whilst some have already switched since these reports were written. So a realistic figure today may be around 10% - coincidentally just about the reduction already achieved since 1999, as I mentioned earlier. That of course is purely for cars, with bus and lorry traffic assumed to be unchanged.

Now, a 10% reduction in car traffic, other things being equal, would be welcome and could quite significantly ease traffic delays at many bottlenecks. However, other things are invariably not equal. Quite apart from anything else, you now have more cyclists to fit in - probably 2-3 times the number of cars removed, as many cars have multiple occupants, and many cyclists will come from other modes. More crucially, many of the schemes to promote cycling (and walking for that matter) reduce road capacity for motor vehicles, often by as much as 50%. If road capacity is reduced by more than 10% then we will be worse off overall (in terms of congestion, which is what Talk London is referring to).

"In Waltham Forest, "

I am not familiar with the Waltham Forest scheme, but I thought it was still under construction so it seems a bit premature to be assessing it. I do however know that all bus routes in the Leyton area have had around an extra 10 minutes added to their schedules, which in most cases is still in place, at an effective cost to TfL of around £5m per year.

"Traffic on 12 key roads in the village scheme has fallen by 56 per cent, though there has been a 3 and 11 per cent increase on the main roads - Hoe St and Lea Bridge Road."

Bit of a strange statement. Surely Hoe Street and Lea Bridge Road ARE the key roads. A reduction on traffic on back streets undoubtedly has some minor benefits, but an increase in traffic on main roads is a major disbenefit to everybody.

"Overall, the net change has been a 16 per reduction in traffic.” What does this relate to - overall traffic levels in Waltham Forest? Surely not. I presume it relates to the roads covered by the scheme and the immediate boundary roads. However, if so, this ignores traffic which is now avoiding the area completely due to the extra congestion. And one of the alternative routes is the North Circular Road ...!

"on Cycle Superhighways"

As indicated before, I am not dead against these on the grounds that the volume of cycling on these routes is high enough that the road space allocated to them is reasonably in proportion to their modal share on the roads concerned. The reason this is so, however, is because there is an excellent parallel rail service. It isn't going to happen everywhere, ever.

"... taking the total number of cyclists to 8,400 using Blackfriars Bridge and 7,000 using Victoria Embankment each day in the morning and evening peaks." A vague and ill-defined statement. Is this the number per peak, per direction or a total figure? What is the defintion of "peak" - 7-10am and 4-7pm? The total bus capacity on Blackfriars Bridge is 2210 per hour in each direction, or 26,520 across the 6 hours. I'd grant that this is nowhere near used to its full potential, but the buses use a tiny fraction of the road space take up by the cycle lanes. Just puts a bit of context on things.

"journey times for motor traffic are now comparable to those pre-construction, generally within 5 minutes of pre-construction levels" - why "within 5 mins"? Any increase at all is surely a fail. It is also a bit meaningless without context - 5 mins on an hour might not be too bad, but 5 mins extra on a journey that was only 5 mins to start with is another matter, as is apparently the case of the northbound time on CSNS, presumably over quite a short distance.

Well, there are some more facts for those who want them ...

hatler

""the main cause of congestion is too many vehicles" - well yes, obviously. So why pursue policies that increase the number of vehicles? Even in the best case scenario where each extra bicycle completely replaces one car, that is still only keeping the number of vehicles the same, not reducing it."
And ten bikes take up as much space as ten cars ?
Your whole argument string is devalued if you make statements such as this which are so clearly incorrect. We've already covered this previously. In one green phase of a set of traffic lights, will more cars or more bikes get through ?

"However there are many other roads across London where traffic really crawls along - very often just one problem junction in an area where traffic otherwise flows well, such as Fulwell crossroads, where I work."
Agreed. And see my point immediately above. Traffic flow is mostly restricted by having to cross another traffic flow. More individual traffic 'units' can get through a junction if they take up less space. Think how many 40t trucks can get through one phase of lights at a junction vs skip lorries vs cars vs bikes. This shouldn't be a difficult concept to grasp.

""Proposals to make walking and cycling more attractive will contribute to reducing motor traffic congestion by encouraging people to walk or cycle short trips, instead of driving." This is a triumph of hope over experience. More people are walking and cycling already, but motor congestion has got far worse."
So, you're saying that reducing the number of vehicles on the road makes no difference to the number of vehicles on the road ? Have you considered that there may be more people trying to travel around London ? If those people hadn't switched to cycling/walking/buses, imagine how bad the congestion would be. There is a logical fallacy in your argument. You are assuming that more people walking will reduce congestion from its absolute level. Nonsense. There are too many other factors to consider. Just considering one element reduces the credibility of this position.

"As indicated before, I am not dead against these on the grounds that the volume of cycling on these routes is high enough that the road space allocated to them is reasonably in proportion to their modal share on the roads concerned. The reason this is so, however, is because there is an excellent parallel rail service. It isn't going to happen everywhere, ever."
Sorry, you've lost me there. What has the existence of a parallel rail route got to do with CSHs ?

"... but the buses use a tiny fraction of the road space take up by the cycle lanes. Just puts a bit of context on things."
And cars use up a fraction of the road space taken up by bus lanes.
We should be considering capacity, not 'space'.

"Any increase at all is surely a fail."
Not necessarily. If the total capacity of the route has increased that could be seen to be a bonus. If fewer vehicles are in use this improves air quality, etc etc etc.
And a five minute increase on a car journey of five minutes is **exactly** the sort of thing that should point out the idiocy which is using the car for a five minute journey in the first place.

Robert Munster

""As indicated before, I am not dead against these on the grounds that the volume of cycling on these routes is high enough that the road space allocated to them is reasonably in proportion to their modal share on the roads concerned. The reason this is so, however, is because there is an excellent parallel rail service. It isn't going to happen everywhere, ever.""
"Sorry, you've lost me there. What has the existence of a parallel rail route got to do with CSHs ?"

I'm not going to respond to each point repeating myself, but I accept that was a somewhat obscure comment! The point is that demand along these corridors is very well catered for by rail, which for most people will be the fastest and most convenient option. There is very little reason for anyone to drive along those corridors unless they have luggage. Driving into central London has always been a minority activity, as most people go by train. Actually, I can't really see why anyone would want to cycle into central London either, unless they happen to be a cycling enthusiast or their rail service is particularly dire.

In the suburbs however the vast majority of travel is by car and most of those people have no realistic alternative. Distances are typically too far to expect people to cycle, and there is no direct public transport; you might be able to go by train via central London (as I do) but that isn't terribly efficient or attractive, and buses are far too slow. So cycling is unlikely ever to account for more than about 5% of people using most roads in outer London. It therefore does not really make sense to give something like a quarter to a third of the space over to cycling, unless there happens to be surplus space, as in Amsterdam.

The further in you get, the better the public transport option becomes, even for orbital journeys. We have the orbital Overground in Zone 2, but there is nothing equivalent farther out, especially in north London. If you're going to or from central/inner London anyway you won't need to travel too far to get to the correct radial rail route. But try a journey like Bromley Common to Belmont, Hampton to Greenford, Becontree to Waltham Abbey or Beckenham to Gillingham Business Park without a car - these are/were all regular journeys of people I know (the first being a cancer patient with an oxygen tank).

hatler

Ah. Got it. Thank you for the explanation. Parallel rail route reduces the need for driving so bikes reach a higher proportion of the total traffic.

Ref this para - "Actually, I can't really see why anyone would want to cycle into central London either, unless they happen to be a cycling enthusiast or their rail service is particularly dire."
* Completely predictable journey times
* The freedom to set off at any time you want
* Cheaper
* Possibly quicker
* Makes you fitter
* Master of your own destiny
* Freedom
* Less likely to be a victim of a terrorist outrage. (Silly point, but it was the 7/7 bombings which prompted thousands of people to switch to cyclo-commuting.)
* You get to feel the seasons change and feel part of the environment (as opposed to sitting at a desk in an air-conditioned office all day and then spending an hour shoved in someone's armpit on the way home).

hatler

Robert,

You seem to be making the point that there is little value in switching people from vehicles to bikes for short journeys as the total proportion of miles travelled by short journeying motorists is insignificant as compared to the total miles travelled.

Given that overall traffic capacity appears to be a function of the capacity of individual junctions, if the short-journey motorists were to abandon their cars for bikes, then junction capacity would stand a better chance of coping with the long-distance motorists' demands. (Because, as any fule knos, you can get more bikes through one phase of a junction's lights.)

kscterry

Dear Talk London
Thanks for your post - it's good to see somebody actually reads this
Do TFL not think it would be better to adopt a more bus lane like model to this? ie to have a big cycle lane open only to cyclists during certain times and not others thus allowing maximal utilisation of the space? If I'm in Central London on weekends it is very common I will see these superhighways unused whilst a huge queue of traffic develops next to it.
Do TFL also believe the imminent chaos from proposals at Swiss Cottage will also level out? Given the importance of the A41 to getting traffic in to London I'll be very surprised if this doesn't cause huge congestion.
How will TFL react if these plans are not successful?

Terry Vaughan

kcsterry, Talk London's comment shows the early benefits of the cycle tracks. But anyone who sees the motor traffic queuing while there are few bikes on the adjacent track might think as you do.

The tracks are mainly helping commuter traffic at present. Most people are unable to get to them safely, because there are large areas of London with no provision for cycling at all. Eventually there will be a network of tracks and off-peak traffic will grow. If there is no track during the day the cycle traffic will always be restricted to people willing to share the road with motors. And it would be hard to make a protected track available to motors part of the time. A cycle lane without a barrier will not be as safe as a proper track, and would be used by drivers at times when they shouldn't. That's a major problem with existing cycle lanes.

What would you think about opening pavements to motors when pedestrian traffic is light?

AMC

Any effort is welcome. However, this is small. We need a bolder, more transformational plan to turn London into a global city cycling leader - say £75 per person on cycling transformation. Yes, motorists will object, but we all must admit that our lives in London will improve: pollution is unbearable, motoring costs are unaffordable, we are all ageing and becoming fat and need exercise - NHS health costs are spiralling. We will be happier if we go for bolder, bigger plans. My whole family want to ride but won't given current lack of safe facilities. When it comes to cycling, there is more talk, rhetoric, and selling, than spending, building, organising, and doing.

PeterSpring

All sounds good and will repair the neglect of cyclists for too long. There are three big omissions: (1) Banning lorries from Central London during the peak morning and afternoon rush hours; (2) Introducing 20 mph speed restrictions in most of suburban London; (3) Introducing 20 mph speed restrictions during the peak morning and afternoon rush hours on all London roads except those with a complete separation of cyclists. These restrictions will make no difference to journey times, as the average speed across London is well sub-20 mph. Indeed, they could improve journey times, as there will likely be fewer accidents, and any which do happen will be less likely to be fatal (these often becoming grid-lockers).

Robert Munster

Lorries are already effectively banned at night, if you ban them in peak times as well there would be practically no time in the day left for them to operate! Personally I think the night time lorry ban should be lifted - I am sure most operators would prefer to run at night (subject to delivery arrangements), which is much cheaper for them, and less peak hour lorry movements would benefit everyone.

Not sure where this fixation with 20mph has come from. I stopped cycling before 20mph speed limits/zones became common, but if I was going at say, 15mph, and someone wanted to overtake I'd much rather they zoomed past at 30mph and got out of my way quickly rather than dawdling alongside me for ages at 20mph which dramatically increases the risk of something going wrong. A number of current cyclists have commented to this effect elsewhere. Same sort of thing as a pedestrian crossing the road, I want people to hurry up and get out of my way, not dawdle along at 20mph for no good reason.

This whole 20mph zones save lives idea is a myth anyway. I went on a fact-finding mission a couple of years ago and found that accident rates actually fell more slowly where 20mph was used than elsewhere. There may be underlying factors at play, but at any rate the whole case for 20mph is based on several fundamental misunderstandings of the data and falls apart when examined closely.

http://www.londonbusroutes.net/miscellaneous/Accident_trends.htm

As to whether it affects journey times, surely you know that a maximum and an average are not the same thing! In my experience you can generally average around 22-23mph in London without ever exceeding 30mph, in free-flowing conditions - which are not actually that uncommon in the suburbs. I guess it would be about 15mph with a max of 20mph everywhere.

hatler

Robert,

"As to whether it affects journey times, surely you know that a maximum and an average are not the same thing! In my experience you can generally average around 22-23mph in London without ever exceeding 30mph, in free-flowing conditions - which are not actually that uncommon in the suburbs."

An average of 22-23mph ? Ah, but I see you've made that conditional upon free-flowing traffic. This whole discussion is predicated on there not being free-flowing traffic.

"I guess it would be about 15mph with a max of 20mph everywhere."
I presume you are referring to the suburbs there and not central London ? Have you any data which bears this out?

Also, using the term 'generally' for anything about London isn't really valid.

One thing you are missing about 20mph zones is that they make the road a less threatening place, thereby increasing the prevalence of walking and cycling which makes the environment 'nicer' for everyone.

"This whole 20mph zones save lives idea is a myth anyway."
You've even managed to misrepresent your own website here. From that link is this quote from TRL : -
"Findings ... indicated that isolated 20 mph zones have greater casualty reduction effects compared to surrounded 20 mph zones. This suggests that the predicted casualty reductions from the scenarios may be overestimated."
That tells me that 20mph zones *do* reduce casualties, not that "This whole 20mph zones save lives idea is a myth anyway."

"Not sure where this fixation with 20mph has come from."
Because 20mph reduces casualty rates (see immediately above), reduces the consequences of any collision, reduces both pollution and CO2 emissions, makes the streets less threatening spaces, smooths traffic flow, reduces noise pollution. Will that do ?

"I stopped cycling before 20mph speed limits/zones became common, but if I was going at say, 15mph, and someone wanted to overtake I'd much rather they zoomed past at 30mph and got out of my way quickly rather than dawdling alongside me for ages at 20mph"
I wouldn't.

"... which dramatically increases the risk of something going wrong."
I don't think it does as it gives the driver a little more time to appreciate that there is a cyclist there and they might come to the conclusion that there is little point in overtaking in the first place. (Which there generally isn't - all that getting past that pesky cyclist usually achieves is arriving at the back of the next traffic jam a few seconds sooner.) Cyclist safety vs motorist convenience. That really shouldn't even be a consideration, but it sadly is.

"A number of current cyclists have commented to this effect elsewhere."
I've never once encountered that comment. Some examples would be good to see.

"Same sort of thing as a pedestrian crossing the road, I want people to hurry up and get out of my way, not dawdle along at 20mph for no good reason."
Poop poop !!! You are Mr Toad AICMFP.
(And as explained above there are a number of very good reasons to only do 20mph.)

Terry Vaughan

"I've never once encountered that comment."

Nor have I, hatler. The usual argument is that people are safer when going as fast as the motor traffic because that reduces the number of overtakes, which a lot of drivers find difficult to do safely. A lower speed would help with that. Though the day when drivers observe the 20 limit will be a long time coming.

J Langrish

I agree with others who've commmented that we need far more investment in the outer boroughs. While what's happening in the mini Holland boroughs is great - it needs to happen in all the outer boroughs. I live in Richmond which is outside the ULEZ and where many of the existing cycle routes are along polluted main routes (e.g. the A316). Whilst there are some quietways these are often not joined up or take routes that go widely out of the way. We need TFL to stop prioritising traffic flow and start seriously prioritising walking and cycling over vehicle needs (some traffic lights at pedestrian crossings take up to 2 minutes to change once the button is pressed). This is the only way to promote the mode shift that we badly need if our towns are to become truly attractive places to walk and cycle. We also need better policing of existing cycling measures e.g. cycle boxes at traffic lights and mandatory cycle lanes which are often ignored by motorists.

Chris Ashby

I fully support all these proposals and wish to see them implemented as soon as possible

peter caton

I love all these statistics that are compiled by these statisticians which our leaders use to prove their policies are working shame they don't consider the poor motorist who pays so much to use our roads and contribute to the economy, central London congestion is a typical example

Robert Munster

This is a useful link, which I intended to comment on earlier - the figures confirm what I stated earlier, that motorists pay around £40bn (actually closer to £50bn) in tax, but only about £10bn is spent on roads (which of course includes spending on pedestrians and cyclists). What name is given to the tax or whether it is officially hypothecated or not is irrelevant.

However where the article then goes wrong is to start factoring in what they call "negative externalities," but not the "positive externalities" that also exist, especially if the impact of buses and freight is included in the figures, as it appears to be. True, you might be able to argue that there is a further £40bn or so of wider direct and indirect costs - but there is also an unquantified but undoubtedly huge economic benefit from road travel. I should think motorists contribute £100bns to the wider economy, which must be factored into the calculation to get a meaningful result. After all, if the cost of the *excess* delays alone is £10bn, then this must be a percentage of a far higher starting figure.

In short, the article is not comparing like with like.

Plus, many of these "negative externalities" arise from bicycle use as well.

£10.9bn on "excess delays" (which I actually think rather low) - I know you and others don't agree, but based on available evidence as already outlined by myself, a straight shift from car use to cycling is likely, if anything, to increase this figure. Certainly if, if as you acknowledged earlier is likely to be true, most of the extra cyclists actually come from buses and trains the figure will increase. Of course, much of these excess delays could be eliminated by spending just a fraction of the £10.9bn on expanding road capacity.

£8.7bn on accidents - as it stands, cycling is roughly 15 times as dangerous as travelling by car, so more cycling will dramatically increase this figure. It would appear that, even if cycle crashes involving motor vehicles could be eliminated completely, cycling would still be more dangerous than travelling by car. So again, encouraging more cycling is likely to increase this figure.

£4.5-10.6bn on air quality - introduction of electric vehicles should largely eliminate this within a generation anyway - although this will also eliminate much of the tax receipts!

£9.8bn on physical inactivity - quite what this means is unclear as it seems to be describing a hypothetical situation that cannot possibly exist. Who knows what people would do if they weren't travelling by car? Perhaps I am driving my car to the countryside for a walk, instead of staying at home on the computer.

£1.2-3.7bn on greenhouse gas emissions - can potentially be reduced by the switch to electric, depending how the electricity is generated. Cyclists emit carbon dioxide too of course, and the human body is an extremely inefficient fuel burner; some back-of-a-fag-packet calculations I did a few years ago suggested that total carbon emissions (including the entire production chain of food products) may actually be higher than for using a petrol car.

£3-5bn noise amenity - no issue with this one!

Terry Vaughan

Robert, thanks for another interesting comment.

With regard to the externalities, the negative ones are associated with all motor traffic, by and large, though some vehicles and some drivers are worse than others. You are right that there are positive ones too. But not all motor traffic contributes to those. If there is economic benefit in getting people from one place to another, walking or cycling can often achieve that as well as, or better than driving, provided B is not too far from A. So some of those benefits could be added to the account on the non-motorised side. Private cars and taxis don't contribute significantly to moving freight.

That there are costs and health benefits associated with travel is clear. Leaving aside whatever people might be doing when not travelling, they can either move under their own steam or not. Motorists are sedentary while travelling. So are public transport users, with the possible exception of those who run to catch the bus. Active travel is likely the most effective long-term source of exercise, when it is possible at all, and sedentary travellers lose out. Some of them would like to cycle but cannot because of fear of motor traffic. Few children walk or cycle to school, due in part to fear of motor traffic. So I have no doubt that motor vehicles are responsible for whatever the correct figure for this cost category might be. Any health benefit that motorists and public transport users might gain through travelling to a place where they exercise is offset by those who are deterred from walking or cycling.

If polluting vehicles are phased out, air quality will improve and the cost will decline. But that is yet to happen and doesn't affect the calculations at present.

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