16 August 2011

The Case for Bicycle Infrastructure

LCC in Copenhagen
A reader pointed us to a forum discussion at a website called CycleChat.net regarding infrastructure for bicycles. A poster on the forum named Tommi published a post about the positive aspects of implementing bicycle infrastructure. He did so, we gather, as a counter to the tiresome rants of members of cycling's secret sect who continue to oppose infrastructure for bicycles because it interferes with their testosterone thrill of 'running with the bulls'.


We thought it highly appropriate to republish Tommi's search results here on Copenhagenize.com. They deserve a wider audience. This is on the same day that David Suzuki published this piece calling for infrastructure.


Here's what the post at CycleChat.net looked like:

Well, I did some digging and it seems Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Wales, as well as UK and US and OECD believe cycling infrastructure (cycle lanes and cycle tracks) increases cycling and/or safety enough to recommend investing in it. (I didn't even try counting the authors.)

Few observations that caught my interest about the studies regarding cycling infrastructure:

- support is continuous (1987-present)
- support is global
- support is published in credible publications

As I don't have the energy or real interest in looking for the counterclaims (I'm sure someone can provide them) I'll just make few similar observations though with less material backing it up:

- opposition is outdated ("cycle lanes/tracks are worthless/dangerous conclusions stop at around year 2000, except in UK")
- opposition is localised (only in UK/US)
- opposition is published in random web pages

Much of the rest of the world including quite a bunch of (presumably) smart people seem to have come to the conclusion cycle lanes and cycle tracks are very much worth every penny. Comparing the credibility between the camps I can't say I'm surprised.

I firmly believe separated infrastructure is a fundamental part of a functional cycling environment and there's plenty of research to support that theory. But if cycle lanes and cycle tracks really are as useless and dangerous as some try to claim then you should have no trouble proving with abundant research how omitting infrastructure leads to even more and safer cycling.

I'm looking forward to the research proving how the rest of the world is wrong.

.......................
Sweden: "In mixed traffic, the risk per cyclist seemed to decrease with an increased number of cyclists; on a cycle track, the risk seemed independent of the bicycle volume. However, for left-turning cyclists, the picture was totally different; cyclists on the carriageway face a 4 times higher accident risk than cyclists on separate cycle tracks. Linderholm finally suggested that cyclists should be moved onto the carriageway some 30 metres before the intersection, but that if left-turning cyclists exceeded 20 per cent of cyclists going straight ahead, it was preferable to build a cycle track across the intersection."

Denmark, improved cycle track design: "At all junctions, the number of serious conflicts was reduced from the before to the after period. Behavioural studies showed that the modified junctions had changed the interaction between cyclists and motorists in a way that appeared to promote traffic safety."

Two-way cycle tracks: "Ekman and Kronborg (1995) produced a report based on an international literature review, and interviews with experts from Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. The conclusion was that one bi-directional cycle track was cheaper to build than two one-way tracks, one on each side of the road, but that bi-directional tracks were, however, less safe for cyclists, since it made merging with car traffic before the stop line at a junction impossible."

Denmark: "They concluded that cycle lanes and cycle tracks were safer than no cycle facilities between junctions. There were however problems with parked cars on cycle lanes. It was recommended that separate cycle tracks should be built on road links when the volume of motorised traffic was high and when speeds were also high."

Denmark: "ensure acceptable safety levels: This is best achieved by constructing, wherever possible, segregated paths, designed in such a way as to encourage their use by cyclists."
Anon, 1998. Safety of vulnerable road users. In PROGRAMME OF CO-OPERATION IN THE FIELD OF RESEARCH ON ROAD TRANSPORT AND INTERMODAL LINKAGES. OECD, pp. 1-229.

"High quality, integrated bicycle routes (on and off road) should be provided to meet the challenge of increasing Australia’s participation in active travel and recreation."
Bauman, A. et al., 2008. Cycling: Getting Australia Moving: Barriers, Facilitators and Interventions to Get More Australian Physically Active Through Cycling, Dept. of Health and Ageing.

Costa Rica: "new infrastructure is being put in place to protect vulnerable road users, including [...] cycle tracks" "The creation of networks of connected and convenient pedestrian and cyclist routes, together with the provision of public transport, can lead to greater safety for vulnerable road users. The routes will typically consist of footpaths or cycle paths separate from any carriageway, pedestrian-only areas with or without cyclists being admitted, footpaths or cycle tracks alongside carriageways, and carriageways or other surfaces shared with motor vehicles."

Denmark: "Bicycle paths have also been shown to be effective in reducing crashes, particularly at junctions. Danish studies have found reductions of 35% in cyclist casualties on particular routes, following the construction of cycle tracks or lanes alongside urban roads."
Cameron, M., 2004. World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. Injury Prevention, 10(4), pp.255-256.

"This review has shown that cost-benefit analyses of cycling and walking infrastructure generally produce positive benefit-cost ratios (BCRs). Although these should be treated with caution due to the diverse methods used, it can be concluded that eight authors produced sixteen benefit-cost BCRs for various cycling/walking projects, and only one was negative (Figure 1). The BCRs were also of an impressive magnitude: the median BCR was 5:1, which is far higher than BCRs that are routinely used in transport infrastructure planning."
Cavill, N. et al., 2008. Economic analyses of transport infrastructure and policies including health effects related to cycling and walking: A systematic review. Transport Policy, 15(5), pp.291-304.

"The available research results indicate that roundabouts with separated cycle lanes are safer than roundabouts with mixed traffic or roundabouts with adjacent cycle lanes."
Daniels, S. & Wets, G., 2005. Traffic Safety Effects of Roundabouts: A review with emphasis on bicyclist’s safety. In 18th ICTCT workshop. pp. 1-12.

"This review assesses the evidence base from both peer reviewed and grey literature both in the UK and beyond. Almost all of the studies identified report economic benefits of walking and cycling interventions which are highly significant. The median result for all data identified is 13:1 and for UK data alone the median figure is higher, at 19:1."
Davis, A., 2010. Value for Money: An Economic Assessment of Investment in Walking and Cycling, Department of Health South West.

"The first part of that environment is bicycle infrastructure that addresses people’s concern about safety from motor vehicles. In Portland, this includes a network of bike lanes, paths, and boulevards."
"Finally, the role of bike lanes should not be dismissed in planning for a bicycle-friendly community. A disproportionate share of the bicycling occurs on streets with bike lanes, indicating their value to bicyclists."
Dill, J., 2009. Bicycling for transportation and health: the role of infrastructure. Journal of public health policy, 30 Suppl 1(1), pp.S95-110.

"Higher levels of bicycle infrastructure are positively and significantly correlated with higher rates of bicycle commuting."
Dill, J. & Carr, T., 2003. Bicycle Commuting and Facilities in Major U.S. Cities: If You Build Them, Commuters Will Use Them. Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 1828(1), pp.116-123.

"The estimated change in demand is relatively small: an increase in persons cycling from 11.6% to 14.2% (strict level) and to 20.9% (tolerant level) for all the regular trips, and from 6.0% to 8.3% and to 14.3%, respectively, for commuting."
Foltýnová, H. & Braun Kohlová, M., 2007. COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE : A CASE STUDY OF PILSEN.

"Improved cycling infrastructure in the form of bicycle paths and lanes that provide a high degree of separation from motor traffic is likely to be important for increasing transportation cycling amongst under-represented population groups such as women."
Garrard, J., Rose, G. & Lo, S.K., 2008. Promoting transportation cycling for women: the role of bicycle infrastructure. Preventive Medicine, 46(1), pp.55-59.

"The assumptions in this analysis suggest that the basic plan will benefit most strongly from earlier investments that built the base for a functioning network of bicycle facilities, yielding roughly 4 times the amount of bicycle miles traveled per invested dollar, compared with past investments. The 80% plan yields about twice as much"
Gotschi, T., 2011. Costs and benefits of bicycling investments in Portland, Oregon. Journal of physical activity & health, 8 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), pp.S49-58.

"Overall, there is internal consistency in the changes of safety and traffic volumes, which indicate causality, and the causal direction seems clear."
"The magnitude of the changes in traffic volumes on the reconstructed streets, and the traffic volumes on parallel streets, however, do indicate that thousands of travelers in total must have changed their choice of transport mode."
"The construction of bicycle tracks resulted in a 20 percent increase in bicycle/moped traffic mileage and a decrease of 10 percent in motor vehicle traffic mileage on those roads, where bicycle tracks have been constructed."
Jensen, S.U., 2008. Bicycle tracks and lanes: A before-after study. Transportation Research Board 87th, (August).

"The conclusion is that the safety benefit of cycle lanes are very good except at some priority junctions located alongside the cycle lane. This study therefore show that focus shall be put on the priority junctions when establishing cycle lanes. The Danish Road Directorate have as a result of that started a new project with main emphasis on cyclist safety at priority junctions."

(Author: Flaw in cycle lane design found in 1997. Please point me to a more recent report showing how dangerous Danish infrastructure is.)
Jensen, S.U., Andersen, K.V. & Nielsen, E.D., 1997. Junctions and cyclists. In Velo-City. Barcelona, pp. 275-278.

"The construction of cycle tracks in Copenhagen has resulted in an increase in cycle traffic of 18-20%"

"Taken in combination, the cycle tracks and lanes which have been constructed have had positive results as far as traffic volumes and feelings of security go. They have however, had negative effects on road safety. The radical effects on traffic volumes resulting from the construction of cycle tracks will undoubtedly result in gains in health from increased physical activity. These gains are much, much greater than the losses in health resulting from a slight decline in road safety."

"The cycle tracks (kerb between drive lane and cycle track, and kerb between sidewalk and cycle track) increase cycling by 18-20%, whereas cycle lanes (only a 30 cm wide white marking to drive lane) increase cycling by 5-7%"
"I do know that it will lead to better safety for the bicyclists."
"While the bike lanes do not seem to have an effect one way or the other, if someone tried to use Soren’s study to “prove” that an increase in cycle tracks increased accidents by 9%, they’d be guilty of cherry picking the numbers. The accident rate may have increased by 9%, but the number of bicyclists increased by 18-20%."
"To to sum up, individual accident rates dropped when bicycle infrastructure was added, and taking that a step further, Soren’s follow-up correspondence recommends that if Dallas added cycle tracks, ridership would be “much higher”, and “that it will lead to better safety for the bicyclists.” He even recommends maintaining parking on streets to further decrease accident rates."
Jensen, S.U., Rosenkilde, C. & Jensen, N., 2007. Road safety and perceived risk of cycle facilities in Copenhagen. Presentation to AGM of European Cyclists Federation, pp.1-9.

"Consequently, in most cities with cycling facilities, there are many discontinuities where the path or lane simply ends abruptly. These discontinuities are partly the result of a logical inversion: it has long been standard practice to consider existing road infrastructure as the main network for cycling and the cycling facilities as the supplement to avoid conflicts. Rather, creating a complete network of cycling facilities where they are needed, supplemented by “shared streets” where they are not, should become the standard."
Larsen, J. & El-Geneidy, A., 2010. Build it, but where? The Use of Geographic Information Systems in Identifying Optimal Location for New Cycling Infrastructure. In Transportation Research Board 89th Annual Meeting. p. 16.

What is already known on this subject
• Individuals, in particular women, children, and seniors, prefer to bicycle separated from motor traffic.
• Cycle tracks (physically-separated bicycle-exclusive paths along roads) exist and continue to be built in The Netherlands where 27% of all trips are by bicycle and 55% of bicycle riders are female.
• Engineering guidance in the United States has discouraged bicycle facilities that resemble cycle tracks, including parallel sidepaths and sidewalk bikeways, suggesting that these facilities and cycle tracks are more dangerous than bicycling in the street.

What this study adds
• Overall, 2 ½ times as many cyclists rode on the cycle tracks compared with the reference streets.
• There were 8.5 injuries and 10.5 crashes per million-bicycle kilometers respectively on cycle tracks compared to published injury rates ranging from 3.75 to 67 for bicycling on streets. The relative risk of injury on the cycle track was 0.72 (95% CI=0,60-0.85) compared with bicycling in the reference streets.
• Cycle tracks lessen, or at least do not increase, crash and injury rates compared to bicycling in the street.
Lusk, A.C. et al., 2011. Risk of injury for bicycling on cycle tracks versus in the street. Injury prevention journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention, 17(2), pp.131-135.

"The average number of bicycle crashes a year within the 2.5 km buffer of the Phase-1 of the Midtown Greenway from 1998-2000 was 78.33 crashes a year with a standard deviation of 8.33. In each of the two years after the opening of the Phase-1 of the Midtown Greenway, there were 50 bicycle crashes within the buffer. This is a statistically significant decrease in the number of crashes."
"Although the transferability of the results of this study to other off-street bicycle facilities may be limited, it does present a methodology that can be used to measure the effect of building a bicycle facility on the safety of bicycling in the area. Questions remain about the safety of off-street bicycle facilities that force bicyclists to cross streets."
Poindexter, G. et al., 2007. Optimization of Transportation Investment: Guidelines for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Bicycle Facilities: Refining methods for estimating the effect of bicycle infrastructure on use and property values

"Within the United States, Davis, California is generally recognized as having the most elaborate system of cycling facilities of any American city. It also has, by far, the highest bicycling modal split share (22%), and a very low fatality and accident rate, among the lowest in California. If Forester were correct that separate facilities are so dangerous, one would certainly expect Davis to be overwhelmed by all the resulting bicycling injuries and deaths. Yet cycling in Davis is extraordinarily safe.

In short, those countries and cities with extensive bicycling facilities have the highest cycling modal split shares and the lowest fatality rates. Those countries and cities without separate facilities have low modal split shares and much higher fatality rates. Forester claims that this is pure correlation and proves nothing. Nevertheless, the differences we have cited are dramatic—indeed, an order of magnitude or greater—and they directly contradict Forester’s claim that separate facilities are so unsafe and inconvenient."
Pucher, J., 2001. Cycling Safety on Bikeways vs . Roads. Transportation Quarterly, 55(4), pp.9-11.

"The infrastructure, programs, and policies needed to increase walking and cycling are well known and tested, with decades of successful experience in many European cities. One key lesson is that no single strategy is sufficient. As shown by a recent international review of the literature, communities must implement a fully integrated package of measures such as those discussed previously in this paper (Pucher et al., 2010). A comprehensive approach has much greater impact on walking and cycling levels than individual measures that are not coordinated. The impact of any particular measure is enhanced by the synergies with complementary measures in the same package."

Considering cycle lanes are waste of money and cycle tracks are inherently dangerous you should have no problem pointing out another report of comparable research that shows leaving out cycle lanes and cycle tracks would have resulted much more significant results.
Pucher, J. & Buehler, R., 2010. Walking and Cycling for Healthy Cities. Built Environment, 36(4), pp.391-414.

"The success of Portland is important because it shows that even car-dependent American cities can greatly increase cycling by implementing the right package of infrastructure, programs, and policies."

(Author: Considering cycle lanes are 'waste of money and cycle tracks are inherently dangerous', opponents should have no problem pointing out another report of comparable research that shows leaving out cycle lanes and cycle tracks would have resulted much more significant results.)
Pucher, J., Buehler, R. & Seinen, M., 2011. Bicycling renaissance in North America? An update and re-appraisal of cycling trends and policies. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 45(6), pp.451-475.

"Before-and-after counts in several North American cities and London (UK) show increases in number of cyclists after bike lanes installed."
Off-street paths: "Two studies showed an increase in the number of cyclists"
"Stated preference studies almost uniformly found that both cyclists and non-cyclists preferred having bike lanes to riding in mixed traffic. The findings from the studies of off-street paths were varied, with some showing positive associations and others showing no statistically significant relationship. Only four studies examined bicycle boulevards and traffic-protected cycletracks, types of roadway infrastructure less common in the US. The findings generally showed a positive association between these facilities and bicycling, though without good estimates of the quantitative effects on actual bicycling rates."
Pucher, J., Dill, J. & Handy, S., 2010. Infrastructure, programs, and policies to increase bicycling: an international review. Preventive Medicine, 50 Suppl 1(1), p.S106-S125.

"The evidence to date suggests that purpose-built bicycle- only facilities (e.g. bike routes, bike lanes, bike paths, cycle tracks at roundabouts) reduce the risk of crashes and injuries compared to cycling on-road with traffic or off-road with pedestrians."
Reynolds, C.C. et al., 2009. The impact of transportation infrastructure on bicycling injuries and crashes: a review of the literature. Environmental health a global access science source, 8(1).

"Walking and biking remain attractive transport modes for a number of reasons: - biking and walking infrastructure usually have a very high spatial penetration"
Rietveld, P., 2001. Biking and Walking: The Position of Non- Transport Systems Motorised in Transport Systems.

“A report commissioned by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing seeking to raise population levels of physical activity identified the barriers and recommended strategies that a whole-of-government approach could use to increase levels of cycling. These recommendations are largely dependent upon each other and would need to be implemented in an integrated, co-ordinated way:
• Improved bicycle infrastructure: to provide safe, attractive and enjoyable on and off road bicycle routes as well as high quality end-of-trip facilities.”
Rissel, C.E., 2009. Active travel: a climate change mitigation strategy with co-benefits for health. New South Wales public health bulletin, 20(1-2), pp.10-13.

The CBAs presented are based on high, though realistic cost estimates, and ‘‘low’’ benefit estimates in order to prevent overestimates. The analyses are therefore judged to produce ‘‘down-to-earth’’, conservative estimates of the profitability to society of building walking and cycling track networks in Norwegian cities.

(a) Best estimates of future pedestrian and bicycle traffic leave no doubt that building walking and cycling track networks in Hokksund, Hamar and Trondheim is beneficial to society. Net benefit/cost ratios in these cities are approximately 4, 14 and 3, respectively.
Sælensminde, K., 2004. Cost-benefit analyses of walking and cycling track networks taking into account insecurity, health effects and external costs of motorized traffic. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 38(8), pp.593-606.

"Infrastructure (e.g. cycleways and cycle [t]racks) is an essential ingredient for improving bicycle use and cyclists’ safety. Well-planned and well-kept infrastructure (through design, maintenance and adequate connectivity) encourages cycling and reduces road accidents."
Vandenbulcke, G. et al., 2009. Cycle commuting in Belgium : Spatial determinants and ’ re-cycling ' strategies.

"It was found that the bicycle network plan resulted in a significant increase in bicycle use and in improved cycling conditions."
"Cycling comfort and safety clearly improved"

(Author: While Delft already had bicycle use in the 40% range, building infrastructure still managed to increase it.)
Wilmink, A. & Hartman, J., 1987. Evaluation of the Delft Bicycle Network Plan, Delft.

"The benefits of facilities for pedestrians and cyclists exceed costs by a wide margin."
"Thus we conclude that the following 10 measures are the most important according to the PROMISING project:
1. A separate network of direct routes for pedestrians and a separate network of direct routes for cyclists."
"The safety approach has to be interrelated. Main elements are:
- segregation of motorised traffic with a flow or distribution function from non-motorised transport,
- creating a network of main traffic routes for pedestrians and cyclists,"
Wittink, R., 2001. Promotion of mobility and safety of vulnerable road users, Final report of the European research project PROMISING,

"The three year Danish National Cycle City project aimed to increase cycling in Odense between 1999 and 2002 through a multifaceted approach that included promotional campaigns and infrastructural measures. A controlled repeat cross sectional study comparing national travel survey data collected in Odense and in nearby towns and cities between 1996-97 and 2002 found an increase in the proportion of all trips made by bicycle in Odense from 22.5% to 24.6% (equating to an estimated net increase of 3.4 percentage points after adjustment for regional trends) and a net increase in the distance cycled of 100 metres per person per day."

"The Cycling Demonstration Towns programme in England involved various combinations of town-wide media campaigns, personalised travel planning, cycle repair and cycle training services, and improvements to infrastructure for cycling. The effect of the first phase comprising six towns (2005 to 2008) was examined in a controlled repeat cross sectional study based on telephone surveys of quota samples of local residents. Net increases were found in the proportions of residents who reported cycling for at least 30 minutes once per month (+2.78% or +1.89%, depending on the choice of control areas) or 12 or more times per month (+0.97% or +1.65%)."

Considering cycle lanes are waste of money and cycle tracks are inherently dangerous you should have no problem pointing out another report of comparable research that shows leaving out cycle lanes and cycle tracks would have resulted much more significant results.
Yang, L. et al., 2010. Interventions to promote cycling: systematic review. Bmj Clinical Research Ed., 341(c5293). 

..................

This is in no way a complete list. But it's a fine start.

33 comments:

ndru said...

It is indeed amazing that we are still having this kind of discussions in UK. For me the difference between segregationists and integrationists is the same one as between scientists and creationists - first base their opinions on studies and real evidence, the others believe in a book.

Martin said...

now that's what I call a post!

behoovingmoving said...

a sledgehammer to an ant! I would caution that the bull runners should retain their right to use roads beside bike paths (as they do in Holland), even though they have lost the right to speak on behalf of all cyclists. I'm keen to press the point too, that separate infrastructure in countries with no real citizen cycling in living memory, is getting its foothold beside waterways and rail corridors, and across parks.
Oh and I'm proud to be co-authoring a paper right now with one the authors you've quoted.

domotion2011 said...

Magnificent statistics! Americans are lagging behind building infrastructure. Possibly it is our people do not have the desire to make bike riding a normal part of their lives. Our cities are racially segregated and our suburbs are sprawling oasis for motorist. We can dream but the reality is Americans lead sedentary lives and the trending is not positive. Thus, the places people live are relatively soulless. Bike riding is dominated by the for profit bicycle industry that markets sport and recreation. Transportation is an afterthought. Sorry, but true.

kfg said...

"Bike riding is dominated by the for profit bicycle industry that markets sport and recreation."

That has only been true since the 70's. From the 30's through the end of WWII they marketed heavy duty utility bikes. From the end of WWII until the "bike boom" of the 70's they marketed English light roadsters, the very model of the "citizen" bike.

These changes in marketing occurred because of sudden changes in customer demand. Any bike maker that did not change their marketing to meet the new demand went out of business (or was reduced to the "toy" end of the market).

For the past 30 or 40 years they have been marketing sport to Americans not because of some plan to do so, but because they must in order to make any profit at all. That is where the demand went. A cultural shift moved sport from something only school children (amateurs) and laborers (professionals) did to the great American pastime.

The bike industry is really quite small and economically weak. Its ability to steer the market is actually very limited. It has no choice but the chase the money or die.

Look around, it's happening already.

Anonymous said...

In some US states cyclists riding on the road are deemed at fault in all crashes if there is a cycle path nearby. Be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

I often wonder how many "cyclist" in the UK actually want to see mass cycling in the UK. Certainly they are a very conservative group, who have a deep mistrust of anything that is based on evidence.

In these forums they tend to cling tightly to what ever myth has be passed to them by other "cyclist", whether it be about infrastructure (bad), helmets (have magical properties), or the strength of carbon fibre composites (which is so fragile that it will break if you so much as look at it!)...

Sadly informed debate is often rare, although Cycle Chat is one of the better ones.

hamburgize.com said...

Cycle infrastructure is worth every penny, if it is done well. In Germany the obligation to use a cycle track has been changed since 1997, because most of the older German cycle tracks and cycle lanes are dangerous or even not usable. In Hamburg there are still cycle tracks with are width of 50 cm. My cycle handlebar is wider than these cycle track, so I am not allowed to use them and I have to use the road lanes due to German traffic rules. Many cycle tracks end up suddenly at situations, when cyclist really need them. Or they are neglected the whole year, overgrown by trees and green stuff, or they are really narrow and parking is allowed just beside, so you cannot keep the affordable security distance to cars (->opening doors).

Most cyclists in Hamburg do not use the cycle track, but the sidewalk next to it.

A new movement fights for riding on the road lanes, because the think riding on the road is safer than on odd cycle tracks. The authorities and the politicians are not willing to give space for really good and safe cycle infrastructure yet in Germany. Here an example from Hamburg with the campaign "Reclaim the streets" (Ab auf die Straße). A board member of the German Cycle Union of Hamburg even said that in future all cyclists should run on the road lanes together with the cars even without any separated lanes for cyclists. That´s one of the objective of the German Cycle Union in Hamburg. Read: Visions

Frits B said...

behooving moving writes: "bull runners should retain their right to use roads beside bike paths (as they do in Holland)". This is only partially true. Cyclists are not allowed to use roads marked for motorized traffic only unless there is no cycle path available (very rare), and they are banned altogether from motorways. General rule: if there is a cycle path, use it or you risk being whisked away by police and fined for dangerous riding.

Spittler said...

here's the new (and depressing) study by "Transportation for America" on pedestrian safety in US urban areas:

http://t4america.org/docs/dbd2011/Dangerous-by-Design-2011.pdf

It's focused on walking, not biking, but the problems identified are the same ones that make biking a challenge. The NYTimes article on the report is good, too:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/us/16pedestrians.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=orlando%20pedestrian&st=cse

Anonymous said...

tl;dr

Anonymous said...

An excellent video discussing the merits of cycle paths, rebutting point-for-point the arguments against them with actual footage of features of cycle paths designed correctly (in the Netherlands, of course): http://www.youtube.com/user/hrfhud#p/f/1/HOR6zm_Yziw

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that link should have been: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOR6zm_Yziw (cycle path infrastructure video)

Bankruptcy Ben said...

As an Australian I feel our government only pays lip service to cycling

Montrealize said...

"I often wonder how many "cyclist" in the UK actually want to see mass cycling in the UK. Certainly they are a very conservative group, who have a deep mistrust of anything that is based on evidence."

None of these "cyclists" for sure. However, it does not matter. They are not the ones who need to be convinced. It is the governments, municipalities, engineers, urban planners, pedestrians, health and active living associations, child obesity groups, child street safety groups, architetural heritage people, elderly people,
noise and pollution groups, environment folks etc.
These are the real supports.
Who cares about the moronic "cyclists". We only need to make sure they get no say, and that everytime they try to publicly open they mouths to spit their nonesense, they are quickly and firmly shut up.

bicilibre said...

I love how you manage to not link to the full discussion. Here it is:

http://www.cyclechat.net/topic/90630-that-worthless-and-dangerous-cycling-infrastructure/

Greg Price said...

Deary me...

You don't like it when anyone doesn't sing along with the party anthem, do you?

The cyclists you are slagging off on CC are some of the most committed cyclists around, and include many who have done a hell of a lot to increase cycling in their area.

Your dismissive, spiteful and frankly childish reaction to people questioning your credo (after all, you're the ones placing your 'faith' in infrastructure) shows you up to be small-minded.

Each time you advocate more infrastructure you perpetuate the myth that cycling is dangerous and that cyclists should be treated 'differently'. The roads belong to everyone - cyclists, pedestrians, horseriders by right, and motorists by 'kind permission'. The latter are the problem - so address their behaviour and stop turning the former into 'victims' and second class citizens.

MrHappyCyclist said...

Re: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOR6zm_Yziw

Great. When you've built one of those from the North side of Bolton to Central Salford, let me know and I'll probably use it. In the meantime, stop painting dashed lines 2 feet out from the kerb and expecting me to be grateful!

MrHappyCyclist said...

"...the tiresome rants of members of cycling's secret sect who continue to oppose infrastructure for bicycles because it interferes with their testosterone thrill of 'running with the bulls'."

Sorry, but that really is pathetic.

ndru said...

I don't know why for some reason a lot of cycling campaigners think they have done a lot of good for cycling, when, if we step out from their world, it turns out that no one cares. People - the general public, the ones the campaigns are (or at least should be) interested in - don't give two hoots about vehicular cycling, they don't want to risk it. And while you and me might agree that it is not as dangerous as it looks it doesn't matter. Really. I am sorry.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, oh dear Mikael, I've just read your secret sect rant and it sound just like the rantings of those who think you are nuts for opposing helmets. I am sure they come up with a list just as long as Tommi's citing WHO, OECD and many other august medical and road safety organisations showing you are wrong And probably a lot more of it would be based on research than the assertions that make up most of Tommi's list. (I'm with you on helmets by the way but it illustrates that being able to come up with a long list like Tommi proves nothing)

But you really are disingenuous on this. You say

Forty years ago Copenhagen was just as car-clogged as anywhere else but now 37% of commuters crossing the city boundary ride bicycles each day. <.....> Copenhagenizing is possible anywhere.</quote.

What you fail to say is that 40 years ago cycling levels in Copenhagen were 25% and have not been lower than that for the last century. Its very different starting from levels of 25% than from ~1% in the UK and US.

Have a scan down the thread in CC (no need to read it, just look for the pictures) and see the sorts of "facilities" your disciples are installing and proclaiming as good and you might get a clue as to why we rail against that sort of provision in favour of nothing. It would be nice to have Copenhagen levels of cycling and facilities of all sorts to go with it but it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

There is a battle royal going on at the moment between the cycling community and the cycling mayor over Blackfriar's Bridge where even though the cycle share at peak times is over 50%, cyclists are still being squeezed into a 1.5m painted cycle lane on the left with three lanes for motor vehicles.

When you have cycling levels at a percent or two, vehicular cycling is the only realistic way to go and its had great results in London with cycling really booming. Where you do have levels up around 37% as in Cambridge you really don't need infrastructure because cyclists dominate the roads.

So please recognise that very few places are Copenhagen and are starting from positions that Copenhagen didn't have to that need different solutions to the ones Copenhagen used. In Copenhagen facilities have followed the high modal share of cycling not the other way round.

Mad@Urage said...

As one of those who opposes the type of cycle lanes largely being implemented in UK (and apparently part of the "secret sect" @ Cyclechat), I can assure you that my opposition is not because I want to continue any "testosterone thrill of 'running with the bulls'", quite the opposite.

The bull should be castrated, not the china moved.

The cycle-lane infrastructure being argued for in the CycleChat thread is narrow lanes running in the gutter, where the road is poorly repaired and rarely swept. The main advocate of these lanes believes that lane width is irrelevant, the door zone doesn't exist and that the function of the lanes is simply to slow the traffic.
In UK driving culture, such lanes invite close overtakes and aggressive behaviour to the cyclist whenever they stray from their lane (as they are allowed to and as that advocate advises!). Cycle infrastructure of that type is both dangerous and counter productive. Unfortunately it is exactly this type of infrastructure that the "the governments, municipalities, engineers, urban planners, pedestrians, health and active living associations, child obesity groups, child street safety groups, architetural heritage people, elderly people,
noise and pollution groups, environment folks etc." are being convinced we need.
Those of us with experience of what they create are described by such as "Montrealize" (are you Richard?) as "moronic "cyclists"" (such eloquence!) to be ignored.

Anonymous said...

The last two views sum up what is wrong with current self imposed cycle campaign experts in the UK.

They seem to make an automatic assumption that people that want decent infrastructure want the crap has Councils have been getting away with for years. This is patently ridiculous as the national modal share (around 1-3% currently testifies. If I had a magic wand I would happily wipe all crap infrastructure clean off the face of the UK.

These experts seem to view our near European neighbours with a contempt and derision that calls to mind the Victorian British travelling the colonies, despite the cycling climate being better and modal shares way beyond current British expectations and dreams. When Johnny Foreigner speaks, it is an ill-informed rant - nowhere near as good as quality hand crafted British ignorance :-)

There also seems to be an assumption that people in the UK that want decent infrasrtucture seem to want segregation EVERYWHERE, which is also patently stupid. All people that want decent infrastructure want is decent infrastructure, and are increasingly bemused at why nothing decent has been built in the UK after all these years. This, like the Dutch should be in used alongside residential zones, reduced speed limits, generally inconveniencing car use for town/city centre journeys and when infrastructure is required, building it to a standard that an 10 year old can use to get to school alongside a club rider heading out to the country lanes.

I'm not quite sure what these experts seem so scared of - that some people in the UK might get the dust of their mountain bikes in their sheds and realise that it might be quite good as a mode of transport with more inviting conditions. But then cycling would become an everyday activity with no need to go to specialist forums with self-imposed experts.

MrHappyCyclist said...

The last view sums up what is wrong with current self imposed cycle campaign experts in the UK.

They seem to make an automatic assumption that people that don't want the crap that Councils have been getting away with for years don't want decent infrastructure. This is patently ridiculous as the national modal share (around 1-3% currently testifies. They think that there is a magic wand that would happily wipe all crap infrastructure clean off the face of the UK and replace it with a wonderful, perfect cycle network.

These experts seem to think that all our near European neighbours have done is to put in cycle lanes, despite the existing overall cycling climate being better and modal shares way beyond current British expectations and dreams to start with.

There also seems to be an assumption that people in the UK that don't want crappy infrastructure seem to be against segregation EVERYWHERE, which is also patently stupid. All people that don't want crappy infrastructure want is properly thought out measures that address the root problem, and are increasingly bemused at why nothing decent has been done to shift the bad culture in the UK after all these years, including taming the motor cars and excluding them where appropriate. This, like the Dutch should be in used in all towns and cities, reduced speed limits, introducing presumed liability, generally inconveniencing car use for town/city centre journeys and only when infrastructure is required, building it to a standard that an 10 year old can use to get to school alongside a club rider heading out to the country lanes.

I'm not quite sure what these experts seem so scared of - that some people in the UK might get the dust of their mountain bikes in their sheds and realise that it might be quite good as a mode of transport with more inviting conditions. But then cycling would become an everyday activity with no need to go to specialist forums with self-imposed experts.

Anonymous said...

See? Ignores the fact that UK cycling levels matched the Netherlands a few decades ago. Arrogance in defence of ignorance. A bit like the Daily Mail. But with 'cyclists'.

MrHappyCyclist said...

See, whilst remaining anonymous, makes statements that are not backed up by any evidence. (This Cycling in the Netherlands (Section 1.2) for example), and ignores the fact that legal and cultural developments overall have been moving along different tracks for decades. Arrogance and deception behind a screen of anonymity.

MrHappyCyclist said...

Apologies. Anonymous decided to make it personal and I allowed myself to be dragged in. I'll not pursue the slanging match that could otherwise ensue.

kfg said...

". . . an everyday activity with no need to go to specialist forums . . ."

http://www.hotrod.com/index.html

opottone said...

It's sad to see Mikael having such a hostile and disparaging attitude toward fellow cyclists who disagree with him. With such an attitude, I think it would be futile to bring up any evidence pointing out problems of bike infrastructure, so I won't even try.

Tommi Komulainen said...

He did so, we gather, as a counter to the tiresome rants of members of cycling's secret sect who continue to oppose infrastructure for bicycles because it interferes with their testosterone thrill of 'running with the bulls'.

My point was to counter the tiresome "there is no evidence cycle lanes or cycle tracks increase cycling or cycling safety" argument that keeps coming up as justification for blocking investing in cycling infrastructure from even entering any debates as an option.

There seems to be world wide support for cycling infrastructure so I'm baffled. Either cycle lanes/tracks are required (but not necessarily sufficient) to increase cycling and/or cycling safety, or those vehemently opposing all cycle lanes/tracks know something the rest of the world doesn't. As the opposition doesn't seem to be putting much (if any) credible evidence forward I tend to side with the rest of the world.

Ingo said...

exchange "Infrastructure" for "Helmet" and your post could be from any of the pro-helmet-law websites... btw, the same tricks that work for bicycle helmet research also work for bicycle lane research - as lanes increase heavy and light accidents but more the light ones than the heavy ones, just by using the ration between both will "show them to reduce the injuries"!

Tommi Komulainen said...

@Ingo, just to be clear, you really do mean helmet-compulsion and not just pro-helmet?

In the latter case the equivalent argument would be "there is no evidence cycle helmets reduce injuries", compare with "there is no evidence cycle lanes/tracks increase cycling and/or safety" - there's plenty of evidence to say both claims are false. That's pretty much the extent of the point.

But to pick on your analogy bit further. Specific types of cycle lane/track designs may increase injuries, but in general cycle lanes/tracks increase cycling and/or safety.

OTOH cycle helmets are designed to only work in very specific situations to reduce severity of injuries, but there's some evidence they actually increase the number of injuries, and are trading one type of injury with another, more severe(?), type. Oh, and let's not forget helmet-less Netherlands. From what I can tell the helmet debate isn't nearly as clear cut as infrastructure debate.

Compulsion is a separate topic I'm not going to get into, but at least with helmets compulsion has been shown to reduce cycling.

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