One of the chapters from Beauty And The Bike that really got me was the section titled, "It’s The Infrastructure, Stupid" , in a parody (or according to Wikipedia, a snowclone – there’s a new phrase) of Bill Clinton’s campaign slogan thing from 1992.
Frankly, I think the phrase could be rearranged to better explain the low cycling rate in the UK:
It’s The Stupid Infrastructure
Allow me to demonstrate . . .
What we have is schemes that can only be described as total bollards:
Pointless parking, making sure that although a bike gets the direct route through the traffic calming, the rider will be forced to swerve into the path of oncoming vehicles:
Kafka-esque road markings:
Nice, level routes that eliminate the risk of having a wheel bounce off the kerb to catapult the rider face-down onto the pavement when they transition from on-road to off-road segregated routes (oh, and check out the width of this off-road route!):
We have utterly useless vestigial bike lanes that’re only ten metres long:
Cycle routes designed to slow you down through junctions (because stopping and starting on a bike is just what makes cycling so damned attractive, isn’t it?)
. . . or that make it absolutely bloody clear who’s important on the road (drivers):
We have bike off-road bike lanes that cross roads . . . and back again for no apparent reason . . .
Bike lanes that just end when you get to tricky junctions (i.e. where you might actually appreciate something to indicate to drivers that you have a right to be there):
Where the road narrows, and there’s a potential pinch-point, it’s the bike lane that narrows , rather than the main carriageway – we wouldn’t want drivers to think about slowing down, would we? And if they get closer to the bike, well they probably won’t actually hit it:
And if you live in That London, you have your Cycle Super highways – can you imagine a motorway being built along these lines?:
I guess we can take heart though – people try their best in other parts of Europe too . . . and yet somehow get it wrong. Take a look at this video from David Hembrow , comparing Dutch practicality with German inefficiency: