GO Dutch - Unrealistic

I just wanted to add my two pence worth. I signed the petition but the Go Dutch Campaign seems ridiculous to me. In fact I cancelled my LCC membership as I feel this campaign is so misguided.

 

I do not think that the LCC should believe that they have enough power to redesign the layout of London roads on the Dutch Model. I do not believe that the majority of London roads will be altered to offer segregated cycling paths. At best a few more roads will be altered but the majority will remain places where cyclists and drivers need to learn to share the space. Instead of segregation, facilities to aid the sharing of space should be campaigned for.

 

I believe the LCC has a tendency to be idealistic and out of touch with the realities of London and what is possible. I believe their campaigning muscle is wasted by pushing for unrealistic aims such as trying to segregate cyclists and motorists.

 

Don't get upset by my rant - rant back at me,

 

Ben

Replies

Hi Ben,

 

Sorry to see you go in what I think will be the biggest positive push for cycling improvements ever. You may think that by aiming high LCC will fail. Some bloggers believe that LCC is not aiming high enough! However the truth is that sharing roads between HGV's and children on bicycles will never work. We can try and train people all we want, but the truth is, if you want high numbers of people cycling, you have to build proper decent facilities. This means segregation. We need to stop putting up with what there is now, and hav the vision, and aspiration to dream of what can be made real. The dutch didn't always have it so good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o

Anyway, happy riding whereevr it takes you!

 

Jono

London rider for 25years

Go Dutch Champion

PS, LCC is not trying to get road layouts changed itself. It is asking our Mayoral candidates to pledge to invest in infrastructure, and to have the political will based on public support to make changes to planning, budgets and transport stratigies. Ie, stop putting cars at the top of the tree :)

 

Apologies for typos throughout

JK

In Holland there was massive public support for segration and reducing the roadspace given to motorists. In the UK there is no such groundswell of anger towards motorists. 

As an example of a cheaper and more realistic alternative. I believe the model that is so successful in Hackney of cycle paths on back streets parallel to the main roads that are made impermeable to motor traffic should be campaigned for. This would also result in a far more enjoyable cycling experience.

 Just one of the possibilities...

 

I live in Hackney, and have done all my life. From the age of 11, I cycled to school here. Which cycle lanes are you referring to?

The campaign is not based on anger towards motorists, rather an understanding that giving over more and more space to motorists is ultimatley self defeating. By asking for space to be taken away from cars, segregation can be acheived. When did you last hear someone wishing they could still drive around Leicester square?

 

Look at the bigger picture. Car ownership is in decline. Fuel prices will keep rising. London population is on the increase. This can only lead to more bikes. Remember the UK transport budget is £billions.

This is not a short term, 5 year plan. If in my lifetime cycling is up to 25% in London I will consider that a huge achievement.

Last week there was a well-attended and constructive debate in Parliament on cycling, apparently the first tine in 15 years that this has been debated. Political will and public opinion might be starting to shift into favouring cycling. I think this is a bigger obstacle than lack of money or space.

With sensible road design there is the potential for cycle routes on quiet roads or on cycle lanes/paths in most parts of London.

It doesn't just have to be about increasing road space for cyclists - in Holland drivers are assumed to be liable for incidents unless they can demontrate otherwise  - that would be a great piece of legislation to get passed in England.

Prior to the LCC campaign, I thought going Dutch for cyclists meant sharing the costs of anything 2 friends bought whilst in the same bike shop....

Jono - The cycle lanes I refer to in Hackney are those such as the one running from the city farm to the town hall or the one along leonard street or from St. John's to Wells Street. None involve segregation and all are a joy to cycle along. Compare these to the cycle superhighways and tell me which you think is safer or more pleasurable to cycle along?

Anoop and Janet - I am delighted to hear that this is happening and I hope that the LCC gets behind the ideas you are suggesting.

Perhaps ironically the cycle routes in Hackney you describe are the closest to Dutch cycling we have. In fact I wound argue they are rather better in places than some stuff I have seen in NL.

And yes they are to some extent segregated unless you define segregation only as a track alongside a carriageway.

More importantly the Dutch are quite pragmatic about segregation. The real quality of the Dutch approach lies in the fact that authorities and planners thoroughly understand cycling as a proper mode of transport and not something that's 'also allowed on the road if you dare' and that can be lumped together with walking when the roads are to dangerous and we run out of ideas.

Therefore the Dutch approach to designing for cycling is all encompassing. All children (not a select few) recieve cycle training. There is no street and no development that does not have cycling provision at the top of the agenda.

Yes there is rather more 'segregation' than in the UK. But there are also many streets and junctions in the NL which are narrow and confined and where other solutions are applied. The point is that they never tire of finding those solutions whereas we seem to shrug our shoulders and say 'it just can't be done' instead.

This is what Love London, Go Dutch will change. It can be done. Sometimes with segregation (lots of space in outer London and other large junctions) and sometimes with Filtered Permeability, the brilliant approch Hackney has taken, suitable for town centres and residential areas. It is not either or.

Why do I not see any of this in the LCC information for the Go Dutch campaign?

I have never seen any reference to the use of back roads that have been made impermeable to motorists. All I seem to see is the grand plans for areas such as Parliament square or Blackfriars Bridge that include completely segregated bicycle paths.

This is the problem with the Go Dutch campaign it suggests that you want to see the kind of cycle lanes in London that people associate with Amsterdam. You should be promoting a London centric model, encouraging things that have already been shown to work here. I do not believe that Go Dutch does anything other than making the LCC seem like idealistic dreamers - more's the pity.

The LCC should be aware that the impression they give to non cyclists is very important for the promotion of cycling and I believe this campaign gives completely the wrong message to anyone who does not get involved in the fine print of the campaign (the vast majority of people).

This post was edited by bengurney at 11:39am 29 Feb 2012.

The Go Dutch campaign focuses on main roads where filtered permeability is not viable - certainly not on the TLRN road network over which the Mayor has control. They are also the historically neglected bits of our streets. A lot of our cycle network uses back routes to avoid the large junctions and trunk roads. Indeed much of it has been designed not to accommodate cyclists. Go Dutch says that all roads need to be accessible for cycling because the major roads are also destinations. We all need to use them at some point.

However we should still emphasize that the strength of the Dutch approach is its comprehensiveness underpinned by political will.

  • By paul at 05:44pm 02 Mar 2012

One issue that seems to be increasingly accepted is 20mph limits in areas where people live and shop. Even where congestion slows traffic at the moment drivers feel that they ought to be going faster and that contribuies to making roads unfriendly for pedestrians as well as cyclists. Arguably segragation will only be needed where speeds and traffic levels cannot be reduced. ( the TLRN network ?)

  • By ma499 at 05:42pm 05 Mar 2012

Dear Ben, sorry to see you go. It was our members who voted for LCC to campaign on "clear space for cycling along on main roads" as our priority campaign for the 2012 Mayoral election. Being a democratic organisation that's therefore what we do.

As explained above the Dutch approach is all-encompassing. Segregation is not the answer on the majority of roads and many of the measures in Hackney are indeed very much part of the Dutch experience. Nevertheless the members wanted us to focus on main roads because they are barriers, destinations and key routes. And on such main roads some of these "harder" measures become vital. 20mph and filtered permeability are simply no appropriate for trunk routes that are expected to carry high volumes of motor traffic. Sometimes back road alternatives are an option but please get out of your inner London / Hackney mentality. Come out to the suburbs. There is often no convenient alternative to a main road - and even then what if your destination is a supermarket that happens to be along a 6 lane dual carriageway at speeds in excess of 40mph? I cycle in these conditions but it's hardly a family-friendly, all inclusive, inviting experience.

You might feel LCC is being unrealistic and idealistic but I believe that our democratic base keeps us honest and, in this instance, has allowed us to capture the zeitgeist. In contrast the rest of the cycle campaigning establishment still seem to be in denial about the significant upheaveal in the political landscape for cycling over the last 12 months.

This post was edited by ma499 at 05:45pm 05 Mar 2012.

  • By JHW at 07:39pm 10 Jun 2012
The politics show on BBC 1 today featured an article on the Go Dutch campaign. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bigscreen/tv/episode/b01jlbsq/ (about 36 mins) Mustafa Arif spoke for the campaign whilst Sir Stirling Moss was the other speaker. Bob Neill Conservative MP for Bromley was a panelist and a woman MP from West London spoke for the Labour Party. Mustafa was pretty good and put his points across eloquently and with conviction. Sir Stirling decided to tell us that he thought the law should be changed to make helmet wearing compulsory. I thought it a shame that Mustafa even bothered to respond to this rather silly point. In the context of the discussion helmets were totally irrelevant and can be discussed at some other time. There can be no doubt that Sir Stirling is a national hero and national treasure, but I completely fail to grasp what qualifies him to contribute to such a debate. Anyway well done Mustafa. I believe you will have been well received by those people of London who will ultimately decide where this campaign goes. John H Wood

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