Thursday, 27 February 2003

How it should be done! -- added photos of Dutch cycle lanes from Tim Malburn, who saw feature in Big Issue. He writes:

Through my son's school I have been asked by WCC to be on the Safe Routes to School, just for his school. So I have seen the weird and dangerous stuff they are planning. According to Worcs Highways you can't make a traffic island cycle friendly. I had to go to the NL a few weeks ago so took some photos of an island and some other cycle infrastructure. The SRTS coordinator was really pleased, she could then see what could be done. I sent them to highways, who I am in discussion with, but they haven't even acknowledged receipt. The idea of SRTS is to reduce the number of children being driven to some schools in this area (97%) and increase from the (0.3% on a very good day at the best school) cycling. They seem amazed and don't believe me that if you put in the infrasructure, parents will allow and want their children to cycle. The SRTS survey filled out by the pupils indicated 57% would cycle if it were safer.

I am a keen car driver (some million miles) but have used our bikes as a means of transport in Belgium, NL and Germany, it is enjoyable to do so. It is plain to see that cycle use is much higher because of the quality of infrastructure, it is just aggravation here. When I am working at home I cycle with my son, I wouldn't let him go on his own. I have been to CH and Denmark but not taken my bike, but am told by those that have it is as good. Some friends, she is danish, they lived there until recently, said it is the absolute norm for people to cycle to work and school. Her commute was 10km each way every day of the week.

When we bought my son's new bike, in the NL, he was 8, I was happy for him to ride it back to our friend's house, me following through a big busy town with no worries.

So I am battling away to try and make them see sense in Worcs. I copied your article to AEA Technology who are being paid � 3 million to survey and check what is going on in terms of Transport2000. I already have a guy there who contacted WCC on receipt of my mail cataloging their lacking or dangerous ideas, this is children the SRTS is meant to be helping. He is going to be getting on to them again soon. If you want his details let me know. He may not be the guy for your county but I'm sure he will pass it on to whoever is.

I also copied it to the SRTS coordinator and the head of highways, and WCC chief Exec. Having the website has made your council do something? That's great, WCC don't even admit there is a problem.

From a comment on the site I presume you have visited countries with real cycle infrastructure. As you say all the countries I've cycled in, all one-way streets and no entries are except cycles. Is it so difficult for them to go and look at best practise elswhere? It cost me �63 to fly to NL. Because it was a trip for other reasons, I also spent 30 Euro on trains, and spent about 100 Euro on accommodation as I was there three nights. That would be about 50m of unuseable white lining money here. Sure we'd stand them 3 nights jolly as taxpayers to get them informed. My highways man (the one saying that islands cannot be safe for cyclists) in the SRTS meeting when I asked him if he'd looked at best practise elsewhere, said, 'haven't got time'. I resisted the temptation to beat him to a pulp, but thought, I'm paying your wages, aren't I paying you to inform yourself?

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