02 September 2010

This house notes...

Cool and normal, baby
My RSS feed from the Hansard has just brought to my attention an early day motion that notes "with dismay" that, when refurbishing Birmingham New Street, they have only catered for a handful of bikes, while in Amsterdam they do it for thousands.

I have no idea of what an "early day motion" is, but I suspect it means "a weeny-teeny idea that may never go anywhere".  

On another front, the Guardian yesterday quotes as-yet-unpublished research (by the Univ. of the West of England) that says that people, on the whole, like cyclists.  Or at least, don't mind them.  The actual headline goes "Cyclists! The public thinks you're cool and normal".   Yes, just like labradoodles, but not as hairy.  I reckon the research must have been limited in its goals or hypothesis.  The real issue is one of value.  To put it bluntly, the interesting research question would be how much of a scarce resource (eg. road space) are people prepared to share with those who cycle.  This lies at the heart of both behaviour (what motorists are prepared to do when they see a cyclist) and policy choices (what politicians believe the public to want or to be willing to tolerate regarding cycling).


David Hembrow said...

It's interesting that this motion has been raised, but they're actually quite seriously under-estimating how much cycle parking exists at railway stations in the Netherlands. I don't understand why it is not better researched.

The motion says "3,000 available at Amsterdam Centraal Station and 1,200 at Berlin Hauptbahnhof; further notes that the Dutch rail authorities plan to boost capacity nationally to 100,000 places"

Well, actually recently a cycle stand was painted gold to celebrate it being the 200,000th new stand erected since 1999. These were put in place in addition to those which existed before 1999, another 60000 will be in place before 2012 and the railway company has promised to continue to add 25000 new places a year at least until 2020.

Amsterdam has 2500 cycle parking spaces at just one of the cycle parks by the main station, the total number of spaces there being about 10000. Actually, Amsterdam is lagging behind Groningen and Utrecht by quite a bit when you look at the number of residents who have to fight over each cycle parking space. For most towns, the main railway station will have enough for one in thirty residents to park a bike, though it can be much higher at railway stations in commuter villages, which commonly have more cycle parking spaces even than main stations in cities in the UK.

coco said...

David, perhaps whoever filed this early day motion thought no-one would believe the real figures, so they just toned them down to a level that would impress their fellow MPs, but not sound too far-fetched.

Let's see what happens with the motion.