16 June 2011

Transport chiefs in bid to get more people cycling to work | Manchester Evening News - menmedia.co.uk

Transport chiefs in bid to get more people cycling to work | Manchester Evening News - menmedia.co.uk

Laudable, but I fear it's got "misguided" written all over it. According to the Evening News, this is "a radical bid by transport chiefs for government cash". Right. So, it's not about cycling or indeed transport - but to get some cash. It may be misreporting by the M.E.N., but that's not the only problem I see.

The fundamental error appears to be an emphasis on doing the things that are easy rather than the things that are necessary. Yes, it will be jolly nice to have 'secure storage' for my bike and wet clothes, and access to showers - but lack of those things are not the main deterrent for people to cycle into Manchester city centre. It is safety on the roads that stops most people I talk to: safety from the actions of other road users - chiefly motorists. Safety from those who will act carelessly or incompetently and from those who - very occasionally - harass you, angry as what they wrongly perceive as your 'intrusion' on 'their' road, the one they think they pay with their 'road tax'.

If Greater Manchester really want to be pioneering, they need to invest in, among other things:
- Real, segregated, cycle lanes
- Information campaign aimed at drivers ("There's no road tax"; "Cyclists are good for you" etc)
- Better law enforcement - and how about some coppers on bikes, on main routes?
- Legal support for cyclists involved in accidents - not to thwart justice, but to even the odds (hey, they could partner up with the CTC)
- Better (less car-centred) road/junction design so that cycling routes actually lead into the city centre, not circle around it or force you to go counterflow
- Bikes on trams!  or at least, good, easy bike parking at tram and rail stations

And lead by example - I know Lord Smith may be past his cycling years, but I'm sure there are plenty of councillors and town hall mandarins who are not - some may already cycle to work, so why not make it visible?

1 comment:

Mr Catheter said...

There is a survey about this online now. It asks about barriers to cycling, which I have somewhat hijacked to talk about high-quality segregation on busy and/or fast roads, enforcement against motorists and removal of on-street parking (barring a number of disabled spots).

I urge everyone to do the same