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Letter: We Need Someone in Charge With Vision to Sort Out Our Cycle Infrastructure

Published on: 24 Jul, 2022
Updated on: 24 Jul, 2022

From: Christian Holmes

In response to: 20mph Zones In Town Centre Proposed In GBC Air Quality Action Plan

I’m afraid I disagree with Sam Taylor’s comment regarding bike lanes/bicycle use.

I am currently in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Population density here is over 4000 per sq km. Compare that to Guildford which I read is around 554 per sq km. There is no comparison in terms of congestion, air quality etc, the differentiator is the cycle network and bike use by people of all ages.

The frustrating part is that we know what the required infrastructure looks like for sustainable, clean and efficient transport but nobody will make the commitment. Instead, we get these attempts to tweak the situation which just wastes time and money with no net benefit. Like painting a line on the road, calling it a bike lane then allowing cars to park in it. Pointless.

And saying we don’t have the space is a cop-out. Many of the cycle lanes here are built into roads the same width as ours, however only the central third is designated for car use, the third, on either side, is for bikes. The difference is the bike is given more space than the car which encourages bike use.

The shame is that between 1934 and 1940 the UK built quite an extensive network of cycle lanes with Dutch guidance. These are now mostly forgotten and have fallen into disrepair.

Such a missed opportunity by successive governments, but it’s never too late to get back on track. We just need someone in charge with some vision and the desire to actually make a change.

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Responses to Letter: We Need Someone in Charge With Vision to Sort Out Our Cycle Infrastructure

  1. Simon Firth Reply

    July 28, 2022 at 3:06 pm

    I totally agree.

    Time after time we see developments where the cycle routes are omitted, insufficient, or not joined up. For example, the North Street development, Weyside, the cathedral site or even the bridge over by the railway/cinema.

    The local roads are not safe enough to mix young kids cycling to school with pedestrians and cars, so parents drive, compounding the problem; in our case chaperoning our children held my wife’s career back from full-time employment.

    Until there is safe provision, then I see no alternative to reducing the speeds in town and accepting cycling on pavements for those brave enough to get out on the bike.

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