3 Feb 2009

Excellent cycle report: opportunities for Gloucestershire

Apparently over 60 officers from Gloucestershire County Council, the police and district councils attended a seminar in Gloucester on 14th January at which John Franklin - a cycling skills and safety consultant and Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign member - presented a paper entitled Principles of Cycle Planning for Gloucestershire. I have just been forwarded it and it is excellent.

The report covers some of the basic principles about cycles and cycling on which good cycle planning needs to be based. Topics such as the conservation of momentum, surface quality, visibility and the need for personal space were explained, leading on to how road and cycle-specific infrastructure design needs to accommodate these requirements if cycling is to be practical, pleasant and popular.

Alot of this is about creating permeability - maximum route choice with minimum diversion - and what the Hackney's Cycle Campaign call 'invisible engineering' - this latter is about avoiding expensive solutions like cycle lanes and instead looking at other measures like reducing traffic speeds - it seems to be working there with significant increases in cycling - plus now 12 cycle shops!

Apparently John pressed his audience to get away from treating cyclists as pedestrians, for the needs of the two groups are quite different. As a cyclist you might say this is obvious but it does not appear to have been to many designers. As we well know infrastructure designed for pedestrians is rarely suitable for cycling. Recent Government guidance was cited which calls upon local authorities to accommodate cycling in towns primarily on the roads, following a Hierarchy of Solutions with reductions in traffic speeds and volumes first and separate infrastructure only as a last resort. The limitations of cycle tracks and lanes were explained by John, noting that Gloucestershire has few good examples of either.

The seminar was chaired by Gloucestershire's cabinet member for the Environment, Cllr Stan Waddington, and the Cycle Campaign note that it was through his influence and the hard work of cycling officer Emma Shibli that such a good attendance was achieved. Let us hope this leads Gloucestershire to treating cycling more seriously in future. The full paper presented by John may be downloaded here.


Rob said...

Cool article! Anyway, i found a website that contains heaps of information about the environment. Here’s the link: http://www.informaction.org. Hope you guys enjoy it!

Russ said...

Here's my cheezly cheerful low carbon comment

I think if more people were to ride scooters, that would change the way people used the road, which may make it better for those hardy enough to put foot to pedal.