Friday, 26 July 2013

The Nostrodamus of Blogs strikes again

So as ever I write something and then a little later I pat myself on the back for looking into the crystal ball of cycling.

Regular readers will remember I wrote a post back on the 29/1/13 about how I think segregated cycle paths and me might not get on well together - you can read it HERE.

Well I read the first stirrings from Sustrans on the controlled (read eventual speed cameras) coming out way on cycle paths - read it HERE. It is the tip of the iceberg and more will follow (remember you read that here).

Government (read nanny state) are dying to get their hands on cyclists - for far too long we have been "sticking to the man" by being unregulated - read not so easy to fine. I fully expect the call for licensing of bikes that go on roads before too soon, in fact I was channel hoping and saw one of those "police stop camera" or whatever on TV. There the reporter did a bit on bikes and seem 100% confident that bikes would be regulated and licensed soon - of course he never thought about all the practical difficulties of it!

Another reason that Government (local, national and regional) will not cater for the current and confident cyclist is because they already know we are going to ride our bikes. If they are going to spend public funds on something they will have KPI's (key performance indicators) to judge the success of the policy, inevitable and obviously this will be the increase in number of cyclists - they will not go for average miles per cyclists as this a) far less sexy and b) very difficult to get an accurate figure on. How do you increase the number of cyclists on the road? Well obviously you have to make it feel safe for all those people who waiver on whether to do it or not - therefore you need safe and slow bike lanes - we all want safe but we don't necessarily want slow - this will leave current cyclists left out on all sides - drivers will expect and demand we are on the cycle lanes and new cyclists on the cycle lanes will want use to be as slow as them so they feel safe - this also will include pedestrians wandering all over them as they are convenient for them to push their prams on - the Government will do nothing to stop this as they will effectively be getting extras footpaths for their outlay.

As I stated before I am all for the introduction of safe bike lanes but really the way it is going it is not going to work unless you are a beardy, woolly jumper and sandal wearing, liberal on your cargo bike, doing your 4 miles a week on a bike exercise, just so you can look extra trim for you next naked bike ride protest.

I weep for my children and not only because they have me for a dad.

Edit: 30/7/13 - I see another thing about controlling bike lanes (well shared ones) has hit the press. Local authorities are now pushing for speed bumps / chicanes to be put on bike lanes to slow cyclists down. Read it HERE

I am going to offer up some free advice here - want to avoid bikes crashing into pedestrians? How about making them bike lanes for bikes only and have pavements for pedestrians? Surely if they are shared use then they should be called pavements and we all know cyclists aren't allowed on pavements.

There really is a need to understand by local authorities that cyclist don't want shared paths - they need dedicated lanes. Everyone one in all levels of Government seem to think that cyclists are wooly wearing bearded liberals who don't use the bike as a genuine and speedier form of transport (in heavily traffic towns at least). For us the bike is not a fun recreation on a nice sunny day, it is a way of life and we are the people who ride daily and need the help the most.

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