Calling my fellow Brits

Whether or not you’re a cyclist, you should be concerned about this one. The new updates to the Highway Code threatens to reduce our right to use the roads. That is, of course, those of us who are Good Citizens and obey the highway code; those who ignore the law, the code, and common courtesy now are unlikely to be affected much!

The basic problem is one of pushing us on to cyclepaths. That’s fine when there’s a decent path that goes where we want without undue delay. But the vast majority of designated cyclepaths in the UK are substandard, ranging from slow and hazardous to totally unusable. And they can be a problem for other road users, bringing cyclists into conflict with both pedestrians and motorists. A typical 6-mile urban commute could be a leisurely 20-minute journey by road, but over an hour of conflict and stress on designated paths, where for example every concealed driveway presents its own fresh hazard. See the Warrington Cycle Campaign’s “facility of the month” for examples.

What’s needed right now is to sign the petition at the no.10 website. Please do so now, if you haven’t already!

Some places that explain the problem in more detail include the CTC and the Cambridge Cycling Campaign. If you have the time and energy to do more than just sign the petition, they have further suggestions.


Posted on May 21, 2007, in cycling, politics, travel, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. doubleyouteeeff

    We need more people cycling to work! All we need is more restrictions and limitations to our rights on the road…

  2. As a car driver and cyclist I agree. Properly built roads – apart from motorways, which have a specific function – should be suitable for all wheeled road users (and those on foot/horseback too where’s there’s no sensible alternative, as in most of the countryside around here).

    And, as a pedestrian, I want both parked (and moving) road vehicles and cyclists off the pavements too! Both are becoming increasing hazards for the innocent walker in urban areas.

    I’ll sign your petition.

    Incidentally, my employer has just started a “salary sacrifice” scheme enabling employees to buy bikes for commuting purposes with significant tax breaks. So there’s a bit of good news for those who want to cycle to work.

  3. The Warrington link reminds me of how cycle facilities often seem to be designed by people who never actually ride bicycles. A classic used to be my ride from my former office at Marsh Mills, on the edge of Plymouth, into the city centre: Nice cycle paths along The Embankment (albeit shared quite legally with the occasional adventurous pedestrian) then, suddenly and without warning, you were thrust into the middle of two merging dual carriageways. At this point, it was clearly just too difficult for the so-called highway engineers to find a solution, so they hoped that the cyclists carried adequate life insurance. Several years later, a shared cyclist/pedestrian bridge was added to avoid this junction, but prior to that it was an arrangement that really tested one’s bottle!

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