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Bringing Copenhagen cycling to the UK

The film above is a short CNN report where Richard Quest looks at how cycling works in Copenhagen, and the new challenges the city faces as a result – cycle congestion. There are plenty of lessons in the film for UK cities in light of new research about cycling in the UK. Basically Brits are not going to take to their bikes in large numbers while they fear the consequences of doing so, and – as Peter Walker argues in a blog entry – this needs kilometres of segregated cycle lanes.

Why then does London Cycling not have this as one of its demands to candidates for Mayor of London at the 2012 elections? One of its 4 options on its 2012 election page – Continental-style high streets – is too wishy-washy in its wording.

The solution for cycling in London is simple but costly – segregate cyclists from traffic wherever possible and people will take to their bikes. Now which candidate(s) will advocate that I wonder?


2 Comments

  • elliot |

    my opinion: it’s not going to happen in any but the most unnecessary of routes, because –

    1 – there isn’t any money to spend

    2 – it’d take road space away from cars etc; there are more car users then cyclists; therefore more votes to be lost. any vote loser isn’t going to get through, unless it’s by someone who doesn’t mind being unpopular for a while, like Ken Livingstone

    3 – Transport for London’s current remit is to “smooth the traffic flow” – ie, increasing car speeds and lanes (see google for links about Blackfriars Bridge); unless they have a complete change of management, they’re not interested

    The only place we’re likely to see it is when there’s already a big, wide road (as is the case in much of copenhagen) which can afford to lose lane space from cars without reduction in traffic speeds.

  • Karen |

    @elliot sorry about the late reply, but many roads in Denmark are not big and wide enough to lose space for a cycle lane. The cycle lane is just seen as a necessity therefore there will be fewer lanes for cars or less parking. Most roads in Copenhagen are just one lane in each direction. Where you in London have two lanes for cars/buses + parking + wide pavement.

    I’m sure there would be room for a bike lane if people were willing to make room. You need to think bikes in as equals to other forms of transport.Pavements can be narrower. Parking can be banned. I don’t understand why Victoria Street has room for cars parked on both sides in the evenings, but not a cycle lane?

    Unless you create space for bikes, then they will take the space they need to feel safe. I’ve seen plenty of families with young kids or older people riding their bikes on the pavement. I haven’t asked why, but I presume it is because they don’t feel safe on the road. I can understand this, but it will not help change the situation for law abiding cyclists.

So, what do you think ?