Cyclecraft is Killing Cycling

A state of emergency is declared, the country’s infrastructure is in a terrible state and its people are struggling to survive. A copy of the SAS survival manual would be a good purchase. Your government consulting its author (an expert in the field of survival) for advice to help its citizens survive the crisis would be welcome news.

Years later, the situation has barely improved, it turns out your government has continued to accept advice of the same author, rather than consulting with experts on rebuilding our society. He has been advocating that the citizens are better off being equipped with the skills to survive in this hostile environment than they would be if we started to rebuild houses, railways and other infrastructure. Some even start to believe it with a powerful conviction, challenging anyone who dares to question the philosophy.

Sounds crazy, right? Well this is effectively the situation cycling is stuck in with John Franklin and Cyclecraft. Cyclecraft is a great survival guide to help cyclists cope with the cycling-hostile road network of the UK, and our many fast-driving and skill-deficient motorists. The problem is that John Franklin is also a “Cycle safety” consultant and one of the strongest voices against separate cycle infrastructure which would improve the lives of cyclists immensely and help to vastly increase the rates of cycling. Local authorities and government accept consultation about cyclist safety from the man whose career is based on writing the survival manual for cyclists who wish to cycle in our current abysmal conditions, whose work forms the basis of the cycle training which is offered to help cyclists cope with our inherently cycling-hostile road network. The problem here seems obvious to me, but not to local authorities or even the vast majority of cycling campaigners in the UK.

As a consultant on “Cycle safety,” John Franklin has a vested interest in maintaining the atrocious conditions which led to the need for a manual and training courses for riding a bike. Maybe he is deluded and genuinely loves cycling along dual carriageways, laughing maniacally with cars screaming past at 60 mph, unable to understand why the vast majority of people don’t want to be out there with him. Maybe he actively wants to maintain the status quo which has underpinned his career as a “Cycle safety” consultant and author. Looking through the literature on his website, I see a homeopathy-like penchant for cherry-picking research which agrees with his message on the alleged safety issues of separate cycle facilities, whilst ignoring the wider body of work showing they improve cyclists’ safety and promote higher cycling rates when implemented well. Reading through his published work, it seems disconnected from reality. The issue has been eloquently discussed elsewhere, but I shall repeat it here too. From his book Basic Cycling Skills:

Cadence and sprint speed

Cadence is the number of times a cycling turns the pedals in one minute. A steady, comfortable pedalling rhythm is essential for efficient cycling, while increasing one’s cadence strengthens the leg muscles and enables more rapid acceleration. Increasing cadence also makes it easier to increase your sprint speed – the maximum speed that you can attain over a short distance, such as through a roundabout.

Racing cyclists know well the benefits of having a high cadence, but there can also be important safety advantages for everyone. Generally speaking, you are at your safest in traffic if you can move at a speed comparable to that of the other vehicles. Increasing your cadence and sprint speed will allow you to achieve this more often, particularly at those places where it matters most – junctions with complex manoeuvring. It will also be easier to restart quickly in a low gear at traffic signals and roundabouts, and to get yourself out of trouble if you are on a potential collision course.

Increasing cadence and sprint speed are two of the most positive steps a cyclist can take to enhance safety.

A good cadence to aim for is about 80, while a sprint speed of 32 km/h (20 mph) will enable you to tackle most traffic situations with ease. To increase your cadence, select a gear lower than you would normally use for a given road and simply force yourself to pedal faster in order to maintain your usual speed. Gradually, your leg muscles will become accustomed to the higher rate and your cadence and strength will increase.

What is not addressed here is that if Cyclecraft is the correct way to cycle, and cycles are to be kept on the roads at the expense of any separate infrastructure, is that everyone other than a small elite of particularly fit riders are excluded from cycling. If you are too young, too old, too unfit or otherwise physically incapable of a sprint speed of 20 mph, you have no business cycling on the road, or at least you should have little expectation of doing so safely.

As a survival guide, Cyclecraft is an excellent resource to help cyclists survive on our roads. Taken as a guide for best practise, it is a dangerously elitist philosophy which excludes all but the bravest and fittest from cycling in the UK. John Franklin’s influence on much of the cycle campaigning establishment is a major barrier to mass cycling in the UK.

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41 thoughts on “Cyclecraft is Killing Cycling

  1. Very interesting post – thank you. I did give a snort of laughter at Franklin's recommended cadence – he's clearly never seen my noodling along Upper Brook Street on my hybrid.

  2. The speed differential problem goes away if you slow the cars down. Slowing cars on main roads is what is needed (see Oxford for an example of what can be done with lane-narrowing and lots of ped crossings).

  3. @Lee-AnnIt seems like those who wish to cycle slowly or are incapable of cycling quickly are to be excluded from John Franklin's vision for cycling in the UK@RichardLane narrowing is terrible for cyclists as it brings motorists and cyclists into conflict. The conflict has a slowing effect on traffic but it isn't fun being the one who is used as traffic calming. I've only been to Oxford once and funnily enough I was hit by a car as it squeezed past me on a narrowed road.Most efforts to reduce motor traffic speed lead to conflict with cyclists, or inconvenience cyclists at the same time. Narrowing lanes is a good idea, so long as the space removed from motor traffic is used to create quality separate cycle infrastructure. Without it, it just makes cycling worse.If a road is slowed from 40 to 30 without redesigning the layout of the road space people will speed because the road "feels" like a faster one to them. Cameras are a way to restrict speed, but they are limited and politically unpopular. Even in a 30 zone, there is no escaping the need for that 20 mph sprint speed.

  4. Yes, that would rule me out too… as I usually don't go over the 10mph and that gives me a chance to actually enjoy looking around me… to choose the bike so that you can try to be as fast as moving traffic is just simply ridiculous! And flipping sad too…Hasn't Mr Franklin heard of The Slow Bicycle Movement? He should give it a go… who knows?! Perhaps a little light bulb would go off in his head…

  5. I had a perfect example of the contrast popping down to the Aldi in Catford today to pick up some of their cheapo cycling gear. I was on my Gazelle and it was serene progress along the Waterlink Way, and then frantic stop and start around the Catford Gyratory to try and keep up with the lane-changing traffic.

  6. @Mike,As a survival guide it is generally reasonable advice. My problem is the fact that it is treated as the foundation of cycling by a large section of cycle campaigners, and that Franklin works to suppress any move towards NL style infrastructure in his role as a "cycle safety" consultant. He appears to believe that the route to mass cycling is to turn the general population into extremely fit roadies, which is never going to work. Either that or he doesn't actually care about getting more people cycling.The needs of people who need/want to cycle at a slower pace need to be considered too, rather than being sacrificed to the fear of cycling's great bogeyman

  7. @Mike,So to answer your question properly, I would preface the book with a page basically expressing what I said in there last comment, that this is a survival manual only, and not to be taken as the foundation for any meaningful growth in cycling rates.

  8. But how would you change the *practical* advice in Cyclecraft to meet the needs of the slower cyclist? If you are not going to use speed and acceleration then what do you do? I had a brief chat about this with David Dansky of CTUK a few weeks ago and he doesn't teach the use of speed and acceleration to get out of trouble, though we didn't have time to get into the details.

  9. @Mike,This is a difficult one, the road network in the UK is inherently hostile to cyclists that at least a certain amount of speed is required to cycle along many of the main routes If anyone could put forward some techniques to manipulate driver behaviour to help mitigate this, it would be welcome, but I am at a loss to provide any myself. The real solution is what The Netherlands have done, but Cyclecraft's influence beyond survival guide status is a barrier to this.What most slower cyclists seem to do is use local knowledge, stick to familiar routes to avoid risking being forced into a high speed/volume motor traffic flow on an unfamiliar route, stick to back roads and quieter alternatives where possible and avoid cycling altogether when the destination requires cycling on roads where motor traffic volume/speed pressure requires a higher speed from cyclists. Some slower cyclists will take the more drastic solution of giving up cycling altogether, or relegating it to an occasional leisure activity confined to greenways and the like.As for a less elitist alternative to Cyclecraft to help make cycling more accessible whilst we remain without Dutch-grade infrastructure, I'd love to hear more if you ever get to chat to David Dansky again.

  10. "Homeopath like" would mean quoting methodologically flawed studies to support the position. I've not read the studies Franklin cites, but is there evidence that they're problematic in this way?"…promote higher cycling rates when implemented well."And therein lies the rub, surely? As Chris Gerhard's oft repeated challenge to me to name the "good" 10% of facilities when I airily throw out the figure of 90% of the ones on my route being appalling shows, the vast majority (if not all) are inconvenient at best, dangerous at worst. That they're not up to much is an eminently defensible position from the UK, unless one offers the special pleading that they're not horrendous if built to Dutch/Danish standards (and possibly surrounded by Dutch/Danish drivers, located in Dutch/Danish road culture anchored in Dutch/Danish legal and judicial frameworks)[1].And the stuff about Franklin acting with ulterior motive to the detriment of the safety of others, the apparent strawman about him enjoying dual carriageways…this nasty piece is unworthy of you, MrC.Mike: I'd also be interested in current thinking on this.[1] I'm not opposed a priori to segregated infrastructure. David Hembrow's site made the scales fall from my eyes in quite a dramatic way. I struggle to think of any local offerings I'd recommend without qualification though.

  11. @John the MonkeyThe evidence Franklin cites is interesting, because a non-expert on cycling safety could be forgiven for failing to make the distinction between cycling infrastructure designed around the needs and desires of cyclists (as in NL/DK), infrastructure originally designed to get cyclists out of the way of cars (Germany) and infrastructure designed to get cyclists out of the way of cars/painted in as an afterthought when designing general traffic calming (UK). These are very different approaches to cycle infrastructure, with the worst of it barely deserving the name "cycle infrastructure." As I said, it could be forgiven from a non expert, but in the case of Franklin, this distinction is usually not made, and I can only conclude that this is done to deliberately weaken the position for dedicated infrastructure. The reason for doing this could be down to a complete disconnect between Franklin's views and the reality of cycling for the majority of people in the UK (Highlighted by my dual carriageway jibe), or because a real improvement in conditions for cyclists would jeopardise the foundations of Franklin's career. There may be another reason of course, but for an expert to be almost certainly deliberately muddying the waters is reminiscent of what is seen in the battle between homeopathy and non-placebo medicine.No-one who cycles is asking for the kind of cycle infrastructure which comprises the majority of what we have in the UK. A non-expert who simply wants to be able to cycle and feel safe, or for their children to be able to feel safe will ask for "cycle lanes" in transport consultancies and possibly even in correspondence with an MP. When LAs and government set out to build infrastructure, there is no voice asking for legally binding minimum standards, or separation based on specific separation principles, because the majority of cycle campaigns on the national level place cycle infrastructure as the least desirable option. The result is our uniquely British infrastructure, which is unsafe, inconvenient and partly in existence because of the strength of the vehicular position ingrained in much of the existing cycle campaign through John Franklin's failure to distinguish between good separate cycle infrastructure and bad.

  12. @Mr ColostomyYou said: "Narrowing lanes is a good idea, so long as the space removed from motor traffic is used to create quality separate cycle infrastructure. Without it, it just makes cycling worse."It depends how successful you are at slowing the traffic. If you narrow the traffic lanes enough (to 3m or a bit less), and don't have more than one lane each way, and break up the traffic flow with frequent pedestrian crossings, then traffic speeds will be nearer 20mph, and you don't need "quality separate cycle infrastructure" to make conditions better.

  13. @RichardOn quiet/residential roads, road narrowing to regulate the speed of motor traffic isn't necessarily going to produce an environment which cycling becomes less pleasant/safe. When done well, the results can be excellent, as shown here in a Home Zone. These kinds of environment are some of the best places to cycle on-road, and are part of the reason I support things like to 20s plenty campaign. Of course, a road which is narrowed to slow traffic to 20 mph, but continues to carry a high volume of motor traffic is still going to result in motorists putting cyclists under pressure to cycle at or above 20 mph, and so a high-quality dedicated facility should be provided for them to use when the road is narrowed. If such a road did exist without separate infrastructure for cyclists, the frequency of pedestrian crossings and the need to continuously stop and start would also hinder cycle traffic as well as motor traffic. Separate infrastructure could bypass this issue in a number of ways.My main issue with road narrowing is on 30 mph+ roads, where the narrowing brings cyclists into spatial conflict with motor vehicles which are travelling at much higher speeds than the average cyclist. Cyclists end up being pressured into cycling in the gutter, receive abuse and intimidation for "holding up traffic" by taking the lane, or simply don't bother cycling there at all. In these situations it is important to provide a safe & convenient separate facility.

  14. @Mr ColostomyI'm talking about urban main roads (10,000 motor veh per day). Narrowing the traffic lanes to 3m, only having one lane each way, and flow interruptions leads to speeds less than 30mph (nearer 20mph), and then cycle lanes are adequate. You don't need separate tracks.

  15. @Richard,I'd say that depending on whereabouts we are on the 20-30mph scale, that would be near the threshold for a (min 2m wide) mandatory (no cars) cycle lane on road outside of the 3 m left for general traffic (divided by paint) nearer the 20 mph end, with a protective kerb in place should the speed be nearer 30 mph. I think we are broadly on the same page here.

  16. I think the distinction between Franklin's advice about how to cycle on the current UK road network (which is good) and his opinion about how to increase UK cycling levels (which is bad) is an important one.Reading Cyclecraft, I was struck by how his 'editorialising' often intrudes into the (sound) general road safety advice. For instance, on page 69, we find this statement -"As you will read in the chapter on cycle facilities, no alternative to the general road network has yet been devised which is as safe or advantageous overall for cycling."This is remarkable guff, given that the Netherlands has – by a country mile – the safest cyclists, and the most advantageous conditions for them, despite a great deal of the cycling there being conducted away from the 'general road network.'Franklin must be aware of this fact, but he doesn't even acknowledge it. He just ignores it, and in fact verges dangerously close to telling a lie.Why? What can the reason be? My only theory is that he as an overriding agenda about keeping cyclists on the road.

  17. @Mr Colostomy – A small point of information – the quote there about cadence and sprint speed comes from a chapter within Cyclecraft entitled 'Basic Cycling Skills', rather than from a separate book.

  18. I'm a pretty quick cyclist, easily capable of the sort of sprint speeds Franklin talks about. And I still think he is speaking utter guff. I'd go so far as to say he is a collaborationist in the petrolhead, anti-cycling vested interests in the UK and he is very much harming cyclist's interests.

  19. If traffic speeds on main roads are reduced, then cycle lanes don't need to be anywhere near 2m, actually. At 20mph, cycle lanes can be as narrow as 1m. If the speed differential is low, then cars have more time to react, and drop to cycling speed when a cyclist pulls out – the cyclist can get away with having virtualy no cyclecraft at all.

  20. @ christhebull1m cycle lanes aren't a problem in themselves, unless you've thereby failed to slow traffic. On a typical 9m road, if you put in 1m cycle lanes then the traffic lanes will be too wide. What matters is the width of the traffic lane.

  21. Very interesting debate here. I'm not sure we can blame Franklin for the lack of co-operation from local and national authorities, though. The will to change the infrastructure has to come partly from them, and until they get off their backsides we do still need some survival measures. I do agree that the onus has been pushed on to the vulnerable to do more, or to get out of the way or to just put up with it……if more people who cycled put pen to paper and told their Politicians that this was an electable issue, that they really want these things to happen, that they want better protection for when things go wrong then it might have a chance. The trouble is many cyclists are like much of the electorate in general – they wont say anything because they're convinced that nothing will happen and that Politicians dont give a damn.

  22. @aseasyasridingabike,Thanks for pointing that out, I had been planning to write a piece about cycle training and the elitism of speed, and it was your excellent pieces on Franklin which inspired me to finally write it, as you can probably tell.@Elvis,Like you, I can also manage the speeds specified in Cyclecraft. It is nice to see that your athleticism hasn't made you forget that such speeds aren't for/available to everyone who wants to cycle.@Richard,1m cycle lanes aren't useful on any road. The problem with such a small lane is that it stinks of cycling being treated as 2nd class. In urban and residential areas especially, pedestrians should be prioritised, followed closely by cyclists. The others can be slotted in afterwards if there is space. Unless the motorised traffic is averaging ~10 mph, or there is a particularly low level of it, cyclists need to be provided for one way or another. Bringing them into conflict with 20 mph motor traffic is still going to lead to an unattractive cycling environment for people cycling at ~12 mph, even if it is slightly less unattractive that a 30 road.@Downfader,I agree, and discussions like this and sites like Crap Waltham Forest are a good way of increasing the profile of these important issues. Just look at the recent articles in the Independent. Not perfect but surely a sign of progress.

  23. My recollection is that Franklin does state that Cyclecraft is a guide to cycling on the roads as they are today. He speaks against on-road cycle lanes because they often encourage the cyclist to take up the wrong position on the road. He speaks against segregated paths also, and claims statistical evidence that they are more dangerous, however Cyclecraft lacks citations so we can't check the evidence for ourselves.In my view, where Cyclecraft falls down as a tool for mass cycling is it is unreasonable to expect the average cyclist to be more skilled than the average driver. How can you expect a 12-year-old to read it and put it into practice? If your starting point to getting more people cycling is expecting the new cyclists to have advanced-level training just to go to the shops, then you will end up with…well, what we have in the UK today.

  24. No. If wrinklies can ride around the streets of Denmark, Holland and Germany without managing 20mph, then you’ve misunderstood the problem.So what is the problem? Nowhere in this country will implement the hierarchical list of measures for cycling, not even in the cycling city and town projects. For instance, SGlos consulted over the A38, and CTC’s first response was “lower the speed limit to 30mph”. SGlos didn’t even bother discussing it, despite the fact that for much of the past year, the speed limit has been reduced to 30mph because of road works.I’ve read Cyclecraft a few times, but I can’t remember John Franklin saying anything remotely approaching what you attribute to him: “He has been advocating that the citizens are better off being equipped with the skills to survive in this hostile environment than they would be if we started to rebuild houses, railways and other infrastructure.” So could you please enlighten us? It is clearly better to equip people to deal with the world as it exists rather than to demand some utopia which just isn’t going to happen, and which would increase danger for all cyclists if it came to pass. If you haven’t read “Risk” by John Adams, you should, but be prepared to have your preconceptions challenged at the most basic level.Your premise appears to be that cycling infrastructure makes cycling safer, but since this is demonstrably not true, your whole argument is based on a fallacy. Most cycling infrastructure makes cycling more dangerous e.g. shared use paths in urban areas. Thank god CTC was there to argue our corner when DfT wanted to change the Highway Code to require cyclists to use infrastructure, supposedly for their own benefit, but almost always for the real benefit of drivers. You suggest that the government should consult people who are experts in rebuilding our society, but you don’t name any or what their occupations might be. One of the most significant ways of changing our society would be to get a significant proportion of the population cycling, but to do that, it has to be seen as safe, and the one thing that separate cycling facilities, along with helmets, tells people is that it’s dangerous.Whilst I think your viewpoint should be aired, I disagree completely with your arguments, and while the government may well consult with John Franklin, I’d bet my house that they disregard most of what he tells them. Your article reads rather like a Daily Mail rant, full of rhetoric and unproven claims, rather than a logical analysis of the facts. Taking a single quote and using it to support your own preconceptions says more about you than John Franklin’s books.“As a consultant on "Cycle safety," John Franklin has a vested interest in maintaining the atrocious conditions which led to the need for a manual and training courses for riding a bike.” Quite frankly, that’s just insulting and infantile and demonstrates your complete failure to understand the problems. “The problem here seems obvious to me, but not to local authorities or even the vast majority of cycling campaigners in the UK.” Have you considered that you might be wrong?

  25. @burtthebike"It is clearly better to equip people to deal with the world as it exists rather than to demand some utopia which just isn’t going to happen.Why? As I have repeatedly stated, Cyclecraft is good advice to anyone who wishes to cycle here in the UK, on roads which cyclists have effectively been "designed out" of. The problem comes when Cyclecraft is used as a means to oppose any progress being made towards a road network which isn't inherently hostile to cyclists, which doesn't require a high level of athleticism and bravery to cycle on."Your premise appears to be that cycling infrastructure makes cycling safer, but since this is demonstrably not true" This is a perfect example of the point I was making. Franklin has muddied the waters on the safety of separate infrastructure by usually not discriminating between cycling infrastructure designed to aid motorists (most current UK infrastructure, Ireland, even parts of Germany etc) and cycle infrastructure which is designed to make cycling a convenient and appealing transport option (Netherlands, Denmark). The former has a generally poor safety record for cyclists, the latter has an extremely good safety record for cyclists. By grouping them together, it is possible to make it appear as if cyclists in places like The Netherlands are subject to higher risk than they are in the UK, despite this being demonstrably false."Nowhere in this country will implement the hierarchical list of measures for cycling"The hierarchy of provision is part of the problem we face here in the UK. By placing separate cycling facilities at the less desirable end of the spectrum, we are left with measures which are difficult to implement without bringing motorists and cyclists into conflict, or making cycling even less appealing in the process of reducing traffic volume. What we need is something along the lines of the Danish separation principles, where the level of segregation of cyclists increases with the volume and speed of motor traffic on that route (the lowest level being no segregation at all). This opens up the possibility of using road narrowing and circuitous routes to restrict and slow motor traffic and make the car less appealing, whilst simultaneously making the cycle the logical and subjectively safe choice for the average person.This brings me to a further point, people don't make transport decisions (or most other decisions for that matter) based on risk, they make them based on fear. Even if a given piece of cycle infrastructure doesn't change the safety of cyclists for better or worse at all, it still makes people feel safer. This is of great importance but is often overlooked. All the statistics on how safe cyclists actually are in the UK won't make a single bit of difference to the average person when the reality is always an unpleasant ride mixed with a variety of sizes and speeds of motor vehicles. If it doesn't feel safe, people won't do it. Elective training is inherently limited in the difference it can make to this situation. Infrastructure is a great way to visibly appease these concerns, and has a proven track record of success which a vehicular approach does not share."You suggest that the government should consult people who are experts in rebuilding our society, but you don’t name any or what their occupations might be"I'd start with the Dutch and Danish Cycling Embassies, the fietsfabriek, David Hembrow and Mikael Colville-Andersen.

  26. @burtthebike"One of the most significant ways of changing our society would be to get a significant proportion of the population cycling, but to do that, it has to be seen as safe, and the one thing that separate cycling facilities, along with helmets, tells people is that it’s dangerous."Demonstrate a similarly developed place which has done this using a vehicular approach. People in The Netherlands cycle because it feels safe and convenient, it feels safe and convenient because of the infrastructure. The direct, convenient separate routes don't make them feel that what they are doing is unsafe, just look at their helmet usage rates (also, nice one for throwing helmets and infrastructure together there, another great way to make infrastructure with a proven record of success look like something sinister and dangerous like helmet promotion)."'As a consultant on "Cycle safety," John Franklin has a vested interest in maintaining the atrocious conditions which led to the need for a manual and training courses for riding a bike.' Quite frankly, that’s just insulting and infantile and demonstrates your complete failure to understand the problems."I don't see a problem in pointing out that the same man whose influence is used to oppose any move towards NL-style infrastructure makes his money from selling a survival guide for our current road network. There is a clear conflict of interests."'The problem here seems obvious to me, but not to local authorities or even the vast majority of cycling campaigners in the UK.' Have you considered that you might be wrong?"Indeed, have you? I look at the two approaches taken here in the UK, and the one taken in The Netherlands. Given a choice between two methods, one with a proven track record of failure and one with a proven track record of success, I'll choose the successful one every time. Maybe the CTC would benefit for the same type of approach.

  27. "Demonstrate a similarly developed place which has done this using a vehicular approach."The only example I've heard so far is Japan. Kind of hoping for more examples, sample size of one isn't entirely confident.

  28. So, should we place our faith in someone who publishes his findings under his own name, and is renowned for his meticulous research, or should we believe someone who makes scurrilous personal attacks and hides under a pseudonym apparently intended to show their gargantuan lack of self-respect?H L Mencken said it best "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

  29. @burtthebike "One of the most significant ways of changing our society would be to get a significant proportion of the population cycling, but to do that, it has to be seen as safe, and the one thing that separate cycling facilities, along with helmets, tells people is that it’s dangerous."I don't think anyone is suggesting that separate cycling facilities should be provided *on every single road*. The Dutch segregate on only a minority of their road network, for instance. In the Netherlands, you will end up cycling with traffic for a considerable amount of time – so the idea that we are talking about total separation here (and hence giving out the message that is unsafe to mix with traffic) is something of a straw man.Needless to say, however, the Dutch do segregate, but significantly, it is usually only on those roads that are unpleasant to cycle on – busier arterial roads in cities and towns, multi-lane roundabouts, faster intra-urban roads, and so on.Compare the relaxed way in which Dutch people cycle on these paths, with the slightly more harrowing experience of cycling on A-roads in Britain, with the associated need for an assertive primary position, high visibility clothing, bright lights, and so on. Which of these two options sends out the message that cycling is dangerous? Honestly?If you are still in doubt, try asking the people who doesn't currently cycle in Britain. These are, after all, the very people you will need to attract if we are going to 'significantly change our society.'

  30. @tkoAs far as I'm aware, a great deal of cycling in Japan takes place on the pavements, not an official policy but is widely tolerated due to the lack of separate facilities.@burtthebike"So, should we place our faith in someone who publishes his findings under his own name, and is renowned for his meticulous research, or should we believe someone who makes scurrilous personal attacks and hides under a pseudonym apparently intended to show their gargantuan lack of self-respect?"That certainly does sound like an easy choice doesn't it burthebike? Of course, if I'm talking complete sense it doesn't matter if my name is "John Franklin" or "The Assmaster," good sense is good sense."H L Mencken said it best 'For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.'"Indeed, telling the average person to HTFU and get out there and mix with traffic is a great example of an approach which is clear, simple and wrong. Conversely, implementing the full system used in The Netherlands with a proven record of success is difficult, ambitious and right.

  31. @burtthebike,I would love to be able to see what goes on inside Sustrans. Despite their lack of accountability, I hope that they eventually turn their focus away from primarily leisure-oriented routes and directing it more onto facilitating cycling for transport. It might be best if Sustrans were to become a government department within the DfT, or at least a QUANGO, so that they could be held to account and influenced by the public more readily.

  32. One criticism often levelled against even Dutch-style separated cycle facilities is that of junctions: any increased safety obtained from separation is nullified by the increased risk at junctions, where motorists are apparently startled to find cyclists suddenly sharing the junction space. Hence there should be no separation between cycles & motor vehicles between junctions.Why should not this argument be applied to pedestrians? Pedestrians are at higher risk when they leave their separated infrastructure, at junctions, to cross the road (and the statistics bear this out). Hence all pavements should be removed to improve pedestrian safety.Max

  33. I assume that most motorist-caused cyclist casualties in The Netherlands are at junctions simply because on the busiest roads, these are the only points at which cyclists are likely to encounter motorists. Without any figures to hand, I'd still bet that cyclists in The Netherlands are a fair amount safer at their junctions then we are at ours. Additionally, motorist-based cyclist casualty figures at junctions for the UK will likely be skewed downwards because many cyclists will simply avoid the worst junctions completely, or dismount and cross them as a pedestrian because the junction is designed without any consideration being given to the needs of non-car road users. The mega roundabout of death near Salford Quays is a good example of this kind of effect; statistically probably one of the safest roundabouts for cyclists in Greater Manchester because so few cyclists are brave enough to tackle it.

  34. @burtthebikeAs Mr Colostomy said. "So, should we place our faith in someone who publishes his findings under his own name, and is renowned for his meticulous research, or should we believe someone who makes scurrilous personal attacks and hides under a pseudonym apparently intended to show their gargantuan lack of self-respect?" That certainly does sound like an easy choice doesn't it burthebike? Of course, if I'm talking complete sense it doesn't matter if my name is "John Franklin" or "The Assmaster," good sense is good sense. "H L Mencken said it best 'For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.'"And Mencken's saying would seem to most appropriate regarding John Franklin's opinions on cycling infrastructure.

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