Boris Johnson: “If there were more cyclists we would have made the cycle superhighways separate lanes”
Gerald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal: “We’ll build the dedicated cycle lanes and then they’ll come”
One of these two mayors has the right idea. There’s no prizes for guessing which one.
It’s a well-understood fact that fear of cycling is the main reason people don’t cycle. In a DFT survey 6 out of 10 people stated “it’s too dangerous for me to cycle on the roads”. There’s no greater reason. It’s not because it ruffle up your hair or you’ll arrive sweaty.
The problem is, with cycling organisations unable to back a consistent strategy (See: is LCC for or against cycle lanes), there’s been very little progress in terms of dedicated cycling infrastructure. When fellow cycling bloggers visit London I’m left “showing off” London’s tiny stretch of confusing cycle lane on Tavistock Pl or the start of CS3 on Royal Mint Street.
“These kinds of statistics are music to this administration’s ears”
The Montreal Gazzette reported a 40% increase in cycling in areas where bike lanes have been added according to a study conducted between April 2008 and July 2010 by McGill University.
The city is investing heavily in its cycling infrastructure with a plan to expand the network from 535 km to 800 km by 2013. Not bad for a city of just over one and a half million residents. Unlike London the city also makes sure it clears its cycle lanes from the snow.
Ask users of the cycle superhighways if it makes them feel safer cycling into work and the majority (60%) will say no. With a planned increase in cycling of 400% by 2025 it looks like a few lessons could be learned from Montreal. Oh well, another 14 years to go..
Special thanks to Richard for forwarding me the article.
- Cycle superhighways
- Barclays cycle hire
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- London Cycle Cafes
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.