On random play through a massive backlog of podcasts, my phone stumbled upon this, from The Bike Show, earlier.
Well I think it’s very important to put segregation in where you possibly can, but on our road system, some of which is Victorian — some of which is Roman still — sometimes there just isn’t a space, so what you have to do is be flexible and you put the appropriate conditions in for the appropriate road.
Also in 1977, the Labour Government’s Transport White Paper, ‘reflecting government concerns about the rising cost of oil, erosion of the quality of life through road traffic, and the needs of non-car users’ … stated that ‘[c]ompletely segregated cycle routes would be impractical or far too expensive in most cities, but local authorities should consider ways of helping cyclists when preparing traffic management schemes…there is scope for many more practical initiatives [to support walking and cycling]’ (DoT 1977: 28).
By 1981, such projects were deemed successful enough to be considered for extension in the now Conservative Government’s Cycling Consultation Paper, which identified ‘a boom in cycling’ (page 1) also stating that ‘[i]n an ideal world’ cyclists would have ‘their own tracks, separating them from other users of the roads. But there is not enough space and not enough money to do this everywhere’.
“Not enough space to do it everywhere” seems to have been an excuse to do it nowhere. Before “encouraging” local authorities to provide for cyclists, the DoT first told them how they could easily get out of actually doing anything.Here’s one more, which reveals the real issue:
Question by John BiggsAnswer by Boris Johnson
Do you agree that these facts demonstrate that segregated cycle tracks are safer and more popular and will you, therefore, be prioritising segregated facilities on future highway routes?
We must also be realistic. In many places, the existing layout of roads and buildings means that there is simply not enough space to provide segregated cycle lanes without adversely impacting other users. As a highway authority TfL has to consider the needs of all road users, as well as nearby residents and businesses.