IT'S NOT HOW WE TRAVEL, IT'S HOW WE BEHAVE
During the past 25 years, the share of all journeys made by bike in England and Wales has remained static at about 2%. Despite some regional variations, neither record public investment nor world class sporting success has been enough to move the needle.
Even in London, which is enjoying a cycling revival, surveys show that many more adults and children would like to saddle up, but are deterred by fear of traffic.
Policy makers tell us that keeping cyclists apart from motor traffic is the best way to ease their fears. Indeed there are some impressive examples of segregated infrastructure which are popular with regular cyclists, if less so with the non-cycling majority. But green or blue, all bike lanes end somewhere, and a raised kerb in Bow won't help you in Bolton.
The inconvenient truth is that cycling in Britain will never become mainstream until road users learn to treat each other as equals. Meanwhile the assumption that separating bicycles from motor traffic will bring wholesale behaviour change seems perverse. Indeed, the signs are that segregation entrenches the tribalism which has hampered public support for so long.
Accordingly, we think that road user education should be rebalanced towards the person, not the mode. Equality and mutual respect should drive a refreshed agenda with three key priorities:
We believe that bringing people together would cost less and achieve more than keeping them apart.