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Nice Guardian article on cycling facilities

June 30, 2011

In a perverse sort of way I’ve grown to almost love this slightly gladiatorial style but I fully understand that to most people it would seem almost absurdly hostile as a cycling culture.

Via Crap Cycling & Walking in Waltham Forest.

Comments are pretty good, too: “In The Hague cycle lanes are tiled and not smooth and dissolve into nothing when you’re near a big junction and human frogger is an essential part of cycling.

If you wanted to get a good feel for how cyclists talk about this among themselves, there’s a lot there. The background on this is that one group is very worried that segregated infrastructure means crappy, unequal infrastructure, and then rules excluding cyclists from regular roads (and there is some history of this happening). The other group looks at the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, and concludes instead that only a tiny minority will ever “share” the road with cars, and if we want to solve problems (health, traffic, parking, CO2 emissions, crash deaths) we need (good) separate infrastructure to get people out of cars and onto bicycles. (I used to be in the first group, now I am in the second group; data from Northern Europe is rather compelling.)

Not too many clueless drivers commenting, though one (Steakauxpoivre) sticks out:

Cyclists need to also be aware that drivers have to be aware of a load of other things in traffic – such as other cars, pedestrians, lorries but I always get the impression cyclists don’t get this and expect us to be aware of cyclists above other forms of traffic.

This is incredibly blockheaded — anyone who was really concerned about “other things in traffic” would not have music on, would not have windows rolled up, would not have tinted glass impairing their view, and would turn on their headlights whenever it was dim or overcast. Does this (not) describe the usual case for car drivers? And whenever the cognitive load was too high, why, they would slow down. This is everything that is wrong with modern car culture: We are adults, We are responsible, We take care; They are children, They are playing, They are careless. As someone who often rides a bike, I see rather the opposite, and statistics rather do support the cyclist POV — in the US, cars kill 3000 pedestrians a year, bicycles kill about 1. Safety results trump safety rituals.

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