New cycle lanes and wider pavements: promoted in Devon

The “cycling and walking revolution”.

Do we have space for segregated lanes on our historic road network or will tough decisions have to be made to close some roads to traffic altogether?

What puts people off getting on their bikes is the perception that it is too dangerous to ride on the road.

The most efficient way to achieve the changes would have been to give the pre-existing bodies the necessary funding.

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There has been some investigative journalism going on from the Exeter Observer:

Council abandons temporary COVID-19 cycling and walking safety plans in Exeter city centre – Exeter Observer

As covered on these news pages:

New cycle lanes and wider pavements: abandoned in Exeter – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The County Council has countered with a piece on Devon Live today:

Devon’s plan to replace public transport journeys with walking and cycling – Devon Live

Nationally, there have been similar debates as to the seriousness of measures to encourage cycling and walking, following on from the government’s latest announcement:

PM kickstarts £2bn cycling and walking revolution – GOV.UK

There has been some enthusiasm:

Cycling revolution: Maintaining the change – The Transport Network

Residents to get new decision-making powers in England cycling ‘revolution’ | UK news | The Guardian

The London Evening Standard, generally supportive, asks a few questions:

But how long will these lanes take to build? Do we have space for segregated lanes on our historic road network or will tough decisions have to be made to close some roads to traffic altogether? How about more car-free days to let people taste the freedom and sense of community that arises when our roads are not dominated by motorised transport. And how do we stop dangerous drivers in the meantime to prevent cycling casualties?

Here is what Boris Johnson must do for a real cycling revolution | London Evening Standard

The road.cc organisation also mentions safety concerns:

A survey released on today’s Cycle to Work Day has found that in post-coronavirus Britain, cycling is set to overtake public transport as a preferred choice of commuting, with the percentage of people who say they plan to get to their jobs by bike doubling.

The survey, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, has also underlined what any number of previous polls over the years have established – there is a big demand for cycling as a way of getting to work, but what puts people off getting on their bikes is the perception that it is too dangerous to ride on the road.

Cycling set to leapfrog public transport as choice for commute, survey finds | road.cc

The New Statesman is not sure about the promised ‘revolution’:

If the government really wants a cycling revolution, it needs to do a lot more to ensure that there are safe and well-signposted routes to choose from, which preferably won’t unexpectedly steer you into a lamp post.

Everything I’ve learned on the roads about the government’s cycling plans

And the letters pages in the Guardian are really rather dismissive:

I’m sorry to be cynical, but this is classic Johnsonian policymaking. There already exists a way of local people having their input into these new routes. It’s called talking to your local councillors and attending ward meetings. There already exists a method by which these routes can be laid out. It’s called the planning system. There already exists a body charged with developing these routes. It’s called Highways England.

The most efficient way to achieve the changes allegedly required would have been to give these pre-existing bodies the necessary funding. But that wouldn’t have created any headlines. That would have meant giving money to local authorities. That would mean loss of central control. Can’t be having that.

Set up a zingy new body, with an exciting new logo and charismatic head, and all that will result is much of the money going to chief executives, logo designers and renters of office space. Having yet another body designing for our public realm will merely add confusion.

Don’t believe the spin about Johnson’s cycling plan | Letters | Politics | The Guardian

There’s been a bit of a backlash, though, as we jostle for who can use the roads:

Campaigners prepare to sue in revolt against narrowing roads for ‘cycling revolution’ (paywall)

English councils backpedal on cycling schemes after Tory backlash | World news | The Guardian

Nimbys are putting the brakes on our cycling revolution | Comment | The Times (paywall)

   
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