Re: Oh dear - another helmet law proposal.
in message <email@example.com>, Alan Braggins
> In article <1i668ae.1cdt45e2m1a34N%NEWS@wodger.demon.co.uk>, Roger
> Merriman wrote:
>>what people want
>>to do is ride up and down hills be that via nobblies or thin blades.
> Not around here (Cambridge) they don't. Highest concentration of cyclists
> in the country, and fairly flat. '"Coincidence? I think not", said Bear.'
Not wholly coincidence, but partly. I continue to be surprised by the
differences in cycling culture between different parts of Scotland. In
Edinburgh, as I've observed before, there are lots of cyclists, mainly
riding sensible and well maintained and equipped bikes, despite a lot of
steep hills and a decided lack of 'cycling infrastructure'.
In East Kilbride, where I currently work, the whole town is designed around
cycling infrastructure, which is almost entirely unused. What bikes you do
see in the urban area are almost exclusively BSOs, and lights are
There are some reasons why the EK cyclepaths are unused. The surfaces
aren't really good enough for a road race type bike, and the sightlines
particularly at cyclepath junctions aren't good enough for riding fast. So
the few other roadies I see, like me, use the roads.
But this isn't to say the cyclepaths are bad. They're not. They're quite
good. Certainly good enough for a utility bike with 32mm tyres. And, given
that they are unused, I can understand the local authority not wanting to
spend money on maintaining the surfaces.
Dumfries now has a rapidly growing network of high quality cyclepaths, with
mostly excellent surfaces, many on old railway lines so very flat. It has
two expensive new cycle-only bridges over the river, one just north and
one just south of the town centre. Despite this, the cyclepath network is
largely unused. There's a fair bit of cycling to work in the town - not as
much as in Edinburgh but far more than I've seen anywhere in the Glasgow
area. But 90% of cycle users in Dumfries ride unlit BSOs and cycle on the
pavement, while 10% ride road bikes and cycle on the road.
I think local cycling culture is far more important in whether people cycle
than either flatness or infrastructure. You need to get a critical mass of
cyclists, and then the prevalence of cycling starts to gather momentum.
I'm increasingly of the opinion that spending on infrastructure is a bad
(Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/
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