Brilliant article, a Scottish view.



S

spindrift

Guest
Lesley Riddoch - New truths need peddling about pedalling




In THE wake of Jason MacIntyre's death in Fort William, fair weather
cyclists across Scotland may be tempted to throw in the towel.
Cycling here is already a triumph of hope over experience with an over-
supply of hills, headwinds and rain. The first tottering experience
back on a bike can be a shock for adults with childhood cycling
memories of long sunny days, endless downhill freewheels, trousers
stuffed into socks or skirts tucked into pants. No worries, no
responsibilities, no special protective gear, no deadlines for
arrival, and – above all – no traffic.

Adult city cycling today appears very different. From the vantage
point of a bone-dry car seat, passing cyclists appear to be soaked,
slow, and now – liable to serious injury or death. It's time to get
cycling reality into perspective.

On a wet day, everything's slightly unpleasant. Walking's a damp
experience. Waiting at the bus stop's a cold experience. At least
cyclists expecting daily exposure to weather are more likely to have
waterproof gear. As the Norwegians say, there is no bad weather, only
inappropriate clothing.

With average city driving speeds of 25mph, cycling isn't slow. Indeed,
chronic congestion means the relative speed of two and four-wheeled
vehicles has changed dramatically and that has created un-acknowledged
tension. The Kings of the Road drive cars chosen for status, speed,
power and maybe sex appeal, while cyclists choose bikes for lightness,
toughness, and (in the case of collapsible bikes) ease of
deconstruction. Drivers are paying small mortgages to buy cars and
watching fuel prices rise with each passing month.

Cyclists pay a couple of hundred quid and let their feet do the rest.
And if time is money, queuing drivers are also losing out to weaving
cyclists and in the unwritten pecking order of the roads, that feels
all wrong.

Drivers pay road tax, and expect priority. In fact, many roads were
originally designed for bicycles and horses, and the majority of
cyclists are also tax-paying motorists who've left their cars at home,
giving more road space to drivers who cannot or will not do the same.

Arguably, with their tiny ecological footprint, driver/cyclists should
be asking for tax refunds since the same flat rate is paid whether a
car is used once a year or once an hour. But that would be petty – and
fanning the flames of a strangely anti-cycling public mood.

No-one gives up an addiction easily and drivers do subliminally
realise our addiction to gas-guzzling cars is leading our overweight
selves and our spluttering planet absolutely nowhere. But drivers in
denial can be hard to handle. And prone to shooting the messenger, or
at least making his or her progress through city streets a little more
… interesting.

On the one hand, Jason MacIntyre's death was very unusual. That's why
it made front-page news everywhere. On the other hand, cyclists are
more vulnerable to "acceptable" standards of driving than motorists
realise. And there's the rub. In requesting that drivers look twice,
always indicate, glance in the rear mirror before opening car doors
and endure slow starts at junctions to let cyclists wobble off first –
the tail is wagging the dog.

In Scotland, there is no policy guiding this transition. In Groningen,
the Netherlands' sixth largest city, there is. Sixteen years ago,
traffic congestion led city planners to dig up city-centre motorways.
Last year, they built a car-free city centre. Now Groningen, with a
population just smaller than Aberdeen, has the highest level of
bicycle usage in the West. A commendable 57 per cent of its
inhabitants travel by bicycle – compared with just 4 per cent in the
UK.

The economic repercussions are astonishing. Since a six-lane motorway
was replaced by greenery, pedestrianisation, cycleways and bus lanes,
the city has staged a remarkable recovery. Rents are among the highest
in the Netherlands, the outflow of population has been reversed and
businesses, once in revolt against car restraint, are clamouring for
more of it.

As Gerrit van Werven, a senior city planner, put it: "This is not an
environmental programme, it is an economic programme. We are boosting
jobs and business. It has been proved that planning for the bicycle is
cheaper than planning for the car."

A vital threshold has been crossed. Through sheer weight of numbers,
the bicycle makes the rules – slowing down traffic and shaping driver
behaviour. All across the city, roads are being narrowed or closed to
traffic, cycleways are being constructed and new houses built to which
the only direct access is by cycle. Out-of-town shopping centres are
banned. The aim is to force cars to take longer detours but to provide
a "fine mesh" network for cycles, giving them easy access to the city
centre.

Like the Netherlands nationally, Groningen is backing bicycles because
of fears about car growth. Its ten-year bicycle programme is costing
£20 million, but every commuter car it keeps off the road saves at
least £170 a year in hidden costs such as noise, pollution, parking
and health. New city centre buildings must provide cycle garages.
Under the city hall, a nuclear shelter has been turned into a bike
park.

"We don't want a good system for bicycles, we want a perfect system",
says Mr van Werven. "We want a system for bicycles that is like the
German autobahns for cars. We don't ride bicycles because we are poor
– people here are richer than in Britain. We ride them because it is
fun, it is faster, it is convenient."

And even with Scotland's cycle-unfriendly urban motorways, and
dangerously fast A-roads, that's true here too. The best memorial to
Jason MacIntyre is for all hesitant cyclists to get on their bikes,
reclaim the streets and create safety in numbers – and create a head
of steam for radical cycling change.

The full article contains 984 words and appears in The Scotsman
newspaper.Last Updated: 27 January 2008 10:54 PM


Aside, I heard a woman from Jason's cycling club on the radio last
week. She couldn't believe that he was on the cyclepath because (a)
they're working on it at the moment and there are big mounds of rubble
blocking part of it and (b) she never uses it because it's a fast
stretch of road where she can easily get over 20mph and, as a champion
cyclist, he would be going a lot faster then her.

In summary, the driver's defence is not credible.






http://news.scotsman.com/opinion/Lesley-Riddoch--New-truths.3715855.jp
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> On Jan 29, 8:47 am, spindrift <[email protected]> wrote:
>> Lesley Riddoch - New truths need peddling about pedalling
>> ...average city driving speeds of 25mph...

> that can't be right shirley?


Depends on the city, I'd have thought. I don't see any reason I
wouldn't average that sort of speed driving around Dundee at most places
and times (i.e., not trying to get onto the bridge at 4:45).

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
M

Mark T

Guest
Simon Mason writtificated

>>On the one hand, Jason MacIntyre's death was very unusual. That's why
>>it made front-page news everywhere.

>
> Hmm. In most of the papers I read it merited a tiny column in the
> sports section.


'Everywhere' meaning everywhere in Scotland I s'pose.
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
Mark T wrote:
> Simon Mason writtificated
>
>>> On the one hand, Jason MacIntyre's death was very unusual. That's why
>>> it made front-page news everywhere.

>> Hmm. In most of the papers I read it merited a tiny column in the
>> sports section.

>
> 'Everywhere' meaning everywhere in Scotland I s'pose.


And for restricted numbers of front pages too.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
A

Alan Braggins

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Peter Clinch wrote:
>Mark T wrote:
>> Simon Mason writtificated
>>
>>>> On the one hand, Jason MacIntyre's death was very unusual. That's why
>>>> it made front-page news everywhere.
>>> Hmm. In most of the papers I read it merited a tiny column in the
>>> sports section.

>>
>> 'Everywhere' meaning everywhere in Scotland I s'pose.

>
>And for restricted numbers of front pages too.


And it was unusual because he was a champion cyclist. Most cycling deaths
only merit a small section in the local paper. (As the choir knows, cycling
deaths aren't so common that cycling is significantly more dangerous than
driving. But they are usual compared to, say, rail deaths, or murders.)
 
J

Jeff

Guest
Peter Clinch wrote:
> [email protected] wrote:
>> On Jan 29, 8:47 am, spindrift <[email protected]> wrote:
>>> Lesley Riddoch - New truths need peddling about pedalling
>>> ...average city driving speeds of 25mph...

>> that can't be right shirley?

>
> Depends on the city, I'd have thought. I don't see any reason I
> wouldn't average that sort of speed driving around Dundee at most places
> and times (i.e., not trying to get onto the bridge at 4:45).
>
> Pete.


Last time I drove to work (I normally walk or cycle), it took me 30
minutes to drive home. Walking takes 40 minutes. Cycling typically
takes 15-20 minutes (I use a multi-use path beside the river, avoiding
approximately 80% of the traffic lights). Distance is 3.3 KM (per
Google maps). Time is 1630 (the depth of rush hour). There was no
external reason (construction, ice, fog, etc) for slow traffic. I work
at pretty much city center. I live on what would be considered the
outskirts of the downtown area.

FWIW, I save about $145 per month by not having to pay for parking while
at work. Not to mention reduced car insurance costs, reduced gas bill.
 
On Jan 29, 9:41 am, Peter Clinch <[email protected]> wrote:
> [email protected] wrote:
> > On Jan 29, 8:47 am, spindrift <[email protected]> wrote:
> >> Lesley Riddoch - New truths need peddling about pedalling
> >> ...average city driving speeds of 25mph...

> > that can't be right shirley?

>
> Depends on the city, I'd have thought.  I don't see any reason I
> wouldn't average that sort of speed driving around Dundee at most places
> and times (i.e., not trying to get onto the bridge at 4:45).


Have you tried meausuring that for an actual journey? My standard
commute is around 7.5 miles by car, maybe 3 miles of villages/suburbs,
the rest is fairly good rural roads where I tend to do around 50 mph.
At rush hour I reckon to take 20 minutes, giving an average speed of
22.5 mph. If I accelerate hard up to 60 I might get this close to 15
minutes, which only gets the average up to 30 mph.

The car journey time for most urban journeys is dominated by slowing
for give ways, roundabouts, time stopped at traffic lights etc. I
heard somewhere that the average speed for UK city centres is around
11 mph (can't remember where I heard this, or under what conditions it
was measured). I reckon 25 mph average is impressive.

Rob
 
A

al Mossah

Guest
On 29 Jan, 08:47, spindrift <[email protected]> wrote:
> Lesley Riddoch - New truths need peddling about pedalling
>
> In THE wake of Jason MacIntyre's death in Fort William, fair weather
> cyclists across Scotland may be tempted to throw in the towel.
> Cycling here is already a triumph of hope over experience with an over-
> supply of hills, headwinds and rain. The first tottering experience
> back on a bike can be a shock for adults with childhood cycling
> memories of long sunny days, endless downhill freewheels, trousers
> stuffed into socks or skirts tucked into pants. No worries, no
> responsibilities, no special protective gear, no deadlines for
> arrival, and - above all - no traffic.
>
> Adult city cycling today appears very different. From the vantage
> point of a bone-dry car seat, passing cyclists appear to be soaked,
> slow, and now - liable to serious injury or death. It's time to get
> cycling reality into perspective.
>
> On a wet day, everything's slightly unpleasant. Walking's a damp
> experience. Waiting at the bus stop's a cold experience. At least
> cyclists expecting daily exposure to weather are more likely to have
> waterproof gear. As the Norwegians say, there is no bad weather, only
> inappropriate clothing.
>
> With average city driving speeds of 25mph, cycling isn't slow. Indeed,
> chronic congestion means the relative speed of two and four-wheeled
> vehicles has changed dramatically and that has created un-acknowledged
> tension. The Kings of the Road drive cars chosen for status, speed,
> power and maybe sex appeal, while cyclists choose bikes for lightness,
> toughness, and (in the case of collapsible bikes) ease of
> deconstruction. Drivers are paying small mortgages to buy cars and
> watching fuel prices rise with each passing month.
>
> Cyclists pay a couple of hundred quid and let their feet do the rest.
> And if time is money, queuing drivers are also losing out to weaving
> cyclists and in the unwritten pecking order of the roads, that feels
> all wrong.
>
> Drivers pay road tax, and expect priority. In fact, many roads were
> originally designed for bicycles and horses, and the majority of
> cyclists are also tax-paying motorists who've left their cars at home,
> giving more road space to drivers who cannot or will not do the same.
>
> Arguably, with their tiny ecological footprint, driver/cyclists should
> be asking for tax refunds since the same flat rate is paid whether a
> car is used once a year or once an hour. But that would be petty - and
> fanning the flames of a strangely anti-cycling public mood.
>
> No-one gives up an addiction easily and drivers do subliminally
> realise our addiction to gas-guzzling cars is leading our overweight
> selves and our spluttering planet absolutely nowhere. But drivers in
> denial can be hard to handle. And prone to shooting the messenger, or
> at least making his or her progress through city streets a little more
> ... interesting.
>
> On the one hand, Jason MacIntyre's death was very unusual. That's why
> it made front-page news everywhere. On the other hand, cyclists are
> more vulnerable to "acceptable" standards of driving than motorists
> realise. And there's the rub. In requesting that drivers look twice,
> always indicate, glance in the rear mirror before opening car doors
> and endure slow starts at junctions to let cyclists wobble off first -
> the tail is wagging the dog.
>
> In Scotland, there is no policy guiding this transition. In Groningen,
> the Netherlands' sixth largest city, there is. Sixteen years ago,
> traffic congestion led city planners to dig up city-centre motorways.
> Last year, they built a car-free city centre. Now Groningen, with a
> population just smaller than Aberdeen, has the highest level of
> bicycle usage in the West. A commendable 57 per cent of its
> inhabitants travel by bicycle - compared with just 4 per cent in the
> UK.
>
> The economic repercussions are astonishing. Since a six-lane motorway
> was replaced by greenery, pedestrianisation, cycleways and bus lanes,
> the city has staged a remarkable recovery. Rents are among the highest
> in the Netherlands, the outflow of population has been reversed and
> businesses, once in revolt against car restraint, are clamouring for
> more of it.
>
> As Gerrit van Werven, a senior city planner, put it: "This is not an
> environmental programme, it is an economic programme. We are boosting
> jobs and business. It has been proved that planning for the bicycle is
> cheaper than planning for the car."
>
> A vital threshold has been crossed. Through sheer weight of numbers,
> the bicycle makes the rules - slowing down traffic and shaping driver
> behaviour. All across the city, roads are being narrowed or closed to
> traffic, cycleways are being constructed and new houses built to which
> the only direct access is by cycle. Out-of-town shopping centres are
> banned. The aim is to force cars to take longer detours but to provide
> a "fine mesh" network for cycles, giving them easy access to the city
> centre.
>
> Like the Netherlands nationally, Groningen is backing bicycles because
> of fears about car growth. Its ten-year bicycle programme is costing
> £20 million, but every commuter car it keeps off the road saves at
> least £170 a year in hidden costs such as noise, pollution, parking
> and health. New city centre buildings must provide cycle garages.
> Under the city hall, a nuclear shelter has been turned into a bike
> park.
>
> "We don't want a good system for bicycles, we want a perfect system",
> says Mr van Werven. "We want a system for bicycles that is like the
> German autobahns for cars. We don't ride bicycles because we are poor
> - people here are richer than in Britain. We ride them because it is
> fun, it is faster, it is convenient."
>
> And even with Scotland's cycle-unfriendly urban motorways, and
> dangerously fast A-roads, that's true here too. The best memorial to
> Jason MacIntyre is for all hesitant cyclists to get on their bikes,
> reclaim the streets and create safety in numbers - and create a head
> of steam for radical cycling change.
>
> The full article contains 984 words and appears in The Scotsman
> newspaper.Last Updated: 27 January 2008 10:54 PM
>
> Aside, I heard a woman from Jason's cycling club on the radio last
> week. She couldn't believe that he was on the cyclepath because (a)
> they're working on it at the moment and there are big mounds of rubble
> blocking part of it and (b) she never uses it because it's a fast
> stretch of road where she can easily get over 20mph and, as a champion
> cyclist, he would be going a lot faster then her.
>
> In summary, the driver's defence is not credible.
>
> http://news.scotsman.com/opinion/Lesley-Riddoch--New-truths.3715855.jp


This is a great article, accurately describing the way the Dutch are
prepared to consider radical solutions which appear to go against
conventional wisdom. I love the phrase "We don't ride bicycles
because we are poor - people here are richer than in Britain. We ride
them because it is fun, it is faster, it is convenient." It's all
true; the combination of train and bike in most of Holland gives you
much more flexibility and less hassle than a car.

Whenever I go to Holland, I am struck (not by bikes, fortunately) by
how often in the evening one sees "cool" people of all ages, dressed
in their "going-out" clothes, cycling serenely along. I tried to
persuade my 19-year old student daughter that here was evidence that
cycling is indeed "cool". Having tried cycling in Holland, she
enjoyed it much more than in the UK, where she sees cycling as very
"uncool".

We have a long way to go, alas.

Peter.
 
M

Martin Dann

Guest
[email protected] wrote:

> Have you tried meausuring that for an actual journey? My standard
> commute is around 7.5 miles by car, maybe 3 miles of villages/suburbs,
> the rest is fairly good rural roads where I tend to do around 50 mph.
> At rush hour I reckon to take 20 minutes, giving an average speed of
> 22.5 mph. If I accelerate hard up to 60 I might get this close to 15
> minutes, which only gets the average up to 30 mph.
>
> The car journey time for most urban journeys is dominated by slowing
> for give ways, roundabouts, time stopped at traffic lights etc. I
> heard somewhere that the average speed for UK city centres is around
> 11 mph (can't remember where I heard this, or under what conditions it
> was measured). I reckon 25 mph average is impressive.


I think 11mph is for London. The second slowest is Bristol (peak
non-motorway) is 14.9mph, although in the city centre it does appear to
be a lot slower.
 
J

JNugent

Guest
Martin Dann wrote:
> [email protected] wrote:
>
>> Have you tried meausuring that for an actual journey? My standard
>> commute is around 7.5 miles by car, maybe 3 miles of villages/suburbs,
>> the rest is fairly good rural roads where I tend to do around 50 mph.
>> At rush hour I reckon to take 20 minutes, giving an average speed of
>> 22.5 mph. If I accelerate hard up to 60 I might get this close to 15
>> minutes, which only gets the average up to 30 mph.
>>
>> The car journey time for most urban journeys is dominated by slowing
>> for give ways, roundabouts, time stopped at traffic lights etc. I
>> heard somewhere that the average speed for UK city centres is around
>> 11 mph (can't remember where I heard this, or under what conditions it
>> was measured). I reckon 25 mph average is impressive.

>
>
> I think 11mph is for London. The second slowest is Bristol (peak
> non-motorway) is 14.9mph, although in the city centre it does appear to
> be a lot slower.


Yes, well... waiting at multi-phase traffic lights that give the main
flow a "green" for 8 seconds every 2 minutes does tend to drag average
speed down.
 
On 31 Jan, 13:03, JNugent <[email protected]>
wrote:
> Martin Dann wrote:
> > [email protected] wrote:

>
> >> Have you tried meausuring that for an actual journey? My standard
> >> commute is around 7.5 miles by car, maybe 3 miles of villages/suburbs,
> >> the rest is fairly good rural roads where I tend to do around 50 mph.
> >> At rush hour I reckon to take 20 minutes, giving an average speed of
> >> 22.5 mph. If I accelerate hard up to 60 I might get this close to 15
> >> minutes, which only gets the average up to 30 mph.

>
> >> The car journey time for most urban journeys is dominated by slowing
> >> for give ways, roundabouts, time stopped at traffic lights etc. I
> >> heard somewhere that the average speed for UK city centres is around
> >> 11 mph (can't remember where I heard this, or under what conditions it
> >> was measured). I reckon 25 mph average is impressive.

>
> > I think 11mph is for London. The second slowest is Bristol (peak
> > non-motorway) is 14.9mph, although in the city centre it does appear to
> > be a lot slower.

>
> Yes, well... waiting at multi-phase traffic lights that give the main
> flow a "green" for 8 seconds every 2 minutes does tend to drag average
> speed down.


If you have a trip computer on your car, look at the average speed. I
think you might be surprised at how low it is. I try to use my car
for longer journeys only, and I live in a fairly rural part of
Scotland (= not too much traffic, not many traffic lights), and I
seldom get more than about 35 average, even with this. Driving in a
city would see it drop appreciably IMO.
 
Z

Zog The Undeniable

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> On 31 Jan, 13:03, JNugent <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>> Martin Dann wrote:
>>> [email protected] wrote:
>>>> Have you tried meausuring that for an actual journey? My standard
>>>> commute is around 7.5 miles by car, maybe 3 miles of villages/suburbs,
>>>> the rest is fairly good rural roads where I tend to do around 50 mph.
>>>> At rush hour I reckon to take 20 minutes, giving an average speed of
>>>> 22.5 mph. If I accelerate hard up to 60 I might get this close to 15
>>>> minutes, which only gets the average up to 30 mph.
>>>> The car journey time for most urban journeys is dominated by slowing
>>>> for give ways, roundabouts, time stopped at traffic lights etc. I
>>>> heard somewhere that the average speed for UK city centres is around
>>>> 11 mph (can't remember where I heard this, or under what conditions it
>>>> was measured). I reckon 25 mph average is impressive.
>>> I think 11mph is for London. The second slowest is Bristol (peak
>>> non-motorway) is 14.9mph, although in the city centre it does appear to
>>> be a lot slower.

>> Yes, well... waiting at multi-phase traffic lights that give the main
>> flow a "green" for 8 seconds every 2 minutes does tend to drag average
>> speed down.

>
> If you have a trip computer on your car, look at the average speed. I
> think you might be surprised at how low it is. I try to use my car
> for longer journeys only, and I live in a fairly rural part of
> Scotland (= not too much traffic, not many traffic lights), and I
> seldom get more than about 35 average, even with this. Driving in a
> city would see it drop appreciably IMO.


The trip to my in-laws' takes 2 hours by car (on mostly good roads), 5
hours by bike (on mostly bad roads, but a few miles less because I go
straight through Oxford city centre and use very minor roads). Not
quite as much difference as one might expect, although I'm not promoting
a bike as a viable means of transport for that sort of distance.

Commuting, the difference is even less; 10 minutes by car versus 19
minutes by bike. However, once you factor in showering and changing
time, the car is well ahead. People who don't sweat do better ;-)
 
J

JNugent

Guest
[email protected] wrote:

> JNugent <[email protected]> wrote:
>> Martin Dann wrote:
>>> [email protected] wrote:


>>>> Have you tried meausuring that for an actual journey? My standard
>>>> commute is around 7.5 miles by car, maybe 3 miles of villages/suburbs,
>>>> the rest is fairly good rural roads where I tend to do around 50 mph.
>>>> At rush hour I reckon to take 20 minutes, giving an average speed of
>>>> 22.5 mph. If I accelerate hard up to 60 I might get this close to 15
>>>> minutes, which only gets the average up to 30 mph.
>>>> The car journey time for most urban journeys is dominated by slowing
>>>> for give ways, roundabouts, time stopped at traffic lights etc. I
>>>> heard somewhere that the average speed for UK city centres is around
>>>> 11 mph (can't remember where I heard this, or under what conditions it
>>>> was measured). I reckon 25 mph average is impressive.


>>> I think 11mph is for London. The second slowest is Bristol (peak
>>> non-motorway) is 14.9mph, although in the city centre it does appear to
>>> be a lot slower.


>> Yes, well... waiting at multi-phase traffic lights that give the main
>> flow a "green" for 8 seconds every 2 minutes does tend to drag average
>> speed down.


> If you have a trip computer on your car, look at the average speed. I
> think you might be surprised at how low it is. I try to use my car
> for longer journeys only, and I live in a fairly rural part of
> Scotland (= not too much traffic, not many traffic lights), and I
> seldom get more than about 35 average, even with this. Driving in a
> city would see it drop appreciably IMO.


Oh yes, I am aware of that. I don't often look at the average speed on
my car computer (I find the average fuel consumption far more engaging!)
but as you say, it is always quite low by comparison with the modal
speed. One of the reasons for that can be artificially-imposed delays
such as the one I mentioned above.
 
J

John Kane

Guest
Zog The Undeniable wrote:
> an
> Commuting, the difference is even less; 10 minutes by car versus 19
> minutes by bike. However, once you factor in showering and changing
> time, the car is well ahead. People who don't sweat do better ;-)


This depends on how you look at the time to shower. If you are going to
have a shower at home or at work anyway then I'd suggest that only
the changing time counts. You're just tacking the shower on at one end
of the commute rather than the other.

To get really picky you'd also have to figure in the time to and from
showers versus time for a driver to find a parking spot and walk to the
work place.

--
John Kane, Kingston ON Canada