Something To Read: Moving Cycling Forward – By the European Parliament

The EU may be the subject of much heated debate right now, but one thing is for sure, a number of EU member states simply wipe the floor with us in terms of cycling provision.

However, until now there hasn’t been a consistent EU-wide strategy to ensure best practice is adopted across the board. This is a step towards that.

From our point of view, this document is full of quotable facts and case studies that you can use in letters to councillors; or even just to throw randomly into conversations. People will think you are mad, but gradually this sort of thing will start to sink in…

Changes towards cycling mobility are becoming visible. It takes time, however, to change not only transport infrastructure and management, but also people’s attitudes, behaviour and perceptions of environment and public space. Such society-wide transformation requires a coordinated long-term effort from all levels of administration. With adequate support through relevant policies, the already positive impact of cycling could be much greater.

We know all about that long-term thing. Those of us who ride often may feel like absolutely nothing is happening, at least in Cardiff. However, things are changing slowly, particularly in the political realm as the authorities gear up to deliver the Future Generations Act. There is a new cycling strategy in development at the Council too. Ourselves and Cardiff Cycle City are hoping to meet up with Chris Weaver, the Councillor responsible for active travel to find out a little more about it. It’ll be a public meeting at the end of this month. Make sure you are signed up to the Cardiff Cycle City mailing list for advance notice of the details.

Costs reduction. The shift from car to cycling can bring about huge savings in terms of both direct costs (road construction and maintenance) and indirect costs (congestion, pollution, obesity). Cycling infrastructure and storage facilities are relatively cheap to build, with calculations indicating benefit-to- cost ratios of at least 5:1, with some estimates as high as 13:1.

The cost benefits are a no-brainer, they really are. We just don’t cause the same amount of damage that motor vehicles do. Reduce the traffic & we reduce the maintenance costs incurred by the council.

Land use. Ten bicycles can be parked in the space taken up by one car, while a typical traffic lane accommodates about 2 000 cars per hour, compared with 14,000 bikes.

This is a good one for anyone watching the fireworks in London over their new protected cycle lanes…

Providing people with specially adapted cycling infrastructure is only the first step. The idea of ‘build it and they will come’ only works well when supported by additional measures which promote cycling and also restrict car use.

Crucially the infrastructure is only one part of the story. Parking charges; congestion charging; a bike share scheme and park & ride zones on active travel routes need to be put in place too.

Hire bikes at park & ride zones would also be a good idea.

For regular cyclists who use their own bike, end-of-trip facilities matter as much as the activity of cycling itself. These include bicycle storage racks or boxes against theft and vandalism, lockers, showers and changing rooms, accessible maintenance services and bicycle accessory shops.

This is what we’ve been banging on about. We need to know where the parking is; we need to know that there is enough of it and we need to know that they are good quality stands (and not wall loops/spoke benders). Our parking map is taking shape, but we could always do with a little more help.

Have a read of the full document and let us know what you think, in the comments.

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