Departments for Transport and Health jointly release an Active Travel strategy. Next ten years will be the 'Decade of Cycling'. via www.bikeforall.net
Sadly this is yet another total waste of time. A small amount6 of money to be spent on cycle training and on personal travel plans will do almost nothing to increase active travel.
This is so ridiculous, the world knows how you increase active travel. There are plenty of examples of how to do it and none of them have happened through initiatives like this.
If we want active travel (which has huge benefits for the public in health and happier lifestyles, for business with healthier employees who take less time off, for schools with more awake and alert kids who are healthier, for the environment and for the economy as a whole) then the way of getting it is straightforward:
1. Change the Infrastructure
1.1 Pavements that are safe to use for pedestrians. That means
- wide enough for pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters
- dropped kerbs at every junction
- smooth enough for safe walking for those unsteady on their feet
- strictly enforced no parking on the pavement anywhere
- strictly enforced no blocking of the pavement by signs, deliveries, road works etc
1.2 Living areas that are safe for people to come out of their homes
- Car free areas
- Home zones
- 20mph speed limits on all roads that are not thru routes
- blocking one end of roads to motorised vehicles (with clear and simple routes through for cyclists with proper junctions for them) so that they cannot be used for short cuts
- one way streets for cars (not cycles) that remove direct routes through residential areas
- strict parking controls so that kids playing and people walking and cycling are given priority
- No planning approval for any new housing or road changes that do not provide safe and convenient access for pedestrians and cycles, keep cars separate and connect into a wider network of routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
1.3 Towns for humans not cars
- Reduce car access to town and city centres by cutting through routes, making streets narrower for cars, increasing car free areas, providing more and better park and ride services
- Congestion charging for all cities
- Reduce on street parking (through charging, restricting quantity and enforcement)
- Every town and city to provide clear plans for reducing car dependency and increasing active travel. No changes to the transport infrastructure to be permitted that do not provide excellent access for pedestrians and cyclists. That means you cannot resurface any road without showing that in the process you improve safety and convenience for pedestrians and cyclists (and the rules to be tight enough so that simply painting a narrow cycle lane will not be enough).
1.4 Provide a full cycling infrastructure
- separated cycle facilities that are high quality, direct, safe, have prioity over motorised vehicles No new roads or junctions that do not provide this. If a bypass is built then high speed Dutch model separated cycle route must be provided with conflict free junctions. Plus the route being bypassed must also have proper cycle facilities added.
- cycle parking to always be nearer to the destination than any car parking. It must be plentiful, secure and where possible covered
- All shoppping centres (both in and out of town) to have safe cycle routes and parking. The test should be simple: All shopping centres must demonstrate that it is safe, quick, convenient and obvious to get to the shops and park by bike for everyone within a 2 mile radius. No planning approval for any other changes to be granted until this is in place.
- Cycle commuter routes and parking must be provided for every rail, bus, tram and coach station.
- Every school to have a strict and enforced ban on ALL roadside parking within 1/2 a mile.
- Every school to provide plentiful and secure cycle parking with safe routes to them
- Every school to be provided with safe routes for pedestrians with convenient and fast acting pedestrian crossings on all roads with a 30 mph or higher speed limit within 1 mile
- A 20mph speed limit to be in place and enforced by cameras or other technology for a 1/2 mile radius of every school entrance (with the exception of motorways only).
- The NHS must ensure that there are safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists throughout all their sites with clear priorities over motorised vehicles at junctions and for parking. Cycle parking to be free.
- Every commercial premises to be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient cycle parking and that it is more convenient and secure than any car parking they provide.
- HGV access to city and town centres to be very restricted by both size and time of day.
2. Key law change
- The UK is only one of four Western European countries that doesnt have 'strict liability' to protect cyclists and pedestrians.
- Strict liability entitles a crash victim to compensation unless the driver can prove the cyclist or pedestrian was at fault.
- Strict liability encourages more careful driving (and cycling, because a cyclist would be deemed to be at fault for crashing into a pedestrian).
- Strict liability would be a matter of civil rather than criminal law so would not affect criminal prosecutions.
3. Policing and the Courts
- The Police need to have procedures which give a higher priority to supporting vulnerable users of transport, particularly pedestrians and cyclists. Thus driving a car into a cycle facility or using a mobile phone while driving are considered more important than cycling through a red light for example.
- The Courts need much harsher sentences for driving offences. Anyone killing anyone else through careless, dangerous or drunken driving to lose their driving license for life.
- Speeding past a school should result in an automatic lose of license for say 12 months
- Parking offences that block pavements or cycle routes or put vulnerable road users at risk need to be strictly enforced.
4. Public Transport
- There needs to be significant investment in public transport to ensure it is cheap, convenient, attractive and environmentally friendly.
- The Inland Revenue to set the mileage rate for expenses to be the same for cyclists and pedestrians as it is for cars.
- All road going cycles to be VAT free as well as transportation orientated accessories such as mudguards, chainguards, racks, baskets
- Progressive increases in fuel tax to be re-introduced. To be set via targets to reduce total fuel consumption by a set % each year. So if consumption of petrol and diesel does not drop by say 10% in a year then the tax rises by an amount designed to encourage consumers to achieve that reduction in use.
I think that would be enough to get us started on a transport system that would be significantly better for us all.