I have fallen foul of a few times. It is between two sides who take an
opposite extreme view and who, in my opinion, are both wrong. I would
presume those who take up these extrmes are few in number, and yet, it
seems to be strangling debate between cyclists.
One side say we should have the safest of all possible worlds to cycle
in, nice segregated cycle lanes on every road, keep the cars out of
our world and we'll be nice and safe. The side say that cycle lanes
are dangerous and unwanted, that a proper cyclist (read: usually male
and into sports cycling) can have the confidence to take the road in
any situation, and if only all cyclists were confident and strong
minded, and understood the rules, everything would be lovely.
Why are they both wrong? they are both wrong firstly, because it is
impossible to cover the world in segregated cycle lanes. Even going a
couple of blocks across central London will take you into conflict
with traffic wanting to turn right or pull out onto your road. A
segregated lane will probably make things even worse, necessating
cyclists to give up their right of way or run the risk of being hit by
such a vehicle.
And in the overly regulated world of dutch cycling, where they do have
almost universal segreation now (smaller country, much lower volumes
of traffic, much smaller cities) journey times by bike are much slower
than they were a generation ago, making it more likely that someone
might decide to drive or take public transport if it's quite a long
The other camp are clearly wrong too. It should be safe enough for
anyone to get on a bike at whatever stage in their development as a
cyclist they are, and whatever their levels of confidence. Unless this
is the case, cycling numbers will always be low and always skewed
towards the macho-type male. But then sometimes I think this is what
people in that camo really want. They're happy wit their little camp
of brave little Indians doing battle witht he nasty traffic.
More to come.....(i promise)