Simon MacMichael April 27 2017
Cycling author and journalist Carlton Reid has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help revive more than 100 miles of “forgotten protected cycle ways” from the 1930s – and is close to hitting his target within just two days of its launch.
At the time of writing, more than £6,000 of the £7,000 target has been pledged via the crowdfunding website,
which will allow the routes to be documented and evaluated and local authorities to be approached with a view to reviving the infrastructure.
Reid, executive editor of BikeBiz and author of the books Roads Were Not Built For Cars and the forthcoming Bike Boom – The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling, is being backed in the initiative by British Cycling policy adviser, Chris Boardman.
Reid has produced a video in which he explains the background to the cycleways and what the aims of the project are.
On the project’s page on Kickstarter, he says:
Between 1937 and 1940 the Ministry of Transport only gave grants to local authorities for arterial road schemes if they included 9-ft-wide cycleways both sides of the road. Some of these cycleways still exist (but are believed, wrongly, to be “service roads”); others have been grassed over (but their concrete surfaces probably remain). Many are not marked on maps as cycleways (or considered to be such by local authorities.)
That Britain once had a great number of protected cycleways is now almost totally unknown. I started researching these Dutch-inspired cycleways for my forthcoming book Bike Boom (Island Press, June 2017) and when I started to dig deeper (sometimes literally) I came to realise there were far more of these 1930s cycleways than I, or anybody else, knew existed. By poring through ministerial minutes I discovered that, amazingly, the Ministry of Transport was working to plans submitted by its Dutch equivalent: Go Dutch, 1930s-style.