By Roger Geffen
Friday, 27 April 2018
In the second of a series of blogs about the Government’s review of cycling and pedestrian safety, our Policy Director Roger Geffen explains why we need consistent cycle-friendly design standards, and what we mean by ‘cycle-friendly’ infrastructure.
In the first blog of this series, I outlined how joint lobbying by Cycling UK and its allies has shifted the Government’s initial ‘Cycle Safety Review’ (which at first looked as if it would be all about cycling offences, helmets, hi-viz and so on) into a wider review of safety for walking as well as cycling, with the aim of achieving ‘more’ as well as ‘safer’ cycling and walking. Our ‘Cycling Safety: make it simple’ booklet summarises what Cycling UK will be pressing for in our response to the review.
The first of our headline recommendations relates to infrastructure, i.e. designing all roads, junctions, new developments and off-road facilities to consistent high standards of cycle-friendliness. At present, the confusing plethora of often-contradictory design guidance is clearly failing to ensure safe and sensible designs. Too many cycle facilities in the UK are still worse than useless, or even downright dangerous. Frankly, the situation is a mess.
The good news is that the Government has already commissioned a review of its current Cycling Infrastructure Design guidance (Local Transport Note LTN 2/08). Better still, they have engaged some really good consultants to work on it, namely WSP and Phil Jones Associates.
Phil Jones was also responsible for the Welsh Government’s excellent design guidance which Welsh authorities are required to follow (under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013), and Highways England’s more recent guidelines on Cycle Traffic and the Strategic Road Network. I trust he and his colleagues can now draw on the best practice from these and other sources (notably the London Cycling Design Standards), while replacing the many other guidance notes that will then become redundant. It makes no sense to have different authorities in different parts of the country taking different approaches to cycle design. This is not only wasteful, but also causes confusion and frustration to cyclists and drivers alike.
Different types of infrastructure
So, what do we actually mean by ‘cycle-friendly infrastructure’?
Well, we’ve provided a handy councillor-friendly guide to this in our booklet ‘Space for Cycling: a guide for decision-makers’. In a nutshell, though, the answer depends on the type of road.