Cycle lanes have been in the news recently as many opponents to the idea have been using misguided arguments against them. For all the (slight) progress in some UK cities over mass cycling, we are still at a stage where opposing groups will state falsehoods about bike lanes as if they were the undoubted truth. Within this post we hope to dispel myths and show the importance of planning for cycle lanes.
Cycle lanes help to reduce congestion and pollution.
60 years of governments trying (and failing) to road-build their way out of congestion show that tackling congestion can be a difficult topic. The idea of induced demand – more space on the road brings with it more cars – has been known for decades, however it also works in reverse. Bike lanes are an efficient use of space, with more people able to be transported over the same amount of space. The most convincing factor of all, of course, is that motor vehicles typically cause the congestion in the first place. The only real way to reduce traffic congestion is to have few motor vehicles on the road, something that more cycle lanes can help provide the framework for.
Cycle lanes are good for business.
Some of the most prolific opponents of cycle lanes have been business owners. They often argue that a separate bike lane would result in a loss of parking, which would be hurtful for their customers. However, cities, towns and high streets are changing in how they compete for custom. The growth of internet shopping means they much appeal more as a physical destination, which congested traffic can be hard to do. Also, studies have shown that shop owners often overestimate the percentage of customers who travel by car, with on study even pointing towards consumers on bikes purchasing more in the long term.
They are often cheaper to build than roads.
As Chris Boardman, the cycle campaigner for Greater Manchester, noted last month, his planned improvements of the region would deliver over 1,800 miles of safer cycling routes at a cost of around £1.5bn. That might sound a lot, he said, until you remember that the government has agreed to spend £1.4bn improving a single roundabout in Bedfordshire. So, by overall transport standards, cycling is a bargain.
Cyclists are often safer on the road than motor vehicle drivers.
Government data from recorded speeds show that 52% of drivers break the speed limit within 30mph zones. This increases to 86% (or 92% in the early hours of the day) within 20mph zones. Millions of drivers also admit to using mobile phones behind the wheel. This behaviour can and does frequently permanently change or end lives. Whilst cyclists do jump red lights and don’t always comply with the rules of the road, they do provide far less danger than motor vehicles.
At ethical partnership we are working increasingly on projects such as new rail stations and refurbishment of existing stations, logistics hubs and on the planning aspects of road developments. As an environmentally-conscious organisation, we seek to do so in a way that means the public will benefit from these projects, with as little environmental harm as possible. We have a track record of researching the ways in which new technologies can be integrated to minimise pollution and energy usage. We hope to work more on planning projects that enable us to provide more cycle lanes, in turn helping to protect the environment and reduce congestion around busy areas.
Contact us to find out more about the work we do and to arrange a meeting.