Notes from Lisa, Bill & Olawale on their meeting with a group of Dutch students in London to study the Bow roundabout & cycling in London generally.
DUTCH SCHEME IS BASED ON ‘LIVEABLE CITIES’
- Based onÂ education, infrastructure and mutual respect.
- Number of people moving into/returning to live in cities rising compared to 30 yrs ago.
- Cycling is main way people shop as supermarkets are never more than 1km away from residential areas.
- Cycling supports local shops and businesses as a result.
- Netherlands, like UK doesn’t see high rates of cycling within different ethnic groups.
IT TOOK THE DUTCH 35YRS TO GET TO WHERE THEY ARE NOW
- 1970’s cycling rates in Holland low but death rates (especially amongst children) was high. Â As cycling rates increased to around 40% in the 1980/90’s the death rate fell.
- Dutch now have high rate of cyclists of all ages.
- Cycling is main form of transport for the majority of Dutch citizens.
- Most Dutch cyclistsÂ don’tÂ have driving licences – license holder numbers have declined.
- Car ownership in the Netherlands is expensive – taxation/licensing andÂ especiallyÂ parking. Â A Dutch car owner will pay approximately the same amount monthly as a UK car owner does annually.
- Dutch have financial incentives to encourage cycling – UK cyclists can claim commuter miles against tax.
- Dutch provide free & secure cycle parking so theft rates of bicycles is low and parking easy.
- Education and cycling awareness begins at primary level in Holland – children are allowed to cycle on pavements until the age of 6yrs and then they are on the roads.
- Discussed how cars are still priority in UK – seen as status symbols/aspirational goal by some – cycling viewed as an activity for children or as ‘poor man’s transport’.
- Discussed the tensions between London pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and how all needed to be aware and have respect for others using the same space.
- Mentioned that Highway Code needed to be updated and the way people taught to drive needed to have more emphasis on pedestrian and cyclist Â priority.
- TFL and SUSTRANS should demonstrate cohesion of information/planning policy and education for cyclists and drivers.
- Need borough to borough cohesion regarding quiet routes and through ways together with reasoned enforcement.
- Discussed the possibility of introducing some form ofÂ â€˜presumed liabilityâ€™ (also known as â€˜stricter liabilityâ€™) in relation to accidents with motorised/non-motorised traffic which is commonplace in most Western European countries.
BOW ROUNDABOUT & POLITICS OF CYCLING
- Light phasing for cycle lights very short.
- No provision for safe pedestrian access or through-way.
- Dutch angle turning points to maximise view for vehicle drivers.
- Discussed problems with CS2 into city and danger of encouraging novice cyclists onto this ‘safe’ route.
- Had a lengthy discussion on segregated cycle paths – in Holland cyclists have priority at side road junctions unlike here. This means they can continue their journey without stopping at every side road (as with CS2). Â This will need a sea change in attitude – Â from motor traffic having priority in Britain to cycling being seen as a form of transport instead of a leisure activity!
- Discussed the issue of Â inadequate cycling provision and reactionary policy making by government – responding to protests such as those organised by LCC last summer (which some of the Dutch students at Bow attended).
- As politics are reactionary there is no real cohesive London-wide plan from Councils and very little mention of the ecological and health benefits a long-term cycling policy could provide.
- Discussed that LCC was the voice of sense and reason and the only real power that cyclists had to influence government policy.
- We were also asked if we thought that the Norman Foster designs for an overhead cycling road were practical,Â desirable or a good use of the money assigned for cycling. Â It was agreed that the plans were wonderful but far-fetched and would cost more money than was available – the money Â could be put to far better use by fixing major junctions and trouble spots throughout London, Bow included.