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amcambike – Why cycle, or not cycle?

February 25, 2012

Original post – 20th February 2012

Sustrans published the results of a survey demonstrating, in line with the general consensus, that safety concerns are a major barrier to the uptake of cycling in the United Kingdom. It also showed a strong desire for separate cycle infrastructure as a solution to this problem.

In response, amcambike posted a response referencing a similar survey done in The Netherlands in 2006 by the transport ministry. The Netherlands survey did not show safety as a major barrier to cycling. More separate provision for cyclists was not shown to be a major factor which would encourage more people to cycle.

The author goes on to suggest that the survey indicates that: “Evidently [separate cycle infrastructure] is not as important, within The Netherlands, as some people think.” The author acknowledges that the Sustrans survey in the UK specifies safety concerns and lack of infrastructure as key barriers to cycling, although described in more negative terms as “motive[s] for not cycling.” The post ends by asking  why the reasons given for not cycling differ between the UK and The Netherlands.

Unfortunately, the selective comment moderation used on amcambike means that readers may be unable to answer this question if it is not in-line with the author’s agenda. Fortunately, the answer is blindingly obvious. In The Netherlands safe, high-quality infrastructure already exists. The result is safety is not a major issue facing cyclists in The Netherlands. Its near ubiquitous presence means that building more of it is no-longer a major factor in getting people to use bicycles as a mode of transport. In the UK this kind of infrastructure simply does not exist. The result is safety is the major issue facing cyclists. The lack of infrastructure means that building it is a way to get people to use bicycles as a mode of transport.

It is difficult to believe that framing the differences in the results of these surveys as if they demonstrate that cycle infrastructure in The Netherlands is unimportant is a mistake. Instead it appears to be a deliberate attempt to misinform.




February 25, 2012

Stay tuned.