Cyclists are ‘designed out’ of UK roads by traffic engineers who often don’t understand cycle infrastructure, the third All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) evidence session heard today, while cycling experts called for a paradigm shift around cycle provision.

In a session focussing on planning and design, speakers from the Highways Agency, Living Streets, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and academics said we need better guidelines, engineer training and political will to get more people cycling.

Reducing traffic speeds, improving junction safety and giving more priority to pedestrians and cyclists in road design and through legislation were also proposed, as the term paradigm shift was repeated again and again.

Mike Wilson, a Highways Agency Regional Director, suggested highways engineers are often not trained with cyclists in mind. He said: ”As a highways engineer I spent a lot of time designing motorways and roundabouts, but I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at provision for non-motorised users.”

He adds segregation on trunk roads is key to get more people cycling, and better guidance is needed for local authorities around cycle infrastructure, where often removing parking for cycle lanes and reducing speed limits meets political barriers.

Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns Director, said cyclists are often designed out of road projects. He said: “The Highways Agency seems to be saying: ‘We went in [to a site], there were no cyclists, so we didn’t put anything in.”

Gerhard Weiss, LCC’s Cycling Development Officer, said under current Department for Transport (DfT) guidelines, cyclists who don’t ride confidently on the carriageway are left with complex junctions which are difficult and intimidating to navigate.

Phil Jones, Managing Director of Phil Jones Associates, highlighted that DfT guidelines for cycling infrastructure are produced every few years, compared to guidelines for motorised traffic infrastructure, which are updated several times a year.

Adrian Lord, of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, said to encourage funding a value needs to be placed on walking and cycling journeys, taking into account health benefits and reductions in congestion and air pollution.

Related links

What is ‘Get Britain Cycling’?

Cycling experts present evidence to Parliament

  • Chris Wood

    Can I ask what his view is on electric cars that do not pay any road tax or fuel duty. Where should they go? With the cyclists?

  • Roman Danko

    All car drivers are just stupid , blind and selfish. Go on …keep cykling !!!! Cykling is good for you, many women are looking at mine big arse !!! everytime i keep going to work on bike !!. I recieve compliments………..why would you go to work in car!!!???? Best regards crazy forigner from Leicester

  • Samuel G

    1CuppaCharr is either being sarcastic and not very funny, or expressing the classic anti-cycling ‘I pay road tax’ mentality. Most cyclists know that this argument is irrelavent. Firstly, most cyclists, like me, also drive a car and pay so-called ‘road tax’ anyway. Secondly English law allows cycling and walking on the highway as a RIGHT available to all whereas driving a motor vehicle on the highway is a PRIVILEGE subject to vehicle and driver testing, licensing, insurance and payment of Vehicle Excise Duty. If drivers fail to observe these terms or drive in an irresponsible way then this privilege can be withdrawn. Cyclists and pedestrians therefore actually have more right to be there than motorists. Finally it is a principle enshrined in the UK taxation system, established by Winston Churchill in 1937, that VED must NEVER be ring-fenced to fund the road system. This principle was created specifically in order to prevent motorists, road-hauliers in particularly, from claiming that they ‘own’ the roads because they pay for them. VED goes into the general taxation pot, road construction, repair and maintenance is paid for out of general taxation. Furthermore I personally am very happy to pay for good and useful things that I do not myself use through taxes, I don’t see why tax should be a selfish matter. Human civilization will eventually move on from its absurd love affair with petrochemicals and private motor cars, to a more sustainable economy based on clean technology and shorter, more local supply chains, its is only a matter of time. Cycling can play a central role in making this transition succesfully, plus its brilliant fun, great exercise and cheap.

  • phil j

    Dunno where people get the idea from that cyclists dont pay? roads are paid for out of council tax and general taxes, all of which i pay. I also pay vehicle excise duty for my car which sits on the drive as i choose to cycle to keep fit save fuel and do less damage to the environment!!
    HELLO the govenment want people to use their cars less especially for short journeys to free up the roads for essential use ie lorries delivering food and esentials to supermarkets and public transport.
    Everyone needs transport to get to work and do shopping etc, but why are there cars that weigh two tonnes and can accelerate o-60 in five seconds do 200mph 4,5 litre turbo charged engines just to transport a lazy individual half a mile to work and when there find it wont fit into the parking space, or if it does you cant open the door to get your fat self out.
    Cycling to work sounds a lot more intelligent doesnt it

  • Tell me something i don’t know

    1CuppaCharr.. are you aware that the upkeep of roads and highways is paid for by council tax which is paid for by EVERYONE not just car users? What you fail to see if that if more people were cycling it would benefit car users and traffic levels as there would be less traffic on the road not to mention the other benefits co2 levels, health etc etc

  • Nosugar Inmine

    Hello, Cuppachar, you are mistaken, like so many people, in thinking
    that only drivers pay for the roads. The tax every working person pays goes into one big pot
    which is used to pay for many services, from roads to the NHS.
    You must mean Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), which every driver pays.This is an emission-based banding system levied according to how much pollution each vehicle emits. It is intended to encourage more environmentally friendly vehicles.
    One cannot get much more environmentally friendly than a cycle – so no VED on cycles.
    I take your point that we rely on drivers for our basic needs. I always doff my cap
    to the driver of the Waitrose truck as he passes by.

  • fengo

    CuppaTea. Details the true cost to us all of providing our roads .

  • Jon

    My what an angry little TROLL using a lot of CAPS to have a little RANT – he seems to think cyclists don’t pay for roads, but isn’t aware that they are funded out of general taxation not the VED. We all pay for the degradation to the planet and quality of life from all the emissions, noise and danger of motor vehicles, whether we choose to drive one or not. And incidentally, most cyclists do also drive.

    God knows why he’s saying if it were not for drivers… there’s no agenda to remove drivers from the road, just to use a bit more consideration when building the infrastructure.

    So 1CuppaCar, please take your pathetic misinformed rage elsewhere. There’s no place for people with the kind of issues you obviously have on Britain’s roads – they are there for people who can share with other road users in a civilised fashion.

  • Joe

    1CuppaCharr are you Mental? i can’t even dignify your comment/ drivel with a proper response and so i will play you at your game. all cyclists will now be subject to an emissions tax, all cyclists report to your local MOT centre for an emissions test, oh wait we don’t cause emissions so we don’t pay anything, you are exactly what is wrong with our society, you are a narrow minded imbecile and i will waste no more time on you.

  • JC

    And in other news, bear defecates in wooded area…

  • roginoz

    and so it goes on ….on….on …..on

  • Keith Bingham

    This hits the nail on the head. It has long been known that traffic planners/engineers
    think only “motor” when designing road layout.
    And will continue to do so unless they are all sent back to school, preferably in
    Holland where they know how to design with cyclists in mind.
    Having retrained the planners/engineers, all that needs to be done next is
    get the government to start spending £20 per head of population on cycling, instead
    of the current £1; and to figure out how to get a grip of Local Authorities who have
    control of 95 per cent of the road network but so far, with a very exceptions, have made a
    pigs ear of installing cycling facilities.

  • 1CuppaCharr

    Cyclists do NOT pay any kind of FEE to USE the road.. Yet DEMAND special infrastructure to further ride roughshot over the humble fare PAYING driver.. Cyclists should cower in the gutter and don their caps to every FARE paying driver that passes by.. Unlike drivers, no-one depends on cycling for basic needs.. If it were NOT for drivers, the economy would collapse over-night and we would begin to DIE in large numbers from lack of basics like, food, water, heat, medicine and healthcare.. Cyclists are a stain on our glorious roads and if these pedaling freeloaders want special infrastructure then they should be charged a special “pedal tax” equivalent to what drivers PAY in fuel duty.. Then they can have their special infrastructure
    No pay… No say…