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.