After being asked by the County Council I recently suggested some items for the Leicestershire Cycle Liaison meeting agenda. I suggested 5 items:
- parts of the TfL February Board meeting briefing paper (PDF) [focused on the need for segregation and the benefits of segregation]
- a report from someone involved in transport strategy for new housing
- plans of junctions that have been updated or are being designed now to review for cycle safety
- a presentation from the Council on what requirements for cycling provision are included in all design briefs
- an update on the Council’s policy on 20mph limits/zones given the changing national picture.
I fully recognise that I am pushing hard at Leicestershire County Council whose understanding of cycling provision is limited to education, signposting and shared use pavements.
However, I was disappointed to get this reaction from a Cycling Campaigner:
I have found in the past, that talking about highly charged issues, like you have sent for comments, can really only be done, to have any meaning, with a keen cyclist. do you fall into this category do you happily cycle at 28 to 33 kms per hour.If you do then it can be meaningful as anybody can cycle slower and fall in with the existing infrastructure, its the keen cyclist that has the problem.
So by this persons definition I am not a “keen cyclist” as I do not ride between 28 and 33kms per hour (that is 17.5 to 20.6mph) and because I am not a “keen cyclist” I should be happy with the existing infrastructure as I am not one of these “keen cyclists” who has the problem.
I was almost lost for words and it took sometime for my blood pressure to subside enough for a reasonably civil reply.
I campaign for cycling infrastructure to the latest Dutch standards because I am concerned about a variety of crises we face as a country:
- deaths on the roads
- air pollution
- health costs
- peak oil
- CO2 emissions
While walking and use of public transport can also help with some of these crises nothing is more effective at tackling them all than switching lots and lots of journeys to ordinary people riding bikes. Not only that but switching people to riding bikes also happens to be great for the economy with shops, employers, home owners, health service, road maintenance, emergency services all benefiting.
I do not want to be associated with an attitude that defines only fast sports cyclists as “keen cyclists” and which does not consider the huge numbers of people who would like ride a bike but feel it is too dangerous.
So I am not a “keen cyclist” despite riding nearly every day and 3,500 to 5,500 miles a year! Moreover, my focus in Cycle Campaigning is not on “keen cyclists” by this definition (although my experience of cycling in the Netherlands shows that even “keen cyclists” benefit greatly from Dutch quality infrastructure.
[Update] I have now had a gracious response to my response from the person concerned confessing that they were being selfish.