This entry was posted on Thursday, March 4th, 2010 at 5:15 pm and is filed under Bicycle advocacy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Last month I trained two Janus-style helmet-cams and a handheld camera at bike advocates, MPs and Lords on a study tour of Cambridge. This was for the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.
The resulting video had its first showing yesterday; in Parliament.
At a meeting afterwards, one of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign advocates said that while Cambridge is by no means bike-perfect, it’s English. UK town planners (and MPs - I shot a video of the APPCG study in the Netherlands last year) are often taken on excellent study tours to the Netherlands but, it was suggested, they ought to visit Cambridge instead.
The Netherlands has exemplary cycling infrastructure but it’s so good, it’s oh-so-easy to fall into the trap that it’s peculiar to the Netherlands, and therefore not transferable.
It’s a step down, but Cambridge shows that a UK town can be made an awful lot more cycle friendly, given the political will. It’s a cycling town for many more reasons than it’s flat and has lots of students.
Now, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t aim for the stars but trying to recreate the Netherlands bike infrastructure in one fell swoop just ain’t going to happen. Rome might have been built in a day, but Amsterdam wasn’t.
In the Netherlands, there’s too much interlocking infrastructure, built over many years. UK towns and cities need to take baby steps.
If Cambridge can do it, we can do it. That’s the thinking. Attainability, not pipe-dreams.
Via Twitter, Marc van Woudenberg over on Amsterdamize.com said the excellent bicycle infrastructure in the Netherlands was build through trial and error and that the UK’s “baby steps now could be bigger/wiser than [ours].”
If UK town planners want to get their teeth into some home-grown bike info, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Cambridge Cycle Campaign have some wonderful appetisers, such as the Cambridgeshire Design Guide and the superlative Cycle Parking Standards. Of course, Cambridge is also home to CycleStreets.net, the national cycle journey planner.
Cyclists may want to pop along to a whole bunch of normalising cycling events being organised by Cambridge Cycling Campaign, including Ride for Joy, a Cambridge Cycle Chic, non-Lycra fashion ride for women.