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Car friendly cities?

Great piece by Nigel of about making cycling more pleasant in the UK

“” sadly I don’t detect any suppressed majority yearning to get onto their bikes!”

Probably that’s because you’re not looking.

Plenty of evidence out there to suggest that most of us don’t actually like driving much and would welcome the opportunity to use our cars less frequently.

Lynn Sloman’s research suggests that 30% of us don’t have access to a car; 50% of car users don’t like driving. Sustrans research suggests that 70% of us won’t cycle on the roads in their current format because it is perceived as too dangerous.

Lynn Sloman’s research again: The 40:40:20 rule: 40% of current car trips could easily be done by other means right now, without any change to infrastructure or public transport; another 40% of car trips could be done by other means after infrastructure changes, leaving 20% of car trips that cannot be done by other means.

No one’s suggesting we all give up our cars completely; simply not a practical proposition – I’ve no plans to abandon mine – but the concept of the car as the default mode for all trips needs to be challenged, and frequently.

Call it “ideology” if you must. Some of us call it common sense. The “ideology” of striving to make your city more car friendly is probably not the best idea, especially when that city’s street layout evolved long before motor transport. “Quart” and “pint pot” spring to mind. The lessons of the 20th Century need to be learned and taken to heart. Building for car traffic has only ever resulted in more car traffic, resulting in more building to “relieve” the congestion. A vicious circle we really need to break out of. The answers are out there and have been successfully implemented on mainland Europe a generation ago. Time we caught up.”