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Cycle Development in the UK – Security first?

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Cycle paths development in urban design has been put more attention recently in order to deliver a concept of healthy lifestyle and sustainable development. However, cycle paths in the UK seems less developed especially compare with other Euro countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland. According to statistics, the UK spends ₤2 per person per year on cycling which compare with ₤24 per person per year in the Netherlands.

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Figure: Percentage of Children Cycling to School in Different Countries.

One possible reason of such trend in the UK could because of the heritage and culture. The planning system in the UK tends to keep the historical characteristics of places. Many developments are always required to maintain and redevelop such old buildings and streets. Meanwhile, lots of streets in the UK`s Cities are often two narrow for designing cycle paths. Meanwhile, cycling in the UK is always seen as unsafe transport tool. Cyclists are generally unwelcome on streets.

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Figure 2: A comparison of Cycle routes in Euro and the UK

Source: http://www.gardenvisit.com/blog/2014/08/18/cycle-infrastructure-expenditure-in-the-uk-and-holland/

On cycle route in Dorset shire is famous as its wider than the vehicle rout. The designer states that when cyclists try to cycle the bike, the power they used might make them rocking, which could be very dangerous to the safety.

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Figure3: Wider Cycle Route in Dorset shire

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1267554/Britains-barmiest-bike-lane-wide-rest-road.html

A currently cycle route development in London proposed a sky cycle route above the train station. The designer states that road network within central London is not suitable for proposing cycle routes as there are no spaces. With the safety consideration and local needs, it seems more appropriate to design a cycle route ‘in the sky’.

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Figure4: Proposed Skycycle in London

Source: http://www.fosterandpartners.com/ar/news/archive/2013/12/skycycle-proposals-to-create-safe-new-cycle-routes-throughout-london/

Therefore, such phenomenon brings us a consideration how to design a cycle path in a UK City. It seems a trend that more neighbourhood design in the UK put cycle routes into consideration. However, the cycle routes design in a city or town centre might be different. The sky cycle provides a solution on solving the conflict between cycle paths and existing traffic network, nevertheless, the costs of such construction is extremely high, which means still not suitable for low investment project.

2 thoughts on “Cycle Development in the UK – Security first?

  1. Actually, I saw this ‘Sky Cycle’ project before. I wouldn’t judge this good or bad, I only prefer to ignore this. And what I am concerning there is not only about money or safety, but also about the hardness of construction, The project plans to build a new road above some routes of the city,and the progress of construction will affect the normal situation of the city. And just like you mentioned in you r blog, cyclist is not quite busy in UK, so if this big structure completed, it will cost too much money.
    is that a really necessary for people’s life? I am not quite sure about this.

  2. Hi, Shane
    I don’t know whether it is good or bad. But I think that UK wants to find a way to change the way of going out. Because people relay on driving the private car when they go out and people lack of exercise every day. Furthermore, the serious pollution is caused by vehicle exhaust to a great extent. There also exist serious pollution in the UK. Government may want to use this way to reduce the number of cars. In addition, I think cycle is a health way for people. It is not only good for physical of people, but also benefit for the urban environment. However, you also think it is right. Cycle may be not secure for people. But I think we can solve this problem through better design the road, dealing with the connection between the vehicle road and cycling road. If we design the reasonable road, it will be a good way for the development of country.

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