## Sunday, 13 September 2009

### Mathematics, cyclist styleee

Quick question.

You live at point A and want to travel to point B.

Point A is 18 miles from Point B.

What is the sum total of a return trip?

A) 36 miles
B) 51 miles

Answer A is correct if you drive a car.

Answer B is correct if you ride a bike and follow a Sustrans route.

I rode along route 1 through Beverley to Kingston Upon Hull, but gave up south of Beverley when the route turned west and I still wanted to go south. I actually humoured the route for a mile or so, but when it turned north back towards Beverley at one point, I U turned and found my own way - albeit with more traffic.

Sustrans means sustainable transport doesn't it?

Wouldn't it be better for cyclists to be given the shortest route, and make cars go the long way round?

Is it me, or does it fly in the face of the whole ethos of sustainable transport, by deliberately making a cyclist's journey longer? (in this case almost 50%)

1. Paul, you may not be surprised to hear it's the other way around here. I've many examples of signs giving shorter distances for cyclists than for motorists as the cycling routes generally are more direct. Of course we often get to skip past traffic lights too, and do other things which make cycling more direct.

2. I am not at all surprised by that, and have read some of your examples. I appreciate the Sustrans movement for what it has done so far, but(looking at Holland for example) a far more powerful movement/body needs to make the government improve cycling infrastructure, and encourage more cycling.

The cycling media bandies around figures (plucked from the air?) of the % increase of people cycling as a form of transport (sport cycling aside). Any % increase of people commuting by bike sounds all very well but in real terms it's hardly a scratch on the surface of the 60+ million people in the country that are socially and professionaly mobile on a daily basis?

And worst of all, they all want to do it by car.

3. Here, much of the initial emphasis at the start of the 1970s came from wanting children to be safe. This is why I emphasize school travel and children on the blog. Dutch children have a degree of freedom that is rarely seen in other countries.

As for cycling rising in the UK, well that's what the campaigners have always claimed. However, the UK has in fact been in a long term decline since the 1950s. I'm firmly of the opinion that this will continue until the conditions for cycling become pleasant. Once it's pleasant, then people will want to do it by bike.

It really isn't helpful for campaigners to make such a big deal about localised and small measured increases when the overall trend remains downwards. This simply lets the politicians off the hook.