Designed for Cycling

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Cycling in Vienna: lessons from Velo-city 2013

Chris Peck spent a week in Vienna at Velo-City, the biggest international conference on cycle planning and promotion, alongside 1,400 other delegates from dozens of countries. Here are his first impressions of the city and its plans for cycling.
Vienna's huge central Ringstrasse has space for all modes of transport

As a city, Vienna is pretty good for cycling – indeed, anyone used to cycling in British cities would find it far superior to virtually any here.

Unfortunately for Vienna, though, it also possesses a road and public transport network that are superb, uncongested and – in the case of the latter – astonishingly cheap: the Viennese pay just 365 Euros a year for a season ticket which gives them access to six underground (U-bahn) lines covering the whole city, surface trains (S-bahn) to the outer suburbs, Europe’s biggest tram network and of course buses.

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CTC tells Osborne maintaining roads is better than building them

Cycling charity joins call for Chancellor to focus on maintaining existing roads rather than building new ones in his forthcoming Spending Review.
Pothole: Photo by tejvanphotos (Creative Commons licence)

CTC, the national cycling charity has joined other transport groups in calling on the Chancellor George Osborne to spend on maintaining existing roads rather than on expensive and damaging new roads schemes.

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Small town cycling: where Britain falls far behind

Whereas cycling is slowly increasing in London and other cities, it is continuing to fall - fast - in places where historically it was much higher, such as the towns and villages of eastern England. On a recent trip to Italy I saw how the bike can still be the default mode of transport
Everyday cycling in Binasco, a small town near Milan

Italy is not a place we normally look to for lessons on cycling, but perhaps we should.

On a recent trip, I visited a small town on the outskirts of Milan, in the vast, flat and densely populated landscape of the Po valley.

With a population of around 7,000, the town of Binasco bears only slender resemblance to similar sized British towns. Much of the population is housed in modern apartments near a town centre, which still retains the old network of narrow streets around a castle.

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Dutch-style roundabouts and low-level signals tested

Low level signals and continental-style roundabouts with cycle priority are the standard design in the Netherlands. But in this country they are considered so radical and innovative by the Government that special trials are being carried out on TRL's track in Crowthorne, Berkshire
Dutch priority over side-roads - like this - is being trialled in Britain

Mini-traffic lights, simple yield markings, zebra crossings without archaic orange Belisha beacons and zig zag markings...

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Cycle safety at 78 junctions to be improved thanks to £18m in grants

Government funding of £18m, announced last summer, will go to local authorities across England to improve cycle safety at junctions.
A hostile road in Leicester which will be transformed

The funding includes several hugely impressive and radical schemes, including the partial removal of a gyratory in Leicester and the construction of a £2m cycle bridge in Bury St Edmunds.

CTC was represented on the panel of experts alongside British Cycling, CPRE and Sustrans, which recommended the shortlist of schemes to be funded. 

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Roadworks - a test of priorities

When road or building work requires space to be removed from the carriageway, who gives up the space? In Britain, roadworks often occupy cycle facilities, with no provision of alternatives.
Space for bikes and pedestrians is temporarily reallocated in Denmark

In other countries cyclists often get a better deal.

This photo, from the centre of Copenhagen, shows that when building work requires space to be taken away from the pavement and cycle track, a temporary facility is constructed on the road.

Admittedly, the provision is narrow and well below the width of the cycle facility that had been replaced, but cyclists at least have been considered.

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New law for better cycle paths in Wales

The Welsh Government has proposed a new law placing a duty on local authorities to map the walking and cycling routes in their area and make a plan and budget to improve them. Wales is being touted as the first country for such law to be introduced.
The NCN8 near Caernarfon alongside a major road

The Welsh Government's proposals have been brought before the Welsh Assembly as the Active Travel Bill Wales 2013, following a consultation in 2012. 

It's a highly ambitious set of proposals which will force local authorities to identify, map out and improve the walking and cycling networks in their area.

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Roads to ruin: the problem of potholes

CTC Campaigns and Policy Coordinator Chris Peck explains why UK roads are so bad
Potholes aren't usually quite as large as this one

Occasionally when cycling in France you will come across a road sign that says, “Chausée déformée”, followed by a section of road that is perhaps a bit on the bumpy side or contains the occasional pothole. I’ve always found this sign hilarious. If the standards used in France were adopted in Britain there would be many roads where this sign would have to be erected every few hundred metres over their entire length.

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Oxfordshire spends just 0.2% of transport budget on cycling

Local cycle campaign group for West Oxfordshire, BikeSafe, has slammed Oxfordshire County Council for its lamentable lack of funding for cycling.
BikeSafe have campaigned for a cycle path alongside a busy B-road for years

Over the last three years, Oxfordshire spent just £500,000 on cycling measures out of a transport budget of £230m - only 0.2% of the total.

The discovery was made by campaign group BikeSafe, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The group had previously been told that there were insufficient funds to build a path alongside the busy B4044 from Eynsham to Botley, on the outskirts of Oxford, for which it has been campaigning for years.

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Planning and design for cycling scrutinised by MPs and Peers

Having examined strategy and safety issues, the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group turned its attention to planning and design for cycling in the third session of its inquiry into cycling on the 6th Feb.
Dutch design of infrastructure was much praised by those giving evidence

The panel of MPs and Peers examined a range of witnesses, including CTC, LCC, Sustrans, bloggers, academics and figures from urban design. 

Tony Russell from Sustrans stressed the need for high quality networks of cycle routes, particularly aimed at the less experienced cyclist,  "the sensible, unaccompanied 12-year-old". The evidence from the Netherlands, he suggested, was that where such facilities had been built, cycling had flourished.

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