Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A clarification on my opinions of vehicular cycling

I would just like to add to my blog post, I am not entirely against Vehicular Cycling.

It is a good mechanism for coping with the conditions we are faced with.

But it is not a panacea.

It has not enabled the mass uptake of cycling. It works for those people confident and dare I say, brave enough to share the road with motorised traffic.

But it shouldn't get in the way of demanding better.

Like car manufacturers shouldn't give up trying to make cars safer still, even though some clever so and so invented seat belts or air bags. It has its place in helping the 2% who use our roads do so more safely. But this is not enough.

We shouldn't be asking people like me (or probably you) what we need to do to get people out on the road. We should be asking the 98% who aren't out there cycling.

If Vehicular Cycling was the solution, then in Trafford where I reside you wouldn't be able to move around secondary schools for the amount of bikes. All year 6 pupils before they leave primary, get Bikeability training. So why aren't they continuing to cycle?

Probably the same reasons friends of mine who are confident capable club cyclists gave.

1 comment:

  1. I was a pupil at a Trafford secondary school in the 1970s, the now demolished Urmston Grammar School for boys on Bradfield Road.

    I'd say about a third of the boys cycled to school. There was a large bike shed which was full every day.

    At my junior school the playground walls were lined with bikes two deep. None of the teachers had a car and quite a few cycled to school, including the not so young headmaster who retired on my last day at the school.

    The reason why vehicular cycling declined drastically from the 50s to its present low level is quite simple. As soon as most people could afford a car they got one, and they used it all the time even for the shortest trips.

    On my Urmston street household car ownerhip went from a low level when I was a small boy at infant school to 100% when I finally left after finishing university at 21. And during that relatively short time cycling plummeted from a fairly normal, everyday activity for many men, women and children to something regarded as almost an eccentric habit.

    Initiatives to increase vehicular cycling are doomed to failure. The only way it will increase to any significant degree is if car ownership again becomes too expensive for most people.

    Until then vehicular cycling will mainly be the preserve of a few well educated, independent minded and affluent people, usually men.