Wednesday, 29 August 2012

British Cycling 'comes out' and declares it is time for the UK to follow the lead of the Dutch and the Danes : time for 'cycle tracks which are separated from traffic' in our cities. Amazing news.

Temporary bike lane on Southwark Bridge.
Will it stay after the Olympics? No chance. 
Cycling to work this morning, I was delighted to see that the temporary bike-only lane on Southwark Bridge is still in place.

Pictured left are the people in front of me as I cycled in to the City of London at around 7.45 this morning. In another half hour or so, this junction will be considerably busier and there will be many, many more people cycling through here.

The crazy thing is, that in two weeks' time, this bike lane will be dismantled.

For just a very few weeks, Londoners on bikes have been able to cross this junction safely, in a protected space reserved only for bicycles.

Normally, this junction is filled with HGVs, white vans, buses and all manner of motor vehicles turning both left and right in the left-hand lane and right in the right hand lane. To proceed safely to the front of the junction on a bicycle you normally need to weave between all these large motor vehicles like a sort of small insect, threading your way in between the massive motors. In short, you are made to feel inferior and unwanted on the road. A road that is - let's not forget - one of Boris Johnson's much-feted cycle super highways.
Approaching Southwark Bridge. Traffic engineers
deliberately mix left-turning lorries and cyclists
going straight ahead. Recipe for disaster. 

Pictured left, is the same cycle super highway, only slightly further south. The blue paint is supposed to mark a cycle lane that continues straight ahead. But it's also the left turn lane for HGVs and vans. You have to ask how Transport for London came up with this design. At best it's incredibly difficult to cycle through here, at worst it's treacherous. But imagine being the HGV driver who wants to turn left, as 20+ cyclists swarm around you trying to go straight ahead. It's not the cyclists' 'fault'. The problem is that the people who designed this junction gave up any pretence of responsibility for people's safety and decided to let people on bicycles and in HGVs just fight it out amongst themselves.

This whole stretch of road is atrocious. There are two traffic islands between these two pictures that simply don't need to be there. People on bikes are squeezed between lorries that are trying to rush past them just when the road narrows to include wider pavements and traffic islands. The traffic engineers have deliberately created hazards that make this stretch of road unnecessarily stressful and downright dangerous for all road users.

Road layouts like this are all too common in London and elsewhere in the UK. They are the result of traffic management acts (in other words, laws that grant powers to traffic authorities like Transport for London), the Highway Code, Department for Transport rules and regulations and sheer wilful ignorance on the part of many of the people involved to design our roads to work only for people in motor vehicles and to utterly ignore the safety (let alone the convenience) of people using bicycles.

In this context, I was absolutely fascinated to read a letter published by British Cycling that starts to refer very clearly to this problem. Let's just remember what British Cycling does. This is the body behind Team GB's Olympic cycling successes. This is a body that I used to think was only concerned with road racing, BMXing and the velodrome and that saw cycling only as 'sport'. I always thought that British Cycling wouldn't be interested in making our towns and cities places where cycling is normal and everyday and humdrum.

This is what Southwark Bridge normally looks like. Time to end this
sort of rubbish. This isn't cycling infrastructure. This is a death-trap.
And then, British Cycling said this, in a letter to the London Assembly:

"In designing infrastructure and implementing road policy we need London to make the choice that it wants people to cycle and walk and that this takes priority over getting motorised vehicles through junctions quickly. Junctions like Elephant and Castle and Vauxhall Cross and the surrounding roads are deterrents to all but the bravest person on a bike."

This is language that echoes many of the thoughts expressed by this blog and many others.

The comments by British Cycling are particularly clear that road layouts like the one above are no longer acceptable. And what's unbelievably striking is that this sports organisation then pulls its punches and says in no uncertain terms that it is time the UK adopted a similar approach to cycling as the Dutch and Danish have done:

"In the Netherlands and Denmark cycle provision on urban main roads is typically a set of dedicated cycle tracks which are separated from traffic and provide those cycling with priority at side roads and a clear and safe way across junctions and roundabouts. If we are to achieve a cycling revolution in London and get a significant proportion of Londoners cycling we must have a set of design guidelines for road and cycling infrastructure that are in line with this international best practice and the political will to fund and implement it consistently throughout the city."

What that means is more junctions like the temporary bike-only lane pictured at the top of this article on Southwark Bridge. And fewer junctions like the picture below that where lorries and cyclists are supposed to play hopscotch with each other.

I think it's fantastic, and frankly amazing news, that British Cycling has come out in support of an approach to cycling that suggests it is time the UK followed the lead of our neighbours in the Netherlands and in Denmark. And I, for one, wish the cycle lane on Southwark Bridge would remain. It turns that part of my journey from stressful, unreliable and dangerous, into a simple, relatively safe and easy manoeuvre. It should stay. But I bet Transport for London hasn't the guts to keep a lane for cycling and will hand it straight back to the lorries and taxis as soon as the Paralympics are over.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Cycling in Japan’s cities: Japan has created infrastructure and rules that recognise bicycles are part-pedestrian, part-vehicle. The result is a culture where literally everyone cycles. Netherlands 10 points, Japan 7 points; UK 2 points

Typical Sunday scene in Tokyo - parents and kids
whizzing about. No helmets in sight
I’ve spent the last fortnight travelling around Japan. It was my first trip to Japan and much of it was spent cycling around different cities.

Japan’s cycling culture is so extraordinarily different to the UK, that I feel it’s worth sharing some of the amazing conditions for cycling as well as some of the disadvantages.

The biggest difference between Japan and the UK is that literally everyone in Japan seems to use bikes. Older people are particularly avid bicycle users, lots of parents with children loaded on both the front and back of their bikes, school children wobbling to and from school. Almost no-one wears a helmet and the only ‘cycling clothes’ I saw were on the few serious road racers on a Sunday morning.  Unless you count the bicycle umbrella holders used by rather genteel-looking older women to protect themselves from the sunshine.

I think it’s interesting to note a couple of specific features of the Japanese cycling culture:

Lots of this in Japan. Shared pavement AND
protected bikeway
In terms of bicycle infrastructure, Japanese cities are unlike any I’ve seen. There are some fairly decent protected bikeways. But most cycling is done on the pavement – and legally so. Virtually every pavement is shared use. This has the advantage that pretty much everyone feels safe enough to use a bike in the first place. It also means that people cycle slowly and considerately among pedestrians. And it all seems to work rather well. In the UK, I feel a lot of older people are scared of people on bikes because they’re scared of getting hit by inconsiderate cyclists. In Japan, the older people are cyclists. And they amble along quite happily on the pavements. It’s wonderful.

This means that junction design has one very interesting feature. Almost every major road junction has traffic lights where both pedestrians and cyclists can cross. What that means in reality is that cyclists almost never have to stop at a red light. Why’s that? Well, let’s say you’re cycling on the road (although you’d rarely want or need to): When you approach a red light on the road, you can hop back on to the pavement and carry straight across on the shared pavement which has a green light for pedestrians. Alternatively, if you’re on the pavement, you can hop on to the road. What you lose in slower speeds on the pavement, you gain in not having to wait in queues at traffic lights designed only to regulate motor traffic.

Woman cycling with umbrella on pavement.
All perfectly legal and completely normal
in Japanese towns and cities
What Japan has done is cleverly create rules that recognise bicycles are part-pedestrian and part-vehicle. This is something that is deeply lacking in the UK where the rules of the road and the designs of the road simply don’t recognise bicycle use.

Other features that really stood out: Every single one-way side street is two-way for bicycle use. And there seems to be a Japanese form of strict liability – motorists watch out for pedestrians and cyclists and they (generally) act in a hugely considerate way to non-motorised traffic.

The result of all this is a culture of real citizen cycling. You visit the local shops and every single shop has bike parking outside. And it’s mobbed. I saw one supermarket in Tokyo with 30 or so older people all standing and talking outside, their bicycle shopping baskets filled with purchases. Many shops even have ‘no parking’ signs to stop cars parking outside. One parked car is a dozen fewer customers coming by bike. Or thereabouts.

At the weekends, you see parents and children whizzing about by bike. Children perched on the back and on the front.

The 'Mama Chari'. E-bike, kids at the front
and the back. Shopping too. And mum. Cycling
home along the pavement. Fantastic. And everywhere. 
And one sight that I really loved was the so-called "Mamacharis". These are (often) e-bikes with a big shopping basket on the front and – usually – one child on the front, one on the back. And mum pedalling away in the middle. These things are literally everywhere with parents taking their kids from place to place by bike, instead of by car. And the kids seem to love it.

Outside every station, there’s bike parking for hundreds of bikes. At Kyoto station, I gave up counting the number of racks. Just one side of the station had at least 1,000 bike places with at least 1,000 more on the other side. Bike parking costs around £1.20 for a day or you buy a monthly season ticket. And what you get is a bike rack with in-built bike locks plus a security guard looking out for your bike. I’d happily pay something similar in London, to be honest.

And bikes are relatively cheap. At least compared to the UK. There are bike shops all over the place with sensible bikes complete with dynamo lights and baskets. Plenty of these bikes in the £3-400 range. 

And of course every block of flats has tonnes of bike parking outside.

Just one of a dozen bike sheds at Kyoto station
I know this probably all sounds rather idyllic. The truth is that cycling in Japan’s cities is fairly idyllic when you compare with UK cities. It’s not as good as the Netherlands, nor is it apparently anywhere near as safe as the Netherlands. But Japan seems to have achieved a comparable cycling culture to the Netherlands albeit in a very Japanese way. It’s a culture where your mum, dad, kids, friends, boss and customers ALL get about by bike. The result is that Japan doesn’t have ‘cyclists’. It has people who use a bike when it makes sense. And for most urban trips, a bike makes a lot of sense to a lot of people. 

Can you imagine this lady
having the confidence to cycle in London? No
helmet, no hi-viz, just lots of glamour.
And a bicycle. How it should be
The same could be said for people in the UK but we have suffered decades of government policy that ignores and actively dissuades cycling as a form of transport. So people in the UK think they 'HAVE' to drive. They feel that way because the options aren't there to make them feel they can cycle safely and easily instead. They don't have to drive. Government and local policies make people in the UK feel that they have to drive. I think that's to the detriment of all of us. 

Imagine a culture where using a bicycle is about getting from a to b. Not about survival. Not about helmets. Not about hi-viz. Just sensible, easy, simple. So simple that everyone can do it. And can cycle in their own style and ditch the car for shorter journeys. That's how it should be.

Japan is not the Netherlands. But it is lightyears ahead of the UK when it comes to cycling as everyday transport. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Blackfriars Bridge. Yet another collision last month. This time, reported in the words of the cyclist who escaped being crushed by a truck. How far can you blame the infrastructure for what keeps happening here?

The cycle lane at the northern end of Blackfriars Bridge. Everyone is either going left, straight ahead or turning
right. Across one cycle lane and three motor vehicle lanes. Recipe for disaster?

Ruth Anthony was on that bicycle and had been cycling straight over the Bridge when a truck turned left across her towards the Embankment. 

The collision took place at the north of the bridge, pictured above. As you can see, there is a busy 2.5m wide cycle lane used by thousands of cyclists every morning. The vehicles on the right of the bike lane are heading straight-on or turning left at the lights. The people in the bike lane are also going left, straight on, or trying to turn right by getting across the three lanes of motor traffic beside them. 

New York City sign seen at cycle
lane junctions 
TfL has recently widened the bicycle lane here making it much clearer that this space is meant for cyclists. But it's still a hugely ambiguous layout. 

If this were Montreal or New York, there would be a great big sign telling motorists turning left to give way to cyclists carrying straight ahead. Pictured left, the sort of sign you see at junctions in New York City. Motor vehicles yield to people on bikes. Simple.

To reinforce the point, in New York or Montreal, there would be a physical divider, protecting people on bikes and keeping motor vehicles away from them. There might (as pictured below) be separate traffic light phases for bikes to go straight ahead and cars hold on red.

But this is the UK, not New York City. As far as I understand, the Department for Transport won't allow transport authorities like Transport for London to enforce a give-way to cyclists at a junction like Blackfriars. 

So what you end up with is a dangerous compromise. A semi-decent bike lane (if you're going straight ahead) where no-one has a clue who has priority and who doesn't. It's not abnormal to see 20-30 cyclists at each traffic light phase, all going straight ahead. And one or two motor vehicles turning left. The reality is that when the lights go green, the one or two drivers either edge their way or simply force their way through the 20-30 cyclists. 

Bike lane junction in New York.
Note separate traffic lights for cyclists going
straight ahead and cars turning left
Basically, the rules of the road don't work at this junction. There's simply nothing in the Highway Code that tells drivers how to handle junctions with 2.5m wide bike lanes next to them. Meanwhile, cycle training would probably suggest you should 'take the lane' and slot in behind the motor vehicles. But that seems daft here. There are simply too many people on bikes and the queues of motor traffic in the left lane can stretch back quite some way. 

Ruth was run over at this junction by a motorist turning left across the bike lane. I contacted Ruth directly to ask how she was and to find out what really happened. Her story is below. 

I've tried not to pass comment on Ruth's story. What I've tried to do is to set Ruth's story in the context of how this junction really works (or fails to work) - a junction that is used by thousands of people who cycle through it every rush hour. I find this junction tricky to manoeuvre through and keep my eyes and ears on high alert and pedal like crazy to try get through the junction as safely, visibly and clearly as possible. I think everyone on a bike has a responsibility to look out for themselves and look out for others on the road. And I feel that cycle training is one of the most sensible things a regular cyclist can do.

But the reality is that this is a junction (like almost all junctions in the UK) designed for motor vehicle flow, with half-baked solutions for people on bikes that introduce conflict between road users rather than design that conflict out, in the way that you might expect from teams of highly qualified road engineers. Part of the problem is the tools at the hands of those engineers (rather, the fact that the Department of Transport won't allow some simple solutions, such as priority for cyclists here), but a big part of them problem is that this junction is designed to maximise the flow of motor vehicles, not the safe flow of all its users - including the people on bikes who make up 36% of rush-hour traffic here. The result is that drivers don't have clear instructions on how to handle all the bikes around them. And cyclists don't have a consistent or clear way to cycle through the junction either. Recipe for yet more tragedy? I think so. 

What follows are Ruth's own words. I think she's very brave to want this published. See what you think:

Ruth's bike after the collision
"On Tuesday morning I set off on my usual daily commute from Kennington to Farringdon.  It was pretty much business as usual, although I did notice that there was more traffic than usual, presumably due to the Olympics.

On reaching the red traffic lights at the junction of Blackfriars Bridge and Victoria Embankment I stopped behind three or four cyclists in the cycle lane, waiting to go straight ahead.  I was next to next to a truck as were the cyclists ahead of me. The truck was indicating left.

As the lights changed to green the cyclists in front of me proceeded straight across the road. It seemed that the truck driver was letting the cyclists through before it turned. I thought that the truck had seen them and allowed them through, and therefore had also seen me, so I proceeded to cycle straight ahead.

But then the truck started turning left into my path, so I also veered left with it to try to avoid a collision. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough because I then I felt a bump on the back wheel of my bike and immediately and instinctively just leapt/dived off my bicycle to my left as far as I could towards the kerb.  

It’s a bit of a blur and I have no idea how I managed to do it, but I did and thankfully cleared the danger zone as my bicycle was swept under the truck and crushed under the wheels of a 40 tonne lorry.

The driver only stopped 20 or so metres down the road - he must have heard the tyres of my bicycle exploding and only then realised that there had been an accident.

I was in shock but the full realisation of how bad it could have been came when I saw the expressions on the faces the people who had witnessed it - they looked completely aghast and could not believe that I was able get up and walk about.

The driver of the truck stopped and came over and asked if I was all right. I said I thought he had seen me because of the other cyclists in front of me and he mumbled something like ‘yeah they went around me’.

I am not sure whether he just didn’t care, or, like me, was in shock, but he wasn’t apologetic and we didn’t talk again other than to exchange details (actually I got his details, he didn’t ask for mine).

Ruth's thank you note, left pinned to her mangled bicycle on
Blackfriars Bridge
A PCSO was on the scene within a minute or two and then a passing car with three CID policemen stopped to check I was ok before a PC on a motorbike arrived to take statements from the driver and I.

A paramedic from an ambulance attending to a separate incident across the road came over to check on me but I decided I did not need further medical attention as I only had a bruised ankle and knee.

The PC on the scene informed me that City of London policy is to separately investigate any incident within their borders involving HGV’s over 3.5tonnes and cyclists. This is to check whether or not the driver has had the correct level of training, is not working over allowed hours, etc. They arrived but didn’t need to speak to me so I left them to interview the lorry driver and proceed with their queries.

The police advised that I keep my bicycle in case of any issues that might arise in any claim I might make, so I locked it to the railings on the bridge to collect it later on (which I have now done).

I decided to write a thank-you note and attach it to my bike because in these situations one does not often get to know how the story ended, and for my part I was so grateful to everyone who stopped to help. I wanted to let them know that I really was OK."

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The real debate isn't whether people should wear helmets on a bicycle. It's about the need for government to take cycling seriously and decide what cycling should look like in the UK .

A new cycle super highway in London at rush hour. The blue paint is also a left turn lane for motor vehicles that
makes conflict between motorists and cyclists hard to avoid

The last 24 hours has been slightly roller coaster in cycling terms.

I sat last night (I’m out in Asia at the moment) glued to twitter, watching the updates on Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome’s time trial successes. The Financial Times has an excellent piece talking about Wiggins's success and also discussing the massive surge in popularity for everyday cycling as transport. 

And I read this morning how Bradley Wiggins had, in a press conference, uttered these words, according to The Times:

There is so much that is right in these comments and so much that is utterly wrong. Utterly wrong is the inference that you won’t get killed if you wear a helmet. Personally, I wear a helmet some of the time but I don’t wear one to cycle a mile to the shops or even three miles on back roads. Or when it’s stiflingly hot.

Where I do agree with Wiggins’s statement though is the point that ‘things can’t continue the way they are’ and that ‘once there are laws passed for cyclists, then you are protected’.

Things clearly can’t continue the way they are. The number of people cycling is on the increase but they’re expected to tough it out among frankly awful road conditions designed exclusively to maximise the flow of motor vehicles.

“There’s nothing that acknowledges the bicycle…If you want to cycle, then you have to do so on four-wheeled terms”. 

Put Wiggins’s comments about ‘laws for cyclists’ in the context of Bathurst's statement, and I think it’s obvious that we need road laws that cater for people on bicycles. A cycling rule in Denmark, for example, is that cyclists may not filter across multiple lanes of motor traffic at junctions. If they want to turn left (equivalent of our right) have to first turn right and then cross when the lights change. It sounds like a massive inconvenience. But the reality is that this law has meant roads are designed to help cyclists make turns across busy junctions safely. And guess what, millions of people use bicycles to get around – 60% of Copenhagen commuters in fact.

In other words, if you want to acknowledge the bicycle, you may end up constraining some of the freedoms that cyclists enjoy at the moment. But this can have huge benefits, provided you focus on the right issues.

Bella Bathurst makes another, related point:

“Cyclists [in the UK] were faced with a landscape which either took no interest in them or appeared keen on actively eliminating them…the law ignored [cyclists]. The solution for many of them was to develop a style of cycling based on a combination of mountain biking, road racing, BMX skills and gymnastics…The law ignored them, so they ignored the law.”

There is so much that I can identify with in this statement.

We can build decent cycle infrastructure
in the UK. Pictured at Oxford Street. But
this link is only 20 metres long and simply
doesn't join up with anything. The lack of joined-up
approach is a big problem
In the Netherlands and increasingly in places like New York, I feel that I have a moral right, as someone on a bicycle, to get about my business safely and conveniently. And I have responsibilities.

In the UK, I feel marginalised, frequently intimidated on the roads and I often feel that both the law and the rules that define what a 'safe' road layout looks like simply don't make any sense when I'm using a bicycle as my mode of transport. 

Wiggins is right that things have to change. We have a ‘national cycle network’. It is being rolled out by a charity (Sustrans) that does a great job. But it’s a charity, with tiny funding. In London, Transport for London is only just starting to understand cycling. And to get its junction review and other safety proposals moving, it is working heavily with groups like the London Cycling Campaign – another charity, this time supported by dozens of volunteers taking time off work or their evenings spent working with TfL to try and help the organisation understand cycling.

Wiggins’s comments have unleashed a media rush to mandate helmet use. I think the real focus should be about the need to change the overall context of what’s happening in the UK. We can no longer rely on an army of volunteers to design a national cycle infrastructure, just as we can no longer rely on laws and road safety rules that ignore or simply fail to understand what it's like to be a cyclist.

I think we're reaching a tipping point:

The government needs to create a framework for cycling. It needs to decide what a national cycle network looks like. It needs to decide what urban cycle networks should look like. And in exchange it needs to regulate cycling to some extent. Until it takes these issues seriously, then the debate about helmets or the debate about segregated (protected) bike tracks is all just hot air. The risk is that one of these topics gets all the limelight, when the real issue is about giving cycling a proper place in UK transport. 


Note that this afternoon Bradley Wiggins sent a couple of fairly clear tweets to clarify things:

"Just to confirm I haven't called for helmets to be made the law as reports suggest"


"I suggested it may be the way to go to give cyclists more protection legally I involved In an accident"

I do kind of get where he's coming from. But what a pandora's box he's opened. It could be good. It could be bad. We'll find out. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

"I HATE cyclists the way they swarm my car like the plague, they have no awareness of sharing the road": A whopping 55% of people think the government SHOULD do more to promote cycling. Just more swarms or time for real bicycling infrastructure?

Cyclists 'swarming my car' as posted by @pinkosi25 on twitter. This is the scene at Vauxhall Cross most mornings

Pictured above, a fairly typical scene at Vauxhall Cross, as photographed by a driver calling herself @pinkosi25 on twitter. She posted this picture as an attachment to a message that read: ""I HATE cyclists the way they swarm my car like the plague, they have no awareness of sharing the road". 

So far, so Daily Mail, you might think. 

The thing is, as someone who cycles and drives in London, I can just about understand where she's coming from. Putting aside my cycling hat for a minute, I can see how some drivers (especially those who have no experience of cycling through horrific junctions like Vauxhall) don't understand how to drive around people on bikes. Why are all these bikes in the way, they ask? How did they get there? 

Well, that's because the roads are designed that way. They are actually designed to make driving worse for drivers and cycling worse for cyclists. 

Let's just look at this junction in a bit more detail. There are two alternatives at this junction:

Vauxhall Cross protected bike lane.
Bollards, give way in every direction. Insane.
a) Use the (rare) protected bike lane. 

If you're going in a straight line, using the protected cycle lane here means you give way at traffic lights SEVEN times versus TWICE on the road. Each traffic light is absolutely full with pedestrians at rush hour and you have to hustle your way through lots of grumbling. You even have to give way two more times on the cycle track - to a car park exit. Who is going to give way nine times over a few hundred yards and put up with the sense that they shouldn't be on the shared bike/pedestrian crossings, when they can simply stick to the main road and only stop a couple of times? 

Pictured left, another part of the Vauxhall bike track. Imagine driving down something like this. Give way on a pavement to motors coming from behind you and from the side road. Then dodge the pillars. Then rejoin the tiny bit of cycle path by dodging the two-way warning sign and then drop immediately back on to the road, with cars racing up behind you while having to give way to the bus stop directly in front of you. It's insane. 

b) Alternatively, use the main road. 

You need nerves of steel and the ability to speed off in front of the cars. Just imagine (if you've never ridden a bike) what it's like to have a row of cars behind you, almost all of them trying to push past you, change lanes and whizz to the next set of lights on a SIX lane motorway-style junction. 

My conclusion is that the road design actually encourages cyclists NOT to use the cycle track and encourages cyclists to actively put themselves in front of car drivers like @pinkosi25.

There are lots of people like @pinkosi25. Lots of them profess to "HATE" cyclists. Some of them even love Bradley Wiggins and hate all other cyclists. 

A bit part of me wonders if these people really 'hate' cyclists. Or whether they hate the insane road conditions just as much as I do.

After all, who or what is a 'cyclist'? There are some astonishing figures in a poll published today by YouGov and The Sunday Times. A whopping 52% of Britons surveyed by the poll would be interested in cycling to work but say it's either not 'practical' or - just as importantly - not 'safe'. Looking at the example above, it's no surprise many people think cycling isn't practical or safe

Asked 'Do you think the government should or should not do more to promote cycling?' a stonking 55% of respondents said that the government should do more to promote cycling.

Question is, what will the government do? So far London has got £15million to sort out some junctions. Literally a handful of junctions, though. Transport for London has updated its website this week with detailed plans showing what junctions it will improve and when it hopes to get round to making those changes. But a few junctions just in London is not going to encourage the 52% of people who would consider cycling to work to make the switch. And the money doled out by the Department for Transport for the rest of the country for cycling is frankly pathetic. If you look at outer London, Boris Johnson has committed only a few hundred thousand pounds for a handful of boroughs to squabble over. Serious infrastructure means serious money.

People are beginning to say that things have to change. Up to 55% of them, by the sounds of it.

We need a wholescale shift in how we look at our roads and who we design our roads for. Until then, we'll just have to wobble along on our bikes, "sharing" the road with people who think we are like a 'swarm' and 'hate' us simply for being in their way. Not a recipe for good and safe cycling, I'm afraid.


Meanwhile, in a short footnote, I can't say enough just how fantastic today's Olympics have been. Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, frankly unbelievable results today. Wahay!!!