This weeks Cycling Tweet from @fietsprofessor (Cycling Professor) is only 10 hours old at the time of posting and has already had 300 retweets and nearly a 1000 likes.
It’s with regards to a project in Barcelona, Spain in which streets are being reclaimed from cars and given back to the people – pedestrians and cyclists.
I really recommend following the Cycling Professor if you are on Twitter for some very interesting and thought-provoking tweets on urban cycling.
Why make more space for cyclists?
In many cities around the world, cycling is already the fastest way to get from A to B. Here in Oxford that is certainly the case. Not only is it quicker, but it is also cheaper as well as being better for the environment.
The issue is though there is a perceived heightened risk of getting about by bike. Removing the cars removes that perceived risk which allows people to feel more comfortable and makes their ride more enjoyable – meaning that they are more than likely to ride more.
This was highlighted to me in the pub yesterday when I meet with another local cycling activist. We were discussing what people need in order to get them cycling. My assumption was that what they needed was information. They needed to know the facts that cycling is cheaper than driving and is also quicker. My theory was that this along would sell it to them. But I was about to learn how car-free or low car routes make a huge difference.
Graham, the chap I was having a pint with pointed out that we were just around the corner from The Cherwell School, a school where over 58% of the children regularly get to school by cycling! They are the Number 1 cycling school in the whole country. In fact, only 11% arrive by car. And why is this the case?
Graham reminded me of the cycling infrastructure around the school. Not only does the National Cycle Route 51 (NCR 51) pass directly outside the school gates, the NCR 5 is also very close as well as a segregated cycle path with links Marston to Summertown where the school is.
I had to think, would I let my child cycle to this school if we lived in the catchment? Yes, I would. And would I let my child cycle to any other school in the city on their own – no, as I would perceive the danger to be too much of a risk.
Just imagine if we allowed car-free or low car routes to be available to every child going about their business in the UK – the future would be much cleaner and greener for generations to come.
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