“Making Cycling Irresistable”

The most comprehensive (and readable) report you’re likely to find on how to get people in a town or city out of their cars and onto their bikes.

Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany [pdf / html]

Brief summary that doesn’t do it justice:

  • Safety is the number one most important factor that needs addressing before people will buy into using bikes as a normal way to get around. There is a dramatic link between cycling being safe and the number of people using bikes. Women, the elderly and parents are especially sensitive to the safety factor
  • The cornerstone of the successful Dutch, Danish and German policies has been to make cycling safe and attractive is the use of wide, on-road bike paths along major routes, separated from motor traffic by a physical barrier (egs here), with more direct short-cuts where possible. Without this separate and safe road space for bikes, few people are inclined to cycle.
  • Safe intersections should provide advance stop lines for bike users, a green light for cyclists before the motorists’ green light, a highly visible bike path across the intersection, and turn restrictions for people in cars.
  • In residential areas, the best way to make it safe to travel by bike is to impose a maximum speed limit of 20mph and build in extensive traffic calming measures – road narrowing, extra curves and zigzags, raised crossings, etc. This also makes the area safer for pedestrians, children and the elderly.
  • As well as carrots, you need sticks. Car parking spaces must be reduced. Speed limits in urban areas must be lower and enforced.
  • It is essential this is a co-ordinated effort, tied in with a wide variety of targeted promotional activities, and encouraging feedback from bike users.

Grab a coffee, put your feet up and give it your full attention.

If you know someone in the planning department of your local council, pass it on.

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