If the hot air generated by successive UK governments talking about cycling could somehow be harnessed, then we could stop importing gas. They keep on talking about increasing bike usage, and yet cycling rates in the UK have stagnated since the 1970s. This might have something to do with our road and street design!
According to the cyclists’ group CTC, the National Cycle Network “is a comprehensive network of safe and attractive routes to cycle.”
Perhaps that should be changed to “a patchwork of theoretical routes which sometimes go near where you want to go.”
While I acknowledge that the CTC aren’t responsible for the NCN, and that the quality of NCN routes in central London may not be typical of the UK as a whole, here are three examples of the safe and attractive NCN Route 4 in my area:
Heading North on Belvedere Road near the London Eye, the citizen who has fallen for the current government hype about cycling will come across the lovely arrangement above. Is this really meant to encourage people to start riding a bike?
On Park Street near the Tate Modern gallery, the cycle lane is blocked by roadworks, with not even the usual “Cyclists Dismount” sign! It shows the contempt with which people on bikes are held in London that there is no warning, diversion or provision for bike riders here – not that I could see, anyway.
This part of NCN4 passes through a “shared space” zone. These shared space areas seem to me to be unfair to everyone – especially people on foot or riding bikes. Nobody ever seems to know what’s going on in them.
Does the map of NCN4 below look convenient to you, or does the main road look more direct?
The NCN seems to be endorsed by the DfT, and it’s part of the UK street and road network, so it seems a relevant subject for this blog. I don’t mean to slag off the good people of Sustrans or CTC, but this sort of thing really isn’t going to convince anyone to switch to pedal power.