[Note: This is a follow-up to this earlier, angrier post.]
Don’t worry, this site isn’t going to turn into the anti-Franklin daily (though that’s not a bad idea for a blog), but why does he make it so easy to debunk his nonsense? I only had to scratch the surface to find more. Why are his views on infrastructure so well-respected? Someone please tell me!
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!”
I gratefully receive all comments, even Franklin supporters are welcome to try and defend him. In this comment to my previous post, Will Bramhill suggested that Franklin’s 1999 Milton Keynes report was written before the success of the Dutch cycle infrastructure was known about.
However, one of the references on the MK report is a study from 1991 titled “Changed Travel – Better World, a comparison of Milton Keynes and Almere, Netherlands.” I found an abstract of it here, which tells us that:
“The proportions of trips that were by car were 65.7% in Milton Keynes and 43.1% in Almere; the proportions made by bicycle were 5.8% and 27.5%, respectively.”
So even in 1991, in Almere, over a quarter of journeys were made by bike, and Franklin knew this by 1999 — but it seems he didn’t think it worth finding out why. And yet it gets better!
“For all purposes and all destinations, the people of Almere walk and cycle much more than those of Milton Keynes, due to higher level of bicycle ownership and more user-friendly segregated cycle routes.” [emphasis mine]
I think that’s worth repeating, in case any anti-infrastructure types missed it: “the people of Almere walk and cycle much more than those of Milton Keynes, due to higher level of bicycle ownership and more user-friendly segregated cycle routes.” (And I dare say that the high level of bike ownership has something to do with the presence of the cycle routes, too.)
Why did Franklin ignore this major conclusion of the study? Seriously: What the hell? He used it to get the number of bikes per household in Milton Keynes, then didn’t read the rest? Was he in that much of a rush that he couldn’t take a look at the last paragraph?
The report is essentially saying that cycle paths are a good thing responsible for a high cycling rate, yet Franklin insists that on-the-road is the only way to cycle. Does he think that all those bike journeys in Almere are made despite the safe, traffic-free routes?
So for a long time now he’s been aware of the Netherlands’ very high cycling rate — and the reasons for it — yet he keeps looking the other way and pretending it’s not happening. Well, it’s over. John Franklin can fuck right off. Seriously, if you see anyone piping up with this riding-in-traffic-is-best bullshit, point them to these posts, so they can be told to fuck off too. I’ve had it with this crap, John Franklin has had too much influence for too long.
He can fuck off with with all these ancient references, too — the Netherlands proves him wrong. AN ENTIRE COUNTRY PROVES HIM WRONG. How wrong can one man be?
While I’m at it, why do he and his followers continue to use this ancient image of a poor junction design that the Dutch haven’t used for decades? The image in his book Cyclecraft, which is meant to be about Vehicular Cycling but contains anti-infrastructure rhetoric for no good reason. The linked page is on a Bikeability trainer’s site, so it seems that there is a definite overlap between Franklin’s book and infrastructure resistance. (No, I’m not accusing all trainers of being VC zealots. Just that one.) [Note: The cycle training site I had originally linked to has now disappeared, so I’ve replaced it with a link to a similar image.]
It seems to me that you’d have to be exceptionally unimaginative, maybe even somewhat dense, to assume that just because one example of something is bad, then all other types of that thing must be bad too. Note to John & Co.: Just because we have very poor cycle facilities in the UK today, doesn’t mean that good cycle facilities are impossible. (Though it won’t help much if you keep spreading shit about them.)
Seriously; John, if you’re reading this: I don’t know you personally — maybe you’re a lovely guy — this is an attack on your “professional” work. I can see that you’ve spent a lot of time and effort disseminating anti-cycleway propaganda, and it may seem difficult to climb down now, but it really is time to stop. Give it up. People are dying out there on the roads.
You don’t even have to apologise (though it would be nice), just admit that you were wrong about cycleways being a bad thing. You can still make money from your book (though you might remove the negative bits about cycle paths). Maybe you can even join others in promoting real, positive change for cycling in Britain. Come on John, let’s be friends, let bygones be bygones, then we can work together to improve Britain’s roads and streets for everyone.
And if you do, I’ll write a nice post about you, I promise.
Sorry about all the swearing but I can’t help it. I really do find it that frustrating to read his stuff.