Objective: More Cycling. Policy: No More Cycle Routes!

Objective: More Cycling. Policy: No More Cycle Routes!


N Guthrie, Atkins, UK



In 1996, the UK Government published its first ever National Cycling Strategy. Central to the strategy were targets to increase the number of cycle trips. These amounted to a doubling of cycle trips by 2002 and a quadrupling by 2012. However, progress to date has been extremely disappointing. Far from achieving the desired increase, levels of cycling have actually decreased, and the initial target for 2002 was abandoned. This paper suggests that, an infrastructure-centred approach, although welcomed by existing cyclists, will never succeed in facilitating a mode switch.

This paper will look at the measures which have actually brought about an increase in cycling in the UK in recent years. Although there has been no country-wide increase, there have been increases both locally, and at certain times, in relation to specific events.

Events and initiatives which have generated increases in the level of cycling will be discussed including initiatives such as individualised-marketing campaigns and travel-plan activity, and occasional events such as strikes on the London Underground and the fuel protests of 2000. The effect on levels of cycling of the large-scale traffic-management initiative that is the Central London Congestion Charging Scheme will also be examined.

The paper will also look at the remarkable increase in the ownership and use of powered-two wheelers in recent years. Powered two-wheelers look set to achieve an increase on the scale of that envisaged for pedal cycles, and this is taking place in a national and local policy-vacuum. There is no national motorcycling strategy and there have been no specific initiatives aimed at increasing the levels of motorcycling. This paper will suggest how this has taken place and the lessons that can be learned for bicycle planners.

This paper does not dismiss the importance of infrastructure: a background level of appropriate infrastructure is of fundamental importance but, once that level has been...


Association for European Transport