I just say this because I have has a weird correspondence with a Paul, who lives in The Netherlands. He believes that the cycle infrastructure in The Netherlands is not the cause of their cycling culture, and, if I understand him right, not even in any way related to their high level of cycling. He says his point is demonstrated by the fact that there is much expensive cycle infrastructure in The Netherlands that is little-used, and many places where there is no infrastructure where there is a great deal of cycling. To try to prove this, he sent me a link to this video of a street in Amsterdam, a which he believes has no cycle infrastructure.
A Walk | Ride | Drive Sample from Amsterdamize on Vimeo.
Of course, the video does not prove his point. I proves the reverse, and demonstrates the truth of what I have been saying about the direct relationship between the provision of a high-quality cycle environment, and cycling levels.
This street has been left as it was, apparently since about the 1980's (bollards went out of fashion and are no longer used). It has no cycle lane and no cycle path, and neither does the canal it crosses here. The intensive use by cyclists is not the result of providing them with anything extra, but of restricting car usage. The main restriction is the one-way system. Every car trip via this street is longer than its alternatives, so there is little incentive to use it [the car, I presume]. It is not however segregated.Of course there would be no sense in segregating cycling in this street. It would not be "the right solution in the right place" But this is high-quality cycle infrastructure all right, of a type that is almost unknown in the UK. The whole context has to be taken into account, as Paul explains.
The making of cycle journeys more convenient and pleasant by giving cyclists high-priority routes which are different to those which are given to cars, through all the well-known traffic engineering means: partial road closures, one-way systems, junction priority, allowing only access traffic, cycle-only streets, etc., is a major strategy that must be used, particularly, in dense, small-scale, old urban locations like this, to get a shift from cars to bikes. Note how this street is one-way for cars but two-way for bikes.
In an area like this, clearly, high-capacity segregated cycle tracks on or next to roads are going to be less relevant than they are in suburban areas, in rural areas, in more modern, more spacious urban layouts, and in 19th century capital city boulevards. In an area like this the solutions will be mixed, with cyclists often sharing the roads with a level of slow, considerately-driven, essential motor traffic. But it is all cycle infrastructure, all part of accommodating and prioritising the bike. It is still "ALL ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT, STUPID!"as I said in my Team Green Britain Tosh post – and not about vague "cultural" factors. As the last Labour Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, said:
Cycling in Holland is not in the genes, it's in the facilities that are available.I find it difficult to fathom why this concept is such a problem for some people. Here, by contrast, is a typical video of a cycling journey in a UK city. Would all those people in the Amsterdam video be cycling if they had to do it in these conditions? If you think they would, I fear there is little more I can say to you.