Planning for bicycle use

Favouring bicycles
The automobile has become the foremost mode of transport in the developed world, at the expense of other modes of transport. Motor vehicles do offer advantages, but account for a substantial proportion of air pollution, and studies have shown that they do not always offer a higher degree of mobility in urban centres than other modes of transport. Given adequate infrastructure, bicycling may provide an attractive alternative in terms of costs, relieving road congestion, environmental and health benefits, and time practicality.
In Groningen, Netherlands' sixth largest city (170,000 population), 57% of the inhabitants travel by bicycle (compared with, say, 4% in the UK). The city received the Urban Development Social Inventions Award 1993 of the [Institute for Social Inventions]. It started in 1977 when a six lane motorway intersection in the city's centre was replaced by greenery, pedestrian ways, cycleways and bus lanes. In 1992, the city started creating a car-free city centre. City centre motorways are being dug up, roads have been narrowed or closed to traffic, cycleways are under construction, new housing has direct access only by cycle, all building must provide cycle garages, and out-of-town shopping centres are banned. This has led to an economic recovery, with businesses which use to protest against anti-car moves now fully in support; the outflow of population has been reversed. A vital threshold has now been crossed where, through sheer weight of numbers, the bicycle lays down the rules, slowing down traffic and determining the attitudes of drivers. The aims are to force cars to take longer detours but to provide a "fine-mesh" network for bicycles, giving them easy access all over the city. Groningen's ten-year bicycle plan is costing the equivalent of £20m, but every commuter car it keeps of the road saves at least £170 a year in hidden costs such as noise, pollution, parking and health.

The Transport Social Inventions Award 1993 went to EuroBike, a Danish company which is trying out a City-Bike project in the southern Denmark town of Nakshov. Their bikes are available for borrowing from coin operated rack in exchange for a deposit of 20 krone (around £2). The bikes have a distinctive heavy-duty construction, with puncture-proof solid tyres, and an advertising placard built into the frame. The advertisements are expected to cover expenses, including the cost of a team of mechanics to inspect the racks and make repairs.

The UK 1998 Cycle Audit and Review guidelines can be used to help ensure opportunities to improve conditions for cycling are properly considered in new road schemes, and to help assess the cycle friendliness of existing transport networks and links. UK local authorities are expected to integrate cycling into their local transport plans, improving provision for cyclists. These guidelines will help them achieve this by helping resources to be targeted to best effect. The guidelines have been drawn up in response to a recommendation in the National Cycling Strategy that cycle audit procedures were needed to ensure that opportunities to enhance cycling conditions are not missed, or even inadvertently made worse when changed to transport infrastructure are planned. The guidelines explain the procedures for evaluating new and existing roads in order that much better provision can be made for cyclists in the future.

Cycle Audit' is a systematic procedure applied to planned changes to the transport network which is designed to ensure that opportunities to encourage cycling are considered comprehensively and that cycling conditions are not inadvertently made worse.

Cycle Review' is a systematic process applied to existing transport networks, which is designed to identify their positive and negative attributes for cycling, and to assess ways that those networks can be changed in order to encourage cycling.

People will only travel by bicycle if the highway infrastructure is made safe and pleasant.
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities