April 28, 2008

Cycle Paths

To people who do not do much road cycling, cycle paths may seem like a good idea. Keep cyclists and cars separated and offer some protection to cyclists. It sounds like a good idea in theory. However, in practice, cycle paths are one of the most dangerous hazards to cyclists. Occasionally, one does see a well designed cycle path, but these examples are very rare. The majority of cycle paths are terrible examples of road design.

Of course one is not obligated to use a cycle path, and many, knowing the hazards common to cycle paths, avoid them completely. The problem with this is that some ignorant car drivers and even law enforcement officers take issue with cyclists not making use of the available cycle path facilities. People need to be more aware of the dangers of cycle paths, and that by asking cyclists to use them you are endangering their lives.

I will outline a few of the most dangerous problems with cycle paths here to illustrate some of the problems.

There are three main classifications of cycle paths.

1: Separate but alongside the road.
2: Part of the road
3: A completely different route to the road.

The third kind of cycle path has no particularly dangerous problems, other than frequently being unmaintained and taking longer routes than the road. These paths are also quite rare. The most common are the first two. Let us first consider the kind of cycle path which is alongside a road but separated from the road by a curb. These paths are often shared with pedestrians, even if they are not supposed to be.

The first major problem with this type of cycle path is that the cyclist no longer has priority over side roads and driveways. This means that in an urban environment the cyclist would have to stop, cross, start every few metres. In addition to this the visibility the cyclist has of hazards emerging from side roads is greatly diminished.

When riding on the road the cyclist both has priority and is moving with the traffic. Accidents are most likely to occur when turning or crossing through traffic, something these cycle paths make cyclists do continuously.

Another problem with these cycle paths is that cars will turn left into the side roads, something the cyclist has little visibility of and cannot prevent. While riding on the road the cyclist can be aware of cars wishing to turn left and move out from the curb slightly to discourage drivers from cutting across their path.

Another problem with these cycle paths is that they are often supposed to be bidirectional, but insufficient room is left. Furthermore, pedestrians often use them (sometimes this is encouraged by signs). Mixing pedestrians and cyclists is a bad idea, pedestrians often move into the path of cyclists at the last minute by mistake. Also, in a 30mph limit a cyclist travelling at 20mph is closer to the speed of a car than a 3mph pedestrian, keeping objects of the same speed grouped is safer.

Another common problem is that the cycle paths are simply far too short. I have seen many which are stupidly short, some less than 5 metres, for which I have no explanation of what the designer was thinking. Even the longest cycle paths are rarely longer than a mile or so. When cycling at 20mph there’s really no point leaving the road and dealing with additional hazards only to have to rejoin it very shortly. Rejoining the road is often dangerous, the cyclist must merge with a stream of moving fast traffic. Often the point at which the cycle path rejoins the road comes with no warning and is at a point of road with particularly poor visibility, such as after a bend.

The other common type of cycle path is where a section of the road is marked off as being a cycle path. This is significantly better than the separated cycle paths as it only suffers from some of the above problems. The cyclist has priority over side roads and is moving with the traffic. However, there are other problems with these cycle paths.

The first is that they are often full of static hazards. They are typically located at the sides of roads and not very wide. Sunken drain covers often occupy nearly the entire width, forcing the cyclist to swerve in and out of the cycle path, in and out of the flow of traffic. Car drivers also seem to think that these cycle paths are synonymous with car parks, also forcing cyclists to continuously swerve in and out of the cycle paths.

Of course these hazards would exist whether or not the edge of the road was designated a cycle path. The problem is that the cycle path encourages cyclists to stay at the edge of the road as long as possible and swerve late. Whereas the safest course is to move out as soon as an obstacle becomes visible, making your intention clear to car drivers. Unfortunately in an urban environment this means there’s little opportunity to actually enter the cycle path at all.

Another problem I have observed with these cycle paths is that they encourage car drivers to encroach from side roads. They seem to think that a cycle path is an extension of the side road. Of course this encroaching is often necessary for the driver to get better visibility or get out at all in busy conditions. However, I have observed when a cycle path is present the driver is much more likely to use it when it is not necessary. Even though the cycle path is part of the road the emerging drivers believe they have priority over the cyclists.

Another problem with these cycle paths is that the encourage filtering past static or slow traffic on the left. Car passengers habitually open car doors into this space without checking the mirrors. Cars will also move left into the cycle path space to avoid hazards or to turn left. Drivers are also far less conscientious about checking their left hand mirrors than their right hand mirrors, as other than cyclists there’s unlikely to be anything there. These reasons make it much safer to pass static traffic on the right hand side, down the middle of the road. While this might seem scary it also offers the cyclist a better view of the road, there is usually also more space available in the centre of the road.

There are lots more problems with cycle paths, such as them being unmaintained and covered in glass, These are just the main hazards that mean that using a cycle path greatly increases the risk of a collision.

There are of course some well designed cycle paths that do not suffer from these flaws, but these are so rare that unless you know a cycle path well you’re better off avoiding it in case it’s dangerous.

A better solution than cycle paths everywhere would be to make the roads wider instead of adding poorly designed cycle paths that assume you the designer knows better than the cyclists and drivers who actually know the road and conditions. Wider roads allow drivers to pass cyclists with ease and cyclists to ride safely. As for cyclists who crawl along at 5mph they could just be allowed to use the pavements.

The best tactics for avoiding collisions in an urban environment are to cycle fast and cycle wide. Cycle fast and you’re closer to the speed of the traffic, which gives drivers more time to react and less urgency to pass. Cycle wide and you’re more visible, moving out to avoid potential hazards when passing side roads or rounding tight bends which reduce visibility. It’s important to not stay wide when unnecessary though, and to allow cars to pass whenever safe.

A common car driver complaint is that with the cyclists on the road, often cycling wide it’s difficult to pass them. There seems to be some hostility between car drivers and cyclists, car drivers thinking they have more right to use the roads than cyclists. It’s worth bearing in mind that if all the cyclists were not cycling but in cars they would be harder to pass, and be increasing the congestion and pollution on the roads. So the cyclists are in fact doing you a favour. Most cyclists are probably car drivers as well so also contributing to the upkeep of the roads.

If a cyclist is riding too wide for you to pass he or she will probably let you past at a convenient time. Unobstructed by glass and a big metal cage the cyclist has a much better view of the road surface and overall road conditions than you do.

With a little mutual respect everyone can stay safer. Please stop building cycle paths without consulting cyclists, and please don’t get angry when cyclists prefer to stay alive and do not use them.


- 35 comments by 4 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Mike Willis

    I recently stumbled upon a site which collects photos of examples of poor cycling facilities. A couple of examples from Coventry:
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/October2006.htm
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/April2006.htm

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the vast majority of cycle lanes exist merely in order that a committee somewhere can then say that they exist rather than because they are genuinely useful.

    28 Apr 2008, 19:55

  2. (Michael when you say stumbled do you mean StumbledUpon? you must be tired…)

    My housemate was cycling behind someone the other day. Their line of traffic was stationary and a car pulled across the gap into a carpark. The cyclist ahead went across the bonnet. All due to lack of visibility.
    Paths can be useful. I’m always sh*tscared of a car door opening into my face.

    28 Apr 2008, 23:17

  3. Mike Willis

    Nope, I meant it in a pre-web 2.0 social networking/bookmarking sense of the phrase. As in ‘to come upon accidentally or unexpectedly’.

    29 Apr 2008, 08:42

  4. Steve Rumsby

    Many cyclist visibility issues can be solved by proper positioning. Paradoxically, sometimes the safest place to be is in the middle of the road, in the way of traffic but where you can clearly be seen. This might have helped with the “pulling across the gap” situation above – cycling in the middle of the lane would have meane oncoming traffic would have seen them sooner. And in stationary traffic there’s no reason not to.

    And to avoid having a car door open in your face, cycle far enough out that they’d miss. Possibly irritating for vehicles behind, but much, much safer for you. Good observation helps here, too. There’s no need to cycle that far out if you can see there’s nobody in the car, for example.

    I do find that motorists are generally quite understanding of this sort of defensive road positioning. I rarely encounter any displays of irritation from motorists. I say “generally” and “rarely” because it does happen of course. You just have to get used to it.

    29 Apr 2008, 09:17

  5. (Fair enough Mr Willis. I recommend you never go anywhere near an SU button. It’s the devil’s tool)

    Steve: The bloke got hit while he was cycling in his specified cycle lane. A friend of mine hit a car the other day. It turned left as he was coming up the inside and didn’t see the indicator. Not sure who’s fault that was.

    29 Apr 2008, 09:53

  6. Steve Rumsby

    Sorry I misunderstood.

    Just because a cycle path or cycle lane is there doesn’t mean you have to use it. If you are safer on the road with the rest of the traffic, use the road. I generally avoid cycle lanes like the plague, for all of the reasons being discussed here. If I understand this situation correctly now, I must admit I might have been tempted to take the cycle lane too, but overtaking on the inside is dangerous. This story will certainly make me think harder before doing so in future.

    I do find many cyclists seem to think that being on two wheels means you should be able to make progress when other traffic can’t, and do so even when it is dangerous. Cycling up the inside of stationary traffic, even in a cycle lane, is one such example. I’d rather keep my place in the queue and be safe…

    29 Apr 2008, 10:12

  7. In general I would rather be on the road than on a cycle path but then again I feel able to be positive about road position and not get worried about car drivers getting irate about me being in the safest spot.

    I now do not undertake on the left but try and move to overtake on the right hand side or wait in line like other road users. Undertaking is probably more dangerous as drivers expect to overtaken on the right, not on the left.

    In terms of local cyclepaths there are a few useful ones – especially the bridge over the M40 at Longbridge Island and the subsequent run into Warwick but I agree that many seem there to ‘show willing’ rather than demonstrating careful consideration of the needs of cyclists.

    I think it’s also worth noting that I guess most cyclepaths are not designed for the carbon addicted speed freak – the main users are probably intended to be hybrid/MB using commuters, families and children. I doubt many of the more experienced and specialist cyclists that you tend to meet at Warwick were foremost in the minds of local traffic planners. For those of us more interested in achieving that PB time to the office the cyclepath is probably not the place to be.

    29 Apr 2008, 13:05

  8. Robert O'Toole

    families and children

    ...that’s me and Lawrence then. The Kenilworth to Coventry cycle path was made for us. It’s great, except for one often near fatal flaw: the junction at the top of Gibbet Hill. There is no pedestrian crossing. The traffic is often heavy. The poor layout of the junction encourages drivers to sprint across through red lights.

    Thinking of cycling in from Kenilworth? I don’t recommend it. Thinking that cycle paths make cycling acceptably safe for families? You might be wrong. As Benjamin points out, many cycle paths are deceptively dangerous. However, the road is not a safe alternative for people with small children.

    29 Apr 2008, 13:26

  9. Robert O'Toole

    If that’s not depressing enough, then consider why I stopped cycling in Oxford. The Botley Road has a cycle path running its full length. For most of the way it is off the road. As it gets closer to the centre it merges back onto the road – just at the point at which the road gets really dangerous.

    My commute was ended by the sight of a truck, half turned into the side road near the Youth Hostel, with a swarm of police and paramedics surrounding it. A set of portable screens was wrapped around a wheel, with signs of blood on the road underneath the screens.

    It seems that the truck had turned across the cycle path, killing a cyclist.

    29 Apr 2008, 13:31

  10. @Tom Yes that crossing across the M40 is indeed very useful. The M40 roundabout is certainly not pleasant. I take the A46 south from there when riding home.

    There’s a rather scary stretch of the A46 from the M40 roundabout southwards for about half a mile which is dual carriageway with no border at the edge of the road at all. After about half a mile there’s a nice edge to ride in. The road gets quite pleasant by the time you get to Stratford – single carriageway and very wide.

    There are alternative routes to Stratford but significantly slower, so I usually end up taking that stretch and sprinting it to get through it as quickly as possible.

    29 Apr 2008, 13:36

  11. Steve Rumsby

    families and children

    Indeed. There are many roads I wouldn’t consider taking small children on if they were cycling. Our 7-year-old still cycles on the pavement (sidewalk for any left-pondians watching) with me on the road alongside. Our 11-year-old cycles on the road, and has for the last couple of years. Only when accompanied, though, and not on roads as busy as the Kenilworth Road. With me riding behind, and some way out away from the edge, I think she is perfectly safe. On the Kenilworth Road I would insist she uses the cycle path.

    On the subject of being put off by seeing accidents, does seeing an accident involving a car put you off driving? If not, why does seeing an accident involving a cyclist put you off cycling? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m not saying it shouldn’t. I’m just trying to get you to think a bit more about your reaction. Pedestrians are killed in accidents – does that put you off walking?

    29 Apr 2008, 13:57

  12. Steve Rumsby

    I’ve just come across this, which isn’t related to cycle paths but is related to cycling safety, and I thought was quite funny:

    There is a thread about cycle lanes earlier in the series. Go and look back!

    29 Apr 2008, 14:04

  13. Robert O'Toole

    Steve, i’ve seen many motorcycle accidents, but I still ride a big bike. The difference is on a big bike one can actively reduce the risk to a very low level. On a bicycle there seems much less that one can do.

    29 Apr 2008, 14:43

  14. Steve Rumsby

    What do you do on a big bike that doesn’t work so well on a bicycle? Again, serious question.

    29 Apr 2008, 14:51

  15. The big problem town planners have with providing cycle facilities is that they can’t do anything which might upset the motor lobby. So the Gibbet Hill junction doesn’t get a pedestrian/cyclist phase because that would decrease its car handling capacity.

    As far as the the photos of cycle farcilities are concerned, while
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/October2006.htm
    looks silly, it is only an insignificant part of the Toll Bar End cycle track & Toucan crossing scheme – which is one of the better Highways Agency schemes.

    If you really want to see some daft and dangerous white lines on pavement schemes in the locality, try Rugby.

    29 Apr 2008, 15:19

  16. Really appreciated this post, and not just because of the pretty diagrams! It’s fascinating to get an insight into the difficulties cyclists face on their routes.

    I’m a pedestrian and walk in and out of Warwick every day, and I confess that one of my biggest moans concerns cyclists (please don’t shoot me!) on account of being on several occasions almost knocked down by careless riders on pavements shooting round corners without ringing bells or driving right into the back of me (and I’ll tell you something, nudging my leg with your back wheel isn’t going to make me step into the road for you). Particularly around the Cannon Park area, the pavements can actually become quite dangerous for pedestrians.

    So it’s of great interest to read that cycle lanes, the lanes which are meant to increase safety for both pedestrians AND cyclists, can be so dangerous in themselves. From now on I’ll try to be far more sympathetic to those pushing past me on the pavement!

    29 Apr 2008, 15:26

  17. Steve Rumsby

    From now on I’ll try to be far more sympathetic to those pushing past me on the pavement!

    Don’t. I’m a cyclist, and I really don’t like pavement cyclists. There are very, very few circumstances where cycling on the pavement is OK, and fewer where it is justified. If you don’t feel safe cycling on the road and there isn’t a cycle path, then walk.

    Sorry, pavement cyclists get me cross…

    29 Apr 2008, 15:45

  18. Darthy

    This is great stuff man. See you in IRC

    29 Apr 2008, 15:46

  19. I agree with Steve. There’s rarely an excuse for cycling on the pavement, unless it is a very slow cyclist, such as a young child, and certainly no excuse to endanger pedestrians.

    Cyclists who ignore traffic regulations also damage the reputation of cyclists. There’s no excuse for things like jumping red lights. If you want the privilege to use the roads you also need to respect the regulations governing their use.

    29 Apr 2008, 15:51

  20. Yes the diagrams are a help!

    A major reason for there being few white line on pavement apologies for cycle “facilities” in Coventry is the staunch resistance made by the blind people’s lobby to such proposals. To whom Coventry’s cyclists as well as pedestrians owe a debt of gratitude.

    The bulk of the general public unfortunately sees things from behind the car windscreen. So when disqualification from driving or the high price of petrol causes a motorist to take to his/her bicycle, he/she will likely think that the proper place for the cyclist is out of the way of the motorist, on the pavement.

    My view is that if a person finds cycling on a road too intimidating they should seek lessons, in the meantime on pavements they should only travel at walking pace (faster perhaps in rural areas where the cyclist can see further).

    29 Apr 2008, 16:30

  21. Steve York

    Cycling to the University is becoming less enjoyable and more dangerous every day due to the level of traffic on the roads, and the general standard of driving. I had the misfortune to be knocked off my cycle six weeks ago near campus (broken collar bone, broken bike) due to the impatience of a driver stuck in a jam. After 25 years of cycling to Warwick, I am now on the verge of giving up the bike and using the car in order to preserve my life.
    Question: The powers at be trying to persuade us to cycle to campus – have they ever sat on a bike and cycled here in the rush hour, I think not!

    02 May 2008, 14:19

  22. I also suspect not. But I’m not so sure about “The powers at be trying to persuade us to cycle to campus”. I think the position is that the “The powers at be” have been persuaded to make some positive noises about cycling, in the hope this might persuade some individuals to convert from car to cycle for some journeys.

    The University has no power over the behaviour of motorists. Councils have little power to do anything which will upset the motoring lobby. See my comment no. 20.

    Where did the crash take place? Have you any suggestion as to how the road there could be made safer?

    02 May 2008, 18:13

  23. I agree; more could be done to ensure that cycle paths are kept clear for cyclists.

    This http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/nwake/entry/cycle_path_or/ is a picture of what the Library Road was like when I attempted to cycle down it the other day. A totally selfish driver of a University of Warwick van parked in a way that totally blocks the cycle route.

    05 May 2008, 09:05

  24. Steve York

    Accident happened on Kirby Corner Road, impatient driver stuck in a huge jam decided to do a u-turn without looking! nice BMW not one scratch, both me and bike broken, my bike could have made an effort to at least damage his bonnet.
    Kirby Corner road is just to busy, the 40mph limit should be dropped to 30, buses scrape your elbows overtaking when there is traffic coming in the other direction and Uni van drivers are a law unto themselves when entering and leaving Westwood (the curse of white van man).
    Seriously, this accident has made me (almost) decide that cycling to this place is just not worth the risk anymore, if I suffer this damage in a slow speed crash what chance at a higher speed.
    Finally to you fellow cyclists, ALWAYS wear a helmet, I was travelling maybe at jogging pace maximum, my head hit the ground and it split my helmet in two!! and it also has a nice impression of the road in the hardshell.

    06 May 2008, 12:15

  25. So Steve, you were traveling North-East, overtaking the cars on their right side?

    06 May 2008, 14:43

  26. Steve York

    Yes, nothing coming in the other direction, no room up the inside, in my experience going up the inside is even worse.

    06 May 2008, 15:37

  27. Steve Rumsby

    buses scrape your elbows overtaking when there is traffic coming in the other direction

    Cycle further out in the road and they won’t. Seriously. It feels wrong to put yourself more in the way of traffic behind, but in general (of course, there are exceptions) it is safer. If there isn’t room to safely overtake, it doesn’t matter that you are in the way. If you make it look like there might be room, by cycling in the gutter, many drivers will be tempted to try. Try reading Cyclecraft – it has lots of good advice about safely co-existing with motorised traffic on the roads.

    Uni van drivers are a law unto themselves when entering and leaving Westwood

    Take the registration number and report them. I’m fairly sure such a complaint will be taken seriously.

    07 May 2008, 12:02

  28. Robert O'Toole

    What do you do on a big bike that doesn’t work so well on a bicycle? Again, serious question.

    Dominate the road. Use a very load horn. Accelerate from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds to avoid danger. Position for visibility. Have a loud exhaust. Have a bright headlight. Use the police system. Nearly 100,000 miles and I’ve never come close to a collision with another vehicle. In comparison, cycling around the University seems extremely dangerous.

    A positive suggestion: how about if we did a systematic review of routes in and around the campus? For example, I could easily identify an obstacle that causes a serious risk to riders, and yet could easily be removed by Estates (it’s a hedge near the entrance to the Med School, it blocks the view of drivers coming into the car park, resulting in them cutting the corner at speed as turn right).

    07 May 2008, 17:05

  29. Steve Rumsby

    But some of those things work on a bicycle. You can position for visibility. You can dominate the road. Agreed, these take some confidence. I’m not sure what the “police system” is, but I suspect some of it is appropriate for bicycles too. Very loud horns do exist.

    Clearly superbright headlights and loud exhausts aren’t possible, but that’s just two things from your list. I just think that the difference between perception and reality is bigger than you realise. I do think you are probably more at risk on a push bike, but if you cycle properly I don’t think the risk level is enough that it should dissuade people from cycling. It needn’t be as bad as you think it is…

    07 May 2008, 17:27

  30. Steve Rumsby

    that’s just two things from your list

    Oops I missed one – “Accelerate from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds to avoid danger.” I’m not that fast on a bike! And yes, that is occasionally useful, although I’ve only really felt the need for it in a car, and not while cycling.

    08 May 2008, 10:14

  31. If you want to have a laugh look at this picture regarding the dangers of cycling in Belgium:

    http://www.sergevc.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/fietspad.jpg

    10 May 2008, 16:13

  32. Robert O’Toole wrote:

    How about if we did a systematic review of routes in and around the campus? For example, I could easily identify an obstacle that causes a serious risk to riders, and yet could easily be removed by Estates (it’s a hedge near the entrance to the Med School, it blocks the view of drivers coming into the car park, resulting in them cutting the corner at speed as turn right).

    I see that Cambridge Cycle Campaign have a system whereby people can post photos of objectionable things onto a google map.

    10 May 2008, 17:49

  33. Paul Scarlet

    In over twenty years of driving (and cycling) I have never seen a cyclist let a car past at a convenient time. If you were in a big heavy polluting metal cage you would be at least driving at over 20mph (ha! more like 15mph). You have slowed down the whole of the country.
    This is an odd call. In London a cyclist is actually going faster or at least with the traffic speed. In the leafy country, There is empty gaps in the oncoming traffic to let you overtake.
    In other towns and cities, you are slow. On coming traffic has no safe gaps. We all have to queue behind you.

    Why do cyclist never have mirrors?
    Why do you not have insurance?
    I do own the road as a car driver. I pay road tax and fuel tax – what do you pay?
    Tell me honestly that you have never seen a car jump a red light? They do. I wonder what percentage of cyclists jump red lights compared to car driver is?
    If you swerve an cause me to have an accident, why is that instantly my fault?
    Similar to cars with halogen lights that blind everyone else, why do cyclists wear bight LED lamps on their head which blind other users?
    Have you ever seen a cyclist indicate?

    Now just before you erupt, I also cycle. Admittedly not everyday, but certainly for everything less than ten miles each way. I do have two right hand mirrors and I do pay Bennetts’ for cycle insurance. Do you?

    23 Jun 2008, 22:21

  34. I let cars past where convenient.
    I never jump red lights, and strongly object to cyclists who do. Cyclists are bound by the same rules of the road as cars.
    I always indicate movements, and in my experience the vast majority of cyclists do. The best tactic for staying alive is to be as visible as possible, and make your intentions as clear as possible.

    As for holding up traffic, regular cyclists do average higher speeds than cars over short commutes in the town ~10miles. In the country roads are usually quiet and wide enough that overtaking is not a problem.

    As for owning the road, that is not true at all. Are you suggesting you have the right to mow down pedestrians just because they may not be paying road tax? In fact most cyclists probably are also drivers, and are paying road tax. Regardless – how the money for road maintenance is recouped has no bearing on who is entitled to use the road.

    If a cyclist swerving causes you to hit him/her then you were probably not leaving sufficient room. I would not argue that an accident is always the car driver’s fault though.

    Car drivers frequently pull out in front of me and cut across me during the winter, and then claim they could not see me, even though I use bright lights. It is not surprising therefore that people prefer to be as visible as possible.

    I have experimented with mirrors, but do not find they give me any better visibility of the road. Mirrors only offer a very restricted view compared to moving your head. From a low riding position you can look behind under your arm to avoid having to turn your head. I suspect people who use mirrors end up relying upon them and end up being less aware of their surroundings.

    23 Jun 2008, 23:29

  35. Why motorists don’t own the roads:

    1. Most roads existed before cars were invented. I know of people who found cycling along the Fosse Way in the 1950’s a pleasant experience only interrupted by the need to dismount to open farm gates and to take care when crossing cattle grids. Paying large amounts of tobacco tax does not entitle smokers to blow smoke into other people’s faces.
    2. If payment of Vehicle Excise Duty and fuel tax were linked to entitlement, drivers of vehicles which paid a lot (e.g. HGV and taxi drivers) would have greater entitlement than drivers of vehicles which produced a smaller volume of emissions or were more fuel efficient. Motor vehicles which produce less than 100grm CO2 per km pay no VED.
    3. Most cars spend most of their lives parked on public property outside their owner’s houses. The commercial rate for such parking would be far in excess of the VED paid.
    4. If someone uses a cycle instead of a car for a journey, they are saving the taxpayer money by reducing the demand for more roads. Motorways cost about £28 million per mile. More cycling brings health benefits both to the individual and in terms of cost savings to the NHS. Telling people that they are not entitled to cycle on the roads is no way to encourage cycling. The adoption of a meek and humble riding style is an important factor in causing crashes involving cyclists (e.g. from left turning cars), with consequent costs to the taxpayer via the NHS costs and loss of revenue from incapacitated cyclists.

    As for cyclists never doing anything to assist motorists, many is the time when I’ve been in a group of leisure cyclists on a narrow country lane who have singled out to let a motorist pass.

    24 Jun 2008, 09:45


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