Britain's First 'Dutch-Style' Roundabout Closed 10 Days After Opening When Car Ploughed Into Beacon

mike killay

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Feb 17, 2011
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My feeling is that any improvements in cycling facilities are totally driven by the the government who have a wish to improve air quality and reduce obesity.
I suspect that there is no voting majority for this view, so they will have to go very slowly one step at a time.
Any government that tried to go too fast would soon be out.
We know that the old tribal voting attitudes have changed radically and I think that only a tiny minority would vote for a 'Cyclist's Party'
The majority would hammer any party, left or right that tried to bull doze cycle favourable laws into place.
 
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jimriley

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Jun 17, 2020
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Well, while I would be sad if the pro cycling stuff failed, I'd be happy to see them go. Well, when I say Happy, that really doesn't do it justice. :D
 

Swizz

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Oct 1, 2017
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:D. Iknew this post would make me wildly popular, sure enough two dislikes in an instant!

It's what comes of being realistic.

I wonder if the dislikers can tell me how to provide the huge space needed for cyclists to be physically segregated without paralysing lots of roads, or stealing lots of pavements or bulldozing lots of buildings. The government would also like to know.
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Not all of NL is fully segregated Flecc, there is a lot more to it than that. Please direct the government to planners & traffic engineers from countries that have experience with these things.
 
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mike killay

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Feb 17, 2011
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Not all of NL is fully segregated Flecc, there is a lot more to it than that. Please direct the government to planners & traffic engineers from countries that have experience with these things.
I think that view is politically naive.
 

flecc

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Oct 25, 2006
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Not all of NL is fully segregated Flecc, there is a lot more to it than that. Please direct the government to planners & traffic engineers from countries that have experience with these things.
Yes I'm well aware of that, but mostly not transferable to our existing city road networks. Once again I remind you of the much smaller amount of car traffic there and often much more space to work with, making it much easier for them. They don't have the experience of our situation, nor ever have had.
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Swizz

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Oct 1, 2017
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Yes I'm well aware of that, but mostly not transferable to our existing city road networks. Once again I remind you of the much smaller amount of car traffic there and often much more space to work with, making it much easier for them. They don't have the experience of our situation, nor ever have had.
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Nor us of theirs unfortunately.

In any case, will share that I have just done my mediation nvq in listening to this podcast >>> https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05299nl >>> Forgive my tongue in cheek posting of this but it was actually a good listen :)

Am off to Zzz so will wish you Bon Nuit, Flecc
 
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flecc

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Nor us of theirs unfortunately.
Much of my cynicism stems from my long history and resulting first hand experience of how we got where we are. Back inthe 1940s and early 1950s, we and the Dutch were in the same place. We had hardly any cars and fewer motorcycles since most had been requisitioned during the war. Also public transport was in a poor and inadequate state due to war damage and neglect.

So post war over half of us cycled and I still remember in 1950 the hordes of cyclists passing our workshop in morning and evening commuting, and how rare it was to see a car pass on that major town road. But with much less war damage and Marshall Aid plus huge loans from the USA we recovered far more quickly than the Dutch.

From the mid 1950s we were quickly switching to scooters from Vespa and Lambretta and in turn in the 1960s and early 1970s to cars. For the Dutch that came much later and when their government realised what was happening they quickly acted in 1972 to stem the car growth and stop the decline in cycling when it was still at over 40%. For us it was far too late, our cycling was almost non existent by 1970 and the majority of the many bike shops that we once had in our main streets had been shut down.

The trouble is that once people have abandonned cycling and experienced car ownership, getting the majority out of cars and back on a bike is near to impossible as our many years of trying shows only too clearly. The same has been seen in the USA, Australia and some other countries, once off bicycles they stay off them.

Many are getting excited about the current upturn in cycling due to Covid, but they are overreacting. A major reason we are seeing so many cyclists is that they are off work during Covid and getting in more daytime cycling for the exercise. That and the new bikes they bought recently will disappear as they have to get back to work and the Autumn and Winter weather will do the rest of the discouraging.

Only forcing them works, like the congestion charge in London showed. Those who couldn't afford it and for whom public transport wasn't a workable answer in some cases turned to cycling, but it was only the small proportion who were amenable to that and still fit enough. That enforcement eventually over 20 years gained us nearly 300,000 commuting cyclists which looks good on the surface, but out of a 10.2 million population its peanuts at just under 3% cycling 5 days a week.

Compare that with the Dutch 70% cycling almost every day for every purpose, not just going to work, and you see the scale of the problem we now have.

I know with absolute certainty that the mantra for cycling facilities, "provide and they will come" is not true for the great majority behind steering wheels, even with hard enforcement as London has shown. Mass cycling lost is mass cycling lost for ever, short of another World War leaving us nothing else but bikes in its wake like last time.
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Edward Elizabeth

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Aug 10, 2020
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It won't be lost forever. There arent enough rare earth metal resources to manufacture the batteries, controllers and motors to make enough electric cars to replace every ICE car one for one. When that reality sinks in till be public transport or cycling for the majority of folk, so while it will probably never reach post war levels it will rebound significantly in the coming decades, simply because people will have no choice.
 
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flecc

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It won't be lost forever. There arent enough rare earth metal resources to manufacture the batteries, controllers and motors to make enough electric cars to replace every ICE car one for one. When that reality sinks in till be public transport or cycling for the majority of folk, so while it will probably never reach post war levels it will rebound significantly in the coming decades, simply because people will have no choice.
Where I disagree as you know from a previous reply, is that you are discounting all the alternatives. For example, two of the makers of e-cars today, Mercedes-Smart and Ford were originally using sodium-salt batteries, only dropping them when lithium showed more advantages. They and others could step back to them and we already have hydrogen fuel cell cars on the roads. Also with necessity the mother of invention, and the obvious demand, there will be more alternatives.

But we won't need them since the rare earths are nothing like as scarce as you say. That was the anti e-car propaganda from the motor industry a decade ago because they didn't want to change and the public swallowed that myth, but curiously the motor industry has dropped that line now that they are all keen on selling their new e-car ranges!

This silly story about not enough lithium reminds me of the Peak Oil propaganda of the past. Back in the 1950s it started with the scaremongers insisting we'd reached the turning point of oil availability, using it faster then we were finding it, and we'd all have to stop driving before long. It was nonsense of course since every time the need arose, we found more. Decade by decade the same silly threat of peak oil was repeated, but finally the naysayers have shut up since we now have the stuff coming our of our ears and can't sell enough. That's because we became so much better at accessing it, no matter how difficult, so we now have more reserves than we need to exploit.

Exactly the same will happen with lithium and the like, as we need it we will find and access it, since it doesn't have to be handy at the surface as it's been so far. Like the peak oil brigade of the past, the scarce rare earths brigade will pass away before their prediction is realised
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Swizz

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Oct 1, 2017
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Where I disagree as you know from a previous reply, is that you are discounting all the alternatives. For example, two of the makers of e-cars today, Mercedes-Smart and Ford were originally using sodium-salt batteries, only dropping them when lithium showed more advantages. They and others could step back to them and we already have hydrogen fuel cell cars on the roads. Also with necessity the mother of invention, and the obvious demand, there will be more alternatives.

But we won't need them since the rare earths are nothing like as scarce as you say. That was the anti e-car propaganda from the motor industry a decade ago because they didn't want to change, but curiously they've dropped that line now that they are all keen on selling their new e-car ranges!

This silly story about not enough lithium reminds me of the Peak Oil propaganda of the past. Back in the 1950s it started with the scaremongers insisting we'd reached the turning point of oil availability, using it faster then we were finding it, and we'd all have to stop driving before long. It was nonsense of course since every time the need arose, we found more. Decade by decade the same silly threat of peak oil was repeated, but finally the naysayers have shut up since we now have the stuff coming our of our ears and can't sell enough. That's because we became so much better at accessing it, no matter how difficult, so we now have more reserves than we need to exploit.

Exactly the same will happen with lithium and the like, as we need it we will find and access it, since it doesn't have to be handy at the surface as it's been so far. Like the peak oil brigade of the past, the scarce rare earths brigade will pass away before their prediction is realised
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Don't forget the space that we don't have for bicycle infra Flecc. The private cars days are numbered imo.
Don't forget also that whilst the Dutch acknowledged that at speed, motor traffic & bicycles didn't mix...we had the CTC (white men mainly) who thought they knew better (sold us down the river)
 

flecc

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Oct 25, 2006
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Don't forget the space that we don't have for bicycle infra Flecc.
So the well over 90% who use or benefit from cars and all other motor vehicles will continue to get the available space and the small percentage on bikes will continue to get not enough.

The private cars days are numbered imo.
I first heard that mantra 70 years ago and it's still not true. Western government plans include us driving cars for at least another 40 years, and Sod's law and ingenuity will see that extended.

Don't forget also that whilst the Dutch acknowledged that at speed, motor traffic & bicycles didn't mix...we had the CTC (white men mainly) who thought they knew better
Numbers count. The Dutch are well under 4% of the EU population and 0.22% of the world's population. It's the 99.78% of the world who use, benefit from or want cars who will get their own way.

One day we will indeed no longer be driving our own private cars, but that day is a very long way off yet.
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Swizz

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So, the well over 90% who use or benefit from cars and all other motor vehicles will continue to get the available space and the small percentage on bikes will continue to get not enough.
My bad - I poorly phrased my answer. I was alluding to your position that nothing will change and motor vehicle use will continue unabated. The way we reduce traffic jams is generally by re engineering roads & in some cases building more. Why is that okay for motor vehicles but not okay for pedestrians, mobility aid users & people on bicycles? Why despite planning law dictating mandatory parking spaces for new housing developments have we got to the point where it is fine to own 2+ vehicles and block the pavements? Call me a lefty by all means but my brain says that this may not a great situation. It isn't a great situation is it?
 

flecc

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My bad - I poorly phrased my answer. I was alluding to your position that nothing will change and motor vehicle use will continue unabated. The way we reduce traffic jams is generally by re engineering roads & in some cases building more. Why is that okay for motor vehicles but not okay for pedestrians, mobility aid users & people on bicycles? Why despite planning law dictating mandatory parking spaces for new housing developments have we got to the point where it is fine to own 2+ vehicles and block the pavements? Call me a lefty by all means but my brain says that this may not a great situation. It isn't a great situation is it?
I totally agree and think the situation totally unfair, especially where motor vehicles hog pavements which we suffer from here. But as I've repeatedly said, majorities count, especially where they are overwhelming as the motor traffic interests are.

And it's not just about cars. The roads interests include commerce and its ally, governments with their economies, which in turn makes them the car drivers friends. Roads best suited to trucks, vans and buses are just as suited to cars, but not at all suited to the minority bicycle and pedestrian interests.

And yes, pedestrians are a minority interest, the most under utilised spaces in our land are pavements, well over 95% empty all the time. That's why the official blind eye policy on pavement cycling and why many cycle paths have been installed on pavements.

What we are left with is direct action and we've done that here. The pavement in the road below always had cars parked on it, even blocking the housing entrance. Phone calls and photos identifying number plates to the parking authority were ignored, so in the end we collected up an ersatz collection of road barriers and put then in place as shown, with Pedestrian signs at each end. It sort of looks like official road works and for many months it's worked and pedestrians have enjoyed their pavement 24/7 once again!

Barriers.jpg
 

Swizz

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Oct 1, 2017
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I totally agree and think the situation totally unfair, especially where motor vehicles hog pavements which we suffer from here. But as I've repeatedly said, majorities count, especially where they are overwhelming as the motor traffic interests are.

And it's not just about cars. The roads interests include commerce and its ally, governments with their economies, which in turn makes them the car drivers friends. Roads best suited to trucks, vans and buses are just as suited to cars, but not at all suited to the minority bicycle and pedestrian interests.

And yes, pedestrians are a minority interest, the most under utilised spaces in our land are pavements, well over 95% empty all the time. That's why the official blind eye policy on pavement cycling and why many cycle paths have been installed on pavements.

What we are left with is direct action and we've done that here. The pavement in the road below always had cars parked on it, even blocking the housing entrance. Phone calls and photos identifying number plates to the parking authority were ignored, so in the end we collected up an ersatz collection of road barriers and put then in place as shown, with Pedestrian signs at each end. It sort of looks like official road works and for many months it's worked and pedestrians have enjoyed their pavement 24/7 once again!

View attachment 37851
Good for you!
 
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Kinninvie

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Oct 5, 2013
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Therre is not a single cycle lane anywhere in Barnard Castle !
 
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filbert

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Jul 5, 2020
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This thread is a fascinating read. Where I live (in Walthamstow, London), we've had a lot of investment in cycling infrastructure lately as part of the mini-Holland scheme. It's put many people's backs up. There have been protests and petitions aplenty. But ultimately, it's been done and it's being extended to other areas of the borough. As well as segregated cycle lanes, modal filters have been installed on a lot of side roads, meaning they become no through routes except for pedestrians and cyclists. Debates very similar to the one between Swizz & flecc (though much less polite and well-reasoned) have raged across Facebook for years and still continue.

Advocates of the scheme have tried to persuade motorists that it's a boon for them too, because the streets they live on (by which they really mean the relatively few streets that now have modal filters) will become quieter and less polluted. Opponents of it have argued that forcing the same amount of traffic onto fewer streets will cause more congestion and more pollution overall. The comeback has always been 'build it and they will come' or, sometimes, 'YOU are the traffic, YOU are causing the pollution, GET OUT OF YOUR CAR!!!'

As a driver and a cyclist, I was a bit of a fence sitter. I wanted to be able to cycle safely but I also didn't want to see a huge increase in traffic jams. Now it's all been built, I think the overall impact has been positive... but I still definitely have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Some of the new infrastructure is brilliant. There are whole neighbourhoods that I can cycle through without meeting a car. Walthamstow Village has a totally different feel to it since they pedestrianised the high street. But other bits are ill-considered. Some of the new segregated cycle lanes have been built where there just isn't enough space for them. There's a mile or so on Forest Road where the cycle lane has been built by essentially just splitting the pavement in half. This means that there isn't enough room in places for pedestrians to walk two abreast, so pedestrians walk in the cycle lane, MAMIL-type cyclists use the road, and the cyclists who do use the bike lanes are having to dodge pedestrians. It doesn't work well for anyone but pedestrians have suffered the most. Has the 'build it and they will come' mantra stood up to scrutiny? I think to some extent it has. My perception is that there are many more people on bikes than there were before the scheme started (discounting the Covid effect - there were more even before lockdown).

So anyway, my point is that I think you're both right to some extent, flecc & Swizz. There are councils that are prepared to force through cycling infrastructure projects even in the face of huge opposition from motorists. I think it's true that if you build it, they will come... but I don't know how many of them. There is definitely an issue with space in this country; I think it's better not to have any segregation than to have half-baked segregation that puts pedestrians and cyclists on top of each other. And I also have little faith that our council is representative of the UK - I think it's true that the majority (drivers) will be prioritised in most infrastructure projects. It's definitely an interesting time to be on two wheels though!
 
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flecc

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Advocates of the scheme have tried to persuade motorists that it's a boon for them too, because the streets they live on (by which they really mean the relatively few streets that now have modal filters) will become quieter and less polluted.
The pollution and noise argument is ultimately a self defeating one though with our e-car future, silent with no exhaust fumes like my one. One London Council already has a e-area of residential streets where only electrical vehicles are allowed during the day, probably helping the sudden growth in the choice of electric vans.

I think it's true that if you build it, they will come... but I don't know how many of them. There is definitely an issue with space in this country;
I happily admit to this, but only to a very limited extent as I've already posted. The evidence is already here in London's cycling commuters who switched out of cars to avoid the congestion charge, heavily biased to the younger, fitter and those amenable to the change. Far more switched to additional public transport. From the start of the congestion charge, London's buses have doubled from 4500 to 9000, 270,000 extra bus seats. All very well, but those extra 4500 buses are taking the road space that cyclists need for better facilities

There are newer answers which help the road space issue and enable drivers to keep their cars:

The latest is working from home, and as I predicted would happen, some companies have now switched to making that a right for those who can. Why wouldn't they when office blocks cost millions in rent, business rates and maintenance? Downsizing them to a minimum will be very profitable in these tough times so this will expand.

And another is relocation to less crowded and more pleasant areas where people can still drive. We've had a lot of that in Croydon, South London, for example Nestle's head office with 840 employees moved to West Sussex.

The truth is that getting people out of cars remains very difficult and then onto bicycles near to impossible for the majority. By one means or another like the above, they'll cling onto their cars.
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mountaindweller

Finding my (electric) wheels
May 15, 2019
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The difference in example Holland , is the fact that the great majority of car drivers also have bikes !
 
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