Sunday, 4 January 2009

Crap Cycle Lanes, Warrington Cycle Campaign (2007)

Eye Books 1 903 070 589 113pp £4.99

A stocking-filler book cataloguing the failings of UK cycle-lane construction

Designed for consumption in the house’s smallest room, this book was spun out of a web site’s gallery of shame. The source material was plentiful. Here are cycle lanes so short that a unicyclist would struggle to set off, before leaving the dedicated road space; routes that are rendered impassable by street furniture and, junctions so hazardous that the motivations of the respective local authorities are open to question.

It is a well-deserved and effective send up, even if the accompanying text follows a rather curious formula. Reading the book, it is impossible not to muse on how such facilities can have been created? Cycle lane construction is not cheap, and most of these facilities were designed and installed by highly qualified and well-meaning staff. Perhaps the problem is that while there exists some will to establish cycle lanes, there are neither the funds, determination nor specific skill base to make them anything other than a sticking-plaster remedy. This book demonstrates that, this being the case, in many cases, it is a sticking plaster that we would be better without.

Is that something about which cyclists can do anything? Perhaps one step would be to start celebrating really good cycle lane creation – particularly where challenging problems in dense urban environments have been effectively solved. If we did, it might do a bit to shake our reputation as ingrates, who demand the world and then mock those unwise enough to pay us any heed.

PS January 2009

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