Redesigning our roads, streets and communities

There are 5 of the 18 recommendations grouped under this topic (click on links for the background and official Government response to each).

Introduction

Too often cycle routes have been designed piecemeal or cyclists have been an afterthought in highway design. As we saw from some best practice areas, ‘thinking bike’ at the beginning of a design and planning process can reap dividends for other road users as well as cyclists.

Suitable road surfaces, arrangements at junctions, and interactions with other traffic are often about planning rather than cost. Cycle friendly driving styles and the speed of passing vehicles can be supported by suitable design. Small improvements such as a well-placed bollard or junction redesign can make a big difference.

Purpose-designed exclusive rights of way, segregated from other traffic, are ideal, especially as part of of a network of cycle paths and lanes, making use of verges, parallel rights of way, disused railways, bridal paths and similar. Continuity of funding would enable better and more cost effective planning of connected segregated routes.

Designated on-road lanes play an important role where segregation is not appropriate, and may require reallocation of road space. They need to be substantial –too often in the past they have been token gestures, ending abruptly at junctions, weaving across pavements, or just too narrow.

We were struck by the Highways Agency witnesses’ candour in acknowledging that most of his profession had little knowledge or training in how to design for cycling. This will need to be remedied.

Bike security is also an important factor in people’s decision to cycle and we call for more secure bike parking at both ends of a journey –including at railway stations.

Recommendations

4 » A statutory requirement that cyclists’ and pedestrians’ needs are considered at an early stage of all new development schemes, including housing and business developments as well as traffic and transport schemes, including funding through the planning system.

5 » Revise existing design guidance, to include more secure cycle parking, continental best practice for cycle-friendly planning and design, and an audit process to help planners, engineers and architects to think bike in all their work.

6 » The Highways Agency should draw up a programme to remove the barriers to cycle journeys parallel to or across trunk roads and motorway corridors, starting with the places where the potential for increased cycle use is greatest.

7 » Local authorities should seek to deliver cycle-friendly improvements across their existing roads, including small improvements, segregated routes, and road reallocation.

8 » The Department for Transport should approve and update necessary new regulations, such as allowing separate traffic lights for cyclists and implementing Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.

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