Arguably the toughest thing about improving conditions for cyclists is…which cyclists? Should we be designing for those that want to get places on-road as quickly as possible or those that would prefer a separated, more comfortable route?
It’s a trick question cause it’s both.
We’ve become so accustomed to having so little resource that we disagree with each other about what’s the best way to spend it – on-road facilities for the fearless commuters or off-road facilities that will encourage more people to ride. The problem is that with such contrary messages floating around, it’s easy to lose opportunities to get anything done at all.
So here’s a new approach we could take. If a cycle project is proposed that would not be suited to your type of riding, but will be greatly appreciated by others, instead of saying ‘Don’t do that – do this!!!’ Let’s say ‘Do that……..and do this!!!’
Imagine if we had everybody who rides, or wants to ride in the future, sending the consistent message that we support all projects that make the city more bike-friendly. And then we celebrate all of them when they’re done.
Personally, I’m a strong believer in infrastructure that’ll encourage more people to ride for transport, so infrastructure that probably compromises some speed for comfort. That doesn’t mean I’ll use that piece of infrastructure every time and it certainly isn’t the only sort of improvement I’d like to see made. If there’s a project that improves the safety and convenience of a high-speed commuter route, I support that too.
Sure, there’ll be times when we will need to make some either/or decisions but we could do ourselves a favour by not trying to make them prematurely. At this point, something good is WAY better than nothing. But something good in addition to something else good is better still.
Let’s be more ambitious, have higher expectations, support each other, take what we can get but demand more.