There’s been another call from the Institute for Health and Care Excellence, also known as NICE, to design roads and pavements which give pedestrians and cylists priority over cars, vans, buses and motorcycles. The proposals are nothing new, as NICE has been chanting the same mantra since 217, but is it workable, without Danish/Dutch style infrastructure?
In response to the latest blueprint from NICE, the RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:
“While we certainly welcome changes to road design that encourage more people to walk and cycle in towns and cities, the reality is that the use of many roads is inevitably shared between different types of motorised traffic, cyclists and pedestrians – with priority often given to motorised transport in order to keep large numbers of people moving.
“We also shouldn’t forget the vital role motorised transport continues to play in many people’s lives in the UK. It remains the case that using a car is the only feasible option for many people, especially if they are commuting or travelling to locations that aren’t served by public transport, or where walking or cycling are not practical alternatives. Last year a third of drivers said they were more reliant on their car compared to 12 months earlier, with a significant proportion blaming a deterioration in public transport for this.
“It is worth noting that NICE has previously acknowledged the importance of smooth traffic flow in order to reduce air pollution, so we would hope that this new guidance does not result in local planners building or changing roads which results in more congestion and pollution, rather than less.”
The crucial difference in many other countries is that cycleways genuinely segregate bikes and mobility scooters from pedestrians, and motorised traffic, with proper kerbs, mini traffic-light junctions and ultra-clear road markings so that drivers are in no doubt that they are obliged to give way to cyclists. Unless the UK govt starts to build good quality cycleways, instead of pitiful white lines on existing roads, pushing cyclists into gutters and pot-holes, nothing is going to change anytime soon.