Strong leadership is required to implement schemes
Strong leadership is required to implement schemes

Cycletopia - what can't be seen is just as important

Our Cycletopia project shows 15 things that can be done to make towns better for cycling. Most of these are infrastructure related: slower speeds, better road design, cycle parking at destinations. But some are less tangible. Strong leadership and policy directions are ultimately what is required.

The 15 things we chose to illustrate in a 'perfect' cycling town partly reflect the sorts of things that are easy to visualise - the layout of roads and the provision of cycle facilities, such as cycle paths and parking. However, there are many other things that can't be seen but make a huge difference to changing attitudes to cycling.

These less visible, but also important, elements include:

  • strong, well enforced traffic law that keeps bad drivers off the streets;
  • a civil law structure that better protects cyclists (and pedestrians);
  • a more rigorous and regular driving test including elements of cycle awareness;
  • taxation of private motor transport to make sustainable travel the preferred option;
  • financial incentives to promote cycling, such as the Cycle to Work scheme;
  • promotion and marketing schemes that emphasise the benefits of cycling;
  • well maintained streets and cycle paths; and
  • towns planned to minimise travel, maximise access by sustainable travel, and build in facilities, such as cycle parking, in new developments

All these elements - and many more besides - are crucial to making a cycle friendly town. The key ingredient is, of course, leadership - from national and local government, and from other organisations, like businesses, schools and community leaders.

Chris Peck