Welsh cycle routing versus the ‘naysaying minority’

…….If you want cycling improvements, you have to keep fighting for them!

Writing in the Guardian on the latest opposition to London’s cycle super highways, in this case from Swiss Cottage to the city’s West End, Andrew Gilligan London’s Cycling Commissioner and award winning journalist calls upon the public to back the scheme otherwise it will fall victim to the nay saying minority that seems to emerge whenever cycle routing is planned.  He addsThe reason for this excursion into north London geography and politics is to illustrate something which applies across the UK’.        Stuff may be happening in London, in town halls around the country, but insiders cannot keep schemes going without the support of that public which overwhelmingly supports healthy lifestyles –  including attractive and safe cycle routing. They, the councils, cannot keep it going on their own. It is only the overwhelming public support of ordinary Londoners that has brought the cycling programme this far.  That must be maintained against growing opposition’.

This state of affairs has reverberated in North Wales for many years.  Yes, there have been major steps in cycle routing, particularly along the coast from the Dee estuary towards Caernarfon and inland along National Cycle Routes 5 and 8.  But in the face of those successes, there is and has been much shameful behaviour by individuals and council insiders in opposition.  To give examples>>>>

North Wales naysaying Gallery of Shame…..

Lon Clwyd (Rhyl- Ruthin)  Promoted by the county 20yrs ago and rejected by its own planning committee following minority lobbying.  Sample the media scrum at the time>>>

Llandudno   False claim of legal legitimacy to the banning of cycle access to the promenade. Seven year battle. Political chicanery and naysaying minority has deflected North/West inter-shore route signage around the hazardous town perimeter – against user advice.

Denbigh Cycle Route – rejected by the Denbighshire Planning Committee against the advice of Sustrans, CTC, and its own officers,  See How NOT to debate an Active Travel route application.

Rhuddlan. Cycle Route Barriers erected without supportive evidence of need.  Safety warnings from public bodies and cycle users ignored.  Irresponsible use of public funding.

Conwy Cob.  Installation of a cycling dismount zone on a footway used for many years by cyclists without complaint. Justified safety warnings by CTC and others ignored by the highway authority.

Dangerous infrastructure. Many routes have unnecessary infrastructure risking serious injury to the unwary. Too often Cyclists Dismount signs are installed to cover flawed designs and protect the highway authority against often fully justified litigation.

Cyclingnorthwales says>>

All forward thinking members of the public should actively support and press councils to meet their commitments to the Wales Active Travel legislation. At present too many of those in decision making posts of responsibility are swayed, not by public policies and guidelines, but in the interests of individuals who care little for the public good over their inward looking self-interests.  Local cycling and other environmental and health groups really must make their voices heard if they wish to see civilized progress.

2 Responses

  1. Tim Cunningham

    I live overseas and it is great to see the new website, Roy. I keep following your campaigning and wish you all the very best. Living in Shanghai, bicycles are everywhere like in most other Chinese cities. Pedestrians, cyclists and scooterists (plus the occasional skateboarder) co-exist peacefully on pavements and in dedicated cycle/scooter lanes. Car use has plummeted in Shanghai over recent years and this has helped bring down the smog levels. People are used to travelling by bike.
    I heard an interesting comment in the film about the life of Steve Jobs. “Human beings are the least efficient animals when it comes to moving around. The condor is the most efficient. Put a human on a bicycle, and she becomes the most efficient animal”

    • Roy Spilsbury

      I agree with you entirely Tim. Nice quote by Jobs. Unfortunately it takes more than pious Active Travel legislation to overcome naysaying. A handful of residents in Denbigh, backed by a biased Planning Chair, who temporarily stood down to lead a motion to oppose, put an end to an excellent ‘starter ‘ cycle route project.