Friday, March 18, 2011
Cycling in Oxford occurs despite, not thanks to, the council. We're a small, 2-University city, so lots of people want to do it, but how do they help?
With infrastructure like this. An undulating lumpy strip of road, sandwiched between a bus lane and people parking up on the pavement. (Oh, and if you have a tricycle - or a pushchair, or a trailer, or a wheelchair, don't bother. You're not welcome here). Given the quality of the surface, it isn't wide enough for one bicycle, never mind passing.
Of course, in this photo I am "going the wrong way" - but I promise you, the other side of the road is worse. No bike lane, no bus lane, just a potholed gutter.
As a "vehicular cyclist", of course, none of this is a problem. I can just "take the lane", "adopt primary position", and all the other survival strategies I use on a daily basis, just to survive cycling in this mess. And this is exactly what I do. (I even have a rather fetching Saturn Yellow jacket to wear on these occasions).
But there's no way I can suggest cycling to friends and family, given these conditions. "It's fun, and fast, and easy" just doesn't ring true when people come up against this. Something which should be relaxing becomes terrifying at times, even to experienced cyclists like me - how on earth can people new to cycling take it?
Fuels prices would need to be a whole lot higher, to get people cycling on paths like this.