Every day I receive a sheaf of (electronic) press cuttings, including what I assume are the best bits of the Irish Daily Mail. Last Friday this included a column by Roslyn Dee under the carefully measured headline, “Make children cycle to school? Are they all totally insane?” It’s not available online, but the gist of it is that cycling is inelegant for adults and lethal for children.
EVER see Audrey Hepburn on a bicycle? No, me neither. Catherine Deneuve? Nope. The very notion of either of them, surely two of the most elegant women the world has ever known, getting into the gear and clambering on board a bike is a full-frontal assault on beauty.
Holly Golightly in John Gormley kit? The beautiful Deneuve freewheeling down the Champs Elysees, helmet slapped on her head, clips on her heels? Quelle horreur!
It took me several seconds to find the following images via Google Image Search:
Quelle horreur indeed! Although I must admit Catherine Deneuve seems to have been careful not to be snapped cycling on the Champs Elysees or anywhere else.
Click the photo for the full size image. From this page.
Update: Thanks to Michael Kelly, it has come to my attention that even Catherine Deneuve has been complicit in the following full-frontal assault on beauty:
This group has been set up to “accelerate the provision of safe (off road) cycling routes in Fingal“. They have also called for “the development of a national cycle route strategy, and the establishment of SUSTRANS in the Republic.”
Their focus seems to be very much on creating safe cycling routes for children in particular, in order to encourage more young people to start cycling. While I’m very much in favour of both safety and encouraging children to start cycling, I’m dubious about the off-road focus. The group would see their campaign as being complementary to campaigns for urban commuter cyclists, such as the Dublin Cycling Campaign, but in a sense campaigning for off-road routes is a tacit concession that the roads cannot be made safe for cycling. I believe campaigners should continue to focus on making existing roads safe for cycling, and challenging the notion that roads should be designed for motorised traffic alone.
Having said that, cycling campaigners cannot ignore the fact that in the current environment families will pragmatically decide that the roads are simply not for them. It’s hard to argue that parents should expose their children to perceived risks for the sake of safer roads in the future. Commuter cycling campaigns need to make some sort of common cause with groups like this, otherwise we will fall victim to the ever-effective “divide and rule” tactic. There is no easier excuse for lack of political action than “these people can’t even decide what they want”.
Further discussion: The group have a post on the cycle path debate and David Healy has made a good contribution to another post on the site. There is also a boards.ie discussion.
I have made a submission as part of the public consultation on the Rathgar Road to Grand Canal section of the Tallaght Quality Bus Corridor (QBC) scheme. My main comments relate to the proposed design whereby cycle lanes would be marked within general traffic lanes – see my earlier post ‘Half-and-half cycle lane’ for details.
The text of my submission follows: Continue reading
The Guardian’s Society section carried an article recently on the UK’s National Cycle Network, which is nearing completion:
The number of cycle journeys in Britain has fallen since 2001, despite government strategies intended to increase bike use nationally fourfold by 2012. Fewer people in Britain, it seems, are prepared to get on their bike, even though more than 25 million live within two miles of where the network passes.
This map of the proposed Rathmines section of the Tallaght Quality Bus Corridor (QBC) shows a 1.5 metre cycle lane within a 3.0 metre traffic lane. Is there any point to this design? If cars and bikes are to share the same roadspace on this section, why bother painting a cycle lane?
Full details of the proposed scheme are available here.
A call for papers for the Velo-City 2005 conference has been issued:
Abstracts of papers are invited for Velo-city 2005 on the themes set out in the Conference Themes. Abstracts should contain no more than 300 words that clearly set out the essence of what will be presented in the final paper. The abstract should be submitted online before 1st October 2004, for review by the Technical Committee. Successful authors will be notified in December 2004.
There’s a suggestion on dublin.ie‘s Virtual Institute of Simplicity to “put a kerb on the outside of cycle lanes”. It’s pointed out that they do this in Paris, but the roadways in Paris are generally wider than in Dublin. My concern is that a concrete kerb would take space away from cyclists, rather than motorists. Also, it may further enforce the “ghettoisation” of cyclists, whereby motorists don’t expect to see cyclists in any part of the roadway other than the cycle lane.
In any case, comments and votes are being accepted at http://www.dublin.ie/simplicity/ideaDetails.asp?id=315
No fewer than 5 Quality Bus Corridor (QBC) schemes have just been opened for public consultation, at the height of the silly season. They are:
- Tallaght QBC (Rathgar Road to Grand Canal)
- South Clondalkin QBC (Naas Road to Dolphin Road)
- Waterloo QBC (Waterloo Road)
- Lucan QBC (Arran Quay)
- Malahide QBC (Collins Avenue to Donnycarney Road)