Today I was speaking to someone about a proposed highways scheme in Sheffield. I said that the bicycle route was inconvenient because to turn right into a side road from a main road there were five toucan crossings on the bicycle route whereas the road has a slip lane with one traffic light.
The response was:
Confident cyclists can always use the road
Installing a cycle route that is less convenient than the road will not be used by existing cyclists who are used to convenient routes and dealing with hostile traffic.
Installing a bicycle route that is less convenient than the road will not encourage drivers to go by bike as it is more convenient to drive.
Making convenient routes that are only accessible to ‘confident cyclists’ excludes new cyclists, the young, the old, normal people nipping to the shops. It perpetuates the current approach which puts the convenience of the private motorcar before bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Roads that create convenient routes for private motorised transport at the expense of bicycle and pedestrian traffic have been designed upside down from the start.
Cycling routes need to be convenient and feel safe, one without the other will never encourage people to go by bike.