Friday, 9 March 2012

Vehicular Cycling Reality

Following on from my recent post where I suggested segregating cyclists fully from traffic on some roads is one way to really increase cycling numbers, I thought I would demonstrate the reality of vehicular cycling in one area of Manchester during rush hour.

This is part of my commute to work. Usually I travel in around 07.00hrs and the roads are much quieter but sometimes I work office hours as on this day. There is no way to avoid this traffic. Taking side roads for part of the route still feeds me into choked roads at some other point. There are no separate cycle lanes, canal paths, old rail lines or quite lanes. The bus/taxi/cycle lane is useful but is short lived and still gets prohibited traffic using it.

I am sure most experienced commuter cyclists will consider this the norm and wonder what the issue is. I don't consider it an attractive cycling environment although, if I'm honest, I do enjoy the challenge it presents. I think most non cyclists will look at it in horror though. I can totally understand why this kind of cycling environment is not likely to entice people to cycle.


  1. It's much nicer Cycling to work at 06:50-07-00 I agree but not without stress at times, I fear some drivers feel its ok to cut you up if your wearing full prptection as they feel if you come off your protected, I think they also feel they have total ownership of roads as some of them pay road tax & Insurance, well I do too however I choose to leave my var at home!

  2. I go through an area like that on my commute as well, but I never ride it. I have a folding bike and I either drive through that spot with my bike in the trunk, or just take my bike on the bus, depending how the buses are running. Once I'm past it and onto quieter roads, I take the bike out and ride. But I agree - not really a conducive environment for riding.

  3. I just love the fact that you just keep on passing cars - when WILL they learn that cycling is quicker!?

  4. Indeed it doesn't provide any incentive to new cyclists. Most would be turned off doing this as a daily commute. If it was more attractive, i.e. segregated in places of danger, observed ASL's and advance cycle lights then it becomes an option that most people could seriously consider.

    1. Veloevol.

      Thanks for visiting the blog.

      I use YouTube and Vimeo to host vids for the blog on the whole and so tend to put more effort into the contect here.

      You have hit the nail on the head. Segregation, in parts, along with other measures would go a long way to making this a much more attractive environment, particularly for occasional cyclists.

  5. Vehicular Cycling was always purest wishful thinking: intermittently possible for a few fit and dedicated cyclists on performance machines - until the day when they misjudge it and disaster ensues - but totally out of the question for someone like myself, 63 years old and riding a heavy utility bike barely capabable of 15mph on the flat. Though it may sometimes be able to behave like one, a bicycle is simply not the same thing as a motor vehicle any more than a glider is the same thing as a powered aeroplane. In some respects the two behave in a similar way and follow the same rules: but in more important respects they're completely different, and mixing them together into a single traffic flow is bound to end in tears. If you try feeding gliders into the Heathrow ATC zone then it doesn't matter how well-trained the pilots are or whether you've painted the gliders dayglo yellow and given the occupants parachutes, you're going to have an awful lot of debris dropping out of the sky above Abbot's Langley.

    It's sympathetic magic really: giving something a grand-sounding name in an attempt to make it into what it patently isn't and never can be: a bit like dropping a rabbit into a cage full of ferrets and telling it to try Predatory Lagomorphism.