Cyclenation Streets Ahead of Sustrans

MakingSpaceForCycling-openCoincidentally two guides came out today written by cycling organisations aiming to provide guidance for cycling infrastructure. Sound similar, but they couldn’t be more different.

First there is the guide by Cyclenation, written by Cambridge Cycling Campaign ‘Making Space for Cycling – A guide for new developments and street renewals’ (PDF). It’s very well written and makes it very clear what is considered good and bad practise. It makes a good case as to what the various benefits of good cycling infrastructure are, not only for cyclists but also for developers.

In contrast stands the ‘Sustrans Design Manual – Handbook for cycle-friendly design’ . It seems like a random collection of cycling infrastructure and it doesn’t really say what is considered good or bad. It promotes some really bad infrastructure which has come under great criticism from cyclists for example the two point turn junction, saying cyclists should join the main road before a roundabout or 90 degree angles at the end of cycle paths when joining the road. This guide would have been bad a couple of years ago, but in 2014 when even the CTC is promoting SpaceForCycling and segregated infrastructure it seems like a step back into the dark ages.

So please Sustrans – start from scratch or even better just promote the guide by Cyclenation which promotes cycling infrastructure fit for the 21st century.

4 thoughts on “Cyclenation Streets Ahead of Sustrans

  1. Had a good look at both handbooks _ I fully agree with the above, Sustrans is stuck in status quo thinking, reinforcing the car-focused road design we are used to and tinkering on its edges only; most clearly the difference with the Cyclenation approach is visible in three items: their proposals for roundabouts, major junctions (with Sustrans both will remain highly dangerous and unsuitable for the non-courageous cyclists, as also pointed out above), plus Sustrans’ view on shared paths – they write:

    ‘In Sustrans’ experience there are significant advantages
    with unsegregated paths where the width is shared by all
    users, particularly on traffic free routes away from the road.
    Unsegregated routes maximise usable width and minimise
    maintenance requirements and sign/line clutter. Effective
    segregation will benefit all users but requires significant
    additional width to provide the same level of service’

    Now come on, what planet do they live on, really? We all know that shared paths do not work, neither for the pedestrians nor for cyclists. The only sensible approach is three separate road structures/networks, one for cars, one for cyclists and one for pedestrians, as the cyclenation report also helpfully makes very clear that this is the only appropriate way forward everywhere.

    As such, I can really only support the ‘making space for cycling’ handbook as a basis for the Ely Cycling Strategy/Framework, although there certainly are some helpful details in the Sustrans handbook for guidance for new housing developments/infrastructure we could learn from as well.

    1. The Campaign have read and commented on your blog post.

      You appear to be arguing that your document is for converting existing roads whereas the CycleNation one is about new builds, that completely misses the point of the criticisms.

      You say “The target audience of Sustrans’ Handbook is professionals involved in day to day highway design”. These are the very people who need to be pushed into producing best practice solutions, what your document does is allow them to get off the hook. It gives them “Sustrans backed” arguments for minimum standards and in some cases dangerous designs.

      Your perpetuation of a dual network for confident/non-confident cyclists and use of primary position as a sensible approach are so out of date it’s embarrassing.

      I am extremely worried that your design document will make it harder for us to argue for and obtain the high quality infrastructure required to allow more people to ride bikes in our area.

      Please DO NOT send your handbook to the Highways Engineers at Cambridgeshire County Council.

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