In 1935, cyclists accounted for 80 percent of the traffic in some English towns and cities

In May 1935, a Divisional Road Engineer in the Ministry of Transport wrote to the Chief Engineer in London giving the latest traffic counts: “The cycle traffic on the Wolverton Road [near Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire] represents in numbers 54 percent of the traffic on the road throughout the day. At rush hours it reaches 80 percent of the total …

#AlternativeFact: “Cyclists cause air pollution”

“Cyclists cause air pollution” is becoming one of the regular tropes to attack cycling, wheeled out by shock-jocks, NIMBYs and even black-cab drivers (possibly tweeting such views from their diesel-powered vehicles, idling at taxi stands). It’s insidious. Have a look at this A-level physics exam paper from Edexcel: I was alerted to the questions by my 17-year-old daughter. The exam …

Britain’s first cycle tracks

Between 1934 and 1939 Britain’s Ministry of Transport paid local authorities to install cycle tracks. Fifty or so schemes were built, resulting in perhaps as many as 200 miles of cycle tracks, some of them protected with curbs. The great majority were built – 9-ft wide and both sides of the roads – next to the new bypasses of the …

Despite the car boom, cycle use doubled in the 1930s

From 1912 to 1934 the county surveyor for the County Council of Durham conducted traffic surveys on the increasingly busy Great North Road at Framwellgate Moor and Teams Crossing. “Generally, the statistics show an increase in lorry traffic and in motor cars, together with ordinary cycles. … This year ordinary cycles have more than doubled in number the figures recorded …

Netherlands vs Britain

Zoom in and out of OpenCycleMap: the difference between the Netherlands and the UK is stark, as is the difference between Belgium and France, countries which share the same topography at the border, and in parts the same language, but where the provision of cycleways is so different. There are also stark differences between the two “halves” of Belgium, the …

UK government 1946: “Segregation should be the key-note of modern road design”

Long before Buchanan’s Traffic in Towns of 1963 (which dismissed cycling as a transport mode in decline and therefore unworthy of design considerations) there was an official Government style-guide: Design & Layout of Roads in Built-up Areas. This was issued by the Ministry of War Transport in 1946, and coloured transport thinking for a number of years. This document recommended …