The LCC’s new “Go Dutch” campaign is all about getting cyclists the space they require on the roads to keep safe. But should we copy the Dutch?
The Dutch appear to be decades ahead of us in terms of cycling and they made drastic changes to their towns. They demolished buildings*, created laws and ultimately changed mentalities. The Netherlands was certainly not built-in a day.
I can’t see buildings coming down to make roads bigger let alone cycle ways in London and certainly not with our current modal share. Whilst our commuting modal share is at points very high, over all, our modal share is still below 2%. Can we take space from other parts of our road network? I can’t see it personally, pavements are small enough as it is, the roads can barely cope with the traffic volumes we have and the bus lanes are already a god send for cyclists, even if you do have to share them with taxi drivers.
Before anything can happen to change cycling in this country, we need changes in the law and changes in mentality, these are not things which can happen over night. Strict liability and more realistic punishments against drivers who endanger vulnerable road users is required! Only then will we have a chance to increase the numbers of people cycling and our safety.
Should we copy the Dutch? Well it has worked for them, and others, why not us?
One thing that really sticks out to me, is the side banner on the LCC Go Dutch webpage.
The image is right next to the main body text and is juxtaposed with the header. Does an image of a cyclist riding in the gutter link well with ‘clear space for cycling on main roads’?
This brings into the picture another issue, we should be campaigning about the mentality that people have towards us and not about the space we have on main roads, I need to feel safe all the time and I can’t take main roads everywhere!
*The buildings where demolished to make way for bigger roads, roads for cars.
Edit: Some content has been re-written since publishing, I made a mistake in reference to the video and misunderstood a few things. Thanks to @vigilantecycle and @amsterdamized for pointing me in the right direction.