franklin on shared pavements

just putting this quote from John Franklin's "Principles of cycle planning" (PDF) in the bank for possible reference on shared pavements…

Cyclists and pedestrians are often considered together. Both are vulnerable road users, but that is as far as the similarity goes. The minimum speed for cycling is 2.5 times that of a pedestrian, while faster cyclists travel at more than 5 times the speed, much closer to the speed of motor traffic. The energy 'cost' to a cyclist of stopping and re-starting is 80 times that for a pedestrian. The rolling wheel of a cycle is much less tolerant of poor surfaces and cannot simply 'step up' when a change of level is encountered. Cyclists cannot turn on the spot, move sideways or stop suddenly ??? 3 characteristics on which a lot of pedestrian safety critically depends. In fact, cyclists have very little in common with pedestrians and facilities designed for pedestrians are rarely suitable for cycling.????

The most fundamental shortcoming of cycling policies in many places, in my view, is that too often planning for cycling has been considered as something more analogous to planning for pedestrians than to planning for vehicles. This inevitably results in a low quality cycling environment:

  • Facilities unsafe at typical cycling speeds, but still slower and more tiring than roads
  • Safety that relies on cyclists behaving as pedestrians
  • Problems of upstands and obstructions (lampposts, signs, etc)
  • Frequent changes of level
There's also a lot of delightful nonsense elsewhere in that piece, of course, such as the misunderstanding of "network" and this wonderful piece where he seems to be telling us that we shouldn't expect child cycling to be accommodated:

Some people suggest that we need cycle tracks and lanes for less experienced people and children. But you should always ask yourself whether less skilled riders can really be expected to deal competently with hazards that more experienced cyclists find so difficult.

The quote attributed to Marples at the end — ???If you make conditions right, there???s a great future for cycling. If you make them wrong, there???s none.??? — is rather hard to believe. Unless Franklin is interpreting it wrong, and it was the latter that Marples was after. Marples was, of course, the corrupt Minister behind the Beeching Axe and the construction of the motorways — through contracts awarded to his own construction firm.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *