Roger Geffen: Claims that cycle lanes actually worsen congestion and increase pollution
overall is a classic example of ‘fake news’.
New Cycle Superhighways may well initially increase journey times locally for those driving, but this would disappear in time, while the benefits would be an overall reduction of motor traffic and pollution across the whole road network, Cycling UK has told the House of Commons Transport Committee.
The charity’s policy director Roger Geffen said that localised journey times by motor vehicle may increase, as had happened on London’s East–West Cycle Super Highway. But this would be outweighed by the benefits, with increasing cycling provision allowing more people to travel safely and faster and help reduce urban congestion.
This would bring additional benefits such as cleaner air, improved physical and mental wellbeing, safer streets and town centres that attracts people and businesses alike.
Giving evidence to the committee’s inquiry on urban congestion, Geffen said it was impossible to separate out the localised effects of London’s cycle superhighways from the wider increases in private hire vehicles and delivery vans, and the overall growth in London’s population, he added.
Investment in cycle facilities was still fully justified by the overall improvement in the ability of Londoners to get from A to B, using cleaner, safer and healthier city streets, argued Geffen.
Cycling UK believes there is no single ‘magic bullet’ for reducing urban congestion, but that it requires a combination of measures. These include charging for motor vehicle use to reflect the congestion and pollution it causes, with the money raised being used to improve travelling conditions in other ways. These include high-quality cycling facilities as well as other sustainable transport projects.
Geffen said: “Cycle lanes can take large numbers of polluting vehicles off the road, with a typical road lane carrying an average of 2,000 cars per hour or 14,000 bicycles.
“Claims that cycle lanes actually worsen congestion and increase pollution overall is a classic example of ‘fake news’. Quality cycle infrastructure gives people the opportunity to choose between driving and being stuck in a jam, or a safe, convenient and environmentally friendly way of making their journey.
“Quality cycle infrastructure gives people the opportunity to choose between driving and being stuck in a jam, or a safe, convenient and environmentally friendly way of making their journey.
“The problem we face across many of the UK’s cities is that motor traffic is simply increasing. The growth in use of private hire vehicles and delivery vans is outstripping other modes and straining a transport network already operating at capacity.”
Discuss this at Cycle City Active City on 11-12 May 2017