Hello and welcome to the New website of BH Active Travel, seems like the present time is ideal to launch for a number of reasons. We are all dealing with the huge changes to our lives during this time, uncharted waters for every country and it appears that the simple bicycle is once again proving to be the answer to many of the problems of modern life including COVID. You may as well as me be enjoying some outdoor activity daily and in this post I cover some of the ways that places are adapting to the increase in people out and about on two wheels again.
Its great that the UK Gvt has advised an hour of exercise for our well being, including biking, and I’m seeing lots of returning riders out there -First off by designating Bike Shops as Essential services means all the latent demand coming out of the garage can be tidied up for use. Seems to me the roads look like they should do at present, the latent demand for Active Travel really shows every time I go for my local rides.
We are about to enter our second year in July of the Beryl bike scheme in BCP, by allowing key workers this facility for free means loads more essential staff can make easy local journeys to important work. Excellent moves by both Beryl and BCP in enabling that.
Sydney where I lived for a while has made all pedestrian crossings automatic, removing the need for walkers to press the buttons– this is another bold way of re-prioritising city streets.
Many places are now closing parks for variety of reasons, the UK seems to have a mixed approach to this, largely being brought about to limit the amount of people driving distance to exercise rather than seeking out local approaches, in fact much of this time is really emphasising the importance of localism. Adapting to working from home may have the side effect of much more future home working when we are all used to the Teams and Zoom approach of meeting others. (other apps are available) Interesting that these Car Park closures are being made rapidly in contrast to all usual changes to anything in road environment, with all its usual advance notice etc etc required.
Volunteers are doing deliveries by bike for medicines and food for those who are house bound, with Bikeworks London leading on this in several localities. All good actions that are possible in this time of social distancing, some of which can only happen by decisions made by Police forces and Authorities.
Some cities are installing temporary Bike Lanes in order to separate increased numbers of riders from traffic, and creating space. In U.K Footways are the first choice for many new or fearful riders, at present those people are on the roads with the much reduced traffic levels- good!. Many of those shared linear tracks that were so designated in 1970’s are failing to separate users very well which is worth mentioning here, a very U.K half way house approach to providing cycle facilities which both pedestrians and riders dont want anymore. Bogota has always been progressive on this sort of action and shows early evidence of this type of intervention. U.S.A Cities have also embraced this idea and has several cities making big quick steps to provide the right environment. See picture.
Todays in Westminster Grant Shapps Transport Sec is meeting APPCG (All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group) about the increased use of bikes on U.K streets, and more. Some of the M.PS representing their constituents will be asking about repurposing streets as I’ve described in that last paragraph. Locally our Portfolio Holder for Transport and Infrastructure is also suggesting these ideas to Cabinet members, we are as you know 2 Months into the work of making the recently won Transforming Cities Funding come to fruition. There could be initial trials of re-allocating road space attributed to upcoming works, with Light Segregation being part of that .The Forum whom Portfolio holder has been a member of for many years fully supports any such measures.
Thanks for reading, we are collaborating with BCP on all future TCF work, and regularly ask members for contributions about their localities, get in touch and join the conversation here or on FB.
Briefly, I have been working in cycling since 2005, being within the first group of instructors bringing the Bikeability Child Cycle Training (ex proficiency) to Bedford and Luton Councils. I worked 2007-13 on the Bike It project and still do work for Sustrans in another capacity, you can read all my newsletters of work and more here, have also written lots about Cycling, Road schemes and Instructing of all kinds on my Freelancers website since 2013. Have chaired the BHAT forum for 2 years now, its great to be able to see the best invention ever coming to the fore again, long may it continue.