Five point design plan for cycle safety revealed

Architect and racer presents infrastructure design guidance

Five point design plan for cycle safety revealed

Hawkins\Brown architect and former twice Irish national time trial champion, Louise Moriarty, outlined a five-step programme for infrastructure design to make cycling safer, at a Club Peloton CPD seminar titled “Designing For Cycling” today (4 July).

Moriarty called on urban professionals to:

  • be aware of the principles of good street design
  • design cycling in to planning guidance
  • include Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) standards when acting as principle designer
  • insist that contractors sign up to CLOCS standards
  • design with ambition

“It gets forgotten that cycling infrastructure can be joyful – an opportunity to create good space,” she said. “If you manage to achieve that, people are much more attracted to cycling.”

Speaking also as a member of the Construction Industry Cycling Commission, Moriarty presented a wide range of examples of bad infrastructure design as well as instances of progressive cycling cultures and good design. Among the latter, an area of Chicago where stop lights, speed limits and other controls were designed to suits motorists and cyclists on alternate streets. “They created this 'tartan grid', where cyclists were more inclined to go on streets that worked at their speeds, and drivers on streets that worked on their speeds, a really natural way of filtering.”

Pointing to lack of safety as a prime reason for people not to cycle, Moriarty said that, between 2008 and 2014 in London, HGVs made up only 3.5% of traffic but were responsible for 57% of cycling fatalities. “If you can improve the safety of HGVs you stand to vastly improve the safety of cycling.”

Discussing the importance of culture and education, Moriarty speculated that the prohibition on road racing in Great Britain from 1890 to the 1960s had created a gap between this country and Europe, in terms of bike skills and cycling culture. “There’s a perception still that motorists are king of the roads and cyclists are just guests. That needs to be overcome to make it safer.”

Research showed that people in Copenhagen cycle for reasons of environmental concern (1% of cyclists), because it is cheap (6%) and for the exercise (19%) - but overwhelmingly their motivator was that cycling is easy, fast and convenient (61%).

And she highlighted Milton Keynes, where the attractiveness of excellent cycling infrastructure was cancelled out by equally excellent motoring infrastructure. “You have to make cycling more attractive than driving,” Moriarty said.

"Spread the word, try to get cycling provision into the brief and, if you have the opportunity, make it fun."