This article looks into how the barriers to cycling can be overcome. It is based on the analysis of the book Promoting Walking and Cycling by Pooley et al.

Photo by Noralí Emilio

Last week’s article focussed exclusively on the barriers to cycling. You can find this via the link below.


This week’s article focusses on solutions that can be deployed to overcome the barriers to cycling.

1. Fix the urban environment

Fixing the urban environment has to be the number 1 priority for any local authority interested in increasing their rates of cycling. This includes providing fully segregated cycle routes on all arterial and other busy roads in urban areas. The research by Pooley, et al revealed that for most non-avid cyclists, they will only do so when their routes are completely segregated from traffic.

2. Traffic calming measures

Their needs to be effective restrictions on traffic speeds, parking and access on all residential roads and routes not covered by segregated bike paths. This provides cyclists with a safe and convenient environment in which to travel. Ideas include 20 mph speed limits, traffic calming infrastructure measures and resident only access by car in some areas.

3. Legal changes

The system of legal liability should be reformed to protect the most vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. One option would be to adopt strict liability, so that pedestrians or cyclists injured by a motor vehicle would not have to prove fault in seeking compensation. This legal form places an obligation on drivers to obtain insurance that will pay vulnerable victims independently of fault. This is adopted in many countries with high rates of cycling and incentivises drivers to act carefully.

4. Planning and development changes

There needs to be changes in the spatial structure through planning legislation. This would make accessing common services by bike easy. This would restrict out-of-town developments and mandate the provision of secure bicycle parking facilities and the provision of cycle storage facilities in new homes.

5. Socioeconomic changes

The research by Pooley, et al revealed how socioeconomic factors often acted as barriers to cycling. These need to be resolved to increase cycling rates. These include the greater use of flexi time, more family friendly welfare policies and policies to encourage children to go to the most local school. These changes would make it easier for people to use the most sustainable form of transport to get to school and to work.

6. Image change

It is necessary to change the image of cycling and walking. There is a need for campaigns to promote walking and cycling as normal and something that is for everyone. This would also follow on naturally from all of the above policies, which would see more people cycling and so help to normalise this as a transport mode and not an activity.

What you need to know

This article looked into how the barriers to cycling can be overcome. It was based on the analysis of the book Promoting Walking and Cycling by Pooley et al.

What should be clear from both of these articles is that there are a number of barriers that are holding down rates of cycling in the UK, but that there are specific solutions that could address this.

It is clear that hard infrastructural changes need to be made to segregate cyclists from vehicles as much as possible, alongside traffic calming measures where this is not possible.

Then legal changes could make drivers more aware that they will face consequences for injuring a cyclist and so drive more cautiously.

Planning and development changes are required and development changes are needed to create an urban form more conducive to cycling.

Socioeconomic changes are needed to make cycling possible for some families and a marketing campaign is needed to change the image of cycling.

Overall, all of these changes would go a long way to increasing rates of cycling in the UK.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think needs to be done to increase rates of cycling?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

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