Category Archives: Myths

Short myth-busting articles that can be used to refute misinformation in social media discussions. Copy a link from here and paste it in the discussion. Most of these myths relate to cycling because, funnily enough, nobody seems to rant about walking infrastructure.

Myth: “Essential motor vehicles”

We often hear people (especially local politicians) using this term as a way of resisting change; the implication being that other means of transport are not essential and must be treated with lower priority. It is often accompanied by some … Continue reading

Myth: “But I have to park on the pavement.”

Parking on the footway (aka “pavement” in the UK) has become normalized to the extent that many people seem to think it is an entitlement. However, it causes obstructions for people on foot and causes damage to the footways themselves, … Continue reading

Myth: “Unsightly, invisible wand orcas”

Orcas are small semi-permanent kerb sections made of recycled plastic. The name derives from the black and white markings that make them reminiscent of a killer whale (orca) breaking the surface of the sea. Due to a fear that drivers, … Continue reading

Myth: “The data show this road is not dangerous…”

Using cycling and walking KSI data (data about how many people have been killed or injured whilst cycling or walking) to define which are “dangerous roads” is fallacious. The most dangerous roads tend to be avoided by people on cycles … Continue reading

Myth: “No need for anything; nobody was killed cycling here in years…”

Whilst preventing deaths and serious injuries is extremely important, these projects are not primarily about numbers of people killed or injured on the road; they are about making it possible for people who currently feel forced to use cars for … Continue reading

Myth: “These wands are dangerous; cars will hit them…”

Unless you are referring to self-driving cars, then what you really mean is: drivers will hit them with their cars. Anyone who is unable to drive in a 3.5 metre lane without hitting things at the sides should not have … Continue reading

Myth: “Can’t do anything here, it’s a 40mph road!”

This, which can be found referring to any speed limit, not just 40mph, was actually said by a councillor recently in an attempt to oppose a cycle lane on a wide main road. As far as I know, there is … Continue reading

Myth: “Emergency services won’t be able to get through”.

Filtered neighbourhoods typically allow motor vehicle access to all residences; you just have to use the designated route(s). For many decades, housing estates have been designed like this anyway and millions of people live in cul-de-sacs without having any fear … Continue reading

Myth: “LTNs unfairly increase traffic on boundary roads.”

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), also known as Filtered Neighbourhoods or Active Neigbourhoods, involve restricting motor traffic on residential streets to access-only, often by placing bollards or planters (called “modal filters”). The complaint often made is that this will increase traffic … Continue reading

Myth: “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they.”

This, sometimes expressed as “you have an agenda”, is an example of the ad-hominem fallacy. It is often used by people as a failed attempt attempt to discredit an argument. When it comes to determining whether something is true, it … Continue reading

Myth: “But we need vans and lorries for deliveries!”

Whilst this is literally true, the myth is in the way it is used to suggest that there is an issue that does not actually exist, for three reasons. First, it is a straw man; nobody is suggesting a ban … Continue reading

Myth: “What if you have to carry a hippopotamus?”

Well it’s not usually a hippo – it tends to be one of any number of large objects – but let’s use that as a metaphor and substitute anything else as appropriate. It is often used as an absurd attempt … Continue reading

Myth: “cyclists”, “motorists”, “pedestrians”.

The myth here is the very belief that these words have any real meaning at all. There are no species or tribes with these names into which people can be divided. I, for one, travel on cycles, on foot (more … Continue reading

Myth: “It’s all about cycling.”

It’s easy to see how people might get that impression if they are not really paying attention, especially when all the fancy pictures and visualizations focus on the cycle infrastructure. (After all, a picture of a pavement doesn’t really make … Continue reading

Myth: “People want to cycle away from roads.”

If we were talking about leisure cycling on a sunny day, then that might be true, but we aren’t. People need cycling and walking routes that go past the places they need to get to. Very few of those destinations … Continue reading

Myth: “We need to get the right balance.”

Taken literally, this is not actually a myth; but it is a platitude, and as such adds nothing to the conversation. The myth arises in the way it is used as an excuse for keeping the status quo – in … Continue reading

Myth: “Cyclists don’t want cycleways.”

It’s not primarily about people who cycle now; they already cycle, but they are few. This is about enabling the large percentage of people who who would like to cycle but are too afraid of sharing roads with aggressive and … Continue reading

Myth: “£Millions on paint for a few cyclists.”

The days of pointless cycle lanes consisting of paint are over. Painted lines alone do not qualify for Government funding and would not be acceptable for the Bee Network. The schemes being built in Bolton are far more than that, … Continue reading

Myth: “Cycleways will cause more congestion.”

Congestion is already here and will get worse, especially after Covid-19. There is no space to increase road capacity for motor vehicles, which are an extremely inefficient use of space anyway. The only way to deal with the problem is … Continue reading

Myth: “But … hills!”

Whilst it is true that the existence of steep hills can reduce the likelihood of people cycling, the effect is gradual. For the most part, Bolton is not too hilly for the majority of people to cycle, especially if decent … Continue reading

Myth: “But hardly anyone cycles!”

Yes, that is precisely the point; I’m glad you agree. It’s not about people who cycle now; they already cycle. The reason only few people are prepared to cycle is precisely because we don’t have decent protected cycle infrastructure. This … Continue reading

Myth: “Cyclists (will) just ignore cycleways anyway.”

It’s true that a lot of the cycle lanes that exist right now across the borough do not get used by cyclists. That is because they are almost all of very poor quality and tend to put cyclists in danger … Continue reading

Myth: “But cyclists (will still) ride on the pavement.”

Cyclists who ride on the pavement (footway) usually do so because they are afraid to ride on roads that are filled with motor vehicles often driven by aggressive or careless drivers. Once there is decent cycle infrastructure, separated from motor … Continue reading

Myth: “Waste of Council money, should be spent on …”

Councils are rarely, if ever, funding active travel (walking and cycling) schemes themselves. In Greater Manchester, schemes tend to be funded by central Government. The schemes in Bolton are mostly funded through specific funds such as the Growth Deal, the … Continue reading

Myth: “Cyclists should have insurance.”

In fact, most people who live in a house that is insured probably are covered by personal liability insurance, which includes damage caused whilst cycling. Such insurance is extremely cheap because cycling is an extremely low-risk activity. For example, the … Continue reading

Myth: “Motorists pay road tax.”

Road tax was something that existed in the UK briefly at the beginning of the 20th century, but was abolished in 1937. This was partly because it might give people driving motor vehicles a misplaced and dangerous sense of entitlement … Continue reading