Why I chose this picture for Active Travel

I recently changed the profile picture of the Bolton Active Travel Forum Facebook page that I run. I chose this picture, which I took in Copenhagen in 2019, because it captures so many aspects of active travel, what we mean by the term, and where our priorities (should) lie.

Active travel in Copenhagen.

Here are the reasons:

  • It shows very clearly the road user hierarchy that has been clearly set out in UK government policy for the past 14 years in the Manual for Streets (See Table 3.2). People on foot are in the foreground, with people on cycles behind them, and people in motor vehicles are visible right at the back on the right.
  • People on cycles are separated and protected (by kerbs in this instance) from motor vehicles, which is in line with summary principle number 3 in the UK Goverment’s cycle infrastructure design guidelines, LTN1/20.
  • People on cycles are separated from people on foot, which is in line with summary principle number 2 in the UK Government’s cycle infrastructure design guidelines, LTN1/20.
  • The zebra crossing markings make very clear that people on foot have priority over any vehicles entering or exiting the side road. This is the case in law here as well, but most drivers seem to ignore that. Work is underway to convince the Government to allow similar markings here.
  • The people on cycles in the picture are dressed in exactly the same kinds of clothes as those on foot. Riding cycles is a perfectly normal way to get about that is no more dangerous than walking and does not require special clothes or plastic hats.
  • Yes, it is sometimes necessary to use motor vehicles, which is why there are motor vehicles in the picture. In the words of our Council’s Executive Member for Highways and Transport, it is about getting the right balance, and this picture shows what “the right balance” looks like.
  • There is a lady walking on the zebra crossing, pushing a bicycle. Is she a pedestrian or is she a cyclist? Actually, like all the people in the picture, she is a person. Sometimes she walks, sometimes she rides a bicycle, and for all we know, sometimes she drives a car.

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