By Roger Henry

Context

Local Transport Note LTN 1/20, published by the Department for Transport (DfT) in July 2020, is available to download and read on the UK government website and on this Harrogate District Cycle Action (HDCA) website. It is a long read, at 188 pages, but it is well worth a browse through to help understand the context in which HDCA is working to encourage North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) to fulfil their duties in relation to cycling provision. For an extensive summary, see Cycle Infrastructure Design.

For wider context take a look at Gear Change – A Bold Vision for Cycling and Walking, also published in July 2020 by the DfT. It can be downloaded and read on the government website. It makes the case for actions, not just words, to attract people to active travel – empowering local authorities to take bold decisions to support cycling for a range of journeys such as to and from work and school as well as for exercise and pleasure.

There is a “chicken and egg” problem in assessing the need to allocate adequate space between the various forms of traffic. Complaints are to be expected from drivers who see road space taken from them for the provision of cycle lanes or separated tracks as they see far more space needed for cars and vans and relatively little current take-up of cycling for travel in towns such as Harrogate and Knaresborough. A major reason for that low take-up however is the current lack of provision for safe cycling.

It is an unfortunate fact that many of the ambitions set out in Gear Change are still a long way from being fulfilled. The government’s own review, Gear Change One Year On, was published at the end of July 2021. One of the announcements made there is that the originally-proposed commissioning body and inspectorate Active Travel England (ATE) will begin work in Autumn 2021.

Inclusive Cycling

The Introduction to LTN 1/20 states that inclusive cycling is the underlying theme so that people of all ages and abilities are considered. Local authorities are expected to demonstrate that they have given due consideration to the provided national guidance when designing new cycling and walking schemes.