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UCI reports on Seville

7th February 2019

The UCI has picked up on the success of Seville's network of bike lanes. On 5th February, cycling's international governing body reported on the Spanish city's achievement in creating the conditions for 67,000 bike trips a day. 700,00 people live in Seville.

Hedgehog Cycling reported on the building of Seville's bike lanes last year. A joined-up 80km network was created in just 18 months, for about €32 million, or the cost of 5km of road.

The UCI quotes the consultant behind the Plan de la Bicicleta de Sevilla, Manuel Calva. He recommends that city administrations do everything in their first two years in office. 'It starts working, and then people see it works and are supportive of what you did.'

The UCI's article says, 'Seville's cycling network was built with continuity in mind and as a single project. The idea was for it to be homogenous, recognisable and functional from the outset. The two-way system was built along main avenues and streets...but on space previously occupied by cars. Public input was considered throughout the procedure and modifications made in certain areas as a result of their feedback.'

'Everyone was talking about the success of the bike lanes. The sports shops ran out of bikes. They had to get bikes from Barcelona, Madrid, and over from France.'

The original 80km network is now 180km. A 2017 plan aims to improve the quality of the bike lanes.

Bikes are everywhere in Seville, and they are 'on the mobility equation of thousands of people. Building this network has demonstrated that if you do something, people respond. It also showed that it is not a big deal to take space from cars and use it to improve other mobility options.'

UCI reports on Seville: lessons for Harrogate

The report from the UCI is timely. The UCI 2019 road World Championships are coming to Harrogate. The people of Harrogate are fed up of congestion, and more and more of us are realising that too many cars are the problem, and will never be the solution.

There are some small steps to improve conditions for cycling in Harrogate, but cycling around town remains dangerous and marginal. Seville shows us that it doesn't have to be this way. It is possible to create a complete network in a short time. (Look at the photo: it doesn't have to be shared use; it doesn't have to painted on the side of the road with no protection from traffic).

So come on Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council. You have Cycling & Walking Champions, which is a great start.

I have written occasional emails or letters to the Cycling Champions - Phil Ireland at Harrogate BC, and Don Mackenzie at NYCC. They contained carefully-thought-out suggestions for improvements to walking and cycling in Harrogate. In both cases, I received a reply to one initial communication, then no response at all to subsequent correspondence, not even any acknowledgement.

These Councillors are very busy, and have lots of responsibilities, and no doubt they receive lots of emails each day. But if local residents can't contact them with genuine concerns and suggestions about cycling and walking, what is the point of them being Cycling and Walking Champions? Then, in Councillor Mackenzie's case, his main enthusiasm is for a major new road project - which is, in my opinion, incompatible with him being a genuine champion of active travel.

We should take inspiration from Seville. There could and should be a plan for a complete network of cycling routes in Harrogate. My impression is that the current structure is inadequate. Our Champions are too busy - even if they have the will to do it, they just don't have the time to formulate and implement such a plan.

We're not Manchester, and Chris Boardman is already taken, but would it be a good idea to employ someone in a similar role - dedicated to creating a complete network of quality walking and cycling routes in Harrogate?

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