Build it and they will come? Why Britain's 1960s cycling revolution flopped

Build it and they will come? Why Britain's 1960s cycling revolution flopped

Squint at Stevenage’s extensive 1960s protected cycleway network and you could be in the Netherlands – except for the lack of people on bikes. So why did the New Town’s residents choose the motor car over the bicycle?

Stevenage, the first of England’s post-war New Towns, was widely proclaimed in the 1960s as a shining example of how the provision of high-quality, joined-up cycle infrastructure would encourage many people to cycle – not just keen cyclists.

The town, 30 miles north of London, had wide, smooth cycleways next to its main roads which were separated from cars and pedestrians. There were well-lit, airy underpasses beneath roundabouts, and schools, workplaces and shops were all linked by protected cycleways.

People use their cars as shopping baskets … or overcoats

Related: Pedal-ins and car burials: what happened to America’s forgotten 1970s cycle boom?

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Source: Guardian Transport

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