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Your cycling fallacy is…

Everyone needs to share the road

“If everyone just shared the road nicely, there wouldn’t be a problem”

The response

This appeal to better nature has been tried again and again, without any sign of success. For over 100 years there have been attempts to encourage considerate behaviour on the road – and nothing has changed.

From John Burns MP suggesting in 1913 that people should “show, in the most sportsmanlike way, the spirit of the road,” to the 1950s film Don't be Rude on the Road, which suggested “how nice it would be if people showed a little more courtesy,” to Scotland's 2013 Nice Way Code advertisements and beyond, such campaigns have a long history of failure.

Even if, by some miracle, we managed to get everyone to behave perfectly, cycling on busy roads will be still be an unappealing prospect for most people, due to the noise and delays inherent to motor vehicles. And “sharing the road” could never be a realistic option for many in society, such as children and people with mobility difficulties.

The only proven method to make cycling safe and attractive is by separating motor traffic from other modes of transport, by way of cycleways along main roads, and filtering minor roads to restrict through-motor-traffic.