We have just got home from two months in Australia and New Zealand where we cycled a great deal. It made it clear to me that you (city or urban planner) have never meet the bicycle, so let me introduce you.

This vehicle, yes it is a vehicle according to the Vienna convention of 1968. Was invented over 100 years ago and some call it the most important invention since sliced bread. Many smart men from around the world have over the years used this as a base to invent an other vehicle, the car, that you clearly know what is, since the bicycle was invented before the motor vehicle.

It made it clear to me that city and urban planners in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, to name but a few, have totally ignored the bicycle over the years even when it was invented years before the King, erm, car. I wonder how you could miss something so great, healthy, safe, easy to use and which brings a smile to your face. It is not last Crimbo’s biggest fad, it has been around for over 100 years. So it can’t have taken you by surprise when you were planning the latest update to a junction in your city.

It is a classic trend by these planners to send you down the wrong way, on the wrong side of the road. Expecting the cyclist to cross a very busy road on a blind corner, or send the cyclist from one side of the road up unto the pavement to then less than five metres later to get back onto the road. There are plenty of examples and Waltham Forest has a good little website showing us some good ones. These examples are not just for north east London, they could be anywhere in the world. I saw a few good ones on my trip down under.

So please dear city and urban planner, do have a chat with your local cycle group, like the LCC and CTC in the UK. And learn from what Hans Gert says in his wonderful books and speeches. Or just take a trip over to Denmark and Holland and have a look at what they have done, I’m sure that they would be more than happy to give you a guided tour on a bicycle. Yes, they are still learning but are way ahead of what I have seen in around the world.