This is a short introduction to the concept of inclusive cycling.
- What is Inclusion?
I am currently experiencing a very large set of issues around being an extremely wobbly disabled pedestrian and now a disabled very balance challenged cyclist.
I wrote to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act stating the following:
“We do not now have public and private realms that achieve “any journey is only as good as its weakest link. To do this includes all parts of all journeys, including getting out of bed, going to and using bathrooms and toilets, getting around a home including up and down various levels, getting out of a front or back door, and using pavements. It includes all public transport being fully accessible and able to carry all types of mobility equipment, including cargo trikes and mobility scooters.”
The point is to think through in detail about everything that happens in a person’s life, what issues they face, what barriers? Barriers may be physical, psychological, sociological, institutional, attitudinal.
We do not only move ourselves, we move with others and we move the stuff we want to use on the journey, later or for others to use.
We move stuff because we need it now or it will be needed to do something else.
There are various permutations1
- stuff we wear and carry
- people and stuff we move with – family, luggage, pushchairs, disability equipment, prostheses, cycles
- light goods
- heavy, wet big massive stuff,
- tools equipment for work.
There are also various nodes for storage – for refreshment, for resting – cafe’s, waiting rooms, luggage lockers, car parking, toilets, cycle parking, public leaning posts as in Sienna.
It could all be rationalised. Why is there not standard sized luggage for aircraft? Why all the chaos of airport security and baggage handling? Why do we not hire stuff as needed where it is needed?
We need to design for and think through all the permutations. Often missing ones are the cargo trike as a mobility aid – if the lifts in stations are large enough for disabled people on cargo trikes, and baby buggies they can also be used for goods and containers. Why pay out for disabled adaptations to trains and stations when similar adaptations may be multi purpose for goods? It is about control systems, not single purpose interventions.
It is then possible to create together, cooperatively person, family, community centred maps showing how someone got to where they are, audit where they are now and plan their future.
Inclusion and design
Don Norman has written the following about design. This is about Apple computers, but it applies to all prosthesis – tools that enable – like streets, buildings, trains, spectacles, walking sticks, nuclear power stations and wheelchairs.
“Good design should be attractive, pleasurable, and wonderful to use. But the wonderfulness of use requires that the device be understandable and forgiving. It must follow the basic psychological principles that give rise to a feeling of understanding, of control, of pleasure. These include discoverability, feedback, proper mapping, appropriate use of constraints, and, of course, the power to undo one’s operations. These are all principles we teach elementary students of interaction design. If Apple were taking the class, it would fail.”3
Mark Wigley writes:
“As Le Corbusier argues, We all need means of supplementing our natural capabilities, since nature is indifferent, inhuman (extra-human), and inclement; we are born naked and with insufficient armor. . . . The barrel of Diogenes, already a notable improvement on our natural protective organs (our skin and scalp), gave us the primordial cell of the house; filing cabinets and copy-letters make good the inadequacies of our memory; wardrobes and sideboards are the containers in which we put away the auxiliary limbs that guarantee us against cold or heat, hunger or thirst. . . . Our concern is with the mechanical system that surrounds us, which is no more than an extension of our limbs; its elements, in fact, artificial limbs. This concern with buildings as “human-limb objects” worn like clothing would even become as literal as Gideon’s identification of the nineteenth-century interest in “the problem of mechanically operated artificial limbs” with the development of mechanized furniture as an extension of the mobile body, which, in turn, he identifies with modern architecture.”4
Steps to find solutions to issues – Inverse Sequence Planning
Imagine the future goal. Work out step by step backwards the steps to get there from where we are now. This requires very detailed planning of what the end goal looks like. The steps required, their timing and sequencing then become reasonably obvious.
It will also show if the end goal is actually what you should be aiming for, or is that also a staging post or possibly an irrelevant goal?5
Archimedes Palimpsest6 describes how the Greeks commonly wrote. All drawings were integral parts of the whole of a document and were very carefully thought about to achieve that.
I would argue all illustrations must be commissioned explicitly to be integral to any text and discussion – never someone else choosing stock pictures – and they must all be very carefully audited to make sure there is not poor access practice about something illustrated – common ones are risks of dooring, unnecessary changes of level with dropped kerbs, having separate infra when some design might integrate something – road humps near crossings and not raised crossings are common, uneven paving in a picture ….
I formally ask that the documents are rewritten from a clear inclusive perspective. Inclusion currently appears like afterthoughts, not key design principles and therefore I believe fail the Public Sector Equality Duty.
The Dutch Crow manual defines clearly the needs of cyclists. Something similar is required for all issues of inclusion.
Writing these will mean that the street scene documents may then become what they should be – matters of detail that continually iterate the principles they are derived from. All pictures must be very clearly chosen to actually both illustrate the particular point and the general principles. Gestalt is a modern way of stating the critical importance of always looking at foreground (detail) and background (the whole system and its history, present and future) together.7
My thinking has been prompted by four publications, Jan Gehl’s Life between Buildings, The European Transport Ministers’ document on Accessible Transport, The Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic by CROW and Complete Streets.
Gehl asks as first principles to note:
- What is next to the streets?
- What numbers and types of entrances are there to private and semi private spaces?
- What are the average speeds, and why?
Complete Streets uses similar ideas. It includes a vision for how and why the community wants to complete its streets, specifies that ‘all users’ includes pedestrians, bicyclists and transit passengers of “All Ages and Abilities”, as well as trucks, buses and automobiles, encourages street connectivity and aims to create a comprehensive, integrated, connected network for all modes.
The Street Scene Guidance has a typology of streets that appears incomplete – where are play or residential streets for example? This may have happened because of a possible misunderstanding of the law.
I understand that everything is public highway upon which there is a common law right to move or not. Various types of highway then have various rules attached to them – footpaths, 20, 30, 40mph, lit, pedestrianized areas, home zones etc.
I understand that maintaining and repairing and building “highways” should be done equally – motorways and footpaths should in principle have equivalent levels of expenditure per square metre. This has never happened and I understand the result is directly discriminatory against protected groups.
I personally believe that the practice and professionalism of highways and street scene engineers is in need of urgent review8, continuing errors occur – like 30 speed limits in shared spaces, which I understand in law do give children the right to play in them!9
The Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic continually asks a series of questions; who is doing what, where, when, why, how, what effects do those actions have, what should logically happen?
I understand detailed research of all types of kerbs and their history is required. Carmen Hass-Klau10 has written extensively about this, but from a pedestrian and woonerven perspective, not an explicitly inclusive perspective.
Kerbs should only be used only where clearly and explicitly argued for.
Were probably first introduced in Berkeley California in the late 60’s following protests by severely disabled students using the then heart lung machines who could not get around town because of ordinary kerbs acting as barriers.
They are a reactive design feature.
Changes of level and slopes, with extremely common maintenance and design issues, for example position not being on desire lines, makes dropped kerbs severe hazards and dangerous.
I recommend we abolish dropped kerbs
P94 Crow states:
“Bumping into kerbs or armadillos (cycle lane delineators) and falling into verges must be prevented. Hitting kerbs and wheel stops is dangerous and it would be best to leave these out of the design.”
Near me, in Waltham Forest, what are called “Copenhagen Crossings” have been installed, but as part of cycling infrastructure improvements, when actually I understand them to be a critical inclusive design feature.
I found the following interesting, again about cycling, but actually creating excellent infrastructure for disabled and older people.
But we have driveways11
One of the many excuses used by people who oppose protected cycling infrastructure is the ‘but we have driveways’ excuse. There are people who believe that cycling infrastructure, especially a separate protected cycle path, does not go together well with driveways. But of course the two can be combined: as long as the design of both the cycle path and the driveways are well done and follow strict rules.
Driveways may not interrupt the sidewalk or cycle path.
Driveways may not influence the level of the sidewalk or cycle path.
Driveways may not have priority over pedestrians or cyclists
When a drive way does not interrupt the sidewalk or the cycle path, when it does not change the level of either of those and when it is clear it has no priority over pedestrians or cyclists then such a driveway is no problem at all to separated cycling infrastructure.
Driveways that do not interrupt cycle path nor sidewalk, have no influence on the level of either of those and clearly have no priority.
My local area is plagued by crossovers into what were front gardens but are now storage areas for heavy moveable coloured bits of metal machinery, causing me serious hazards with the many slip, trip and fall opportunities. I know someone who experienced serious hip pain whilst walking along front “garden” crossovers because of the changes of level.
I am not sure why, but I understand this to be discriminatory – why is it that a large moveable object seems to have better infrastructure and to have rights of trespass over footpaths?
If this trespass is allowed, should it not therefore be licensed and a licence fee charged for upkeep of the public pavement that is trespassed upon? Is not planning permission now granted to park in front “gardens”? Part of this permission should include a licence that has a charge for the maintenance and management costs of this grant of a permission to store and “park” heavy machinery
Cambers and sleeping policemen.
Trikes come in two basic forms, delta and tadpole – are there two wheels at the back or front?
They are statically stable and dynamically unstable, the opposite to a bike.
They are actually like spacecraft, with yaw and pitch and roll. I emailed a Danish neuro-physiotherapist to ask if a trike were a useful physiotherapeutic tool – excellent, but watch out for broken hips from cornering too fast!
My experience is that cambers and sleeping policemen (persons?) are profoundly discriminatory and dangerous design features that have not actually been thought about much from a disability equality perspective.
I understand that all design assumptions need challenging, thinking through and other ways proposed. Beware habitus!
For example, I came across a surface that gives a different sound as a warning, not only a different feel.
- Durdle, C. The Armadillos are Coming Pt 2! – Clive Durdle’s Blog. at <https://clivedurdle.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/the-armadillos-are-coming-pt-2/>
- Hauschild-siegel. UV-SE – hauschild-siegel architecture. at <https://www.hauschild-siegel.com/se-1/uv-se/>
- Norman, D. & Tognazzini, B. How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name. Fastcodesign (2015). at <https://www.fastcodesign.com/3053406/how-apple-is-giving-design-a-bad-name>
- Wigley, M. Prosthetic theory: The disciplining of architecture. Assemblage (1991). at <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3171122>
- Popovic, S. Blueprint for Revolution. at <http://www.blueprintforrevolution.com/>
- Netz, R. & Noel, W. The Archimedes codex : revealing the secrets of the world’s greatest palimpsest. (Phoenix, 2008).
- Humboldt, A. von, Jackson, S. T., Walls, L. D. & Person, M. W. Views of nature.
- Blackie, A. Grenfell: How to investigate what happened. at <http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2017/06/20/grenfell-how-to-investigate-what-happened>
- House of Lords – Director of Public Prosecutions v. Jones and Another (On Appeal from a Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division). at <http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199899/ldjudgmt/jd990304/jones03.htm>
- Hass-Klau, C. An Illustrated Guide to Traffic Calming: Amazon.co.uk: C Hass-Klau: Books. (1990). at <https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00800P16U/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1>
- Henshaw, D. A view from the cycle path: But we have driveways. (2011). at <http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/08/but-we-have-driveways.html>