Cycling in the City is a special Transport Month 2013 feature interviewing cyclists about their experiences as a cyclist in different communities and cities.
Name: Justinien Tribillon
Profession/Job/Title: Urban designer/researcher
Q: In which areas do you cycle and why?
Justinien: I cycle from my place in South London (Brixton) to Central London where most of the workplaces are. Beyond that, I cycle pretty much everywhere. Inner London is the perfect scale for biking. Cycling from my place to Trafalgar Square takes me about 25 minutes, and that’s about a 4 miles journey.
Q: Which three things, can government do to help your cycling experience?
1.) In London, motorists are always keen to remind bikers and pedestrians that they are at the top of the food chain. A big shift in the law and in drivers’ behaviours is needed. Changing the law in London to give pedestrians and cyclists the priority over motorised vehicle would be a sea change, and a very positive one. For that, you need a strong commitment from the National and London government, and I don’t think that this commitment is strong enough today in London.
2.) Designing proper bike lanes. Where it’s possible, I think it’s essential that bike lanes get physically segregated from the main road. London roads are often really wide, there’s much room—literally—for improvement and bike lanes genuinely reserved for cyclists (and possibly buses). For instance, you often find that cars are allowed to park on bike lanes… It just doesn’t make sense.
3.) Finally, thinking before designing bike lanes.
Q: What role can citizens play in promoting cycling and inspiring others to cycle?
Justinien: Simply in being themselves. If they enjoy their cycling experience, their attitude will spread and draw more people to cycle!
Q: Which 1 cool or innovative idea, with no budget constraints, would you like to see in London to support cycling and cyclists?
Justinien: I’m a big fan of ‘shared spaces’, it’s an urban design concept developed by Hans Monderman, a Dutch traffic engineer, which consists in suppressing the demarcations between pedestrians, motorised and non-motorised vehicles. It compels everyone to be aware of other road users, speed is mechanically reduced as well as accidents. Such a space has recently been implemented in Central London on Exhibition Road.
Q: Why do you love cycling?
Justinien: Simply because it’s the best possible way to move around a city: it’s the fastest, it’s the nicest—for your body, and for your brain—and in London it’s also the cheapest. For me, the bicycle stays the most innovative and resilient vehicle the human race ever designed. But cycling can only thrive if cities are keen to genuinely act towards favouring cyclists and pedestrians over motorised vehicles.