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[Reposted from Jan 2013] "Ministry of Transport started one, so why doesn’t Britain have a Dutch-style bike path network?"

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"If the Second World War hadn’t intervened, Britain might now have a dense network of Dutch-style segregated bike paths. Or, at least, such a segregated network was the ardent desire of motoring organisations, leading police officers, the Ministry of Transport, county council officials and the majority of other witnesses who gave evidence to an influential parliamentary committee in 1938. 

"Powerful representatives of Britain’s two million motorists wanted to drive faster, and Britain’s 12 million cyclists were in the way. Cyclists ought to be compelled to use bike paths when provided, argued organisations other than cycling ones.

The first bike path in England was built in 1934, a 2.26 mile stretch of uneven concrete from Hangar Lane to Greenford Road in Ealing, London, kept separate from, but adjoining, Western Avenue. A cinema news snippet from British Pathé said the Western Avenue cycle track was 'a new safety innovation' and that 'motorist users of the road will be equally appreciative of this new boon'.

"A large crowd witnessed Leslie Hore-Belisha, the new Minister of Transport, cutting the ribbon officially opening the experimental “cycling track.” (The dedicated track disappeared years ago and cyclists, where provided for at all on this stretch of the A40, are expected to share the slim footway with pedestrians).

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