National Cycle Mapping Standard
cyclenation and CTC have proposed a National Standard for cycle maps based on mapping that grades the relative cycle-friendliness of the entire road system.
In recent years the cycle maps produced in most parts of the UK have shown only 'cycle routes' and other special facilities for cyclists. This is usually of only limited benefit, both in terms of the target audience for the mapping and the usefulness of the information provided, especially as many cycle facilities are widely regarded as being of poor quality. Surveys have shown that cyclists undertaking everyday journeys (as distinct from cycling for leisure) usually opt for the most direct route compatible with their ability and that these routes more often than not do not coincide with designated cycle routes. Furthermore, few journeys start and finish on cycle routes: cyclists require a much finer grained network than other road users which, in practice, means the whole of the road system.
|A new approach to cycle mapping was pioneered by Cheltenham Cycle Campaign which colour-graded the whole of the road network into five categories according to the cycling skill required to use the roads. The classification is closely linked to the skills taught in the National Cycle Training Standard. This type of map allows every cyclist, whatever their ability or journey preferences, to choose the route that is best suited for them from any place to any other, overcoming most of the limitations of traditional cycle maps. Cycle paths and many other types of facility are shown on the map but they do not dominate it and the quality of what is provided is taken into account in the overall assessment. Another advantage of this method is that roads are graded incrementally as conditions change. This not only informs map users about how conditions are likely to vary along their route as a whole, but it also provides a highly visible indication to highway authorities and others of where lie the principal problems for cycling that need to be addressed.|
The Cheltenham mapping scheme has since been used on maps in Gloucester, Stroud, Kettering and Warrington and an increasing number of other towns are following suit. Feedback from map users has been highly positive. cyclenation and CTC believe it is time to make the benefits of this type of map more widely known and have drawn up a Standard and guidance notes for use by cyclenation groups and others. Feedback on the guidance is encouraged.