Sustrans – I also have my doubts

I am also disappointed with some of Sustran’s work, although there is a lot of stuff I like I have to say.

So I have added a link of a website complaining about Sustrans on the left of my blog and under Cycling Organisations. It makes interesting reading.

J works for a charity, in statutory fundraising, and I will have a quick word with him about this issue and see if he can ‘come up with anything interesting’.

In the meantime, I found an organisation where you can address complaints about Charities:- The Charity Commission:-

Telephone 0845 3000 218

Update 14/1/09: J said that ‘Membership Organisations’ like Sustrans are just Support Organisations ie give them the money and they will ‘handle it’. J’s charity is also a ‘Membership Organisation’. He also says that it is often hard to ‘consult’ for various reasons and says that the trustees are often a mixed bunch of people, people who know about the charity or are good at ‘managing’ charities but know little about their ‘subject’ matter’ but are good at what they’re doing.

I used to work for a company where the Executive knew absolutely nothing about the business but only about finance. I have to say, a lot of his ideas, never made sense to ‘people on the ground’.

However, J said there will be ‘problems’ in this system. In a democratic organisation, like the Rotary Club, people are more likely to have a chance to air their views. Saying that, there shouldn’t be any harm for the ‘Membership Charity’ to employ a Mystery Shopper, ie someone who can ‘test the cycle route’ before it opens. Then a lot of problems can be flagged up pretty quickly (although let’s face it, a lot of them could be fixed at planning stage!).

Interestingly enough, he says there are often more problems with ‘big projects’ as often the Chief Executive of a charity doesn’t have much time so can often make ‘quick decisions’ at, perhaps, the detriment of the organisation.

So, if Sustrans do the London to Paris Cycle Route, will there be scary London underpasses, littered with needles and muggers? Will they be lit? I would agree that these dodgy types of places supress cycling (unless you are a cyclist selling drugs). Why don’t Sustrans care about Personal Safety? In fact I have just contacted them about that and said that women alone (let alone anyone else) will feel safe cycling there. I think it is a very good point. Would you want your girlfriend to cycle their alone?

Comments to Sustrans on

Furthermore, cyclist David Hembrow says this on personal safety:

You should always be able to see out of any tunnel as you enter it.
Blind corners on paths are not acceptable.
Cycle paths should be wide to allow cyclists to move out of the way of others.
A low crime rate and a good conviction rate are needed. Cyclists should not feel that the police do not take their complaints seriously.

Areas that are clean, litter free, graffiti free, where grass is mowed and plants are not allowed to overhang the cycle path have a better feeling of social safety.
Cycle paths should be lit at night so that you can see potential muggers, obstacles on the path etc”


If you have a problem with vandalised signs on Sustrans Routes and blocked cycle paths:-

“National Cycle Network missing signs and route blockages
Most of the National Cycle Network is signed and maintained by local authorities. However, if you come across missing or vandalised signs or a blockage on route please report these and we will notify the relevant authorities. If you are interested in helping us maintain our routes, find out about becoming a Volunteer Ranger.

Tel: 0845 113 00 65

3 responses to “Sustrans – I also have my doubts

  1. alastairrayment

    Its so easy to knock Sustrans, and a lot of experienced cyclists do, but the routes are a haven for families and less confident cyclist to enjoy their cycling. The routes have their problems but day by day they improve. It might not suit you, but I have seen more smiles on the National Cycle Network than anywhere and that more than enough for me to support Sustrans 100%
    Please turn your energies to something more positive.

    Alastair Rayment

  2. Sure, there are some good places to cycle in around the UK but if you are in London, for example, there are some Sustrans routes that are positively unsuitable for famillies, which is the point and something has to be done about those ones.

  3. I’ve added more stuff on my post including that cycling through underpasses make people feel unlife and that more cycle paths be lit particularly in dodgy areas, after all, kids often cycle alone too.

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