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Type: Journal article
Title: The disruptive traveller? A Foucauldian analysis of cycleways
Author: Bonham, J.
Cox, P.
Citation: Road and Transport Research: a journal of Australian and New Zealand research and practice, 2010; 19(2):42-53
Publisher: ARRB Transport Research Ltd.
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 1037-5783
Statement of
Jennifer Bonham and Peter Cox
Abstract: The relationship between the cyclist and the use of roadways and other spaces allocated for travel has a contested history. Pro-cycling advocates have argued from a number of positions for the rights of cyclists to use road space and changes in the location of responsibility for road safety. This paper examines how the widespread introduction of segregated cycle facilities in recent years, while having undoubted benefits can also be seen to raise significant problems for cycling in the context of broader travel behaviours. Bonham’s (2006) exploration of the manner in which travel systems and patterns act as disciplinary regimes can be extended to further develop an understanding of the impact of segregated cycle facilities. Drawing on the insights of Michel Foucault, we have examined texts on cycleways in the United Kingdom and Australia, historical and contemporary, for the way in which cyclists are constituted and positioned. The findings are complex. Overall, recent texts produced within the health sciences begin to normalise cycling, while those produced within the field of transport position cyclists as disruptive or deviant travellers – albeit in different ways and with different outcomes depending on the broader context. In each case, the cycleway becomes a special space that enables and constrains cycling, while cycle practices are constituted as slow and disorderly, leisurely, often social and always requiring a ‘quiet’ (both in terms of traffic and noise) context. We conclude that the cycleway, by removing cyclists from road space, ultimately operates to maintain rather than challenge existing travel norms. We argue the consequences of this segregation may be profoundly at odds with the potential of cycling as a core component of sustainable mobility.
Rights: Copyright status unknown
Published version:;dn=406591047439203;res=IELENG
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 5
Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning publications
Geography, Environment and Population publications

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