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Nikki Pugh

46% Bad

2019, sculpture and accompanying zine

On a cycle lane in Stourbridge there is a pictogram of a bicycle. The more you look at it, the more you notice things that aren’t quite right. Things that would make it impossible to ride. I attempted to build the bicycle from that pictogram.

46% Bad comprises the wonky bike sculpture and also a 20 page A5 zine exploring relationships between bodies, inadequate cycling infrastructure, care and the opportunities we have for doing better.

In a 2018 report, the active travel advocacy charity Sustrans reviewed the 16,575 miles of the National Cycle Network and rated 46% of them to be either poor (4%) or very poor (42%). Only 1% of the network was rated very good (Sustrans, 2018). Several hundred miles of routes have now been removed from the National Cycle Network, predominantly due to high speeds and volumes of motorised traffic, but also in some cases due to poor quality of surfaces.

In contrast to official reports and lists of percentages, the zine format allows for following a line of thought that meanders through personal experiences, emotional responses and published texts, highlighting the terrible condition of cycling infrastructure and driving cultures in the UK. Collaging of elements juxtaposes the statistical assessment from Sustrans alongside a lengthy list of frictions and obstructions encountered on my regular commutes by  bicycle. A selection of different wonky bike pictograms from across the country sits next to exasperation that if we can’t even get the picture of the bike right, what hope is there for the higher level stuff? Aspirational illustrations depicting a range of potential users of a traffic-free network flow into morphing cockroach-humanoid hybrids used in a study of the extent to which people driving cars dehumanise people riding cycles (Delbosc et al., 2019). Empty space next to the description of a life lost.


Delbosc, A. et al. (2019) ‘Dehumanization of cyclists predicts self-reported aggressive behaviour toward them : A pilot study’, Transportation Research Part F: Psychology and Behaviour. Elsevier Ltd, 62, pp. 681–689. doi: 10.1016/j.trf.2019.03.005.

Sustrans (2018) ‘Paths for everyone: Sustrans’ review of the National Cycle Network 2018’.


46% Bad was made with support from Birmingham Central University and Arts Council England.