Designed for Cycling

Chris Peck's picture

Government devotes an additional £15m to fix junctions

26 June 2012
In the 2012 Budget the Chancellor allocated £15m to fix problem junctions in London. Now another £15m has been found to spend on junctions outside London. The additional funding is a testament to The Times's 'Cities fit for cycling' campaign in the spring.
The Times' #cyclesafe campaign generated 10,000 reports of bad junctions

The Minister in charge of cycling issues, Norman Baker MP, said that the fund will be used to support improvements to junctions with poor safety records. The Department will work with local authorities and the Cycling Stakeholder Forum, on which CTC is represented, to identify the major junctions.

This fund will provide capital support to improve safety at junctions identified as having a record of road incidents that have resulted in cyclists being killed or seriously injured."

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Chris Peck's picture

Brighton's Old Shoreham Road: the cycle-ways to the future?

18 June 2012
Innovative cycle lanes with a degree of separation from the road have been introduced on Old Shoreham Road in Brighton. While not perfect, these new lanes are about the best that can be done under current highway design regulations.
Cycling Minister Norman Baker MP opened the cycle lanes

The new lanes are designed to give a degree of separation from motor vehicles, without completely sacrificing priority over side-roads or at major junctions. The width varies from around 1.5m to over 2m wide, with most of the space for the lanes having been taken from the carriageway. At junctions with the main roads cycles have a 5 second headstart traffic light.

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Chris Peck's picture

Could Northern Ireland go 20 mph?

Conall McDevitt MLA has tabled a Private Member's Bill in the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly which seeks to make 20mph the default speed limit on most residential roads in the 6 counties.
20mph could be the default residential speed limit in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is uniquely placed to do this: the entire road network is under the control of a single highway authority - the Roads Service - which is responsible for every road, bridge and street light across the area. It is directly controlled by the Department for Regional Development, which means that decisions can be made at the national level over local streets.

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Chris Peck's picture

What does CTC's membership think about infrastructure?

In April CTC ran a survey of attitudes of cyclists towards road design and infrastructure. A report on the survey has now been published and reveals a broad consensus behind improving design standards of cycle facilities.
Wide, well designed cycle track in The Hague

CTC is currently reviewing all its policies. On the fraught topic of cycle infrastructure and road design CTC decided to elicit cyclists’ views on the matter to inform the development of a new policy.

The survey gathered comments and measured attitudes to statements on the subject of cycle infrastructure and transport planning for cyclists. 1,130 people responded to the survey, mostly members of CTC.

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Chris Peck's picture

Welsh plan for connected communities - why detail is important

The Welsh Government is about to legislate to force local authorities to map out and plan improvements to the cycle networks. Although a great step, I think it's vital that the routes are of a proper standard to make cycling attractive and feasible.
NCN 8 in the Wye Valley

I greatly enjoyed a tour cycling the length Wales using National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 8 - Lôn Las Cymru - a couple of years ago. The route follows minor roads and, if starting from the south, begins on the Taff Trail, a traffic-free route that heads north from Cardiff. It's routes like these that local authorities in Wales will have to map out and plan improvements to under the proposed legislation.

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Chris Peck's picture

Brighton goes against the flow

Contra-flow cycling is coming to more streets in the North Laine neighbourhood of central Brighton.
Jubilee St has a contra-flow cycle lane - 12 more will only be signed only

Brighton's North Laine neighbourhood is a vibrant shopping area, tucked in between the railway station, the main road north to London and the historic town centre. Narrow terraced streets were long ago made one-way to reduce through motor traffic. But, as with nearly every one-way restriction over the decades, no concession was made for cyclists.

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Chris Peck's picture

Crashing into a pothole - what happened next

In 2008, I was riding to work in central London when I hit a pothole, catapulting me over the handlebars into the road. I incurred nasty facial injuries and the crash destroyed my bike. CTC's legal team forced the highway authority into admitting liability, resulting in compensation being paid out.
Chris in the pothole that brought him down

The crash happened at rush hour on a wet day. There was masses of surface water on the roads and visibility was poorer than normal.  

At the time a hotel was being constructed by the road and large construction vehicles were coming to and fro constantly. I was trying to stay well away from one of these lorries when I hit a very deep water-filled pothole, causing the front wheel on my bike to collapse and sending me face first onto the road.

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Fill that hole

Fillthathole.org.uk
Potholes are hazardous to cyclists while rough road surfaces make cycling more uncomfortable and requires more energy to ride over. Fill that hole allows you to report potholes anywhere in the country directly to the highway authority.
Sarah Walker's picture

Barriers on cycle paths

On road and off-road, there are a number of ways that cyclists can be discouraged from using a particular route. There may be natural challenges on some routes, but far more frustrating are those that have been designed in, making access for all difficult or in some cases impossible.
A chicane barrier on a path legally accessible to cyclists

Access to routes that are open to cyclists, whether in urban or rural locations, are a growing issue for those who ride adapted cycles.

There are a number of ways that access can be compromised and often a range of users are affected; those riding adapted cycles, those with pushchairs, wheelchairs or mobility scooters, for example.

While there are issues for cyclists riding two wheelers, these issues are wider still for those riding bikes which have been adapted for practical purposes, e.g. to accommodate a disability, to carry a load or a second person.

Cherry Allan's picture

Road maintenance and lighting

All road users benefit from good road maintenance and effective lighting. Cyclists, however, suffer more than most from defects in the surface, and councils don't always light cycle paths.
Cyclist reporting defect to CTC's www.fillthathole.org.uk
Headline Messages: 

Road surfaces

A rough road surface - or even a relatively minor fault in it - can make cycling not only uncomfortable, but extremely hazardous. Hitting a pothole, or swerving to avoid one can lead to loss of control, collisions and falls. Poor drainage, or sunken, raised or badly fitted drain covers can also present dangers, as can thoughtlessly installed cats eyes and road studs.

Indeed, well over 10% of the injury reports made to CTC’s Incident Line for members involve road defects.

There are all sorts of reasons for deterioration: passage of time and vehicles; harsh weather conditions; freeze/thaw; or simply neglect.

‘Street works’ carried out by statutory undertakers (e.g. water, telecom companies etc) often cause problems too – after the road surface has been broken into, repairs may not be particularly well done and not last long. What's more, there is a tendency to forget about cyclists whilst road works are actually being carried out - temporary traffic lights, for example, may not give them enough time to get past; or they may be sent on a long, relatively unsafe diversion.

Lack of funding has a lot to do with the poor state of the roads. The 2012 Alarm report (from the  Asphalt Industry Alliance) says that while there are signs that the situation in England and Wales is improving, there is still a projected annual shortfall of £800 million.

Debris

Broken glass and other debris tends to collect at the side of the road and, as this is where cyclists usually ride, is not only a puncture risk nuisance, but can cause cyclists to fall.  Regular sweeping - that doesn't forget about cycle paths away from the carriageway - is essential, therefore.

CTC's briefing on cyclists, vegetation and hedge trimmings offers some advice on what to do if you encounter a problem.

Lighting

Good lighting is, obviously, important for cyclists wherever they ride. Unfortunately, councils sometimes omit to light cycle paths away from the road, usually because of the cost. Riding along unlit paths at night can be hazardous, or make people feel insecure – meaning that even routes that are otherwise well designed may not be used to their full potential.

The highway authority is responsible for highway lighting, but it can pay district councils and parish councils to carry out further work   

  • CTC takes road defects so seriously, that we offer an online reporting tool - Fill That Hole - please use it!
  • For a discussion of road defects, plus an intriguing insight into how potholes form - see Roads to Ruin, an article by CTC's Chris Peck for Cycle magazine (Dec/Jan 2011/12).
  • In 2003, CTC gave written and oral evidence to the Parliamentary Transport Committee's inquiry into local roads and pathways, explaining why maintenance is so important to cyclists. The Committee agreed.

Local authorities and Government are letting cyclists down by failing to ensure the road network is kept in a condition safe for them to use. This must be a key factor in deterring potential cyclists and in the disappointing levels of cycle use.

Local Roads and Pathways (Parliamentary Transport Committee Report on its inquiry, 2003)

CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • Maintenance policies should prioritise cycle routes and facilities and the 1.5m of carriageway closest to the kerbside where cyclists commonly ride.
  • The positioning of drainage, cats eyes and road studs should be planned to avoid as far as is possible: cycle lanes; the metre strip on the left side of major roads and the kerbside within one metre of the carriageway.
  • Routine maintenance including cleaning and sweeping should be timetabled in respect of all cycle facilities
  • On busy roads, gully openings should be in the kerb face, rather than on the carriageway surface.
  • The highways authority should consider cyclists whilst exercising its powers of quality control during and after street works.
  • The Codes of Practice should safeguard the interests of cyclists.
  • Fines for individual defects should be sufficient to deter large companies such as the statutory undertakers from carrying out inadequate reinstatement.
  • A safe alternative facility for cyclists and/or pedestrians should be provided where streetworks obstruct a shared path or footway.
  • Cycle speeds should be taken into account in the phasing of all temporary traffic signals.
  • The standards of reinstatement established under the 1991 Streetworks Act should be maintained.
  • Personal security should be a consideration in the provision of lighting. Any defect in street lighting should be repaired within 48 hours of notification.
  • Cycle lanes or tracks should be lit where practical.
Publication Date: 
April 2012
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