Proposal for Pavement Cycle Track
Following our comments on the proposal to move the on road cycle lane between Knightthorpe Road and Byron Street Extension onto the pavement (see Pedal Power 102) we received a response that included the following:
“The budget for the current proposals does not stretch to amending or providing new facilities along the length of the A6 through Loughborough; however, we would be happy to meet to review the whole of the route at some future date. Can you therefore please confirm whether you would prefer the scheme be implemented, as shown on Drawing No. 3910.025/Z1/1/1, or for the road/ footway layout to remain as it is?”
In the circumstances and following some discussion in the Yahoo forum the following response was sent:
While the current on road provision is a "substandard mandatory cycle lane" we do not believe that the proposed replacement would be regarded as of a high standard by many cyclists. Whilst it will no doubt be of use to cyclists intimidated by the A6 traffic, it will hinder those attempting to use bicycles in the place of cars, who wish to complete their journeys in a timely manner.
As stated in our initial response "There is also a danger that this proposal will increase conflict between cyclists who continue to use the road and motorists. Many drivers object to cyclists on the road when there is a low quality cycle facility available and have been known to "cut them up", thus increasing the risk to the cyclist."
Consequently we suggest that the best compromise would be to leave a cycle lane on the carriageway whilst providing a shared use facility on the pavement. This would make it clear to drivers that cyclists have a legitimate choice and avoid delaying faster cyclists. We would have no objection to removing the "mandatory" element of the cycle lane and marking out a wider (1.5 metre) non mandatory lane (which does not have to meet the criteria for mandatory lanes) or demarcating it with large painted cycles on the carriageway.
The current weather situation highlights the benefit of keeping cyclists on the road. The roads are salted/gritted whilst the pavements/cycle tracks are generally sheet ice.
We would be pleased to review the whole of the route with you at a mutually convenient time in the future as you suggest.
Please try and attend the AGM which takes place at John Storer House at 7-30pm on 11th March.
New Bridge at Cossington completes Connect 2 Watermead
The opening of the new pedestrian/cycle bridge across the River Wreake on 21st February marked the completion of Leicestershire's Green Route 1 (Leicester - Belgrave - Birstall - Thurmaston – Syston/Cossington).
This walking and cycling route follows the River Soar and Grand Union Canal via Watermead Country Park and more details can be found here. Pictures taken at the opening can be seen below .
A success and some falls
some extracts from a letter by Michael Forrest
I have written to LCC, thanking them for the allotment bollards (Ed.preventing parking on the cycletrack to the south of Hathern alongside the A6) and the deletion of the unloved and ill considered cycle crossing of the A6, which was deadly and never used in anger.
On Monday (Ed. Writing 23/1/13) I had to go into Loughborough in the snow. I went in on the cyclepath, riding in the deep undisturbed snow at the edges, which was hard work but possible until hitting a baulk of timber left under the snow and falling off. Later, I rode in car wheel tracks until hitting a frozen ridge and coming off a second time. Not a good idea at 81.
So I rode home on the road. Bliss! No bumps or rattles, no steps to ride up or down, billiard table smoothness, with journey times halved due to energy saved not jigging up and down. No snow, either. But shall have to find a new source of old bits for my old bicycle (1930) now that Beacon Cycles has closed. They were very helpful.
PS – more people are killed annually on our roads than have been killed in a ten year military campaign in Afghanistan. But who cares?
Dangerous driving and cycling
From Ruth Youngs
I thought you may be interested in this re mens rea of dangerous driving:
"Dangerously" A person is to be regarded as driving dangerously for the purposes of sections 1 and 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 if the way he/she drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous; or if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state (for the purpose of the determination of which regard may be had to anything attached to or carried on or in it, and to the manner in which it is attached or carried) would be dangerous.
In this context, "dangerous" refers to danger either of injury to any person or of serious damage to property; and in determining what would be expected of, or obvious to, a competent and careful driver in a particular case, regard shall be had not only to the circumstances of which he could be expected to be aware but also to any circumstances shown to have been within the knowledge of the accused.
In Attorney General's Reference (No 4 of 2000) (2001) 2 Cr. App. R. 417 Woolf CJ said at p 422:
The essential limbs, as is common ground, do not require any specific intent to drive dangerously. Section 2A sets out a wholly objective test. The concept of what is obvious to a careful driver places the question of what constitutes dangerous driving within the province of the jury.
Thus, whereas the underlying test of dangerousness is objective, a test based on the concept of "obviousness" considers the extent of knowledge as to causation. This test is hybrid, drawing both on the actual subjective knowledge that the accused had in his or her mind at the time the actus reus of driving occurred, and on the knowledge that would have been in the mind of a reasonable person (see mens rea and criminal negligence for discussion on the nature of these tests and the scope of the reasonable person).
The Court of Appeal held in the case of R v Banister that police drivers get no special treatment. "...the special skill (or indeed lack of skill) of a driver is an irrelevant circumstance when considering whether the driving is dangerous."
You can read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangerous_driving.
Two Way Cycle Access in All Streets
This will be cyclenation's specific local campaign for 2013. To quote from their website:
This is an idea, we think, whose time has come. The DfT document, ‘Signing the way’ proposed a simplification of the procedure for doing this, based on widespread use on the Continent and a successful trial in London.
The principle is that one-way streets should always allow for two-way cycling, just as they do for two-way walking, unless there is an over-riding reason why not. Such a reason might include the width of the road (although a cyclist can always find a spot between parked cars to wait for oncoming traffic), heavy traffic, for example the road might be an access route for HGV’s, or the presence of a tramway. Speed of traffic could also be a factor in deciding whether to allow contra-flow cycling and if it can be brought in in the context of a default area-wide 20mph speed limit, so much the better.
The current status is this:
The 'Signing the Way' paper was published by the DfT on October 2011. This stated:
“ English local authorities will be able to place the combined sign 'No Entry except cycles' where they consider appropriate. “
This replaced the previous guidance that mandated traffic islands and other measures to 'protect' cyclists within contra-flow lanes.
At the moment, councils outside London still have to ask permission from the DfT to use the simplified version of the contra-flow. From 2014 they will be able to do so without permission. Pilots in London have been very successful, with no noticeable increase in casualties and definite benefits for cyclists.
So what local groups be doing about this?
Here are our suggestions:
- Identify the streets in your area that are suitable for contra-flow cycling. (Cyclescape could be useful for this). If they’re not suitable because the traffic speed is too high, get together with your local 20’s Plenty group to press for a speed reduction (as part of an overall reduction in traffic speeds in the area)
- Make sure your local council officers are aware of the changes in DfT guidelines. We often find that campaigners are more aware of DfT changes than local officers.
- Get that list in to your local council and ask them to let you have their timescale for making these changes.
- Keep on at them until they do it!