Made to Move
Chris Boardman, who has been appointed as Greater Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner, has issued a report that sets out the goal that cycling should double and then double again in the metropolitan area and make walking the natural choice for as many short trips as possible. This is to be done by putting people first, creating world class streets for walking, building one of the world’s best cycle networks, and creating a genuine culture of cycling and walking.
However this will come at a price estimated at £1.5 billion spread over ten years and is a huge commitment. Where it will all come from is the real challenge for Mayor Andy Burnham, and Chris Boardman himself. This does make clear how major a commitment would be required if the rest of the UK were to pursue a similar policy to bring it up to the cycling levels seen in the more progressive countries in Europe.
To quote from Chris Boardman’s Mission Statement:
The Mayor’s ambition for Greater Manchester is for it to be the best place in the UK to grow up and grow old in, to live and work in and to get-on in life. To achieve this ambition, we could look for inspiration at some of the highest-ranking countries on the world’s happiness index: the Netherlands and Denmark.
“For too long our town and city streets have been designed around motorised vehicles, leaving them unsafe, unattractive and difficult to navigate on foot or by bike.
The Mayor’s ambition for Greater Manchester is for it to be the best place in the UK to grow up and grow old in, to live and work in and to get-on in life. To achieve this ambition, we could look for inspiration at some of the highest-ranking countries on the world’s happiness index: the Netherlands and Denmark.And what do they have in common? They prioritise walking and cycling above all other modes of transport".
It would be great if our national government had a similar ambition rather than just a successful Brexit.
Problems in Loughborough High St (cont.)
I also have had problems, although may be not as severe. I think the problem is the road appears to motorists coming towards the market place as one way due to the road markings, and view cyclist coming away from the town centre as being in the wrong, and shouldn’t be there. I was a passenger in a car when this happened, the driver muttered under his breath as a cyclist passes him, and only when I pointed out the signage and road markings did he take me seriously.
I think the quickest solution is the solid white line to indicate the cycle lane beyond the bus stands, and “give priority to oncoming cyclist” signage.
I am certainly very wary when riding towards Leicester Road along High Street but fortunately have yet to suffer the abuse received by Tim Birkinshaw. I do know of one other rider who was nearly run in to at that location.
One of the major causes of traffic on High Street is that Sat Navs route vehicles along it even though it is for access only.
No one seems to realise that this section of the High St is officially closed to all except buses and cyclists. The notice is at the entrance to that part of the street adjoining Woodgate. Why the council have marked an area for normal parking beats me.
I think the only way to resolve this is with a solid white line all the way from the Baxter Gate corner to the Woodgate corner. This would probably require a Traffic Regulation Order, designating a contra-flow cycle lane; I don’t think there are any vehicles other than cycles that legitimately go along the High Street in this direction.
I had a similar experience just last week, but at the other side of the market place where there is an identical situation. I cycled past the 'No entry, except for cyclists' signs (just near Wilkinsons) in the direction of the Amber Rooms and encountered a car coming directly towards me (on my side of the road, their right hand side) madly flashing their lights for me to get out of the way. I think there is a huge amount of misunderstanding about the status of these two stretches of road. I definitely agree that it needs to be made clearer that they are two-way and that drivers should expect cyclists and other road users to be coming towards them. A white line down the middle would help, as would a 'two way traffic' sign at the start of each section. I would also agree that extending the cycle lanes would provide some added protection. I am not surprised so few cyclists use these routes - you are certainly risking you life if you do.
Because of the two way traffic a mandatory cycle lane is not practicable. Perhaps we should ask for a green surfaced 2 metre wide advisory cycle lane with lots of cycle symbols instead. However the 20mph speed limit on Biggin Street (yes, it just needs properly signing) should be extended to all roads in the town centre (perhaps including Greenclose Lane, Frederick Street, Browns Lane and Wood Gate) and enforced where required. High Street and Baxter Gate up to Lemyngton Street should be bus priority areas (which can be enforced by cameras) with the same exceptions as the existing High Street TRO.
Before the pedestrianisation many of the junctions and crossing on the old A6 had a thermoplastic brick effect surface. This might help deter drivers going along the High Street. A camera certainly would (and also help the coffers of Leicestershire County Council).
It's worth noting that the problem of cars using High Street as a cut through is mentioned in the new Loughborough Masterplan. I think the proposed solution was to use a different type of paving to mark this as more of a pedestrian priority area. Enforcement (e.g. with cameras) was not mentioned.
The masterplan also suggests that Southfield Road could become two-way, and Woodgate be used for local access only. I think this could have significant benefits for cycling, especially if two-way cycling is allowed on Woodgate. I also think this would considerably reduce the number of cars using High Street as a short cut, since when travelling north-east along Southfield Road, it will be obvious to go straight ahead onto the inner relief road, rather than turning left onto Leicester Road.
I recall reading somewhere that a surprisingly large number of people do not know the meaning of a "No motor vehicles" sign! "No Entry" is much better understood, and I believe councils are free to use this if they think it would be better.
.. the 2 way for cyclists is a dangerous cheap design because vehicles coming the other way think its a 1 way st and by extension that they have the whole width. Needs physical segregation like london cycle super highways.
Ray Clay wearing his Cycling UK hat has approached Leicestershire County Council on the matter and evoked this response from David Mouland, Senior Engineer with the Traffic and Signals Team:
..with regard to the unauthorised use of High Street and Baxter Gate this is something the
Council is keen to tackle and to that end is proposing a number of measures. This includes signing and lining in Woodgate and Leicester Road to encourage drivers to use the Inner Relief Road, as intended, as well as a pair of speed cushions in High Street and a refuge in High Street at the Woodgate junction. Once these measures are in place we will be liaising with Leicestershire Police with regard to enforcing the restriction.
..with regard to the unauthorised use of High Street and Baxter Gate this is something the Council is keen to tackle and to that end is proposing a number of measures. This includes signing and lining in Woodgate and Leicester Road to encourage drivers to use the Inner Relief Road, as intended, as well as a pair of speed cushions in High Street and a refuge in High Street at the Woodgate junction. Once these measures are in place we will be liaising with Leicestershire Police with regard to enforcing the restriction.With regard to extending the cycle lane to the Woodgate junction I will seek advice as to whether we can include that in the measures that we are proposing. In the meantime however I am hopeful that the measures we hope to start installing soon will reduce the amount of traffic using High Street and Baxter Gate therefore hopefully reducing the problems that cyclists are experiencing.
Driver eye-testing campaign
‘Don’t swerve an eye test’ is a new campaign from The Association of Optometrists (AOP) who want drivers to prove they meet the legal requirement for driving standards every 10 years, and more frequently as they get older.
With an estimated 2900 road casualties caused by poor vision every year, the AOP campaign reminds motorists that a sight test, every two years, can help them stay safe and reduce the number of accidents on UK roads.
The Minister for Transport Legislation and Maritime, John Hayes, has encouraged the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to remind drivers of the importance of good vision.
Clinical director at the AOP, Dr Peter Hampson, said “However, we think more action on drivers’ vision is needed to make sure people are meeting the vision standards,”
“Our research indicates that many continue to drive, sometimes unknowingly, below the required standard. As a result, we believe that all drivers should prove that their vision meets the legal standard to be granted a licence and then every 10 years, thereafter. This simple step will improve safety on our roads and could save lives.”
London’s Superhighways move commuters
(based on an article in Cycling UK Cycle Campaign News)
Monitoring of central London’s segregated cycle lanes shows that they are moving at least five times more people per square metre than the main carriageway. Not only that, but the section between Parliament Square and Tower Hill has further improved journey times for motorised vehicles.
This clearly strengthens the case for investing in cycle-friendly infrastructure but, sadly, it seems this isn’t what everyone wants to hear. The data appear in Transport for London’s (TfL) response to a Freedom of Information request from an enquirer who seems somewhat anti-superhighway, and convinced that the scheme is making congestion worse.
We will again be holiding the AGM at the Toby Carvery, Forest Road, Loughborough, LE11 3HU at 7-30pm on Monday 12th March 2018. Please put this in you new diaries and let the Secretary know if you wish to propose any motions.