Friday, 5 December 2014

Space for Cycling

The disastrous design of the new London Road bridge illustrates how far away we are here in Derby from having a 21st century local cycle network.
There are some excellent cycling facilities in the Riverside Path, the traffic free routes through Mackworth and Mickleover, and the path on Racecourse Park which leads to the Breadsall Greenway. 
Even in the city centre we have a few inspired on road cycle lanes, such as the one on Exeter Bridge, the contraflow lane in the Wardwick, and more recently the well designed cycle lane on Babington Lane.  The new Inner Ring Road has such good cycling features that the Council received an award from Derby Cycling Group.
However, the main reason why we do not see more people on two wheels is that most on-road cycle lanes are intermittent and do not join up, dissuading potential and nervous cyclists from using them..
Take for example the Uttoxeter Road, which runs out to Mickleover. Some short stretches have good cycle lanes but they suddenly end in the middle of nowhere, and cyclists are then exposed to following motor traffic which is often travelling too fast and too closely.
Many more people would cycle if these problems were tackled, but we can see that why they are not when we hear how many of our councillors have signed up for the Space for Cycling campaign.
Only three of the 51 have signed up!
Please ask your councillors to take a look at this video and ask them these questions.
Will you sign up to the campaign?  And if not, why not?

Click HERE for the video.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

London Road Bridge

A major traffic problem in Derby for the last 18 months has been the replacement of the bridge over the railway on London Road.
During that period, a temporary structure has been in place alongside the construction site and so pedestrians and walking cyclists have been able to use the London Road route between Wilmorton and the City Centre. This has now been removed.
No such luck for motorists however and they have added to the other local road chaos caused by serious road works at the A38/A61 (Little Eaton) and A38/A52 (Markeaton) roundabouts.
So what of the new bridge?
For the increasing numbers of automotive hotheads, a new race track, but for cyclists and pedestrians a very dangerous place to be.  My recommendation is to avoid it if you possibly can.
There are no cycle lanes and the pavements are so narrow (only 1.4m which is 55 inches) that there is hardly room for two pedestrians to pass and as for pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters very little chance without one of them stepping into the road.
To say that this is a recipe for disaster would be an understatement.
Here some photographs to show the extent of the problem.

This is how much road width is available to cyclists and pedestrians who may step off the pavement.

A lady with two shopping bags takes up most of the pavement width.
                                                       As does this pavement cyclist.

                         What happens if this young mother meets a wheelchair or mobility scooter?
                                                             Who will step into the road?

                           Young mother with pushchair at risk from traffic and illegal cyclist.

                                                 Space for cycling?  Hardly.

                                  One of the primary objectives was "To improve Road Safety".

 Broad shouldered workman almost blocks pavement
More to come on this subject as it is early days yet, work still in hand on the North side pavement (which is the wider of the two), and traffic levels not having yet built up. Buses are using the bridge, but little sign of 40 ton artics at present.
Also there is a temporary pedestrian crossing close to the Bateman Street junction and this has a calming effect on the vehicular traffic.