Saturday, 20 April 2013

Shared paths - The lazy Council's infrastructure

Not really shared when
you have to give way
Clagging tarmac down & a sign doesn't
make for quality cycle infrastructure
In my experience shared paths are the laziest and most thoughtless option Councils employ so that the cycling provision box can be ticked.

Too often they are simply not wide enough. they need to be wide enough to allow 2 bikes to pass comfortably as well as pedestrian space, and also to allow handtrikes, and other disabled and wider equipment such cycle trailers to pass. I have had it commented to me by a Council cycling officer that painted segregation lines cost money to maintain so are not specified. 

The photos below are from the shared path though Temple Park in South Shields. An excellent specially built shared path, but why wasn't it built with segregation? And why put the barriers there? A couple of bollards would have done the same job, and permitted easier access for disabled cycles and trailers etc. Make them removable, and the council road sweepers can run along every now and again to sweep up the glass!

But the entrance barriers restrict access
Nice and wide once on the cycleway

If new paths are being laid then surely it is not too much to provide a kerb as a segregation. The example below on NCN 14 at Tyne Dock in South Shields is a first rate example of quality segregation for a few hundred metres at least!

Great split level segregation for a few hundred metres
Also all too often shared use signs are put up by councils, with no repeater or end signs. This encourages pavement cycling and fosters the thought amongst people starting to ride bikes that it is legal to ride on the pavement. 

The shortsightedness of most cycle routes to end with the rider having to ride on the pavement to find a dropped kerb also reinforces the view that all pavement cycling is legal.

Councils need to get their act together and realise that road and pavement space is for the safe transit of all people regardless of transport mode, and that they have a duty to provide, and not doing so is simple negligence. 

If the people in charge cannot act for the safety of all then it is their responsibility to stand aside for others that can and do act in the best interests of all.

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