Friday, 24 February 2012

Quality Segregated Cycle Infrastructure - UK Style

Just back from a few days teaching down in Oxford. Of course I went by train and took my bicycle for travel between station, hotel and course centre. 'Twas really nice to be somewhere there are so many cyclists out and about as part of normal everyday activities. It's certainly one of the quicker ways to get round in the city. There are a number of places that encourage cycling permeability, some cycle stands dotted aroung and quite a few cycle lanes, but on the whole the infrastructure is as piecemeal and shoddy as most other towns and cities in the UK. The number of cyclists is due, in large part, to the student population plus the cycle to the train station commuter brigade.

One of the main routes I used was along A40 - the northern by pass - between Headington and north Oxford. This formed a direct and very straight route for my journey (pro) but runs alongside a very busy and noisy urban motorway (con). The cycle route is shared with pedestrians and runs on one side of A40. It does not get much pedestrian use (the main foot propelled persons I noticed using it were runners) but does see a fair number of cyclists. While wide by UK standards and separated from the road (pro) the surface is poorly maintained (con), there are road signs planted in the middle of it (con), it is two way (con), it has a double road junction to cross halfway along (con), it is unlit as is the road and so really, really dark at night (con), and at the northern end, it stops short of the roundabout by a couple of hundred metres of so and puts you back into 60 mph traffic (con). Nice!

Nothing unusual then but what really annoys me (and other cyclists too) is when someone with alleged authority directs cyclists to dismount. They really have no idea!

A decent bit of segregated cycle infrastructure?

Not good. And worse at 22 mph in the dark.

Both roads to cross. Could be worse.

No. I don't want to turn left. I want to go straight on.

On Yer Bike!

1 comment:

  1. My grandparents live around that way, I went to visit them just after I got the Brompton. I was going to use the east half of the road, but realised it was a motorway in all but name, and the provision (such as it is) didn't get me much of the way. Instead I decided to take some of the older roads, figuring that in a civilised country, they would have been extensively calmed as a part of the process of building a big bypass through the countryside. Sadly, I found the old road to still be national speed limit, without lighting and a "shared use" pavement oddly littered with rusty screws. A few days later on my way back to the station, much nearer the centre of Oxford, I was hit by a moron drifiting his Mazda into the cycle lane. Thankfully it was a low speed affair, although my new jeans were ruined.

    Needless to say, after hearing how bikey Oxford was, I was left a little disappointed.