Monday, 31 October 2011

Coventry's "Cycle Lane" Review

Following representations by members of The Earlsdon Wheelers cycling club, Coventry Council has decided to conduct a review of "Cycle Lanes" in the city.

Traffic engineers use the term "Cycle Lane" for an area on the carriageway, marked by white lines, from which motor traffic is barred. Other people might have different definitions, but I'm not sure what they might be.

Many regular cyclists agree that while parts of Coventry's road network are reasonable for cycling, there are far too many places which are unacceptably hazardous. So many places in fact that few journeys in Coventry can be completed by bicycle without ending up in locations which feel too risky for comfortable cycling.

If Coventry were like many a city in the Netherlands there would 30 kph (18 mph) speed limits on the side streets. Main roads would have cycle paths alongside the carriageway. Cyclists on the paths would have priority over traffic turning into or out of the side roads.

YouTube clip showing Cycle Routes in Dutch cities

While I see the lower speed limits on Coventry's side streets as a practical option in the coming years, I don't think the same can be said about cycle paths on the main radial roads. To build those sort of paths, car parking or traffic lanes would have to go. Given general public attitudes and the small numbers of cyclists in the city, that's not an option.

So, by and large, we will have to work out ways of sharing the road with motorists. That's not to say that cycle paths alongside Allard Way, the river Sowe, Coundon Wedge Drive or any of the "A" or "B" class roads in the countryside aren't practical. It's in the built up areas where cycle paths will rarely work.

I understand that part of the review will involve asking cyclists which parts of Coventry's road network are particularly bad. I'll publicise how people can submit their views when I find out myself!

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