Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cycle Coventry - First Impressions

Over the past month I have cycled along most of the proposed routes. I've a few general comments which I hope to raise at the Cycle Coventry Advisory Group meetings:
  1. Monitoring. Early on is the only time to find the baseline cycle usage. Not only should the cycle use on the proposed routes be measured, but also on alternative routes, to check how much cycle traffic is generated by the improvements and how much is merely shifted. More accurate data about current usage might also be helpful in assessing the usefulness of various improvements.
  2. Website It might be a good idea to establish a website early-on to report on progress and plans. Inviting comments from (would-be) users. An example from Lancaster & Morecambe
  3. Could route 4 be extended along Corporation Street to join routes 2 and 3? If so re-installation of the facility for cyclists to by-pass buses waiting at the Upper Well Street junction could be examined. Buses block the carriageway as they wait behind other traffic waiting to turn right from Corporation Street at the traffic signals. At the moment there's a danger of cyclists taking to the footway to avoid the congestion.
I've also some comments about each of the routes:

North-East Routes
South-West Routes


  1. A web site would be a good idea to get proposals reviewed before the design has gone too far to be changed.

    I think the most important thing is that the routes are continuous, no “Cyclists dismount” signs to be ignored. I’ve never seen a “Motorists please push your car” sign! I am more of a danger to pedestrians pushing my bike than riding it, and pushing a bike takes up more pavement width.

    The routes proposed look good, but we need to make sure they are implemented properly. The aim in the proposals was to encourage people to cycle to work, but the Coventry Telegraph quotes the council as saying "In designing these cycle lanes we will be looking to protect families who cycle, rather than producing fast tracks for cyclists."

    I use route one quite often so here’s my “two-penneth”.

    I share your concern about traffic on Widdrington Road. The parking bays on both sides of the road make it narrow and make it difficult for vehicles to overtake, this makes them impatient. Cars/vans here have driven very close behind me and cut me up when overtaking . This compares to the rest of the city where drivers are generally more considerate. Perhaps "pinch points" narrowing the road to a single car’s width (with cyclist bypass on each side) would slow traffic without the need for a speed limit reduction (which would be ignored).

    I originally used Ellys road as the route out of town, but have switched to using Sandy Lane as it makes the turn into Widdrington Road easier and I don’t feel that I’m holding up cars as I can do ~20mph on the downhill section.

    Lydgate Avenue is quite busy, particularly at the top by the double mini-roundabouts so a central reserve will be required at the crossing points at the northern end of the Radford Common paths.

    Google earth shows a lot of parked cards on the north side of Station Street West so I don't think a cycle lane wil be very popular.

    Lockhurst Lane is very busy and vehicles turning at Kingfield Road and to/from the petrol station make on road cycling difficult. A Pavement cycle lane is probably the better option, but this leaves the problem of crossing Lockhurst Lane and re-join the on-road section. Perhaps Endermere Road-Durbar Avenue ofers a better route?


  2. Hello Peter,

    I wondered about "protect(ing) families who cycle, rather than producing fast tracks for cyclists". I don't see there being much scope for "family cycling" along much of the routes as they will be shared with motorists. The statement might refer to the proposed upgrade of the Sowe Valley path.

    Considering Widdrington Road, I'm also skeptical about reducing the speed limit without backing it with physical measures.

    I suspect the proposed route uses Ellys Road as less confident cyclists on Sandy Lane would be unwilling to move out to the right to make the turn. If some sort of protected area is made in the middle of Sandy Lane, cyclists will be able to cross in two stages, if they so wish.

    At Lockhurst Lane, I think the council has an Endermere Road-Station Street West solution in mind. That's a right turn into the main road, left turn out, staggered crossing. Easier for cyclists than than a left turn in, right turn out. If so, I'd argue for removal of the right turn lane on the north side of Station Street West. Restricting the motor traffic queue to one vehicle width would effectively throttle the volume of motor traffic which would be a good thing for both cyclists and residents.

  3. Monitoring - agreed, need to know before and after, but also to have an overall modal split target, not just in these areas, but for city as a whole. We need to start pushing the Charter of Brussels, which would call for 15% modal share by 2020. That might be a bit soon, but we can ask. Better to aim at the stars and hit the moon than to aim at a lamppost and hist the pavement.

    Web - absolutely. Having previously built a very high traffic travel website, I have a number of ideas to put to the council here.

    Routes - I will comment / email later in due course. My worry is that in the rush to go "shared space" - which looks great, they have put in too many pinch points. The Dutch would never mix such a high volume of buses with bikes in this way.

  4. Hello, I commute from Coventry to Warwick Uni most days, along the route tagged on the Coventry Cyclist website as "Route 7". I would like to contribute my opinions to your map of this route.

    Pedestrian crossing at Greyfriars road dangerous- steady stream of pedestrians, no bike lane forcing cyclists to weave in and out of pedestraians. Bike lane removed. No way to show drivers which way you're going.

    Greyfriars road: parking has introduced dooring zones on both sides of the road. Also terrible road surface.

    Bike lane under Ringway Queens to Grosvenor Rd- 3 blind corners on bike lane, and one switchback. Difficult to cycle. No mirrors to see oncoming cycles.

    Grosvenor Rd, separate, contraflow bike lane- closest I've come to being doored (2 feet).

    Pedestrian bridge over Central Six: road surface very slippery, prone to icing, not gritted in mornings. Surface on cycle lane obviously worse than pedestrian side of path. Lights missing, area very dark.

    Junction of Spencer Ave and Dalton Road. Blind t-junction for cyclists. Path off-set so cyclist must cross 3 lanes of oncoming traffic. Parking makes two of those lanes invisible. I had my first case of verbal abuse (black BMW, school run terrible driver) here this week.

    Junction of Warwick Ave and Stoneleign Ave, Beechwood Ave: I saw cyclist hit by a car here. Parking blocks lines of sight in both directions. Turning cars cut corners.

    Stoneleigh ave: bad road surface- holes around manhole covers.

    Junction of Stoneleigh Ave, Kenilworth Road: bike lane disappears- forcing cyclists onto road at turn. Northbound cars' line of sight obstructed by crossing- they can't see you on bike path.

    Kenilworth Road bus lay-by (near A45). Southbound cyclists funnelled off bike lane into layby in front of oncoming buses.

    Junction of A45 and Kenilworth Rd. Cars routinely run red lights on this junction. No pedestrian crossing at all. Police say council issue, as has been no accidents reported here [yet]

    Junction of A429 and Cannon Park Rd. Bike lane junction badly places to see oncoming traffic (north-south). Cars also jump curb onto bike lane.

  5. Thanks for the comments. I hope to update
    with them before 7th January.

  6. I've just updated
    with your comments (and one or two of my own).