Friday, 2 August 2013
Exempting cyclists from "No-Entry" restrictions
If we are to achieve more cycling, to cut congestion and to improve public health, cycling needs to be more convenient as well as less frightening. The high cycling levels in central London show that even with a cyclist hostile road system, plenty of people will cycle if it is significantly more convenient than the other forms of transport. The low level of cycling in places like Stevenage and Milton Keynes show that even when people can cycle free from cars, they won't if it's inconvenient. In the Netherlands, where 27% of journeys are made by bike, cycling is both comfortable and convenient.
Some people seem to think that there's no need to bother with the "except cycles" sign as cyclists will ignore the No Entry sign anyway. Well, despite the propaganda in some sections of the media, not all cyclists disobey traffic signs and the more that cyclists feel that they are accepted as legitimate road users (rather than nuisances getting in the way of the real traffic) the more respect they will give to signage. In the meantime the idea that cyclists are habitual lawbreakers justifies, in some people's minds, the harassment of cyclists by motorists. It also makes it more difficult for the council to get public acceptance of road changes which benefit cyclists but inconvenience other road users.
Recently proposals to erect no entry signs on Lammas Road and Park Road have been published. I'll object to both on the grounds that cyclists should be exempted from the traffic ban. In other words the new signs should have "except cyclists" on them.
Lammas Road proposal
Lammas Road is currently a rat-run for motorists on Holyhead Road wishing to turn left into Moseley Ave. Using Lammas Road avoids the traffic lights. Hence the proposal to put a "No entry" sign at the Holyhead Road end. This is reasonable, rat running is anti-social behaviour. But why include cyclists? No noise and pretty slow, residents wouldn't notice them. What a good advertisement for cycling - cyclists using a shortcut while motorists have to wait in a queue.
Park Road proposal
Currently there's a wall along the side of Quinton Road to stop motor vehicles crossing between Quinton Road and Park Road. The idea is to knock down the wall and move a lamp post to allow taxis from the station (at the other end of Park Road) to access the ring road, via Quinton Road. Clearly if all types of traffic were allowed to exit Park Road, there would be an unacceptable increase in Park Road's traffic. But, as with Lammas Road, what's the problem with cyclists using the exit?
As I live just off the Binley Road, I always use Park Road when cycling home from the station. I often see other cyclists cutting across the pavement between Park Road and Quinton Road. Joining the ring road at junction 5 to reach Gulson Road might be too scary an experience for many would-be cyclists, but it is a lot more convenient than using a route past the police station and council house. Some cyclists use Park Road, cross Quinton Road and Mile Lane and then cycle along Parkside using the subway system to reach Gulson Road.
Money is being spent on improving taxi access between Friargate station and the east of the city, why can't some be spent on improving cycle access?