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£36k to let people know that cycle paths exist in Dorset

Council says people aren't using cycle routes - becuase they don't know they are there...

Dorset Council has found £36,000 to buy new signage promoting the local cycle routes - because they discovered many people don’t know it exists.

The cash from the Coastal Community Fund will fund route markers across the borough's 24 mile cycle network.

Wayne Sayers, the authority's sustainable transport manager, told the Bournemouth Echo: "We are pleased to have been awarded funding for new and improved signage for the cycling paths in Christchurch.

"The road network suffers from traffic congestion so encouraging more people to undertake more of their journeys by bicycle will help reduce carbon emissions and improve the environment for local people.

"We are working to make active travel a bigger part of our culture, connecting Dorset’s residents to their schools, shops, work and leisure facilities whilst improving health and cutting pollution."

 

 

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13 comments

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ClubSmed | 6 years ago
2 likes

I think that extra money spent on signage has to be a good thing, surely all money directed to cycling is good unless it is for a counter-intuative project.

The national cycle path route I take on my daily commute is one mile more than the road route (3.5 vs. 4.5) but both routes take exactly the same amount of time. A cycle route in my opinion does not have to be perfectly direct to be useful, as long as it is not completely out the way it can work well.

Avatar
Al__S | 6 years ago
2 likes

In the Netherlands, it's common to have (as well as the slightly cryptic knoppunt signs) Red-on-white signs giving the shortest cycle route to a destination, and green-on-white ones where there's a less direct but more scenice/quieter/not adjacent to a motorway route (in all cases these will be tarmac routes). Quite common that the red-on-white route will be signed with a shorter distance than the route shown for motor vehicles! But then, of course, in most of the country they do have that wide, high quality, cycleway down the main roads.

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ktache | 6 years ago
4 likes

More signs are good.  Cycle routes are very rarely adequetely signposted.

When you are on one, there is often a lack of signs telling you where you are and where you are going, and if you come off one getting back onto it is not always the easiest thing.

Avatar
zsoltschuller | 6 years ago
3 likes

This is a non-story as far as I can tell.

What's the suprise that the Council want to put direction signs up to help people understand where to go and to promote the opportunities to those who currently don't cycle?

£36,000 is peanuts in the scheme of Highway works. Might get you a zebra crossing but not much more.

 

Avatar
kevvjj replied to zsoltschuller | 6 years ago
0 likes
zsoltschuller wrote:

This is a non-story as far as I can tell.

What's the suprise that the Council want to put direction signs up to help people understand where to go and to promote the opportunities to those who currently don't cycle?

£36,000 is peanuts in the scheme of Highway works. Might get you a zebra crossing but not much more.

 

Totally agree. I wonder what fraction of the cost of road signage (those LED displays with radar telling you to slow down to 30mph for instance) this represents?

Avatar
DaveE128 | 6 years ago
1 like

Perhaps the indirect, scenic routes should be called "cycle tours" not "cycle routes"?

For what it's worth, the NCN near where I live has some very direct and useful routes. Others are circuituous in places. A road bike isn't the right bike for many of them, but a crosser is just fine, as are many hybrids. But then I wouldn't really advise most people, if they are buying a single bike for transport to buy a road bike. They're unsuitable for other reasons such as luggage carrying. The anachronistic term "racing bike" is perhaps more accurate.

Avatar
ooldbaker | 6 years ago
1 like

Cycle routes in Dorset serve very different purposes. families out to enjoy the countryside and commuters.

The County Council's own website highlight the situation by stating that national cycle route 26 goes from Sherborne to Dorchester, (a journey I take often) "is 28 miles and goes through many pretty villages". It is absolutely right but by the A352 the journey is 17 miles and it goes through rather fewer pretty villages. I did route 26 once on a mountain bike and it was very enjoyable but would not attempt it on my road bike or if I was in a hurry.

You need a network of roads to get between the major towns as well as the leisure networks rather than lumping them together as "cycle routes" Also if you have to get out of the towns to join the network it is no surprise if people do not know they exist. You need to start routes at the centre of a town. 

The first time I took the cycle route south from Dorchester towards Weymouth I had no idea where it would take me. I was completely surprised to find it went right into Weymouth following an old disused road and apart from having to cross main roads once at each end you were completely separated from traffic. 

You should start from the viewpoint that you need to keep cyclists safe in towns and completely off the main roads A37 A35 A30 and they need good alternatives to these.

I would travel one or two extra miles for a quiet route but not the difference between 28 and 17 miles also having to open/close gates and go off-road for significant distances.

Away for these few main roads the B roads, smaller A roads and country lanes are fantastic to cycle in. The council should make more of this asset.

Avatar
ooldbaker | 6 years ago
0 likes

Cycle routes in Dorset serve very different purposes. families out to enjoy the countryside and commuters.

The County Council's own website highlight the situation by stating that national cycle route 26 goes from Sherborne to Dorchester, (a journey I take often) "is 28 miles and goes through many pretty villages". It is absolutely right but by the A352 the journey is 17 miles and it goes through rather fewer pretty villages. I did route 26 once on a mountain bike and it was very enjoyable but would not attempt it on my road bike or if I was in a hurry.

You need a network of roads to get between the major towns as well as the leisure networks rather than lumping them together as "cycle routes" Also if you have to get out of the towns to join the network it is no surprise if people do not know they exist. You need to start routes at the centre of a town. 

The first time I took the cycle route south from Dorchester towards Weymouth I had no idea where it would take me. I was completely surprised to find it went right into Weymouth following an old disused road and apart from having to cross main roads once at each end you were completely separated from traffic. 

You should start from the viewpoint that you need to keep cyclists safe in towns and completely off the main roads A37 A35 A30 and they need good alternatives to these.

I would travel one or two extra miles for a quiet route but not the difference between 28 and 17 miles also having to open/close gates and go off-road for significant distances.

Away for these few main roads the B roads, smaller A roads and country lanes are fantastic to cycle in. The council should make more of this asset.

Avatar
ooldbaker | 6 years ago
4 likes

Cycle routes in Dorset serve very different purposes. families out to enjoy the countryside and commuters.

The County Council's own website highlight the situation by stating that national cycle route 26 goes from Sherborne to Dorchester, (a journey I take often) "is 28 miles and goes through many pretty villages". It is absolutely right but by the A352 the journey is 17 miles and it goes through rather fewer pretty villages. I did route 26 once on a mountain bike and it was very enjoyable but would not attempt it on my road bike or if I was in a hurry.

You need a network of roads to get between the major towns as well as the leisure networks rather than lumping them together as "cycle routes" Also if you have to get out of the towns to join the network it is no surprise if people do not know they exist. You need to start routes at the centre of a town. 

The first time I took the cycle route south from Dorchester towards Weymouth I had no idea where it would take me. I was completely surprised to find it went right into Weymouth following an old disused road and apart from having to cross main roads once at each end you were completely separated from traffic. 

You should start from the viewpoint that you need to keep cyclists safe in towns and completely off the main roads A37 A35 A30 and they need good alternatives to these.

I would travel one or two extra miles for a quiet route but not the difference between 28 and 17 miles also having to open/close gates and go off-road for significant distances.

Away for these few main roads the B roads, smaller A roads and country lanes are fantastic to cycle in. The council should make more of this asset.

Avatar
Canyon48 | 6 years ago
3 likes

Couldn't agree more with the previous comments.

Around North Somerset, the recommended cycle routes follow narrow, twisty, undulating rutted lanes before taking you around housing estates.

Makes no sense, they are difficult to get to, slow to ride and don't really go anywhere.

If only a cycle path could be built along every railway...

Avatar
dodpeters | 6 years ago
4 likes

I'm quite sure that if the road network was of the same standard as the cycle network nobody would be using that either.

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Man of Lard | 6 years ago
3 likes

One (amazingly​ obvious) way to encourage people to use cycle routes is for them to go where people want and not on an epic tour of every back lane of a town and take sensible direct routes between towns.

I live ~60 miles from Newcastle, ~50 from Edinburgh. To get to either on a bike, you can easily safely (at least no less safely than the cycle route) cycle the normal signposted route along the road. Both destinations are signposted on NCN1 too Newcastle 112, Edinburgh 90. 

Local destinations are as bad - nearest towns 9, 14 & 15 (by NCN 14, 22 & 31) the direct routes are also less undulating and neither has ridiculous traffic... The third one is totally impassable on anything less than a hardtail MTB.

If you want to see somewhere you've never been before (and possibly didn't know existed) try an official cycle route!

Avatar
brooksby | 6 years ago
6 likes

If so many people don't know that they're there, I suspect that they're not exactly convenient and/or direct routes, are they?

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