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Is this the worst cycling event EVER?

Cyclists banned from bringing their own bikes, must take shuttle bus to get there, and will never be allowed to ride route in Aberdeen again

The new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road (AWPR) is to host a “Go North East Road Festival” before it is opened to traffic in September. The event will offer cyclists an opportunity to “wobble or weave” on the road to promote active travel. However, people will not be allowed to bring their own bikes “for everyone’s safety” and cyclists will be banned from the road forever once the event is over.

The Community Weekend has been scheduled for Saturday September 8 and Sunday September 9. It is described as a free public event to celebrate “the opening of one of the largest infrastructure projects in Scotland, part of Transport Scotland’s commitment to improving travel in the north east.”

However, the Press and Journal reports that participants won’t be able to bring their own bikes for the cycling element of those celebrations.

The event website states: “During both event days, we are planning to have a selection of bikes for use in a ‘come and try’ arena.

“This will give an opportunity for novices and the more experienced to cycle a short section of AWPR B-T. Cyclists of all levels can wiz [sic], wobble or weave on the closed road, promoting active travel and greener transport.”

Access to the event is only by free shuttle bus and the website states: "Please note, for everyone’s safety visitors will not be able to bring their own bikes on site."

If you’re wondering how the AWPR will be of benefit to cyclists long-term, the answer is that local roads will be relieved of “strategic traffic” (whatever that is).

“The AWPR/B-T will be a Special Road, and, similar to a motorway, cyclists will be prohibited from using it for their own safety.

“However, the benefits to cyclists and pedestrians of the project are to be found in the local road networks which will be relieved of strategic traffic, with all the environmental and safety benefits this will bring.”

In an open letter to event organisers Transport Scotland, the chairman of Ride the North (a two-day cycling event which takes place later this month in Aberdeenshire and Moray) said: “I noticed yesterday the information presented online has been amended to state that cyclists cannot access with their own bicycles – but are invited to ‘wobble and weave’ on provided bikes for reasons of health and safety.

“I write to urge you to take soundings from local cyclists to gauge whether the proposals outlined will engage them as you would wish.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The event organising team has consulted with a number of local cycling groups to understand and meet their aspirations while also maintaining the safety of all visitors and the security of the site.

“More details about the festival will be announced next week but we can confirm there will be opportunities to cycle on a lengthy section of the road.

“There has been no change to any information previously provided in June and at no time has a mass participation cycling event been envisaged, given the project remains largely a construction site at this time.

“The ethos of the Go North East Road Festival is to be as inclusive as possible so that anyone can take up the opportunity to cycle on the road before it opens to traffic, regardless of ability.

“It has always been necessary to ensure that entry to the event arena is controlled for security reasons.

“This means that rather than encouraging people to bring their own bikes, we will make bikes available for people of all ages and abilities to borrow and ride on a lengthy section of the road.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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64 comments

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don simon fbpe replied to burtthebike | 5 years ago
0 likes
burtthebike wrote:
janusz0 wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

All the evidence from the past 60 years shows that traffic on local roads won't drop, but that suppressed demand will be released and because of the traffic induced by the new road, local traffic will increase.  The assumption that new roads will reduce traffic on existing roads is wrong and has been proved wrong every time, but it is still trotted out by the road builders and developers, who are as honest as the politicians who support them.

Although I agree with you, I know of a counterexample:

The Norwich Southern bypass. 

Got any figures to support that?

Yeah! Figures, 'coz figures never lie, they are never misread and certainly not misrepresented. So, get the bloody figures now!

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janusz0 replied to burtthebike | 5 years ago
1 like
burtthebike wrote:
janusz0 wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

All the evidence from the past 60 years shows that traffic on local roads won't drop, but that suppressed demand will be released and because of the traffic induced by the new road, local traffic will increase.  The assumption that new roads will reduce traffic on existing roads is wrong and has been proved wrong every time, but it is still trotted out by the road builders and developers, who are as honest as the politicians who support them.

Although I agree with you, I know of a counterexample:

The Norwich Southern bypass. 

Got any figures to support that?

Sorry Burt, no,  Just years of riding* in the area before and after 1992.  There are permanent cameras (Trafficmaster/Teltrac) counting and timing cars on the bypass, but I don't think that there are equivalent counts on the ring road.

*bicycles, motos and the occasional car trip

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burtthebike replied to janusz0 | 5 years ago
1 like
janusz0 wrote:

Although I agree with you, I know of a counterexample:

The Norwich Southern bypass. 

Got any figures to support that?

[/quote]

Sorry Burt, no,  Just years of riding* in the area before and after 1992.  There are permanent cameras (Trafficmaster/Teltrac) counting and timing cars on the bypass, but I don't think that there are equivalent counts on the ring road.

*bicycles, motos and the occasional car trip

[/quote]

That is the pattern; very temporary reduction in local traffic, but this quickly vanishes and congestion returns to previous levels and then gets worse, leading to demands for a by-pass for the by-pass in a never ending spiral of futility.

We know what works, we've known for years, so why do we keep doing the exact opposite?

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Grahamd replied to StuInNorway | 5 years ago
0 likes
StuInNorway wrote:

To be fair here, they couldn't open the entire length of the road for cyclists for the weekend without closing parts that are already open. (Where possible sections have been opened ahead of the official opening for better local access in areas) This road should have been open early 2018, but with various delays, not least the collapse of Carrillion group, it's WAY behind schedule. In view of this they are working to get the road open, but had promised an "event " before opening. I would have thought they might have managed to open a stratch between 2 junctions to let people have a ride on their own bikes, but I guess that's not going to happen.
For those wondering why the road is not open ti bikes after, that's easy, it's an urban bypass to get traffic past Aberdeen, and for those of us who have to get from Aberdeen Airport to the Dundee road when we land "back home" periodically it's going to make a huge difference. A huge amount of traffic currently stops and starts it's way through about 165 (well it feels like it) small roundabout and traffic light junctions to get around Aberdeen centre. 
Once the road opens, and the traffic on the "old" road drops, then there might be possibilities to improve cycling facilites there, but until the new road opens there is simply not space to do so.

No, to be fair this is in the same week that Edinburgh announced bike only routes periodically. One part of Scotland seems to get cycling the other ...

 

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ChairRDRF | 5 years ago
10 likes

I'm going to take a very wild guess that helmets are compulsory for this "event".

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burtthebike replied to ChairRDRF | 5 years ago
8 likes
ChairRDRF wrote:

I'm going to take a very wild guess that helmets are compulsory for this "event".

Given the knowledge shown by the organisers about cycling, a helmet rule is pretty well inevitable, and hi-viz and elbow and knee pads.  And a speed limit.  And the bikes they provide will have stabilisers.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
6 likes

Cock and Wombles spring to mind, I really hope not one person turns up, people should black ball this crud.

Disgraceful waste of money and the local roads will still be a load of shite to ride on. They should stop up these roads to motorvehicles and only allow passage through for pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians, after all 'they' have their motorway so should bloody well be forced to use it.

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RoubaixCube | 5 years ago
4 likes

If i was a local, i wouldn't waste time turning up at such an event. Same way I dont go to my own office parties because its full of managers circlejerking and slapping each other on the back for who can treat their staff the worst. 

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ConcordeCX replied to RoubaixCube | 5 years ago
10 likes
RoubaixCube wrote:

If i was a local, i wouldn't waste time turning up at such an event. Same way I dont go to my own office parties because its full of managers circlejerking and slapping each other on the back for who can treat their staff the worst. 

that sounds quite challenging, like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time.

I’m going to propose to HR that they use that as an aptitude test for the management trainee programme.

 

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Crippledbiker replied to RoubaixCube | 5 years ago
12 likes
RoubaixCube wrote:

If i was a local, i wouldn't waste time turning up at such an event. Same way I dont go to my own office parties because its full of managers circlejerking and slapping each other on the back for who can treat their staff the worst. 

If I were slightly more local, I'd show up with my wheelchair, sans bike, and make a huge scene; I'd bet money that the minibuses aren't going to be accessible, and seeing as they've made zero mention of disabled cyclists or adaptive gear, I'd also bet that they've completely failed to discharge their legal duties under the Equality Act, and in doing so placed a defacto ban on disabled persons participating in their event - Which would be a potentially actionable scenario.

Of course, I'm a cynic, but still....

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OldRidgeback replied to Crippledbiker | 5 years ago
5 likes
Crippledbiker wrote:
RoubaixCube wrote:

If i was a local, i wouldn't waste time turning up at such an event. Same way I dont go to my own office parties because its full of managers circlejerking and slapping each other on the back for who can treat their staff the worst. 

If I were slightly more local, I'd show up with my wheelchair, sans bike, and make a huge scene; I'd bet money that the minibuses aren't going to be accessible, and seeing as they've made zero mention of disabled cyclists or adaptive gear, I'd also bet that they've completely failed to discharge their legal duties under the Equality Act, and in doing so placed a defacto ban on disabled persons participating in their event - Which would be a potentially actionable scenario. Of course, I'm a cynic, but still....

 

Now that sounds like it'd cause a very amusing fuss! 

 1

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burtthebike | 5 years ago
11 likes

“The event organising team has consulted with a number of local cycling groups....."  That number being one person from one group who told them where to shove it.

“However, the benefits to cyclists and pedestrians of the project are to be found in the local road networks which will be relieved of strategic traffic, with all the environmental and safety benefits this will bring.”  It won't.  Anyone who has even briefly looked at the evidence from the past 60 years will know that new roads don't reduce levels of traffic on other roads, they merely induce extra traffic, thus creating more traffic on those roads.  Unless absolutely draconian measures are taken to reduce local traffic, exclusion zones, stopping up roads etc, local traffic will increase.

As the best quote I've ever heard about this says "Curing congestion by building more roads is like loosening your belt to cure obesity."

This has to be the saddest "cycling" event ever, and to add injury to insult, cyclists will be banned from it when they should have constructed wide, segregated parallel cycle routes. 

How about turning up with black armbands and riding off with their bikes?

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Smartstu | 5 years ago
11 likes

It's a non event and a non story. The real issue for me is that they are building miles of roads without decent cycle routes (with proper solutions at slip roads). The only reason they build roads without segregated cycle paths to the side is cost. Unless they do something to improve the 'non strategic' roads- it wont make any difference to the safety of cyclists. What will actually happen is the maintenance regime on the other routes will be downgraded (as they are seen as secondary routes) and they will deteriorate...

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FluffyKittenofT... | 5 years ago
10 likes

Pah.  In the Netherlands, this would be the cycle path! 

(So I've been led to believe...might be over-egging the Dutch pudding slightly)

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cdamian | 5 years ago
4 likes

And I complain about events where I have to wear the jersey of the event!

I would just show up a day early for this one and sneak a few km of riding in.

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roadmanshaq | 5 years ago
6 likes

Zermattjohn is bang on it's a load of bollocks.

 

Contractors hate cyclists, they don't give a monkeys about anything except their bottom line and hitting the programme. Exemplified by this joke quality half arsed "community event".

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Zermattjohn replied to roadmanshaq | 5 years ago
4 likes
roadmanshaq wrote:

Zermattjohn is bang on it's a load of bollocks.

 

Contractors hate cyclists, they don't give a monkeys about anything except their bottom line and hitting the programme. Exemplified by this joke quality half arsed "community event".

There's probably some guff about how this route will encourage "active travel" in their bid docs. They may even have been given some cash from an active travel budget to build the thing, and after years of quietly ignoring that they've remembered at the last minute and some poor sod has come up with this. Tick the box, job done.

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Crippledbiker | 5 years ago
9 likes
The Headline wrote:

However, people will not be allowed to bring their own bikes “for everyone’s safety

Event Website wrote:

A selection of bikes will be available to borrow for all that wish to cycle a section of the new AWPR B-T route. Please note, for everyone’s safety visitors will not be able to bring their own bikes on site.

Oh dear, they seem to have forgotten that not all cyclists are on two wheels or, for that matter, cycle using their legs...

I wonder, what provision have they made for disabled cyclists using, for example, Handcycles...?

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Zermattjohn | 5 years ago
13 likes

"Strategic traffic....": a well-used phrase without meaning used by traffic engineers (guilty.....).

What it means is that estimates/guestimates of motorised traffic volumes and types (private car, HGV, etc) going from points A, B, C, etc to A, B, C, etc have been plugged into a model. They've then plonked a massive new link in the middle of the network and after even more assumptions and guesswork come up with a reduction in average travel time for these important people. None of it is real, it's all done for the business case to support the funding bid, which was probably done 10 years ago, and any link to the current real-world driving patterns in the area were lost long ago. It would be interesting to see where the original traffic flows were derived from - sometimes from previous models with as little link to reality.

This explains why, when a new route is finished and open, the change to traffic flows is absolutely nothing like predicted. But, by then, it doesn't matter as it's too late to do anything other than build another one. Perfect for the next local elections.

Then it's back to the strategic model again....

PS - I quit this shambles of an industry a year ago. It really is all bollocks, sadly.

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mattsccm | 5 years ago
1 like

Just a waste of space.

The "never ride it again" bit is just click bait from this website. So what? There are other routes that are prohibited to cyclists. Would there be moans about this element if it was a new motorway link? Nope. Just whinging here.

Only use provided bikes. Well its their ball so they decide the rules.

Shuttle access only. Is there any other way? No one is mentioning that just moaning. Perhaps there is no other way if the road has no cyclist and its not open yet.

None of this is worthy of complaint. If you don't like it you don't have to go.

Havings said all that , is a bit bloody daft to have the latter 2 restrictions if they want to promote cycling in the area isn't it?

Possibly even dafter is doing it in the first place. Who the hell will really bother?

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srchar | 5 years ago
9 likes

Shame it's in Aberdeen. Somewhere with a larger local population could feasibly support an act of large scale civil disobedience.  Would be amusing to see the faces of the hi-viz not-police trying to stop a few thousand bikes descending on the road.

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EK Spinner | 5 years ago
5 likes

Theres a few few Strava segments on the AWPR where the KoM and Qom could reign supreme once the road is opened

The status of special road (Not a motorway but no bikes or tractors) has been applied to a few dual carriageways over the years in Scotland, as far as I am aware they have all been in place from when the road was opened having been built on greenfield sites and thus not closing any existing routes (Edinburgh city by pass and Glasgow Southern Orbital). not sure about the Edinburgh By Pass but in the case of the GSO the old routes are very quiet and I believe accptable. However in the case of the long awaited AWPR there has long been a demand for cycling facilities to the South of the city and I believe an opportunity has been ignored.
Further to that the Deeside way (well used old railway tarmaced cycle track 6 miles direct from Peterculter into city) has now been crossed by the AWPR and the originally promised bridge quietly forgotten so users now need to cross a dual carriageway with NSL (70mph)

Bear in mind that this is not a missing link in the motorway network (the nearest Motorway is nearly 100 miles away), perhaps if it had been built to MWay standards the cycling facilities would ironically have been better
And the answer to your headline question YES it does sound like one of the worst events ever

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OldRidgeback | 5 years ago
10 likes

What would happen in a bunch of MTBers rode some of the country tracks to get to the route and just turned up? Would some officious do-gooder in high viz chase them down?

If I lived in the area, I'd be tempted to cut across country and ride the route on a muddy MTB. It might even be worth encouraging some locals to do so!

 1

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EK Spinner replied to OldRidgeback | 5 years ago
1 like
OldRidgeback wrote:

What would happen in a bunch of MTBers rode some of the country tracks to get to the route and just turned up? Would some officious do-gooder in high viz chase them down?

If I lived in the area, I'd be tempted to cut across country and ride the route on a muddy MTB. It might even be worth encouraging some locals to do so!

 1

 

From the stories I have heard from some local strava segment chasers then yes that officious do gooder would chase them down (in his pick up truck) and try to take thier photographs to send to who knows who.

I believe the site has been expemt from the "Right to roam" legislation because it is covered seperatly as a construction site for the last couple of years

 

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theSplund replied to OldRidgeback | 5 years ago
1 like
OldRidgeback wrote:

What would happen in a bunch of MTBers rode some of the country tracks to get to the route and just turned up? Would some officious do-gooder in high viz chase them down?

If I lived in the area, I'd be tempted to cut across country and ride the route on a muddy MTB. It might even be worth encouraging some locals to do so!

 1

Exactly what I was thinking, though unfortunately I live in Devon

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rxpell | 5 years ago
6 likes

This was always going to be a cr*p event.  It was not going to be an opportunity to access all 27 or so miles of the new road by bike for one day (and enjoy the nice new smooth surface), it was just going to be a small section of it.

What is really annoying is that even that meagre event was massively downgraded (from a cyclists viewpoint) very recently.

The FAQ on the website has changed in past few weeks.

I had copied and pasted the text from there and posted on Aberdeen Cycle Forum FB and also a Scottish Cycling Grampian FB page when the site went up (c. 8 weeks ago).

Here is what it said back then (I've made some bits bold) :

"The Sunday morning will offer a unique opportunity for cyclists to access the new AWPR road with options being finalised to link in with the pre-existing National Cycle Network.

During both event days, we are planning to have a selection of bikes for use in a “come and try” arena. This will give an opportunity for novices and the more experienced to cycle a short section of AWPR B-T. Cyclists of all levels can wiz, wobble or weave on the closed road, promoting active travel and greener transport."

"Options are being finalised to make use of the National Cycle Route providing access to the section of road being used for the event and will be advertised to encourage cyclists to enjoy a ‘day out’ cycling to visit the event and reduce pressure on transport provisions while promoting active travel and greener transport.

For the Sunday morning cycling additional transport will be arranged from a designated departure site to bring cyclists and their bikes to the event site, this will be arranged by our events team. No personal cars will be permitted to the event arena."

P.S. Sorry I didn't take a screen cap, but the text quoted above is the original text straight off the old FAQ.

 

 

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Butty | 5 years ago
8 likes

Fucktardary of monumental proportions.

Surely dreamt up by someone on monkey dust 

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hawkinspeter | 5 years ago
13 likes

*checks date*

So, whose idea was this and are they allowed out in public without an adult?

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leaway2 | 5 years ago
14 likes

"This what you could have won". Tell 'em to shove it, patronising b*****ds.

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vonhelmet | 5 years ago
15 likes

What a load of bollocks.

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