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“Proper cyclists don’t need cycle lanes”: Locals blast “woke” bike lane works, as rugby club claims fans can’t get to matches during “chaos”

“What they are trying to do is make a Holland of us. It’s one of those woke agenda schemes,” one business owner said

A new cycleway project to encourage cycling and walking as a safe choice for shorter journeys has been branded “ridiculous” and “unnecessary” by locals, who claim that the lengthy construction work is creating “mayhem” and “chaos” in the town – including making it difficult for rugby fans to attend matches – while one business owner dismissed the new infrastructure as “woke” and asserted that “proper cyclists don’t need cycle lanes”.

The £3.6 million Broom Road cycling scheme in Rotherham features a range of improvements designed to make it safer and easier for cyclists and pedestrians to use a busy route connecting the south-east of the town to the centre, and includes 1.4km of dedicated bike lanes, three new signalised junctions, one new road crossing, and two improved crossings.

Rotherham Council claims the project will “encourage cycling and walking as a choice for shorter journeys”, while furthering the local authority’s ambition to “build a high-quality, joined-up network of cycle routes” in the South Yorkshire town.

However, the scheme – and in particular the current construction works – have come in for criticism from locals, who say traffic delays are becoming a “permanent fixture” for residents and creating a “very poor impression” of the town for visitors.

> New cycle path an “invasion of privacy” that will lead to “noise pollution” and anti-social behaviour, say residents

John Whaling, the commercial director for Rotherham Titans, a professional rugby union club which plays in the fourth tier of the English league, believes that the roadworks – located near the club’s Clifton Lane ground – are causing “chaos” for people who work nearby, while the club was forced to warn spectators to “leave early” to avoid missing the start of their match with Huddersfield last Saturday.

“This week they have closed off the roundabout that we access Badsley Moor Road from. This is to last eight weeks, in which time we have four home games which we hope are not affected, but it is clearly going to be a challenge for our spectators to get to the games,” Whaling told the Rotherham Advertiser.

“I had to go down to Magna and the roadworks along there are ridiculous and the queues into town stretched almost to the Meadowhall junction.”

He continued: “They have started multiple bicycle lane projects all at once and only seem to work on each one sporadically, hence the length of time it is taking to complete any of them.

“The ongoing saga on the road outside New York Stadium seems to be a permanent fixture now. We really are giving a very poor impression of the town to visitors and causing chaos for the people who work here.”

Meanwhile, a Rotherham business owner, who did not wish to be named, told the newspaper that the roadworks related to the project had resulted in “absolute mayhem”, and criticised the council for forging ahead with the “unnecessary” cycleway scheme, which he claims won’t be used by “proper cyclists” in any case.

“I was told they were frightened they would be knocked back on the money if they didn’t do the whole scheme in one go and that’s why it is such a mess,” he said.

“It seems to be being done without the proper resources, therefore creating absolute mayhem and it’s taking months and months.

“How many cyclists do you see in Rotherham? Proper cyclists don’t need cycle lanes and no-one else is going to cycle up Broom Lane.

“What they are trying to do is make a Holland of us. It’s one of those woke agenda schemes.”

> Controversial cycle lane roadworks blamed for “killing Christmas trade”

However, Rotherham Council’s assistant director for regeneration, planning, and transport, Simon Moss, says that during the consultation process carried out before the works commenced, the public was “broadly supportive” of the plans.

“We empathise with our residents and other road users and understand the frustrations they face when roadworks cause delays on our local networks, and we apologise for any inconvenience,” Moss said.

“We always endeavour to minimise the impact on other road users when we undertake such schemes and always seek to inform and consult with businesses, road users, and residents before work begins. The public consultation we carried out for the Broom Road scheme was broadly supportive.

“We do try and keep the impact of construction activity to a minimum, but we are conscious there is a lot of activity and investment going into road improvements here in Rotherham.

“This particular work is part of a £3.6m nationally funded active travel scheme which will soon make it far easier for our communities to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. While the money could have been spent on other similar schemes it could only be used for active travel purposes.”

> “Eyesore” cycling junction works leaving homes and cars “permanently covered in dirt and dust”, claim residents

Last month, we reported on similar criticism from locals concerning the construction of a new CYCLOPS junction in St Helen’s, Merseyside, which aims to protect pedestrians and cyclists by separating them from motor traffic and reducing crossing distances, while also cutting journey times for motorists.

The ten-month-long construction process, however, angered some residents, who claimed that the works and accompanying road closures have left their homes and businesses “inaccessible” and “permanently covered in dirt and dust”.

“I’ve had to have the car valeted twice now because it’s driving me mad,” one local said, while also arguing that there was “nothing wrong” with the original roundabout.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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40 comments

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 weeks ago
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'What they are trying to do is make a Holland of us. It’s one of those woke agenda schemes.”. LOL 😂 

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chrisonabike replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 weeks ago
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Maybe Simoninspalding can reassure them - being in a Holland is OK.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Holland_District

Although to be fair it's flatter - but can be very windy.

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B_Sauce | 3 months ago
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"What they are trying to do is make a Holland of us..."

Probably a good thing they didn't want to be named. Didn't make them sound like the sharpest tool in the shed

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pockstone replied to B_Sauce | 3 months ago
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Yeah, but 'woke agenda'. 'E knows wot's wot.

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cyclisto | 7 months ago
3 likes

A big fan of segregated cycling infra here, I would never have started without protected cycle lanes near home.

So in order to become a "proper cyclist" you have first to start as a noob cyclist. And without these protected lanes many people will never start cycling to commute.

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timtak | 7 months ago
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I feel some sympathy with the unnamed Rotherham business owner. There is one bike lane in my town and I never use it because the cyclists that do are slow. It makes the rest off the road narrower and more dangerous. I can see how the cycle lane improves the lives of slow cyclists, but I am pleased I don't live in the Netherlands.

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Cugel replied to timtak | 7 months ago
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timtak wrote:

I feel some sympathy with the unnamed Rotherham business owner. There is one bike lane in my town and I never use it because the cyclists that do are slow. It makes the rest off the road narrower and more dangerous. I can see how the cycle lane improves the lives of slow cyclists, but I am pleased I don't live in the Netherlands.

Another uncomfortable truth for the fans of segregated cycling infrastructure, doubly so when it isn't but also containing pedestrians with their children, pushchairs, grannies and dogs. Or even a horse!

If there are to be cycling paths that are fit for purpose they would, like roads, need to enable traffic mixes in which individual vehicles can cooperate safely when moving at different speeds. Safe overtaking capacity is primary, then. Much easier for bikes than for cars on the existing roads.

I know! Lets use the roads we have for cycling, which go everywhere and are still fit for cycling despite some potholed runs. To bring them up to scratch, let's rid ourselves of the dangerous free-roaming car and lorry. Rail those motored behemoths within a narrow and fenced-off strip to the side. Or improve the railways. 

No overtaking for the motored things, mind. They all go fast enough and, anyway, the drivists generally have no ability to overtake safely even when given oodles of road. Yes, railways it is, then, with cargo e-bikes doing the last mile or five to all of our doors. Think how fit the wage slaves and mammies will be as they pedal themselves to and from the railway stations each day.

There's an old railwaay line just half a mile across the valley from our hoose, even in the depths of West Wales. There are plenty more waiting all over Blighty. Build them back and celebrate their opening by burning effigies of Marples and Beeching! Then build some new ones.

There's trams an' all, you know. And trolley buses.

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chrisonabike replied to Cugel | 7 months ago
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Cugel wrote:

Another uncomfortable truth for the fans of segregated cycling infrastructure, doubly so when it isn't but also containing pedestrians with their children, pushchairs, grannies and dogs. Or even a horse!

If there are to be cycling paths that are fit for purpose they would, like roads, need to enable traffic mixes in which individual vehicles can cooperate safely when moving at different speeds. Safe overtaking capacity is primary, then. Much easier for bikes than for cars on the existing roads.

What you've described is exactly how "active travel" infra is shown on eg. shiny new UK development "artist's impressions".

That is however NOT how eg. NL understands "separated infra".

You're quite right that it won't work - or rather, isn't sufficiently convenient or "safe" as soon as a realistic number of people aren't driving but are instead walking / cycling. (I'll leave the horses out for the moment, they're making me nervous, and sometimes vice versa).

When you say "[the infra] need to enable traffic mixes in which individual vehicles can cooperate safely when moving at different speeds." that is *exactly the opposite* of one of the principles of the Dutch "Sustainable Safety" philosophy.* In 2010 this was described as:

Homogeneity (of mass, speed and direction of road users)

When this was updated in 2018 the relevant point became:

(Bio)Mechanics: limiting differences in speed, direction, mass and size, and giving road users appropriate protection

Although many - as you have - correctly identify the problem is "motor vehicles" (vs. all other road users) neither the UK approach ( safety through removing the vulnerable road users, which make it convenient for drivers at the expense of everyone else) NOR the opposite idea (safety through removing the motor vehicles) represent how NL (or to a lesser extent other places like Copenhagen, Malmo etc) has managed to get where it has.

Cyclists need their own space** which is not shared with cars, lorries, pedestrians, dogs, trains or large snorting quadrupeds. This space needs to be sufficient for *both* the normal human behavior of side-by-side travel and the normal human tendency for some to impatiently want to pass slower travellers (e.g. wide enough for at least 3 bikes in one direction).

There are fortunately thousands of hours of video showing exactly how this looks like and works in practice. You can see just how convenient it is for people on and off their bikes, cycling at high speeds, using wheelchairs and mobility vehicles, walking their dogs, in their cars etc. Probably there's even something about equines too...

* See:
https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2021/01/06/the-third-edition-of-susta...

** Exceptions of course - where the overall numbers of travellers are low cyclists and pedestrians can share infra (the Dutch tend to only build cycle paths through the countryside, not footpaths). Where speeds are kept very low and there are very few motor vehicles all modes may mix (e.g. in a small "LTN" which is not a through route at all for cars and isn't a main route for cycling either. Or cyclists and pedestrians in a "pedestrian area" where pedestrians greatly outnumber cyclists).

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chrisonabike replied to timtak | 7 months ago
1 like

That's a belief I've heard - it's understandable in the UK. Here where cycle infra exists (few places) it is mostly hopelessly compromised because we can't take space from drivers, or we only spend a fraction of the required money.

Sorry to hear you've had some UK cargo cult infra foisted on you. As you note a big falling here is we don't have a *network* of cycle infra. We also mostly haven't addressed the crucial points at all - junctions.

This belief can of course be changed by going for a ride in the Netherlands. However it's even easier - you can just look on the internet.

https://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2008/09/speed.html

https://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2015/10/cycle-paths-providing-effi...

https://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/02/its-quicker-by-bike.html

(Plenty other resources available eg. Bicycledutch, NotJustBikes etc.)

You shouldn't be pleased you don't live somewhere without quality cycle infra. Even if you only drive!

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giff77 replied to timtak | 7 months ago
4 likes

The Netherlands has demonstrated that cycling is a acceptable mode of transport and not a race or survival of the fittest. I look forward to the day that I can relax on a commute and not fight with vehicular traffic and fight for position by matching their speed in the city centre. 

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Barraob1 | 7 months ago
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Get off our roads, get on our roads. Have all these buffoons acquired brain injuries recently?

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Velophaart_95 | 7 months ago
5 likes

All of these loons using the word 'woke' have no clue what it means. Anything they're against, it seems is 'woke'. Truly clueless...

Anything like Holland's infrastructure (the Netherlands actually) has got to be a good thing, has it not?

Let me guess, they're likely a Tory voting gammon.

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Cugel replied to Velophaart_95 | 7 months ago
3 likes

Velophaart_95 wrote:

All of these loons using the word 'woke' have no clue what it means. Anything they're against, it seems is 'woke'. Truly clueless...

Anything like Holland's infrastructure (the Netherlands actually) has got to be a good thing, has it not?

Let me guess, they're likely a Tory voting gammon.

You'd think that the notion of being awake to how one is manipulated, used, expoited, neglected, made pariah or scapegoat and generally treated as human fodder for one or several satanic mills (physical and metaphysical) would suggest to the "Tory voting gammons" and similar that they might have another look at their attitudes and at their real life situations.

Ha! - such folk seem paradoxically uninterested in their own interests - other than their interest in being closed-minded reactionary bigots keen to find and persecute others even lower than themselves in the official pecking orders known as The British Class System and approved-attributes-for-being-one-of-us lists.

Sadly its yet another expose of our very queer human nature, that we don't mind sacrificing our physical selves to the imaginary selves created by memeplexes such as religions, ideologies and even by the crude and gerry-build slums of political party propaganda. We'll happily cooperate in trashing the civil society that's the only thing allowing us to survive in favour of becoming little cipher folk, eagerly queuing up to be serfs, amoral servants of the powerful or plain and simple cannon-fodder in the machinations of one oligarchy over another.

Some of us have been awake to the vast and spectacular lies of official history, political dogmas et al .... what power actually does rather than what is says it does .... for decades. They taught us our scepticism in skool, not via the lessons on the timetable but via the many lessons of both playground and the crazed behaviours of the tinpot authorities ruled by the rightly-named headmaster.

Yet many swallow the official claptraps and will repeat them, with red faces and a lot of spittle, to others, in shouty and intransigent tones. Like those old headmasters and their familiars the lickspittle teachers, they will soon resort to violence and intimidation if questioned or gainsaid in their desire for official self-righteousness........

Mind, I can't complain about the many fine advantages given to at least a portion of my generation by Attlee and pals. A pity - a great pity - that such a government was a small anomaly in an immensely long history of ruling thieves & barstids. 

PS 'Scuse my rant.   1

PPS I got a free COVID & flu jab today an' all.

PPPS Yesterday's bike ride was a very fine outing, at 17 degrees in the autumn sun, including some new (to me and t'wife) sections of backroads through gorgeous Welsh countryside.

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Rendel Harris replied to Velophaart_95 | 7 months ago
9 likes

.

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Gambatte | 7 months ago
2 likes

Rotherham has an appalling record with cycle lanes. 3 foot wide lanes on 40mph dual carriageways etc
Let's see how they get on with this. It's alright businesses complaining but they've already reduced the scheme, near the stadium at Westgate, due to takeaways etc complaining about parking being removed. Seem to think they should just listen to those in the area, not those who might use the facility passing through? 🤔
That said the amount of long term roadwork projects going on simultaneously around Rotherham at present is ridiculous.
Several around the town center. Wickersley, Hellaby and if drivers want to avoid and use the m'way? Works to the M1 to build in the smart motorway refuges they cheaped out on before till winter 2024.
Glad I ride a motorbike 😈

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Accessibility f... | 7 months ago
19 likes

> Proper cyclists don’t need cycle lanes

Spectacularly missing the point.  Protected cycleways aren't built for "proper cyclists", although they may benefit from them.  Protected cycleways are for people who'd like to cycle, but who are too afraid to mix with traffic.  When built as part of a cohesive, working cycle network, they enable more cycling, and enable modal shift.

Does Mr Business Owner want more people driving past his business, or more people walking and cycling past it?  Who does he think will shop there more?

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chrisonabike replied to Accessibility for all | 7 months ago
2 likes

Quite right and your mention of modal shift is pertinent.

Protected cycleways *should* be built but not just for people who are "too afraid to mix with traffic". Protected cycleways (and indeed a network of high quality cycle infra) should be built for everyone - especially taxpayers, business owners and drivers. Not to mention medical staff, older people, those with disabilities, children... oh, and people who want to cycle, including those who want to do so at speed!

Having a network of cycle infra of sufficient quality saves us all money, generates more "footfall" for local businesses and makes it more pleasant for drivers. Cyclists are not a "problem" for UK drivers of course... except they would really notice if the occupants of say 1 in every 3 cars were cycling instead, on the existing roads.

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Beryl | 7 months ago
7 likes

Cycle lanes don't bother football fans, they just walk on them - as anyone who has tried to cycle through before an Arsenal home game will have discovered...

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mctrials23 replied to Beryl | 7 months ago
2 likes

They are also excellent for parking in. 

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glenjamin | 7 months ago
6 likes

I think there's actually one good point buried in all of that.

Funding that has to be used by a certain date leading to everything being started at once probably does increase the duration of disruption

A friend of mine is currently working on a rush job for designing a new building for the NHS due to a similar funding use deadline scenario

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where there were enough funds allocated to public infrastructure to do things properly?

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Lozcan | 7 months ago
5 likes

Wouldn't it be quicker to ride a bike to the rugby....

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muhasib | 7 months ago
11 likes

Rotherham Titans had an average home attendance of 297 last year, if that's for a couple of hours every fortnight it's even less usage than that which the Daily Mail readers foam at the mouth when they complain about cycle lanes.

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Miller | 7 months ago
4 likes

Does Rotherham have visitors?

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to Miller | 7 months ago
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That crossed my mind :). I suppose he meant rugger fans. 

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Deveron53 replied to Miller | 7 months ago
6 likes

I used to work in Rotherham. It has many attractions for fans of betting shops, charity shops, pound shops, Greggs. I used to commute there by bike from Sheffield. I used the river/canal path network. Had so many dodgy incidents over the years.

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David9694 | 7 months ago
6 likes

from Rotherham to Rotterdam - your point?

When you say "locals", you mean one rugby loudmouth and one anonymous person? 

which is it - there's general chaos everywhere, or there is chaos over a longer time in discreet localities. You will find something to whinge about either way. 

"there's no one crossing the shark infested river by the flimsey rope bridge"

 

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ktache | 7 months ago
3 likes

Can please someone explain what definition of woke these roadworks or cycle lanes fall?

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chrisonabike replied to ktache | 7 months ago
6 likes
ktache wrote:

Can please someone explain what definition of woke these roadworks or cycle lanes fall?

"A Rotherham business owner suddenly woke as he drove over wands 'protecting' a cycle lane and into excavations for roadworks" ?

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AidanR | 7 months ago
11 likes

8 weeks? I've been held up half way up a steep hill on my commute by roadworks which have been going on for over a year. Something to do with a woke sewerage pipe.

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Beryl replied to AidanR | 7 months ago
4 likes

Thames Water have dug up the same bit of road three times already this year on my commute. I got back from holiday last week and almost thought I'd taken a wrong turn when they weren't there

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