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Cycling group's "real concern" over "minor lake" and huge puddles on city cycle lanes

"Poorly maintained and neglected infrastructure discourages people from using active travel"...

A cycling campaign group in Cardiff has raised "real concern" about the state of some of the city's cycle lanes, with flooding causing safety and accessibility issues for users. The situation is so bad that some local cyclists have reported being unable to use infrastructure for multiple weeks, their path blocked by a "minor lake" and huge puddles.

Cardiff Cycle City has shared multiple pictures on social media, submitted by people who cycle in the Welsh capital and use its network of bike lanes, some routes unusable due to the water levels. And while the council has pointed to the "exceptionally high levels of rainfall", with February levels in Cardiff "almost 260 per cent higher than the average", Cardiff Cycle City Chair Chris Roberts argued there is "real concern" about safety.

> National Swimming Network? Council slammed for slow response to cycle tunnel flooding

"You can't see what is underneath. It could be that there is glass there, it could be that there is a pothole there, it could be that there is a brick there that causes you to fall off, and for particularly elderly cyclists and children it could cause significant injuries. They are a safety issue," he told WalesOnline.

Mr Roberts added that he "nearly came off my bike" when using the Taff Trail [a route seen in the video below] as he moved to the side of the cycle route in a bid to avoid splashing the pedestrians walking in the opposite direction. However, he then "found myself in a pothole and I nearly came off my bike".

"These puddles keep coming back whenever it rains. And it's getting worse. We need our active travel networks to be regularly monitored and maintained to make sure they're safe for people to use," Cardiff Cycle City told followers on social media, sharing the video above and explaining that the concerns go beyond safety issues.

"Poorly maintained and neglected infrastructure discourages people from using active travel. As climate change causes more of these issues, we need to get more people walking and cycling."

> "We're splashing along": Flooded new cycle lane dismissed as "awful job" by councillor

Mr Roberts said the persistent flooding is "frustrating" because the council has invested in "some brilliant cycle infrastructure", but "there needs to be a better maintenance regime in place".

Other cyclists shared pictures of flooded infrastructure elsewhere in the city, one rider saying they reported the flooding on "the main cycle route through the city centre" on 14 February but two weeks on it was "still not sorted" at the end of last week. An update last night suggested it is now dry, "hopefully because the issue was resolved, and not just because it has stopped raining".

Further afield, another cyclist said their commuting route in the Vale of Glamorgan Council area had been "impassable for a full month".

From Cardiff Council's perspective, the flooding seen in the city has been the result of the "exceptionally high levels of rainfall" experienced in February, the local authority saying that its officers are "checking gullies" for blockages.

"The city is experiencing exceptionally high levels of rainfall this year," a spokesperson commented. "So far this February the amount of rain which has fallen in Cardiff is almost 260 per cent higher than the average rainfall for this time of year. This level of rainfall will always have an impact on surface water gathering and on the time it takes for water to drain away naturally.

> "Crazy" plans to scrap key cycle lane – because of flash floods – shelved by council

"The land on either side of the Taff Trail is saturated meaning the water on the cycleway doesn't have anywhere to run off which will cause ponding. We are aware of surface water on the cycleway around the castle and highway officers are checking gullies to see if there are any blockages in the system, but the huge amount of rainfall we've seen this winter will be playing its part in ponding across the city."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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14 comments

Avatar
DeelitedManchester | 1 month ago
3 likes

I'd love to whinge about the poor state of the cycling infrastructure in my area, but first of all, they'd have to build some cycling infrastructure.  Then at least they could neglect it and then I could whinge about it.

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Rendel Harris replied to DeelitedManchester | 1 month ago
4 likes
DeelitedManchester wrote:

I'd love to whinge about the poor state of the cycling infrastructure in my area, but first of all, they'd have to build some cycling infrastructure.  Then at least they could neglect it and then I could whinge about it.

Whingeing is complaining unnecessarily about something unimportant. Councils wasting taxpayers' money on cycling infrastructure that is not fit for purpose is quite important to both cyclists and said taxpayers in general, don't you think?

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chrisonabike replied to DeelitedManchester | 1 month ago
1 like

You could always whinge about the lack of cycling infra?

How about "I pay road tax [1] [2] but I never drive / half the time I don't even drive!  And all those motor vehicles are slowing me down, ruining the tarmac, polluting the air (including the EVs)..."

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Gashead | 1 month ago
1 like

Similar issues with National Cycle Route 61 for the last two weeks. The Alban Way between Hatfield and St Albans is now The Alban Canal. So deep the water comes in through the top of my GoreTex Five Ten shoes.

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pockstone | 1 month ago
5 likes

Is it my eyes, or have the car lanes in the main photo been resurfaced up to the Orcas and the cycle lane left unattended to? How could that happen???

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brooksby replied to pockstone | 1 month ago
0 likes

It does look like that, doesn't it?

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marmotte27 | 1 month ago
0 likes

"From Cardiff Council's perspective, the flooding seen in the city has been the result of the "exceptionally high levels of rainfall" experienced in February, the local authority saying that its officers are "checking gullies" for blockages."

The road is not flooded, so no.

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quiff replied to marmotte27 | 1 month ago
1 like

Suspect they must have been at least partially blocked and draining slowly, because there are two large gullies in exactly that spot.  

Maybe improvements can be made, but I have to say I sympathise with the council - it has been atrociously wet here this month. 

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Rich_cb replied to quiff | 1 month ago
1 like

Would be interesting to know if the new rain gardens have made any difference in the areas they've been installed?

They're installing more in Canton at the moment. Definitely seems like a good idea but no idea if it actually works.

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quiff replied to Rich_cb | 1 month ago
1 like

If you believe Wales Online(!) they're a failed experiment (though the gist of the article is really that they're being mistreated) 

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Rich_cb replied to quiff | 1 month ago
2 likes

I actually ended up in Canton today so can report they seem to be working well.

Obviously helps if drivers don't park on them.

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 1 month ago
1 like

Not in Wales but on the general point (any good) I know civil engineer blogger the Ranty Highwayman is quite keen and writes on them.  Not sure if he's worked on projects with them but he's on X-ex-Twitter posting about them sometimes.

As quiff says probably don't do a lot if people are just driving over them, compacting the area.  The one that quiff posted looks like it could do with some protection.  That can look quite nice - doesn't always have to be a bollard!

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Rich_cb replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
1 like

The ones in Cathays look really nice when free of litter.

Best thing about them if that the funding comes from the water company so when installed alongside cycle infrastructure they can help fund it.

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 1 month ago
1 like

Well, if the climate becomes wetter / warmer maybe we'll have to "go Dutch" in more than one way.

Getting water companies involved with cycle infra now - that sounds like an idea...

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