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New cycleway opens in Yorkshire – but council's cycling champion“disappointed” by "irresponsible" cyclists who chose to ride on road instead

Criticism of riders choosing not to use infrastructure may reflect misconceptions of laws applying to cyclists

A Bradford councillor who opened a new, off-road cycleway in the West Yorkshire city has said he is “disappointed” that some cyclists were seen riding two abreast in the road during yesterday’s official unveiling of the route – with his criticism of the riders, who were doing nothing wrong, overshadowing the local newspaper’s coverage of the launch of the Canal Road Cycleway.

A photo gallery accompanying the Telegraph & Argus’s article on the ceremony shows it was well-attended by cyclists of all shapes, sizes and ages, with people on upright bikes, road bikes, cargo bikes and even unicycles, and with plenty of children also enjoying riding the route in the late May sunshine.

But the first picture is of two cyclists riding alongside each on the main carriageway, suggesting they “shunned” the new route, which helps link Bradford with Shipley, something also emphasised in the gallery’s title, “Photos from cycle route opening, but some riders chose to ignore the lanes.”

Councillor Taj Salam, who cut the ribbon to open the new route and is Bradford council's cycling champion, said: “I am disappointed to think there are irresponsible riders out there who want to ignore the new route and carry on cycling in the road.

“We are delighted with the route. It provides a safe environment for cyclists as well as making the route safer for other road users as they are not having to negotiate them on the road so it is sad to hear people are choosing to ignore it.”

His comments reflect something we regularly highlight here on road.cc – the misconception that people on bikes are obliged to use specific cycling infrastructure where it exists, and that it is “irresponsible” when they choose not to.

The Highway Code makes clear that use of on-road cycle lanes and off-road cycle tracks is not compulsory, and that it is not illegal for people to ride two abreast on the main carriageway.

Indeed, though for faster, more confident cyclists, the road may well be the more suitable place to ride – and criticising people for choosing to do just that can help reinforce prejudice against cyclists, as well as misconceptions about the law.

The new link forms part of West Yorkshire Combined Authority's £60 million City Connect project that aims to provide a safe, segregated route for cyclists between Leeds and Bradford.

Councillor Kim Groves, chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Transport Committee, quoted on the CityConnect website, said: “I’m delighted this important scheme has been completed in partnership with Bradford Council.

“The new Canal Road Cycleway provides an important missing link in Bradford’s cycle network, connecting people travelling by bike between Shipley and the city centre with employment, training and leisure opportunities.

“We know encouraging more of us to travel by bike or on foot not only boosts people’s health and saves individual’s money, it also brings wider environmental and economic benefits, which is why we want to make cycling and walking a natural choice for short, everyday journeys.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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44 comments

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ktache | 4 years ago
1 like

Many Thanks Jim.

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Jim66 replied to ktache | 4 years ago
0 likes
ktache wrote:

Many Thanks Jim.

Yes, no problem. I think it is important to critique such schemes, rather than get bedazzled with all the 'isn't it great' press reports. https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/17665482.new-cycle-route-off...

 

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Kendalred | 5 years ago
0 likes

I must say the comments section of the T&A articel are actually a breath of fresh air (and simple truths and logic), especially the clickbait way in which the article was written...

CYCLISTS CHOOSE NOT TO USE CYCLE PATH HORROR!! Oh, and dozens of people celebrate the opening of new cycle path...BUT TWO CYCLISTS CHOOSE NOT USE USE IT!!! CLLR IS OUTRAGED!!

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ChrisB200SX | 5 years ago
2 likes

Is this idiot councillor also publicly dissappointed that people are choosing to drive on the road, causing pollution and traffic, when there is a cycle track provided that they could ride on instead?
No, thought not.

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Xenophon2 | 5 years ago
0 likes

I don't know the cyclepath in question so can't comment on it, but one question:  where I am, a simple sign can make it mandatory for cyclists to use the cycle lane/path.  If you don't and police notice, it's a 150 Euro fine.  No such legal provision in the UK?

(Only exception to the rule is when the cycle path is obviously dangerous, such as snow during winter, then you can ride on the road.  It's not ideal because kids, slow cyclists, racers, e-bikes...all HAVE to use the path if the sign is there).

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ConcordeCX replied to Xenophon2 | 5 years ago
3 likes
Xenophon2 wrote:

I don't know the cyclepath in question so can't comment on it, but one question:  where I am, a simple sign can make it mandatory for cyclists to use the cycle lane/path.  If you don't and police notice, it's a 150 Euro fine.  No such legal provision in the UK?

(Only exception to the rule is when the cycle path is obviously dangerous, such as snow during winter, then you can ride on the road.  It's not ideal because kids, slow cyclists, racers, e-bikes...all HAVE to use the path if the sign is there).

The CTC fought a successful campaign against it a few years ago:

https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaign/new-highway-code-historic-campaign

 

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burtthebike replied to Xenophon2 | 5 years ago
2 likes
Xenophon2 wrote:

I don't know the cyclepath in question so can't comment on it, but one question:  where I am, a simple sign can make it mandatory for cyclists to use the cycle lane/path.  If you don't and police notice, it's a 150 Euro fine.  No such legal provision in the UK?

(Only exception to the rule is when the cycle path is obviously dangerous, such as snow during winter, then you can ride on the road.  It's not ideal because kids, slow cyclists, racers, e-bikes...all HAVE to use the path if the sign is there).

I don't know where you live, or what the cycle facilities are like, but in the UK, the vast majority are worse than using the road, in comfort, directness, and safety, with most of them not even meeting minimum standards.  That's why CUK successfully fought the proposed new Highway Code rule which would have made them mandatory, obviously proposed by Daily Mail readers.

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ConcordeCX replied to burtthebike | 5 years ago
3 likes
burtthebike wrote:
Xenophon2 wrote:

I don't know the cyclepath in question so can't comment on it, but one question:  where I am, a simple sign can make it mandatory for cyclists to use the cycle lane/path.  If you don't and police notice, it's a 150 Euro fine.  No such legal provision in the UK?

(Only exception to the rule is when the cycle path is obviously dangerous, such as snow during winter, then you can ride on the road.  It's not ideal because kids, slow cyclists, racers, e-bikes...all HAVE to use the path if the sign is there).

I don't know where you live, or what the cycle facilities are like, but in the UK, the vast majority are worse than using the road, in comfort, directness, and safety, with most of them not even meeting minimum standards.  That's why CUK successfully fought the proposed new Highway Code rule which would have made them mandatory, obviously proposed by Daily Mail readers.

i don't think that's the only reason, or even the main one, why CUK fought the proposals. There is an established principle over here that people can go wherever they want in the public space and the authorities can't willy-nilly prevent them. This is why we don't have jay-walking laws. Anything that makes it appear as if the roads or other public spaces spaces belong to one group, such as motorists, rather than to all is to be resisted. TfL are quite good on this, stating that the purpose of roads is to move people, not cars.

There is constant tension between those who want to close public spaces, and those who want to remove restrictions, fought out by the Ramblers, CUK and suchlike for access to the countryside, but not less important in towns.

Whenever I get frustrated by joggers, scooterists and so on in cycle paths I think of this, and try to calm myself down.

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brooksby replied to ConcordeCX | 5 years ago
0 likes
ConcordeCX wrote:

... There is an established principle over here that people can go wherever they want in the public space and the authorities can't willy-nilly prevent them.

 

...

Whenever I get frustrated by joggers, scooterists and so on in cycle paths I think of this, and try to calm myself down.

Sage advice.

(Mind you, don't get me started on 'in-line skate'-ists...! surprise)

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fukawitribe replied to brooksby | 5 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

(Mind you, don't get me started on 'in-line skate'-ists...! surprise)

Are they like those bloody cyclists, always jumping red lights ?  3

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brooksby replied to fukawitribe | 5 years ago
0 likes
fukawitribe wrote:
brooksby wrote:

(Mind you, don't get me started on 'in-line skate'-ists...! surprise)

Are they like those bloody cyclists, always jumping red lights ?  3

More like dolphins: you'll be following one and then suddenly, for no apparent reason, they'll suddenly leap up a foot off the ground and then land and carry on...  Very disconcerting 

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Dingaling replied to Xenophon2 | 5 years ago
0 likes
Xenophon2 wrote:

I don't know the cyclepath in question so can't comment on it, but one question:  where I am, a simple sign can make it mandatory for cyclists to use the cycle lane/path.  If you don't and police notice, it's a 150 Euro fine.  No such legal provision in the UK?

(Only exception to the rule is when the cycle path is obviously dangerous, such as snow during winter, then you can ride on the road.  It's not ideal because kids, slow cyclists, racers, e-bikes...all HAVE to use the path if the sign is there).

As a matter of interest where are you? I'm in Germany and there is a legal requirement to use cycleways where signposted with the blue cyclist sign and a fine for not using it is 10-20 €. The law though is not generally enforced in my experience. Cycle paths, like the roads, are in such a terrible state that many cyclists stay on the road.

A €150 fine is pretty hefty. Is it applied rigourously?

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marc caruso | 5 years ago
3 likes

Don't cyclists know that if a cycletrack is built they have to use it.  If we fail to use a cycletrack we will be subject to abuse by misinformed motorists and cyclists alike. Who ever these two cyclists are I applaud them for bravery in doing something totally legal and safe as using the road or carriageway rather than the cycletrack.  Cycletracks are useful as they let me know I can expect abuse when I exercise my right to ride on the adjacent roadway. 

 

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pockstone | 5 years ago
3 likes

Mixed views on the Hillam road section. At times it can be one huge shunt yard for local haulage businesses. I've had a couple of near  misses with HGVs at tea time, so it's nice to be segregated.  The trouble with the new cycleway is that it crosses several vehicle entrances and priorities are vague to say the least. There are blue rectangular information signs  to warn vehicles exiting about the cycleway, but no give way signs or lines to give unequivocal priority to bikes.  There are painted warning signs (Exclamation marks in a red triangle)on the bike path at these vehicle exits. The first day I used it I had an HGV pull half way across the path as I approached.

Verdict: a dog's dinner.

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nappe | 5 years ago
2 likes

There's a bus route down Canal Road,maybe the use of it should be compulsory...

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the little onion | 5 years ago
2 likes

ALSO, is than councillor taj Salam who works for First Group? What a sick joke Bradford politics is!

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the little onion | 5 years ago
11 likes

Trust me, as a local resident, this route is a disgrace. It gives way to side roads and entrances to industrial properties with wide-turning HGVs. It is a fatality waiting to happen. If (sadly, when) that does happen, there needs to be corporate manslaughter charges against the council

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Luca Patrono replied to the little onion | 5 years ago
5 likes
the little onion wrote:

Trust me, as a local resident, this route is a disgrace. It gives way to side roads and entrances to industrial properties with wide-turning HGVs. It is a fatality waiting to happen. If (sadly, when) that does happen, there needs to be corporate manslaughter charges against the council

Objections were made by businesses on Hillam Road, where the industrial back road is, on this basis, and I must say, I can see where they are coming from. There was no need for the specific section on Hillam Road - I think it was safer and more visible to use the road there.

I would note that there are explicit warning signs - but if you have to slow down for every warning sign to avoid being crushed by a HGV, you might as well just ride on the road there.

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Sriracha | 5 years ago
2 likes

As well as the other observations made, I can't help noticing it is plastered with that vile 'sandtex' paint designed to sap your speed, and remove your skin if you spill. Why?

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

As well as the other observations made, I can't help noticing it is plastered with that vile 'sandtex' paint designed to sap your speed, and remove your skin if you spill. Why?

 

cause it's Green, therefore obviously better for the environment so the council are obviously trying to save the planet and riders are thwarting their efforts  1 

 

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Luca Patrono replied to Sriracha | 5 years ago
0 likes
Sriracha wrote:

As well as the other observations made, I can't help noticing it is plastered with that vile 'sandtex' paint designed to sap your speed, and remove your skin if you spill. Why?

I haven't noticed any speed loss on it. Is this a thing?

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Sriracha replied to Luca Patrono | 5 years ago
2 likes
Luca Patrono wrote:
Sriracha wrote:

As well as the other observations made, I can't help noticing it is plastered with that vile 'sandtex' paint designed to sap your speed, and remove your skin if you spill. Why?

I haven't noticed any speed loss on it. Is this a thing?

Compared to cycling over smooth tarmac, yes, the difference is noticeable. I just don't understand the purpose - this stuff is designed primarily to enhance grip and reduce emergency stopping distances in critical zones like the approach to zebra crossings. The addition of lurid colours is to show "something has been done". Neither is appropriate in this case, plus it costs money.

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youngoldbloke | 5 years ago
3 likes

Is that path supposed to be  bi-directional? If it is it is woefully inadequate. There is now another comment from a second cyclist claiming they were asked to get off the path to allow filming/photography!

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jh27 replied to youngoldbloke | 5 years ago
0 likes
youngoldbloke wrote:

Is that path supposed to be  bi-directional? If it is it is woefully inadequate. There is now another comment from a second cyclist claiming they were asked to get off the path to allow filming/photography!

 

It looks like it is supposed to be bi-directional and each 'lane' appears to be about 0.6 metres wide.  That said, in the photos it looks like everyone is cycling in the same direction using both lanes, so perhaps it is uni-directional, and one lane is for overtaking (I wouldn't attempt to overtake on such a narrow path).

 

The most amazing thing is how many people think that cycle lanes exist for the benefit of motorists.  

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workhard replied to jh27 | 5 years ago
1 like
jh27 wrote:

The most amazing thing is how many people think that cycle lanes exist for the benefit of motorists.  

 

Nah. Hardly suprising seeing that nigh on 100% of road infrastructure exists solely for the benefit of motorists. Even pavements aren't for the benefit of pedestrains but were introduced to get those pesky two legged road blocks out of the road.

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jh27 replied to youngoldbloke | 5 years ago
3 likes
youngoldbloke wrote:

Is that path supposed to be  bi-directional? If it is it is woefully inadequate. There is now another comment from a second cyclist claiming they were asked to get off the path to allow filming/photography!

 

This is spot on.  The article says that they were cycling on the road minutes after the ribbon cutting.  If you look at all the photos taken of people using the path, they are cycling contraflow (at least in the opposite direction to the adjacent road).  So if the newspaper is telling the truth, the cyclists who were photographed on the road would have had to cycle against the flow of all those who turned up for the photo opportunity - if they wanted to use the new cycle lane.

 

Essentially this story appears to be completely contrived, with the aim of denegrating cyclists.

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maviczap | 5 years ago
2 likes

A sticking plaster will not fix a broken leg

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Tech Noir | 5 years ago
8 likes

If I spent millions on building a new fast food take away and, when it opened, I saw everyone continuing to go the McDonalds next door, I would suspect that there was some sort of problem with my take-away offering.

If I spent billions on building a new railway line and, when it opened, I saw everyone continuing to old railway line next to it, I would suspect that there was some sort of problem with my railway line.

If I spent billions on building a new motorway and, when it opened, I saw everyone continuing to old road next to it, I would suspect that there was some sort of problem with my motorway.

If I spent millions on building a cycle track and, when it opened, I saw two people continuing to use the adjacent carriageway, ... fill in the rest yourselves....

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Rick_Rude replied to Tech Noir | 5 years ago
3 likes
Tech Noir wrote:

If I spent billions on building a new railway line and, when it opened, I saw everyone continuing to old railway line next to it, I would suspect that there was some sort of problem with my railway line.

Hs2?

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marc caruso replied to Tech Noir | 5 years ago
0 likes

edit How do I delete a comment that posted 3 times

 

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