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Council shuts down complaints about plan for new cycle lane segregation as councillor claims "nuisance" lane will be a "trip hazard"

A council spokesperson has defended the project as growing a "network of safe and attractive routes for walkers, wheelers and cyclists"...

A councillor in Leicester has sent an email to the council full to the brim with complaints and objections to a plan for the creation of a "safe and attractive" cycling route on a busy road in the city.

The proposal would see the temporary wands on Aylestone Road, the BBC calling the route one of Leicester's main roads, replaced by full segregation with concrete kerbing and extra signs and lights as the Labour-run city council hopes to build on the success of the temporary scheme, which has "seen a significant reduction in collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists".

However, not everyone is convinced, Liberal Democrat local ward councillor Nigel Porter sending an email to the council to protest the plan, claiming it will be a "trip hazard" and is already a "nuisance".

"[The concrete kerb] would seriously restrict the width of the carriageway and present a number of physical obstacles in the road," he said. "Putting concrete blocks in the road is just replacing one trip hazard with another.

"Pedestrians should be able to cross the road safely without tripping over concrete blocks or the bases of the upright poles in the cycle lanes. Local residents have said that the cycle lanes on Aylestone Road have made the road less safe and they are also a nuisance."

The council refutes the objection based on safety, pointing out the "significant reduction" in collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists since the introduction of the temporary measures. It also points out it has sent letters to residents and businesses ahead of the works to "actively" engage with a "small number of people who have responded".

"Making permanent routes like the existing pop-up cycle lane on Aylestone Road is another important expansion of the city's growing network of safe and attractive routes for walkers, wheelers and cyclists connecting with Leicester's busy local neighbourhoods," a spokesperson said.

Work is due to begin on the lane next week, from before the junction with Richmond Avenue to beyond the Euro Garages County Service Section, and will see segregation introduced on both sides of the road. It is expected to take five weeks, with temporary lane restrictions and "short-term road closures" between 24 September and 8 October.

In 2019, Greenwich Council removed a semi-segregated cycle lane due to it being a trip hazard for pedestrians, while in April, MP Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised a Somerset bike lane after a Freedom of Information request found that 59 people had been injured due to Keynsham High Street's "optical illusion" bike lane.

In that case it was not just pedestrians raising concerns, with a local cyclist saying they feared somebody would suffer a fatal injury if no improvements were made. The different colouring and heights used on the road and kerb were creating "some kind of optical illusion", one local explained.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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22 comments

Avatar
Sriracha | 10 months ago
6 likes

Meanwhile in France...
You can work out what it used to be like - three lanes of traffic, an impossibly narrow pavement, and the gutter for cyclists. Now one of the motor traffic lanes has been sectioned off - with a raised kerb - to create a protected two-way cycle lane, whilst also giving more room for pedestrians. Just requires the will to do it - the world does not belong to motorists

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Rendel Harris | 10 months ago
16 likes

Quote:

Pedestrians should be able to cross the road safely without tripping over concrete blocks or the bases of the upright poles in the cycle lanes.

Whereas a couple of tonnes of lethal metal moving at 30mph, often piloted by persons of limited mental acuity, physical coordination and/or emotional control, is perfectly normal and not something that needs to be addressed for pedestrian safety, obviously - let's focus on them there lethal kerbs!

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qwerty360 | 10 months ago
9 likes

So he is complaining about blocks separating the cycle lanes on the basis of them being trip hazards.

 

But isn't that identical to EVERY SINGLE kerb in the country...

Generally the valid issue with cycle lane kerbs is 3 fold.

1. not quite flat kerbing (unlike proper kerbs) just high enough to trip but not high enough to be clearly visible to people crossing

2. Failure to provide suitable crossing points (wheelchairs etc - and these should be in a form that continues identically across the ENTIRE road; we should have zebras across cycle lane + traffic lights (or uncontrolled) across the rest.

3. Not allowing enough width for cyclists between the kerbs.

 

 

All of which are almost certainly managable with proper design...

 

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Clem Fandango | 10 months ago
11 likes

It does look like crap infrastructure.

I'm curious though - how are these pedestrians not constantly tripping over the bollards on the pavement?  Or walking in to that lampost?

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brooksby replied to Clem Fandango | 10 months ago
10 likes

It gets worse - did you notice that the parked car, the garage door, and the house door in that photo are all a very similar colour to the asphalt of the footway?  How do people cope??

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quiff replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
12 likes

What parked car, garage door and house door?!

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Hirsute replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
5 likes

You failed to spot the black wheely bins - point proved !

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Backladder replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
7 likes

They're going to have to change the colour of all those house roofs or there will be cars and pedestrians crashing all over them!

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brooksby replied to Backladder | 10 months ago
3 likes

OMG - I didn't even notice them! 

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Car Delenda Est replied to Clem Fandango | 10 months ago
0 likes

The cycle lane wears black at night

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bobbinogs | 10 months ago
0 likes

I think if i was cycling down that road I would be right in the road itself and to the right of the cycle lane.  I honestly could not see me using that cycle lane since it is incredibly narrow so, even if I could fit in safely (and I am not sure I could), I would be so concious of catching a pedal on one of those bollards that I would be quicker walking.

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VIPcyclist replied to bobbinogs | 10 months ago
0 likes

Similar exists near me. All the usual problems : too narrow, full of debris etc. Personally I almost never use cycle lanes, they are called the 'murder strip' for a good reason. Totally segregated infrastructure that was clean and safe - do we have any in the UK?

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chrisonabike replied to VIPcyclist | 10 months ago
2 likes

VIPcyclist wrote:

Totally segregated infrastructure that was clean and safe - do we have any in the UK?

That's a qualified "yes".  For example, I've started realising that a great deal of my local cycling in Edinburgh either takes place on completely motor-traffic free routes (also - no traffic lights!), on somewhat separated cycle paths or lanes OR on very low traffic streets.  The first are safe-ish (see below) and mostly clean (subject to a bit of hedge-trimming, dogshit, the broken bottle season and a burnt-out moped every 6 months or so).  They are shared with pedestrians so you may encounter: kids on holiday / going to school, "yoof" with varying degrees of attitude up to homicidal (there are accessible bridges over the route... you get the picture) and dog walkers.  But overall far more pleasant than roads once you've learned what to look out for!

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chrisonabike replied to VIPcyclist | 10 months ago
0 likes

More recently - ignoring the mess in Leith delivered by the tram-happy - we have things like the City Centrer West-East Link going in which actually take you along main arteries (picture below - lazy so just using Streetview but have some actual pics somewhere), the Roseburn to the Canal connecting link etc.

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chrisonabike replied to VIPcyclist | 10 months ago
0 likes

The latest of these are starting to approach or reach Danish standards in some ways - if not yet Dutch.  The main issues are (as always):

 - Junctions (e.g. traffic lights *) - in Leith we've got some which are about par for Danish level (e.g. Leith Walk / MacDonald Road) but are nowhere near either the safety and / or convenience of a basic level Dutch one.  Nationally we're having a stab at this, better or worse, with roundabouts (some good) and junctions.  Perhaps predicably instead of copying the best we've "invented" our own design - time will tell if this actually does what it was designed to well and whether it's up to the gold standard (Dutch again).

 - Connectivity - still too many missing links and blank areas on the map.  If serious about this we need what we have for drivers - a grid.  Because of...

 - Motor traffic volumes and speeds.  Not a zero sum game and (as in NL) cyclists will end up sharing at some point, but they make this work very differently.  In the UK we expect this to happen on roads which e.g. in NL would be considered "motorways" - or at least with way too many cars and often too high speeds.  Edinburgh has made some progress on 20mph zones and there may be more.  Note this would be near the upper limit in e.g. NL.  Enforcement to discourage parking in cycle facilities appears non-existent.

 - Width and demarcation.  The width of the cycle paths is up to the volume of cycling today but doesn't yet look towards the stated ambitions.  (Currently Edinburgh's a bit above the UK average of 2% by trips - not sure the current figure but estimated 4% a decade ago).  Nor have I heard any lefty treehugging talk of the need to provide for social side-by-side cycling.  There doesn't even appear to be a standard for how to mark cycle infra (e.g. different coloured tarmac) in Edinburgh, never mind Scotland or the UK.  Accordingly (and with the current light usage) it's perhaps unsurprising that you often find people - or cars, or things being stored - in them.

* Side street junctions - the latest offerings in Edinburgh are finally getting it mostly right with continuous footway / cycleway at side-streets.  Unfortunately the various attempts over the years have left a baffling collection, each imperfect in its own way and all different for users.

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cyclisto replied to bobbinogs | 10 months ago
1 like

Part of my main commute route, has a super narrow (~1m) often with various obstacles, cars parked, very bumpy surface and poor stormwater runoff that makes me search for suspension seatposts but still prefer it to sharing space with cars as it has a 40 cm traffic island.

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brooksby | 10 months ago
3 likes

Quote:

"Pedestrians should be able to cross the road safely without tripping over concrete blocks or the bases of the upright poles in the cycle lanes.

I'd agree.  They really ought to be able to, and if they can't then they need some help, don't they?

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OnYerBike | 10 months ago
12 likes

Having looked at the area on street view, the current bike lane looks pretty crap. Very narrow; pops in and out of existence; no protection at junctions; lots of driveways and parking to contend with. It's not entirely clear what the proposal entails, but it sounds like essentially replacing the plastic wands with concrete blocks. So still crap, but more concrete-y. 

Have the council considered cracking open their copy of LTN 1/20 and building something that's not crap? There's plenty of space in the carriageway if the central hatching/turning lanes were removed. 

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brooksby replied to OnYerBike | 10 months ago
7 likes

OnYerBike wrote:

There's plenty of space in the carriageway if the central hatching/turning lanes were removed. 

BURN THE HERETIC!

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chrisonabike replied to OnYerBike | 10 months ago
4 likes

Amen again!

Difficult to see from the picture but is the total provision (both sides) for cycling and walking even as wide as one of the motor traffic lanes?

The councillor appears to be both completely misunderstanding the proposed changes (just moving the kerb further in towards the middle) and stating exactly where he's coming from:

Nigel Porter wrote:

[The concrete kerb] would seriously restrict the width of the carriageway and present a number of physical obstacles in the road," he said. "Putting concrete blocks in the road is just replacing one trip hazard with another.

... Local residents have said that the cycle lanes on Aylestone Road have made the road less safe and they are also a nuisance.

So "no change here" because it's "a nuisance" (I don't doubt he's been told that, mind) and because less space for cars.  Note there's no suggestion this would restrict the number of vehicles e.g. by removing an entire lane.  (Except for e.g. transporting houses on low-loaders).  It would just mean drivers would need to pay more attention.  And - ideally - might drive a bit slower?

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brooksby replied to chrisonabike | 10 months ago
2 likes

chrisonatrike wrote:

So "no change here" because it's "a nuisance" (I don't doubt he's been told that, mind) and because less space for cars.  Note there's no suggestion this would restrict the number of vehicles e.g. by removing an entire lane.  (Except for e.g. transporting houses on low-loaders).  It would just mean drivers would need to pay more attention.  And - ideally - might drive a bit slower?

"It's a nuisance / they're a nuisance" does seem to come up again and again, doesn't it?

Look at the thread recently about the Orkneys - councillor calling to ban or penalise or charge cyclists because "they're a nuisance" (not because they're actually - you know - breaking the law or anything...).

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
1 like

brooksby wrote:

"It's a nuisance / they're a nuisance" does seem to come up again and again, doesn't it?

Look at the thread recently about the Orkneys - councillor calling to ban or penalise or charge cyclists because "they're a nuisance" (not because they're actually - you know - breaking the law or anything...).

That's the main complaint (otherwise why would anyone care how you get around?)!

Drivers - cyclists are in our way and slowing us down!  Pedestrians - they're scaring us by appearing suddenly and moving really quickly, not even separated from us by a kerb!  Everyone: we're not expecting them in our space, and we don't know what they'll do!

The Orkey complaint is reasonable IMO.  I can imagine what "works" in a place with very few people suddenly doesn't - and unpleasantly so - with maybe double that number or more appearing overnight.  It also seems that this tourist cycling wheeze is fairly new / has grown very quickly.

The tourists may have little motivation to fit in with local conventions - after all they're not building relationships with other locals, it's likely once in a lifetime.  Even the ride leaders / ferry companies may not have much "skin in the game".  The posters with experience of this describe groups in a way that sounds pretty understandable e.g. large groups (even if a only small minority of a huge ferry do this), groups getting strung out or alternatively not stopping when going through junctions for fear of getting left behind, people not being very confident on the bikes or not knowing normal UK road practice etc.

It would likely be a non-issue for drivers in e.g. most of the Dutch countryside - because they'd be on a cycle path!  Although locals might still have similar complaints: "sort out all these tourists who can't cycle properly and are holding us up on our bikes"!  I suspect in such places though they'd be quick to organise something which enabled tourism, to get the best of both worlds.  And it's often difficult to balance keeping the character of a small, quiet, scenic place, the desire for locals to make some money but also to maintain their lifetstyle relatively unchanged and the desire of many (millions) to experience the same (on holiday).

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