On 27 April The Spectator magazine featured an article attacking the provision of a hard surface on the Kenilworth Greenway.
I assume that the author was complaining about the route between the A429 (Coventry/Kenilworth Road) and Berkswell station. The other new cyclist/pedestrian path, between Kenilworth's Abbey Fields and the University of Warwick, relieves traffic congestion between Kenilworth and Warwick University; some years ago Kenilworth residents firmly rejected an alternative idea of building a bus road along the route.
The author objects to the hard surface because it encourages fast
cycling. She claims that time-trials are conducted on it. While it's
true that many novice cyclists seem to believe that roads are only for
cars, experienced cyclists know that routes shared with pedestrians are
not suitable for fast cycling. The videos on the Cycling Time Trials website show where real time-trialists go.
Conveniently overlooked by the author is the access which a hard
surface allows to people with walking difficulties or who feel intimidated from cycling on busy roads. There are precious
few places in the Warwickshire countryside which both have a firm surface and
are free from cars; so such people are excluded from enjoying the
countryside. She also overlooks the fact that when the path is finished
there will be an opportunity for commuters between Birmingham and
Kenilworth to switch from driving to cycle+train.
Given that there are plenty of other un-surfaced paths in the area, I
don't suppose most walkers would begrudge loosing a bit of mud for the
benefit of the elderly, mobility scooter users and leisure cyclists. Perhaps horse riders
and mountain bikers have more reason to bear a grudge, given that there
is so little in the way of bridleways in Warwickshire. No doubt the
author of the Spectator article feels that it would be "politically
incorrect" to attack the disabled, so instead she rounds on a convenient
scapegoat by exaggerating the problems caused by speeding cyclists.
Update 1 May:
Warwickshire County Council is to apply a top dressing to the path between Crackley Bridge (over A429 - Coventry/Kenilworth Road) and Burton Green. This will not be enough for those who want the path to revert to mud, but it will make it unattractive to anyone attempting a time-trial.
There's a planning application for a pub and car showroom on what was the Bell Green Goods Yard. Link
I've marked the approximate location and size in brown on the map above. I've also marked the existing pedestrian/cyclist paths (in blue) and the proposed new stretch of shared pedestrian/cyclist path (yellow).
There's an opportunity to extend the pedestrian/cyclist path to link up with the section on the side of the A444 further to the north-west. I've marked that in red.
I sent the following comment to the council regarding the application:
I'd like to see the 3m shared pedestrian/cyclist path along Phoenix Way
extended beyond the site access in a north-westward direction to join the
existing pedestrian/cyclist path starting just east of the bridge over the
canal. This would allow pedestrian & cyclist access from the area west of
This would be useful not only for people accessing the site but also
for the wider community - e.g. those wishing to access the retail park south
west of the development and the Blue Ribbon business park.
Cycle Coventry route 2 uses the canal towpath, but this has inadequate width
for commuter cyclists and has issues of personal security.
After sending the comment it was pointed out to me that the opportunity to use the canal as a water feature for the pub had been overlooked in the application.There's no direct access from the towpath to the pub.
According to a report in the Coventry Telegraph of 7 February the council
has received a petition requesting that motorcycles should be allowed to
legally use bus lanes. On behalf of CTC, the National Cycling Charity, I wish
to register opposition. I assume that you will be dealing with the matter, if
not please forward these objections to whoever is.
The main reasons for opposing motorcycling in bus lanes are its impacts on
road safety and public health.
Transport for London recently conducted two trials to assess the safety of
allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes. (link) The
conclusion from the first trial was that "motorcyclists appear to be less
safe since the scheme has been introduced" (see Overall Conclusions,
p126). While the second trial indicated no change in the overall motorcyclist
collision rate, it showed an increase in the rate of collisions between
motorcyclists and pedal-cyclists (see Executive Summary, point 3).
So when, in the trials, motorcycles used bus lanes either motorcyclist
safety fell or pedal-cyclist safety fell. Both trials show no evidence of an
increase in anyone's safety.
In the 1950's many Coventarians cycled to work and obesity was not a
problem. Today it is, leading to one of the main justifications for increasing
cycling levels: public health. Any measure which reduces the level of cycling
hinders the campaign against the chronic health problems associated with
physical inactivity. The perception that cyclists are at risk from motor
traffic is the main factor which puts people off cycling. It is not the
collision rate, as measured in the Transport for London trials, but the
perceived hazard which dissuades people. Having a large motorcycle speed past,
between you and the next lane of moving traffic is perceived as a significant
Cycling to the city centre, I habitually use the bus lane on the westbound carriageway
of Sky Blue Way, returning (eastbound) on (one way) Far Gosford Street. I often
see westbound cyclists on the Far Gosford Street pavement, the Sky Blue Way
pavement and even the Far Gosford Street carriageway! Clearly these people are
intimidated by the buses and taxis in the Sky Blue Way bus lane; motorcycles
would be an additional hazard. Having been intimidated from using the
carriageway, more people may cycle on the footway, worsening the environment
The council is able to put pressure on bus and taxi drivers to behave in a
considerate manner, via the bus operators and the taxi drivers' associations,
Something similar with motorcyclists is not possible as there's no organisation
of motorcyclists able to exert pressure on motorcyclists in general to behave
The only benefits of allowing motorcycling in bus lanes listed on the
Transport for London website are that it reduces journey times for
motorcyclists and it reduces carbon dioxide emissions. Delays caused by traffic
congestion are far less of a problem in Coventry than in London. Motorcyclists
are not an influential section of Coventry's population, there's no reason to
promote their noisy mode of transport at the expense of public health or road
safety. Large motorcycles produce much the same carbon dioxide per mile as
While Coventry can benefit from examining what has happened in London,
Birmingham and elsewhere, that doesn't mean that it need follow the conclusions
of their traffic managers.
CTC Right to Ride representative for Coventry
Transport Research Laboratory reports:
FINAL PROJECT REPORT PPR495 "Assessment of TfLs experimental
scheme to allow motorcycles onto with-flow bus lanes on the TLRN" I.York,
S.Ball, O.Anjum, D.Webster. June 2010
CLIENT PROJECT REPORT CPR1224 "Motorcycles in Bus Lanes - Monitoring
of the Second TfL Trial" I York, S Ball and J Hopkin. December 2011
Coventry Cycling Campaign first complained about the Binley Road (near Hipswell Highway) bus gate in our Winter 2008/9 edition of the Coventry Cyclist.
Bus gates are supposed to assist bus drivers in their attempts to merge into the general traffic stream at the end of bus lanes:
Normally the traffic signals for the bus lane are on red while those on the other lanes show green.
When a bus approaches the gate, the traffic signals for the bus lane turn to green and those on the other lanes turn red. The bus driver can then easily join the general traffic lane.
The problem for cyclists is that the signals for the bus lane are usually on red. A cyclist could get past by darting out of the bus lane, cycling past the lights and then darting back to the left, but that's awkward and hazardous. Alternatively he/she could wait for a bus to come to turn the light green, but that would involve a long wait. What almost always happens is that the cyclist stays in the bus lane and "jumps the lights".
Thankfully the bus gate signals have now been removed:
It's a pity that the council didn't see fit to extend the cycle lane eastwards, past the bus stop, to the bus lane at the River Sowe bridge. Once past the junction motorists in the left hand lane are often too busy trying to filter into the right hand lane to give much attention to cyclists, passing us too closely.
the Cycle Coventry Advisory Group went on a site visit in early November.
The route is from Spon Street to Eastern Green. Particular issues were at Butts Road, Hearsall Common and Tile Hill Lane west of the A45.