Monday, 10 November 2014

Crossing Sandy Lane and cycling on Kingfield Road

Cycle Coventry route 1 improves the route between the city centre and the Ricoh Arena

Expand the map by clicking on the icon at the top right.

Crossing the ring road

It's proposed to use a toucan crossing. Some people think that would delay traffic and be unsafe. More

Crossing Sandy Lane

Something like this is being considered by the council:

After crossing the recreation ground, cyclists would cross Sandy Lane just north-east of Caldecote Road and use a pavement conversion to reach Daimler Road.

Cycle paths on the inside of cars can have problems: cycling in the "door zone" and cars crossing from the carriageway. Newspaper report on a terrible piece of "cycle infrastructure" in Farnborough. Still in Sandy Lane there are no places where cars cross and there should be enough width for cyclists to avoid the door zone.

Kingfield Road

The council is considering widening the pavement on the west side, putting in a crossing, and widening the pavement on the east side up to Lockhurst Lane. Then crossing Kingfield Road again, using the pavement on the west side of Lockhurst Lane to the signalised crossing and then the pavement on the east side to Station Street West.

I suspect there will be a significant safety problems with cars darting from the carriageway into the various side roads and factory entrances:

What works for pedestrians doesn't work for cyclists.

A pedestrian has a stopping distance of a few inches, allowing them to avoid a collision with a car darting into a side road from the main road. More than that, the Highway Code states that motorists turning into a side road should give way to pedestrians already crossing. Cyclists travel at least three times faster than pedestrians and so need about ten times the stopping distance. So if a cyclist is close to the side road he/she won't have enough space to avoid a collision. Slowing to walking pace before crossing any entrance or side road is no way to make progress. While a motorist can regain lost speed by pressing their right foot, a cyclist has to find the lost kinetic energy from within their own body.

Setting the side road crossing back from the carriageway offers a solution; cyclists can see whether a car is heading their way significantly sooner. Even better is to give priority to cyclists as well.

Bollards might be needed to stop pavement parking.

After dark many people won't want to use the path through the woods and park. I suspect faster cyclists won't use the new route; they will use the Kingfield Road carriageway.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Henley Road

Coventry Council is proposing to improve the Henley Road section of the cycle route between University Hospital and Longford Park.

The proposals include
  1. Widening the Henley Road footways to create shared pedestrian/cyclist paths:
    • On the north side between the Sowe river bridge and Deedmore Road. This is likely to be about 2.4m wide.
    • On the south side between the new Toucan crossing and Brierley Road. This is likely to be just over 3m wide.
  2. Adding Toucan crossings to Henley Road at the points shown with red markers on the map. This includes adding Toucan phases to all three arms of the Deedmore Road / Henley Road junction
Details of the proposed scheme. A presentation was given to a local Neighbourhood Forum on 3 September.

I'm concerned about the lack of segregation between pedestrians and cyclists - the footway close to Henley College can get busy. Also there's some issues about the crossing of Henley Mill Lane:
  • the turn for motorists needs to be made sharper; to slow traffic
  • cyclists travelling on the new path along Henley Road need to retain their priority over turning traffic
  • there should be enough space to allow a car
    • turning into Henley Mill Lane to clear the Henley Road carriageway before having to stop for pedestrians & cyclists
    • leaving Henley Mill Lane, waiting for a gap in the Henley Road traffic, to clear the pedestrian/cyclist path.
A good example of a cycle path crossing a side road:

Details of the proposed scheme

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Netherlands Study Tour

In mid June, four of us from the West Midlands went on a David Hembro Study Tour. The most remarkable thing about cycling in the Netherlands is the sheer number of cyclists:

Only a small minority of Dutch cyclists ride mountain/road bikes or wear helmets/Lycra. Despite the proportion of such sporty cyclists among the general population being higher in the Netherlands than the UK, they are swamped by the large number of people who use a bicycle to ride a couple of miles from A to B.

It's not the flatness of the Netherlands that encourages cycling (much of eastern England is just as flat) and certainly not the weather - it's often raining and the wind can be punishing. It's the way cyclists are separated from motor traffic, often onto to routes which are shorter than those taken by motorists.

Back in the 1950's the streets of Coventry were full of cyclists. Then people bought cars in large numbers, just as they did in the Netherlands. Conditions on the roads got much worse for cycling. In the UK, and in many other countries, few good cycling facilities were built and cycle use declined dramatically. For reasons no-one seems to understand very well, the Dutch highway authorities built decent cycle facilities and so many car owners continue to use their bicycles for short journeys.

Dutch cycle path crossing a side road. Note priorities, footway and sight-lines.