Heath Road Consultation … Not Exactly Cycling for 8 to 80 …

Heath Road is up for some cycling improvements (see here), but we’re not sure they’re going to make much difference.  Consultation close 5th July – please fill it in to make cycling’s voice loud!

bus stop cycling

You can see from this image:

  • The lane will be just 1.5m wide at some points
  • You’ll have to wait for the bus, or risk going round it
  • It’s not a mandatory lane, so anyone can drive in it and will probably also stop in it
  • There’s no separation from motor traffic

All of these are problems if the council wants more people to cycle, because they mean that this road will continue to look unpleasant for being on a bike, with neither actual nor perceived protection.

We would like to see ‘floating bus stops’ on this stretch.  Check out this elegant solution on Cycle Superhighway 2.

bus bypass

We think the London Cycle Design Standards (see here) need applying on this road, and we’d like the council to think again:  Please take the time to fill in the consultation, if you like you can use our recommended response below.   It doesn’t take many responses to influence things for the better!!

RCC would like for this scheme to go ahead, it is encouraging to see cyclists being considered on main roads.  However prior to implementation there should be a redesign as described below.   The proposal currently falls well short of modern cycle design standards and will do little to improve cycle safety or encourage those currently not confident enough to cycle onto their bicycles:

 

  • On roads with this volume of traffic and speeds of 30 mph, cycle lanes should be fully segregated.  RCC would like to see this scheme upgraded to semi segregation with Armadillos or traffic wands.  This should be coupled with a medium term vision to create a fully segregated cycle route on Heath Road.
  • Commingling cyclists with heavy vehicles in bus lanes should not be considered acceptable cycling infrastructure.  On this occasion as an intermediate solution it is acceptable to RCC, however to encourage new cyclists and improve the experience of existing cyclists a plan should be created to segregate those on bikes from buses and other traffic at this location
  • The section where cyclists are expected to pass parked cars should include enough space and road markings to ensure that cyclists are not riding in the ‘dooring’ zone.  Ideally the cycle path would run along the near side of the parked cars, the parked vehicles would provide some protection from the moving traffic, again space for opening doors is imperative.  One of the most common bicycle accidents is through being hit by opening car doors.
  • Careful design consideration must be given to cyclists crossing side roads, cyclists should be treated as main road traffic and be given priority over traffic emerging from the side road.  The cycle lanes should be continuous.
  • More thought needs to be given into the siting and design of bus stops.  Cyclists having to move out into traffic to overtake buses is poor design, bus stop bypasses should be included and bus stops should be relocated where there is not space to provide a bypass.
  • Include generous cycling parking at approximate 50 m intervals along the route.

In summary, it is good that cycling is being considered but note that if we as a borough are to get more people cycling for the ‘utility’ and simple journeys that will make a real difference to congestion and well-being routes like this:

  • need to be complete
  • can’t just give up at junctions
  • need to look attractive and safe