White lines

This article was published in 2012, in Newsletter 101.

Newmarket Road at Elizabeth Way roundabout beforehand.
Image as described adjacent

I cycle to work every day along Newmarket Road. One of the more challenging parts of the journey is crossing the roundabout at the junction with East Road and Elizabeth Way, because when wanting to go straight on (westbound) there is potential for conflict with left-turning motor vehicles. There is a cycle lane on the westbound approach to the roundabout, but it stops a little way short of the roundabout, at about the point at which I normally start moving out towards the middle of the traffic lane to make my intentions clear. Whilst it would be preferable to have a lane right up to the roundabout and an advance stop line, the road width would make this difficult without losing a traffic lane. So I think this arrangement is the best that can be had without redesigning the junction.

The short-lived shrinking lane.
Image as described adjacent

Recently, the county council had instructed a contractor to repaint all the white lines on this part of Newmarket Road, as they were badly faded. I was pleased to discover this on my usual ride into work on 29 February – until I reached the roundabout. What I found was the cycle lane no longer stopped in the usual place: it carried on, wobbled a bit, then veered off towards the kerb. By the time I reached the stop line, the lane was unusably narrow – possibly not even the width of my handlebars. But some motor traffic took this new line as an indication of how much room I needed.

Thank You

When I got to work I sent an email to the county council. I got a response within a day, saying that they would inspect the area and ask the contractor to make any necessary remedial works – since the contractor was only instructed to repaint the existing lines, not to make any changes to the positioning of the lines. By the end of the week, the offending line had been removed, and the layout put back to how it was before. It was clearly a simple mistake, and I was very pleased it was corrected quickly and without fuss.

Tom Cumming