Roadworks blues

This article was published in 2013, in Newsletter 109.

Perhaps it is just the roadworks season that is causing it, but we have had numerous reports over the last few weeks of roadworks where contractors insist on telling cyclists to get off and walk, despite the obstruction being no more than one would encounter with a parked car in a cycle lane.

Roadworks on Hills Road, southbound, June 2013.
Image as described adjacent

Members have reported seeing recent examples in Chesterton, Kings Hedges Road, Hills Road, Histon Road and Bateman Street. This is completely unacceptable. Motorists will once again vilify cyclists for disobeying signs, in situations where they are already stressed because they are being held up for two seconds.

The county council agrees that it is unacceptable. Yet contractors keep on doing it, time and again. Someone, somewhere is telling them to do it. It must stop. If cyclists are so adversely affected that they cannot follow the same diversion as cars, then proper alternative provision is needed. If they can, that is what they should be doing. If someone feels that’s not for them, no doubt they will get off and walk without patronising prompting.

Signs saying ‘cycle lane closed’ seem reasonable. While it is perfectly obvious to cyclists that they are about to run into a barrier if they stick in a cycle lane that has been dug up, the sign does tell the unobservant motorist that cyclists are going to be moving over. Indeed, we need to see more of the signs saying ‘Do Not Overtake Cyclists In Roadworks’ that were eventually provided during the Hills Road bridge works. The phasing of temporary traffic lights also needs to allow long enough for a cyclist entering just as the lights change to reach the other end. In a breath of fresh air, in 2010 closure signs on Mill Road specifically announced: ‘Cyclists Access as Usual’.

If you see examples of Cyclists Dismount signs at roadworks, please do let us know: ideally report it on Cyclescape (you don’t even have to log in to do that). Time is of the essence, because often roadworks like this are only there for a day or two. If there is time, and we let the county council know, they will ask the contractor to remove the offending signs. Please take a photo if you can, and also upload that to Cyclestreets or Cyclescape. And make a note of who the contractor is (there should be a sign saying this at the roadworks).

One member has become so frustrated by this that he has submitted a Freedom Of Information request to try to get to the bottom of why this keeps on happening. We’ll let you know what happens.

David Earl