|Newmarket Road: Approaching Barnwell Road roundabout.|
Newsletter 44 contained a report about the new central cycle lane on Newmarket Road on the approach to the roundabout at Barnwell Road. We said that the new lane started ‘too close to the roundabout, forcing cyclists to make a sharp right fork across the traffic’, suggesting that it should have started further back.
City Council Engineer John Isherwood has since been in touch to explain why this was done. He told us that ‘the reason that the straight ahead / right-turn branch of the cycle lane starts at the point illustrated is obvious from your lower photo – the presence of a central island. The cycle lane is located as close to the island as possible whilst still retaining a minimum 3.0 m wide traffic lane for straight-ahead and right-turning motor traffic’.
Mr Isherwood also said that our comment concerning the angle of the lane ‘…forcing cyclists to make a sharp fork across the traffic…’ was very misleading. ‘The only motor vehicles which would conflict with this manoeuvre,’ he said, ‘would be the very limited number making a left turn; the majority of motor traffic is now confined to the extreme right-hand lane. The purpose of remarking the left-hand traffic lane from left-turn and straight ahead to left-turn only was specifically to reduce the chance of conflict with cyclists.’
The Cycling Campaign was consulted during the early stages of this scheme. We expressed support in principle to the then proposed central cycle lane. We said it was an interesting idea, which would certainly be an improvement on the old cycle lane which placed cyclists in completely the wrong place to go ahead. We asked that it be regarded as an experimental arrangement to be closely monitored upon completion. We are assured that this monitoring will take place.