This article was published in 2007, in Newsletter 70.
Shortly before going to press, we learnt of new draft guidance notes just published by Cycling England, the Government’s relatively new cycling body. Whilst no guidance is ever perfect, these do seem to say lots of good stuff about how to provide for cyclists, although we need to go through them in more detail. We plan to do so, and to provide feedback to the authors of the documents. We very much hope the guidance will not be watered down between these drafts and their final publication.
Here are a selection of quotations to whet your appetite. Note that many of these do not necessarily imply spending of large amounts of money – they instead back up the need for cycle-friendly decisions to be made.
Cycle-specific infrastructure should not be introduced without first establishing whether cyclists’ needs would be better met through demand management or traffic management measures that reduce both the volume and speed of motor traffic.
Carriageway profiles (including those at pinch points created by build-outs and refuges) should be chosen to create adequate space for cyclists to be passed by other road users in safety and comfort.
Cyclists should be exempt from all TROs, including banned turns and road closures, unless there are proven safety reasons for not doing so.
Two-way cycling should be the default option where it is proposed to introduce one-way working for general traffic.
Allowing cycling through restricted areas should be the rule rather than the exception.
ASLs [advanced stop lines] should be considered at all signal controlled junctions.
Where provided, cycle lanes should be a minimum of 1.5 m wide, continuous, made conspicuous across side roads at junctions and not abandon cyclists where roads become narrow, for example at right turning lanes.
Consideration should be given to the removal of centrelines as an option where carriageway widths do not permit the introduction of cycle lanes of adequate width (minimum 1.5 m) whilst retaining two general traffic lanes.
All changes to the highway network, including maintenance schemes, should be the subject of a cycle audit.
Maintaining the continuity of cycle tracks is important if they are to provide an attractive alternative to being on road. Consideration should be given to the use of cycle priority crossings where they cross minor roads where daily traffic flows are below 2000 vehicles per day.
Posts and sign faces should not reduce the effective width of a cycle track by being placed in the path of pedestrians or cyclists.
There should be a presumption against the use of any access barriers on a cycle track/shared-use path until/unless there is a proven need because of the difficulties they can cause all users. Where it is necessary to reduce the speed of cyclists, two rows of staggered bollards are preferred.
The inclusion of “Sheffield” type cycle parking stands should be considered in all highway traffic management and maintenance schemes.
The use of “Cyclists dismount” and “End of route” signs should always be avoided unless there is a proven need.
All new developments should be accessible by bicycle. Their highway infrastructure should focus on on-road provision for cyclists with roads designed to deliver low speeds whilst at the same time creating permeability and advantage through the use of connections and links not available to motor traffic.
Off-road routes which cyclists are encouraged to use after dark should be lit.
If this is the start of things to come from Cycling England, this is a good sign. They are also about to launch a new cycle training system in April to replace the old Cycling Proficiency system, called BikeAbility. Indications from pilot projects being conducted for this are extremely positive, and we hope to report on this in more detail soon.
Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator