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Author Topic: Unhappy of Melksham  (Read 3353 times)
CyclingSid
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« on: January 22, 2020, 10:23:46 am »

https://imgur.com/a/e6WIlSS#MNEeiX8
I'll leave others to comment as they see fit.
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GBM
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2020, 11:40:10 am »

I've expressed my views of cyclists as a bus driver, so won't add fuel to the fire.
Also agree there are not-so-good bus drivers who considerably lower our already low reputation.
There are also not-so-good car drivers and cyclists.  Undecided
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2020, 12:13:11 pm »

As a non-driving cyclist / pedestrian I have a small degree of sympathy with the views expressed by 'Angry of Melksham' (who, if my back copies of Private Eye are to be believed, seems to have relocated from Tunbridge Wells!).

There is no excuse for cyclists not using dedicated cycleways where provided. Trouble is it appears that dedicated cycleways are like hen's teeth outside London; certainly in Exeter & Devon all we usually get is pre-existing footways 'upgraded' to shared thoroughfares by the application of some white painted pictograms. Devon County Council don't even do the continuous centre line, in an attempt to segregate foot & bike traffic, any longer so these facilities are now sometimes more dangerous than was previously the case, particularly when the original footway was quite obviously not wide enough to support sharing.

There is also the point that some cyclists might take a bit more notice of rants such as that penned by Ms Cannings if motorists stopped using footways & cycleways as free car parks. 
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2020, 04:08:04 pm »

The letter notes that some leisure cyclists do use the cycle path, but "serious cyclists" do not. Leaving aside the assumptions and questions about seriousness, one characteristic of cycle traffic is that it tends to be far more widely varied in speed than motor traffic. If these "serious" cyclists on the road are, as we're told, racing or time trialling, they're likely to be doing on average at least 20mph. Cycle paths in the UK are made with a design speed of, IIRC, 15mph, and as anyone who uses them will tell you, they don't often even meet that standard, being infested with barriers, bollards and fences as well as blind junctions. If they were made to a road-like standard allowing higher speeds – 30mph, say – with adequate width for faster cyclists to overtake slower ones, smooth surfaces, maintaining priority at side roads, etc, then I'd expect faster cyclists to use them too.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2020, 04:09:25 pm »

As someone who's run a business on the complained-about Spa Road since 2006 ...  I could add comment to this letter, which was printed in the Melksham Independent News last week.  And as a resident / owner of  a house on The Spa - a cul-de-sac off Spa Road - from 1999 until we sold last month - I could add further comment.  Having found the author on Facebook and clicked on the "Mutual Friends" link, I am also able (perhaps more than I should) to pigeonhole the author by the friends that she keeps.

A new development, with hundreds of houses, is currently under construction on what were fields until last summer, filling the gap between Melksham itself and Bowerhill.  There has always been a good footpath / cycle track along that road, and indeed more cycles have used the path than the road itself - I know it from various times of day not only from living locally but from dog walking.   The new development (I will assume paid by the developers) is making a bit of a mess in construction, though extra foot/cycle paths are being added - rough just as the first few houses are being occupied, but no doubt to be finished to a sensible level.  There's even two extra bus stops being put in - on a commercial route, and I just hope they still have a decent service there in a few months time when the houses are occupied, but that's another story.

I would suggest that in current state, riding on the road might - temporarily - be safer.

"The Spa" cul de sac provides a short cut for pedestrians and cycles to Melksham Oak (where there's the secondary school) as well as to Bowerhill. It's ... flooded ... with school children on foot, cycle, scooter, boards twice a day - with a car, dangerous to drive over 5 m.p.h, but then it's less than a hundred yards and it keeps this unmotorised traffic off the main road and roundabout it bypasses.  Surprisingly busy at other times too. I suspect the correspondent is writing about seeing cycles on that roundabout, not realising that they're the tip of the iceberg and assuming (wrongly) that the cul de sac is quiet.

There is an issue with one particular flow though the area - one cycle path seems to have been designed by a chap (or chapess) more to take in a variety of scenery than to provide a direct or fast link and, yes, people travelling along that flow on a cycle have been, and no doubt will continue to be, tempted onto the road itself.

I note the letter writer talks of having to drive because there's no bus to the field where she keeps her horse ... perhaps if she can't beat 'em, she she join 'em and cycle ... if she can lower herself into the saddle.

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CyclingSid
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2020, 07:10:31 am »

As has been said on another thread, all to often the quality of cycling infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired both in design and any subsequent maintenance. Most cycle paths that I see locally have not had last autumn's leaves removed which leaves a slippery mulch on the path.

Personally on the subject of "serious" cyclists, I would far prefer the 30 mph riders (Daily Mail standard cycling speed) to be on the road, rather than abusing those of us who travel at a more sedate pace.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2020, 02:04:45 pm »


There is no excuse for cyclists not using dedicated cycleways where provided.
 

Not sure about excuses, but there are some very good reasons why they may not.

Many cycleways on main roads have a give way line at every side road. A cyclist who uses the main road has right of way, whereas one who uses the cycle path will have to look almost directly behind them at each crossing.

Cycleways also often use multiple signalled crossings at junctions. Someone on the main road may have to wait for the lights to change once; someone using the cycle route may have to wait for two, three or more set of lights to change to get to the same destination.

Finally, a surprising number of cycleways terminate in spectacularly stupid places, as a quick Google will reveal. Near where I live there are cycle paths that direct riders straight into trees, into fast flowing traffic in the opposite direction, or just sort of dump them in pedestrian areas with no clear indication of where they are supposed to go. Some cycle lanes run directly along the outside of car parking, encouraging riders to be in exactly the right place to get hit if anyone opens a car door (I think this is known as 'doing a Grayling').

A recent timed test at Temple Meads found that cyclists using the new cycle paths take three times as long to get through as those who stay on the road.

So I don't think 'excuse' is an appropriate or relevant word here, but there is certainly every reason why a cyclist might prefer, as is their right, to stick to the main road.
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froome
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2020, 03:33:13 pm »

Well, as a non-driving cyclist/pedestrian, there are many reasons why I usually choose to ride on the road rather than any alternative cyclepath. Some of those reasons have been outlined here by others, but in addition, as a cyclist, I have every right to use the road, regardless of whether there is an alternative to it, if I choose to do so. Sadly, too many motorists don't appear to agree though.
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Celestial
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2020, 05:58:39 pm »

but in addition, as a cyclist, I have every right to use the road, regardless of whether there is an alternative to it, if I choose to do so.
If there is a cycleway alongside the road then I would advocate putting a restriction on cyclists using the road.  I've seen it done in a few places and you still find cyclists taking their chance amongst the traffic.  If provision to segregate users is there then it should be used, not only for cyclists' safety but to avoid holding up traffic.  It's selfish not to.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2020, 06:29:10 pm »

but in addition, as a cyclist, I have every right to use the road, regardless of whether there is an alternative to it, if I choose to do so.
If there is a cycleway alongside the road then I would advocate putting a restriction on cyclists using the road.  I've seen it done in a few places and you still find cyclists taking their chance amongst the traffic.  If provision to segregate users is there then it should be used, not only for cyclists' safety but to avoid holding up traffic.  It's selfish not to.

If cycleways are well-designed, cyclists will use them. If they aren't, they won't. If you try to force cyclists to use routes which are slow, inconvenient and often badly-designed to the point of being unsafe, you'll just end up with more motorists and fewer cyclists.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2020, 06:53:32 pm »

Thre are also a couple of practical problems.

In law, cycles are not vehicular traffic so the road traffic acts can't be used to restrict them. AIUI it is down to local byelaws to prohibit cycling, and local byelaws are not allowed to extend national laws. So I personally don't see how the laws as they stand could do anything to stop cyclists using roads when cycle lanes are provided, any more than pedestrians can be stopped from walking in the road where pavements are provided (I know there are special rules covering things like motorways but I am talking in general terms).

Secondly, even if you could introduce a law to pohibit cycling on roads where a cycle track is provided, we no longer have the police to enforce such matters. Even with the proposed increases in police numbers (if ir ever happens) I would imagine that police officers would have more important things to than nick cyclists for cycling along a road.
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2020, 08:50:16 pm »

It is the Queen's Highway. Some are there without let or hindrance: pedestrians and horse riders/drivers (which includes cyclists). Other vehicles are licensed to enjoy the same privileges.

I am a car driver: with licence, MOT, V5C and insurance.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2020, 10:34:39 pm »

If there is a cycleway alongside the road then I would advocate putting a restriction on cyclists using the road.

As long as we can have restrictions on motorists using "normal roads" where there's a motorway running parallel. A few ANPR cameras to monitor people's journeys should make it a cinch! Wink
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2020, 08:20:47 pm »

Cycles are vehicles in law, as are horse carts, they're just not "mechanically propelled vehicles".
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2020, 01:02:00 pm »

If there is a cycleway alongside the road then I would advocate putting a restriction on cyclists using the road. 

There's a cycle lane running through the village where I live. Some householders find it a very convenient place to park their cars...
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