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Author Topic: Unhappy cycling in Melksham  (Read 3708 times)
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2023, 08:46:56 »


On more than one occasion I’ve found myself on a road with an attractive cycle path running long side it, but no way of accessing it other than to stop, unclip and lift my bike over a kerb. This in itself can be more dangerous than just keeping going.
...and no guarantee that it won't fizzle out at the next side-turning or take me off in a different direction (up to the gates of a school for instance). One reason I rarely use cycle tracks in areas I don't know unless they are very well signposted.

Exactly. Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.

Aside from anything else, you’ll have his shoes, and he’ll be a mile away with bare feet.
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2023, 09:08:59 »

I could go on and on (and on) about Melksham Cycling issues. 

1. Town Centre / cycling on pavements (as original article)

2. Cycling on the road because using the provided cycle ways is "sissy" - a variant on Phil's though I have not seen three abreast

3. Paths that just run out.

4. Confusion over what is a footpath, what is dual use, waymarking, where one starts and the other ends, and what the priority rules are when a "side path" is in use by both.

One of the worst issues is at the Town Bridge.   From the housing in the north and west of Melksham, a wide wayarked shared path leads down the old Bath Road and in front of the tyre factory to run out at the pinch point of the Town Bridge.
* There is no "end of cycle way" or "footpath only" or "please walk you bicycle from here" signage
* The bridge has footways on both sides - narrow enough for them to have been a distancing problem during covid
* The bridge is on the primary A3102 (no weight limit) route, one lane in each direction, busy, lorries, buses
* Wiltshire Unitary Council has constructed substantial railings set in concrete to keep road traffic off the footpath

Net effect?  Cyclists come from the Bath or Chippenham roads, or railway station, to the Town Bridge and really don't know what to do / where to go.  It is not obvious.  If they cycle on (and there are no signs telling them not to) on the paths, they create a danger to pedestrians on the bridge.  If they take to the carriageways between the railings, unless they are excellent cyclists they create a danger to themselves; they simply cannot step off their cycle onto the pavement if multiple heavy or wide vehicles come along.

The problem has, perhaps, been made all the worse by all the marvellous new signage pointing cycles and pedestrians between the town centre, the station, and Shaw.

Cyclists here - you please tell me what the solution should be?


 

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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2023, 17:56:23 »

The simple answer is that cyclists should take prime position. If they don't they are effectively inviting vehicles to try to overtake them which, as you say, would be dangerous here.

Of course the problem with simple answers is that reality has this way of being a bit more complicated. In areas where few people cycle, the attitude of motorists tends to be less tolerant. It's the breaking of this vicious circle that's the challenge.

20mph speed limits would help. These are becoming the norm in most towns and cities now.

The northbound cycle lane (slipping off from the junction with New Broughton Rd) looks really bad, by the way. It appears to have the potential to funnel unwary cyclists straight into the path of oncoming traffic. I have come across instances like this a few times elsewhere, and have to question how this kind of thing can possibly happen.
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2023, 19:13:59 »

As Red Squirrel suggests there tend to be no easy answers.

There is good guidance now https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/951074/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-1-20.pdf but it is just guidance.

It does say that there should be an integrated plan rather than a patchwork of disconnected schemes. This was the idea behind Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIP (Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan)). In the case of Melksham this would be the Wiltshire LCWIP, which majors on Salisbury, and mentions Chippenham, Devizes and Trowbridge. All Melksham gets is a Sign Placement Plan, which to my cynical mind suggests a cop out.

What happened to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) or s106 money from new estates, or did that vanish into the central pot in Trowbridge?

LTN (Low Traffic Neighbourhood) 1/20 says that schemes should be designed by a suitably qualified highways engineer, and elsewhere in the guidance it suggests that should be cyclist.

Needless there is very little of this evident in Reading. The prime example is the Sidmouth Street cycle street. It has no connection with the rest of the cycle network at the river end, and it is that useful I have never even seen a cycle delivery bike on it.
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« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2023, 17:01:55 »

The northbound cycle lane (slipping off from the junction with New Broughton Rd) looks really bad, by the way. It appears to have the potential to funnel unwary cyclists straight into the path of oncoming traffic. I have come across instances like this a few times elsewhere, and have to question how this kind of thing can possibly happen.

Indeed - here's a picture of that, this afternoon.



And here is some confused signage across the road - is cycling REALLY allowed on that side path??



From the bridge (to the right on that picture above) ... I am standing on the footpath behind the barricade, heavy vehicle crossing, and look ahead you can see the shared way sign where it widens out.



I am less than happy with this - I consider it dangerous but have not been able to trigger any interest or changes.  I hope I am never in a position of having to say "told you so" ...
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« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2023, 09:28:14 »



Quote
A Melksham man is asking Wiltshire Council to back a crackdown on young cyclists who are endangering the safety of older people by riding on footpaths.

We have a problem ... too much traffic, with cycles, pedestrians, mobility scooters, cars, lorries and buses all having to share a narrow space.     Personally, I think (NOT) that young cycle riders should be told to ride in the road ... as should those older people who are on mobility scooters.     Big problem - discussion last Monday with the police at Town Council.  Sensible solution would be to make town centre "access only" and with 20 m.p.h. limit





30km/h (or 20mph) limits are becoming more and more common in urban areas around the globe. So many cities and towns in the UK (United Kingdom) now have them, covering such large areas, that it seems a bit eccentric to retain 30mph (50 km/h) as the default here.

A couple of years ago Birmingham asked the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) if it could just declare the whole city a 20mph zone, with exceptions where this made sense, rather than having to go through the legal and logistical rigmarole of applying area-by-area and putting up hundreds of reminder signs. They received a flat 'no'.
Although this is exactly what Wales has recently legislated for. Local councils will have to justify each exemption to the 20mph built-up area speed limit. I can't remember offhand when it comes in, but it's obviously going to be a process of changing signs, assessing cases and so on.
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