Monday, 11 August 2008

The problems facing city's cyclists


With cycling in Norwich coming under the spotlight again in recent weeks, KATE SCOTTER got on her bike to find out what kind of difficulties cyclists face on a daily basis.

And she discovered that simple changes could be the key to getting people out of their cars and onto two wheels.

Every cyclist has their own gripe about biking in the city, whether it is confusing cycle paths, badly maintained routes or having to ride closer to cars, buses and lorries than is comfortable.

But while some might see Norwich as a cycle-friendly city cyclists will tell you it still has some way to go to match its East Anglia neighbour Cambridge.

Earlier this year, Green Party and Lib Dem councillors urged the city council to carry out a feasibility study to develop a comprehensive cycling network in Norwich.

The calls came just days after the government announced a dozen places that were set to receive a slice of £100m government cash to improve cycling facilities - a list Norwich was never going to feature on as Norfolk County Council decided not to put a bid forward.

But what actually needs to be improved? What is it about this medieval city that makes it so difficult to get about on two wheels?

Problems Kate found included:

The junction at the bottom of Rouen Road and King Street - the continuous flow of traffic makes it hard for cyclists to get across.

Marriotts Way and similar off-road cycle paths, such as Marston Lane - overgrown.

Dereham Road - okay city-bound because there is a bus lane but too narrow in the opposite direction.

Newmarket Road - the bus lane on the city side of the ring road is poorly maintained as is the off-road bike path the other side of the roundabout (although this is being resurfaced). Plans for HGVS to use bus/cycle lane is a major concern.

London Street - want it to be opened up to cyclists out of hours to bring it in line with Gentleman's Walk and Timberhill.

Bluebell Road - poor surface and often overgrown.

Junction at Bracondale and King Street - badly planned for cyclists.

Route to Hethersett - off-road section beside the A11 is a very rough surface and the bike path beside the B1172 is poorly maintained.

Bike paths end all of a sudden, for example at Martineau Lane where there is an off-road bike path that suddenly leads into a petrol station forecourt and bikes have to go into the road where cars are turning into the petrol station, heading towards the lane for the bypass or going straight on the ring road.

Sprowston roundabout at the Brickmakers - on the north of the roundabout there are bus/cycle lanes but on any other approach the cyclists are ignored and at risk.

Cyclists in the city said simple changes were needed to make cycling in Norwich a more pleasant experience.

Keen cyclist and Green Party's spokesman for transport Rupert Read said: “We need the streets to be safer for cyclists. The perceived lack of safety is absolutely an essential reason as to why people don't cycle as much as what they would like to do.

“Having a 20mph speed restriction throughout the city, as planned, will help and junctions are very important. There are a lot of junctions where there are advanced stop lines but there are quite a number of places that don't where they could do with them, such as the intersection of Dereham and Bowthorpe roads.

“Another thing is making life easy for cyclists in terms of getting from A to B. We need more contra flow for cyclists in the city's streets, like Goat Lane, and pedestrian areas like London Street to be opened up to cyclists out of hours.

“A lot of things we are talking about wouldn't cost too much and are not too difficult to do.”

Article continues
here

2 Comments:

Blogger Lynda said...

I agree with the view that Norwich cyclists are poorly provided for by the County Council. I am one of those people who, although I haven't cycled since I was 15, would try again if the roads were safer. I live just off the Dereham Road and I am amazed there are not any more accidents involving cyclists - this must be due to the skills of cyclists and drivers alike!

On Dereham Road there are some partial "cycle paths" which are faded white lines (which are difficult for drivers to see in wet weather so they often queue up at traffic in these "lanes"!) which mysteriously finish before Dereham Road reaches Barn Road. If a cyclist uses these "lanes" they would have to almost cycle in the gutter!

Surely, as Dereham Road is spacious with wide pavements, there should be enough room to build a continental style cycle ROAD similar to those seen in parts of Holland. This would then keep cyclists away from motorised traffic whilst still giving room for motorists and pedestrians to use the road and pavement.

I agree more should be done to encourage cycling in Norwich. Our medievel streets are more suited to cycle traffic than bulky motorised traffic and would flow more efficiently if the majority of cars were replaced by cycles.

12 August 2008 at 00:16  
Blogger maddogs said...

I agree with the points raised - roads with partial cycle lanes, that somehow disappear and magically reappear further on have got to be more dangerous than having no path at all. I've yet to venture into the city because of the problems. Have to say that the other issue is the state of the roads. I have a trike pulling a trailer and the five wheels seem to hit all the lumps and bumps, without suspension! I've heard that the new development in Sprowston is being designed with pedestrains and bikes in mind - I will be very curious to see how this works out. We need to change cycles from being an 'also ran' (I'm being positive/naive about bikes always being considered with all planning applications and travel schemes!)to being amongst the top of the agenda.

12 August 2008 at 07:22  

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29.

With cycling in Norwich coming under the spotlight again in recent weeks, KATE SCOTTER got on her bike to find out what kind of difficulties cyclists face on a daily basis.

And she discovered that simple changes could be the key to getting people out of their cars and onto two wheels.

Every cyclist has their own gripe about biking in the city, whether it is confusing cycle paths, badly maintained routes or having to ride closer to cars, buses and lorries than is comfortable.

But while some might see Norwich as a cycle-friendly city cyclists will tell you it still has some way to go to match its East Anglia neighbour Cambridge.

Earlier this year, Green Party and Lib Dem councillors urged the city council to carry out a feasibility study to develop a comprehensive cycling network in Norwich.

The calls came just days after the government announced a dozen places that were set to receive a slice of £100m government cash to improve cycling facilities - a list Norwich was never going to feature on as Norfolk County Council decided not to put a bid forward.

But what actually needs to be improved? What is it about this medieval city that makes it so difficult to get about on two wheels?

Problems Kate found included:

The junction at the bottom of Rouen Road and King Street - the continuous flow of traffic makes it hard for cyclists to get across.

Marriotts Way and similar off-road cycle paths, such as Marston Lane - overgrown.

Dereham Road - okay city-bound because there is a bus lane but too narrow in the opposite direction.

Newmarket Road - the bus lane on the city side of the ring road is poorly maintained as is the off-road bike path the other side of the roundabout (although this is being resurfaced). Plans for HGVS to use bus/cycle lane is a major concern.

London Street - want it to be opened up to cyclists out of hours to bring it in line with Gentleman's Walk and Timberhill.

Bluebell Road - poor surface and often overgrown.

Junction at Bracondale and King Street - badly planned for cyclists.

Route to Hethersett - off-road section beside the A11 is a very rough surface and the bike path beside the B1172 is poorly maintained.

Bike paths end all of a sudden, for example at Martineau Lane where there is an off-road bike path that suddenly leads into a petrol station forecourt and bikes have to go into the road where cars are turning into the petrol station, heading towards the lane for the bypass or going straight on the ring road.

Sprowston roundabout at the Brickmakers - on the north of the roundabout there are bus/cycle lanes but on any other approach the cyclists are ignored and at risk.

Cyclists in the city said simple changes were needed to make cycling in Norwich a more pleasant experience.

Keen cyclist and Green Party's spokesman for transport Rupert Read said: “We need the streets to be safer for cyclists. The perceived lack of safety is absolutely an essential reason as to why people don't cycle as much as what they would like to do.

“Having a 20mph speed restriction throughout the city, as planned, will help and junctions are very important. There are a lot of junctions where there are advanced stop lines but there are quite a number of places that don't where they could do with them, such as the intersection of Dereham and Bowthorpe roads.

“Another thing is making life easy for cyclists in terms of getting from A to B. We need more contra flow for cyclists in the city's streets, like Goat Lane, and pedestrian areas like London Street to be opened up to cyclists out of hours.

“A lot of things we are talking about wouldn't cost too much and are not too difficult to do.”

Article continues
here
30. 31. 32.