Author Topic: Journeys with no safe bike option  (Read 2362 times)

Journeys with no safe bike option
« on: April 05, 2021, 05:04:15 pm »
Prompted by the Humber Bridge thread and this:

https://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/19206993.cycle-routes-proposed-royal-wootton-bassett/

which reminded me that there is no good way from RWB into Swindon by bike, an obvious candidate for cycle commuting otherwise, as it's about 5 miles and flat.  When I was younger and more reckless, I would go the short way, which is a busy bit of A-road followed by a 3-lane dual carriageway, with a four-lane motorway roundabout in the middle.  This is mainly dangerous because drivers really don't expect a bike to use it.  The usual alternative is to add a couple of miles and go via Hook.  This merely puts you into conflict with vehicles on a narrow ratrun with passing places, and involves a hairy right turn on a blind corner.

Anything along the A419 axis is similar; Cricklade to my part of Swindon is a short hop by car but you'd be very brave to try it on a bike.  You end up going miles out of the way.

I think we are forgotten when roads are gradually upgraded to near-motorway status, even if cycling is still theoretically allowed.

Any other examples of "so.near, yet so far"?
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2021, 05:10:12 pm »
Stonehaven to Aberdeen requires a ludicrously tortuous route.

The A90 is another of those motorways-in-all-but-name roads.

mattc

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Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2021, 05:37:01 pm »
A34 from Oxon into Berks.

(A bike lane would be so easy. But they find the money for new junctions  :facepalm:
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

John Stonebridge

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Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2021, 05:47:56 pm »
The A9 dual carriageway that starts from just south of Dunblane is a no go zone all the way to Perth - its effectively a continuation of the M9 and the recent addition of average speed cameras will have made no difference. 

Thankfully whether a cyclist is heading North West to Comrie  :thumbsup:, Perth or other points east there is a fairly pleasant alternative through Kinbuck (which I believe is the old A9) to Braco that adds a mere 1km. 

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2021, 06:06:47 pm »
One of my favourite "pastimes" is to take a map of an area I don't know well and plan, how would you cycle from there to there without using silly roads or going ludicrously out of way? Often it's the places nearest to each other that are hardest to do, because there's no reasonable alternative to the main road.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2021, 07:02:17 pm »
Norwich to Gt Yarmouth. Very circuitous to do without using the A47 Acle Straight. Essentially a death sentence on a bike.

Guisborough to Middlesbrough. Impossible to do without using the Middlesbrough Road A171 Dual Carriageway, unless you use the dead-end NCN 168, and then carry your bike across several stiles and a railway line; British cycling infrastructure, at its finest.

Crossing the Pennines on a Latitude connecting (roughly) Darlington and Shap. Yes, you can do it on some pretty gnarly lanes/tracks, but the default option is the A66, which has zero facility for anything other than motor traffic. To quote a friend from another place, "Stainmore has been crossed by humans for millennia, and now you can only do it in a fucking car". It's a Roman road - there should totally be a non-motorised option. In fact, if I were PM (quite unlikely, TBF), I'd make sure all known Roman Roads had non-motorised access.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2021, 07:21:05 pm »
There's the A31 into Ringwood (approaching from the west). There's an off road trailway, and a shared use path with "no cycling" and "cyclists dismount" signs, so if you don't want to / can't use such facilities, the A31 is the only bridge within several miles.

It's also four lanes heading eastbound!

The shared use path

That's a "no" from me (I was only scouting it, so turned around).

And a rear shot from me using the carriageway in November. Fortunately, it's a single junction hop within the merge/split with the A338, so actually most traffic tends to be passing in lane 3!

And the map:

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2021, 07:27:50 pm »
Norwich to Gt Yarmouth.
And Norwich to Newmarket, meaning Norwich to Cambridge and anywhere vaguely in that direction. They've plonked the A11 pseudo-motorway on the only available road alignment. Infuriatingly, Cambridgeshire have done a decent job of getting cyclists to Mildenhall on back roads, and there's a path and back roads from Elveden, but the "strategic" highways authority completely failed to think remotely strategically about bikes, and didn't notice that missing a five-mile section of provision in the middle would cut off a swathe of East Anglia by bike. Unless you're on tour and can go a very long way around of course.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2021, 07:37:49 pm »
Yes, most of these gaps aren't huge problems on tour or audaxing or most sorts of sports or even leisure riding, cos you can just go a longer way. But if you need to get to work, school, shops, doctor, or just to see a friend, they're a huge barrier. But cos you're officially allowed to use the "strategic route" (and many of them aren't even officially strategic route) ie it's not banned by law, there's no obligation to provide or consider provision of any sort of alternative.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2021, 07:38:44 pm »
The A1 alignment is gradually improving. But I don't think the highways people fully "get" travel by bike, or to be kinder they probably don't yet see a business case. Getting out of London can be done, but you basically need to use the old Great North Road through Barnet; it's better than you'd think, but with busy patches. There's a not-that-useful path into Hatfield that drivers pressure you to use, then there are country-road alternatives for a fair bit. North of Huntingdon, the latest upgrade has put right years of neglect, leaving the old road available for cyclists and local traffic. But Peterborough to Newark, whilst I don't have the same local knowledge, looks patchy to me.

To be honest I reckon most of the major arterial routes are probably like that.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2021, 07:41:03 pm »
Yes, most of these gaps aren't huge problems on tour or audaxing or most sorts of sports or even leisure riding, cos you can just go a longer way. But if you need to get to work, school, shops, doctor, or just to see a friend, they're a huge barrier. But cos you're officially allowed to use the "strategic route" (and many of them aren't even officially strategic route) ie it's not banned by law, there's no obligation to provide or consider provision of any sort of alternative.
The M25 demonstrated, I believe, that substantial proportions of the traffic on major roads are local, and of course local trips can be cycled by utility riders. If I lived in Mildenhall, and wanted to cycle Thetford, which hardly requires a remarkable level of fitness, I'd be livid.

And ditto for any other short gap in a strategic route.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2021, 07:42:42 pm »
In most/much of Europe, roads like that are classified as "Expressways" or similar and subject to rules similar to motorways, so cycling is automatically banned (along with farm vehicles and the like) but by the same token, they are mostly new builds and the original alignment remains, downgraded and open to all, and there are usually bridges or underpasses at some (not all) crossing points.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2021, 07:52:49 pm »
I did an Edge-to-Edge 500km perm in the early 2000s and finished it along the A47 to Great Yarmouth. I can’t think of a road where I have been more scared of dying since then.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2021, 07:54:02 pm »
Yes, most of these gaps aren't huge problems on tour or audaxing or most sorts of sports or even leisure riding, cos you can just go a longer way. But if you need to get to work, school, shops, doctor, or just to see a friend, they're a huge barrier. But cos you're officially allowed to use the "strategic route" (and many of them aren't even officially strategic route) ie it's not banned by law, there's no obligation to provide or consider provision of any sort of alternative.
The M25 demonstrated, I believe, that substantial proportions of the traffic on major roads are local, and of course local trips can be cycled by utility riders. If I lived in Mildenhall, and wanted to cycle Thetford, which hardly requires a remarkable level of fitness, I'd be livid.

And ditto for any other short gap in a strategic route.
One that surprises me is that there seems to be a gap in the A1(M) LAR at Dishforth. There is a not at all obvious route using local lanes,  but it's circuitous, - 2 miles along the A1(M)'s hard shoulder saving two miles extra riding.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2021, 08:22:17 pm »
The UK is light years behind Europe. Spain managed to build a motorways network with service roads/tracks running alongside. Some of the old roads turned into a dead-end at the edges of the motorway,  the service roads made life easy and safer.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2021, 09:19:08 pm »
I was out on an Audax on Saturday. The A16 bypasses Spalding to the east. As far as I can tell, there simply isn't a safe walking or cycling route into town anywhere along that side. No bridge, no underpass, nothing. Walkers and cyclists can just take their chances, it seems. OK for an experienced rider, who knows how to get across a dual carriageway at a roundabout, but otherwise, tough.

Other directions seem to be no problem, though again I'm not local.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2021, 09:48:18 pm »
There is a shared use cycle/pedestrian path on the north side of the A151 where it crosses the A16.  A pedestrian crossing would be nice but not strictly necessary.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2021, 10:33:54 pm »
Norwich to Gt Yarmouth. Very circuitous to do without using the A47 Acle Straight. Essentially a death sentence on a bike.

Guisborough to Middlesbrough. Impossible to do without using the Middlesbrough Road A171 Dual Carriageway, unless you use the dead-end NCN 168, and then carry your bike across several stiles and a railway line; British cycling infrastructure, at its finest.

Crossing the Pennines on a Latitude connecting (roughly) Darlington and Shap. Yes, you can do it on some pretty gnarly lanes/tracks, but the default option is the A66, which has zero facility for anything other than motor traffic. To quote a friend from another place, "Stainmore has been crossed by humans for millennia, and now you can only do it in a fucking car". It's a Roman road - there should totally be a non-motorised option. In fact, if I were PM (quite unlikely, TBF), I'd make sure all known Roman Roads had non-motorised access.

On the Guisborough-Middlesbrough question (I'm from St. Ockton, or I was) that looks deadly - a boy-racer's wet dream of a dual-carriageway ring-road, with death-trap roundabouts for everyone else.  As for Stainmore, I mused some time ago about the possibilty of re-opening the railway across as a cycle path.  Then I thought about the valleys where there used to be viaducts, like the magnificent Belah.  It's more than a two-pipe dream but a nice way to while away a few moments, if you love maps as much as you love bikes.  But Middlesbtough's more of a nightmare, I fear.  Take care, Chris.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2021, 11:39:12 pm »
I used to think that whenever a major road was built or came into being by virtue of attracting excessive traffic that the law should require every footpath, bridle way and minor lane to have a safe crossing for pedestrians provided. Safe meaning underpass or bridge, suitably surfaced (not the slushy horse poo that passes for the surface in the tunnel under Harrogate’s southern bypass) and accessible to anyone using the routes.

I’ve now added the view that suitable segregated paths should be provided broadly alongside major routes and that we need to reverse the increase in road traffic for our own common good.

I don’t even like cycling into Leeds because the weight of traffic in the A61 is too great and the quiet alternative routes are populated by motorised nutters at that time of day - the fish van from Gateshead especially.

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
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Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2021, 06:35:38 am »
Norwich to Gt Yarmouth. Very circuitous to do without using the A47 Acle Straight. Essentially a death sentence on a bike.

Guisborough to Middlesbrough. Impossible to do without using the Middlesbrough Road A171 Dual Carriageway, unless you use the dead-end NCN 168, and then carry your bike across several stiles and a railway line; British cycling infrastructure, at its finest.

Crossing the Pennines on a Latitude connecting (roughly) Darlington and Shap. Yes, you can do it on some pretty gnarly lanes/tracks, but the default option is the A66, which has zero facility for anything other than motor traffic. To quote a friend from another place, "Stainmore has been crossed by humans for millennia, and now you can only do it in a fucking car". It's a Roman road - there should totally be a non-motorised option. In fact, if I were PM (quite unlikely, TBF), I'd make sure all known Roman Roads had non-motorised access.

On the Guisborough-Middlesbrough question (I'm from St. Ockton, or I was) that looks deadly - a boy-racer's wet dream of a dual-carriageway ring-road, with death-trap roundabouts for everyone else.  As for Stainmore, I mused some time ago about the possibilty of re-opening the railway across as a cycle path.  Then I thought about the valleys where there used to be viaducts, like the magnificent Belah.  It's more than a two-pipe dream but a nice way to while away a few moments, if you love maps as much as you love bikes.  But Middlesbtough's more of a nightmare, I fear.  Take care, Chris.

I used to cycle the Guis Road and Stokesley Road regularly as a kid (even when the bypass wasn't there for Guis) but I do remember when I called it a day cycling as a teenager was due to the increasing number of tippers on the A172. It's odd how we never batted an eye in the 80's - perhaps we were just less fearful.  I certainly go the long way round when I am home now if I head out in either of those directions.
Regards,

Joergen

Pingu

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Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2021, 09:28:44 am »
...Guisborough to Middlesbrough. Impossible to do without using the Middlesbrough Road A171 Dual Carriageway, unless you use the dead-end NCN 168, and then carry your bike across several stiles and a railway line; British cycling infrastructure, at its finest...

On the Guisborough-Middlesbrough question (I'm from St. Ockton, or I was) that looks deadly - a boy-racer's wet dream of a dual-carriageway ring-road, with death-trap roundabouts for everyone else.  As for Stainmore, I mused some time ago about the possibilty of re-opening the railway across as a cycle path.  Then I thought about the valleys where there used to be viaducts, like the magnificent Belah.  It's more than a two-pipe dream but a nice way to while away a few moments, if you love maps as much as you love bikes.  But Middlesbtough's more of a nightmare, I fear.  Take care, Chris.

I used to cycle the Guis Road and Stokesley Road regularly as a kid (even when the bypass wasn't there for Guis) but I do remember when I called it a day cycling as a teenager was due to the increasing number of tippers on the A172. It's odd how we never batted an eye in the 80's - perhaps we were just less fearful.  I certainly go the long way round when I am home now if I head out in either of those directions.

Cyclist on Streetview

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2021, 09:35:24 am »
There was less traffic in the 80s. Quite a lot less, but because it's grown gradually we're not so aware of the difference. Though it was probably a bit worse driven, on average, back then.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2021, 10:02:18 am »
There was less traffic in the 80s. Quite a lot less, but because it's grown gradually we're not so aware of the difference. Though it was probably a bit worse driven, on average, back then.
I don't know; I've seen estimates that 10% of drivers are unlicensed now.  In the local rag, a lot of people arrested for drink driving, drug driving, bad driving or after an accident turn out to be unlicensed and uninsured too.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Redlight

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Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2021, 10:14:32 am »
When I first lived in London I wold often cycle down to see my parents in Southend after work, cycling back the next morning, using the A127 and A12. The volume and speed/aggression of traffic on them both now renders them unrideable and the most direct alternative, the A13, is also now, in effect, a motorway.

There are other options - looping north, through Stock, or going south of the river to Gravesend and taking the ferry across to Tilbury -  but both add considerable distance and neither are particularly enjoyable.

So, the only time I cycle to my parents' house now is when I call in after the Fridays' ride down to Southend.
Why should anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2021, 10:17:17 am »
...Guisborough to Middlesbrough. Impossible to do without using the Middlesbrough Road A171 Dual Carriageway, unless you use the dead-end NCN 168, and then carry your bike across several stiles and a railway line; British cycling infrastructure, at its finest...

On the Guisborough-Middlesbrough question (I'm from St. Ockton, or I was) that looks deadly - a boy-racer's wet dream of a dual-carriageway ring-road, with death-trap roundabouts for everyone else.  As for Stainmore, I mused some time ago about the possibilty of re-opening the railway across as a cycle path.  Then I thought about the valleys where there used to be viaducts, like the magnificent Belah.  It's more than a two-pipe dream but a nice way to while away a few moments, if you love maps as much as you love bikes.  But Middlesbtough's more of a nightmare, I fear.  Take care, Chris.

I used to cycle the Guis Road and Stokesley Road regularly as a kid (even when the bypass wasn't there for Guis) but I do remember when I called it a day cycling as a teenager was due to the increasing number of tippers on the A172. It's odd how we never batted an eye in the 80's - perhaps we were just less fearful.  I certainly go the long way round when I am home now if I head out in either of those directions.

Cyclist on Streetview

* shudder *

It's NSL there - and it's a bus route. So all the cars are doing 70 in lane 2 leaving the buses and other slow-movers nowhere to go, so they squeeze by you at 50. It's horrible.