The plans state “The proposal is to introduce mandatory cycle lanes and add light segregation to provide greater protection for cyclists. The cycle lanes will be 1.5m wide with an approx. 400mm buffer between cycle and other traffic.”
Whilst improvements to cycling infrastructure are to be welcomed it is important that the improvements are of a high quality and well connected to other infrastructure.
Criticisms of the proposed plans include:
- The width of the on road cycle lane as proposed is 1.5m (or 1.75m – the information is inconsistent). LTN 1/20 standard (Table 5.2) specifies that on road lanes should have a desired width of 2m with an absolute minimum at constraints of 1.5m. The standard also specifies a desired buffer of 0.5m between the segregated cycle lane and the motor traffic. The plans are proposing a cycle lane width and a buffer width less than the desired standard.
- On road lanes with no segregation (as already on Duffield Road) are not supported by the DfT as they provide little or no benefit (arguably they make things worse) to cyclists. The only on road lanes that are supported are those segregated from the motor traffic. Thus, the details of how the segregation is done are important to allow comments. “light segregation” suggests that motor traffic will still be able to enter the cycle lane causing a safety issue. Being able to enter the cycle lane will probably also mean that traffic will be parked in the cycle lane making it useless.
- the connections from the proposed work to the wider network are mixed. To the south, Broadway roundabout to 5 Lamps is a totally unsuitable road for cyclists due to the width and volume of traffic. To the north, Palm Court Island (A38/A6 junction) is a dangerous location as the traffic leaving and entering the A38 slip roads is fast moving and not generally looking for cyclists. North of Palm Court Island (into Allestree village and along the A6) there is no cycle infrastructure.
At the southern end (Broadway pub) there are reasonable links to the route alongside Broadway although the connection at the roundabout is not good and, at school opening and closing times, the traffic around St. Mary’s is very dangerous with parking totally ignoring any rules or safety aspects. The roundabout at Broadway pub is not cyclist friendly.
At the northern and southern ends the links into the excellent facilities in Darley Park are good.
- The plans to exclude the segregation and the mandatory aspect of the cycle lane between Mile Ash Lane and Slack Lane makes no sense. The explanation is “This is to ensure school traffic, which is not permitted to wait in a mandatory cycle lane, does not transfer onto local streets.” The flouting of the parking restrictions has been a long standing issue.
Implementing a cycle lane and parking restrictions to improve the environment for cyclists and then not enforcing the restrictions (in fact designing so that ignoring them continues) is not a measure that encourages active travel.
Creating mandatory cycle lanes of a good width (2m) with segregation that prevents any incursion by motor traffic (for the whole length) would be a good scheme. Providing good connections from the northern and southern end of the scheme would make it useful. Without the high quality width, segregation (and enforcement of restrictions) and connections, the scheme will provide few benefits.