Thursday, 29 January 2009

Hopetoun to Muller road offline

This photo of the Hopetoun-Muller Road path is its last before it closed for three months: Jan 27 was the last day to use it until April

Now it's closed. You either have a steep uphill to Ashley Down Road -remember, it's a through road-

Or Boiling Well's Lane. That's a bit of a muddy walk, but leaves you up on Muller Road.

Once its finished, there should be less bike/pedestrian conflict. While cyclists may not believe such conflict exists, talk to those who walk it and their walks in the dark are tempered by their fear of the unlit bike coming down behind them at speed. By closing the path until the clocks change, this risk is reduced.

11 comments:

DonaQixota said...

"cyclists may not believe such conflict exists"

Funny that. Most motorists can't seem to appreciate why heavy hunks of metal hurtling past at speed is frightening either. Call it lack of empathy, perhaps.

What is it about being on wheels that sends people?

Chris Hutt said...

I wonder if walkers will feel any safer when the path is widened. There are likely to be more cyclists and some may travel even faster downhill (better sightlines, better surface) and some will not have lights or bells to give warning of their approach.

I'm also curious to know how well the diversions have been signed and explained. Were regular users given adequate advance warning so they could plan alternative routes?

Bristol Traffic said...

I think because when you are on the bike, you are in control, you are the fast moving object and you can nip round the pedestrian. The other possibility is that you build up a "Faster moving have right of way" feeling, which is exactly the same as that which car drivers often have -although in the city its "theoretically faster moving", of course.

If you try walking the route with a small child alongside you, you worry a lot more about what is coming up behind you, whether the oncoming bike is going to stop in time, etc.

The only collision I've ever had cycling there was when another bike came round the blind corner at the top fast, went into the side of my bike

Bristol Traffic said...

@Chris
lots of warning with the big signs. Still takes time to learn; I've gone down the hill twice and had to retreat.

Chris Hutt said...

@BT - you're a regular user. Do you feel that the signing of the diversions is adequate? Presumably not if you've ridden past them on two occasions (you being a highly intelligent and aware person who takes more interest than most in such matters)?

Bristol Traffic said...

Coming from Muller Road it's pretty obvious it's closed, the diversion -up to Ashley Down road- is direct. On the outbound, the signs don't come up until you are in St Werburgh's, which is a downhill for me. But you can't expect warning signs in Montpelier. If there is one more place for a warning, I would say just south of the Mina Road tunnel, so you'd know to take the path up to Fairfield school, which is the other option at that point.

Dru Marland said...

As a sometime pedestrian, I know how alarming it is when a bicycle zips past my ear, having given no warning of its approach from behind me. That's why, when I'm on my bike, I give plenty of advance warning with my bell in similar circumstances.
I was cycling along the river a couple of years back when the Rat Run was on, and the competitors were hurtling the opposite way to me. My monitory ding-dongs on my big Chinese bell were responded to with a fusillade of dinging from the Rat Runners; apparently possession of a bell had been a mandatory requirement, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the novelty of having one...

Martin Parkinson said...

I sometimes use this path for running. Does that make me a scary "fast moving object"? (Before you say it, yes, I do carry a torch in the dark)?

This path seemed to me to have relatively few bikes or pedestrians - perhaps I was there at the wrong time. It relative quietness was part of its charm - but maybe part of the reason it was chosen to be upgraded - not too many people to get upset.

Bristol Traffic said...

@Martin -depends on how heavy your breathing is.

The BCyC response to the proposal argued in favour of the wildness too; didn't want it lit up too much. That paper was more concerned with visibility at corners and the hazards at either end

Martin Parkinson said...

@The BCyC response to the proposal ...

Thanks for linking to that but gosh, how did I miss it? I'm a member of BCyC, I'm on the email group, I've even attended the odd meeting. Really, I will have to try and keep up at the back ...

Anyway, my views have become hopelessly warped recently by reading David Hembrow's blog. Clearly if this route is seen by the council as a suitable 'key' cycle route they don't really have any serious ambition. A nice quasi rural path is just that. If it becomes a *truly* popular cycle route then it won't be quasi-rural any more. If they really wanted to have a serious increase in cycling then we'd have to have *less* driving. (Oh no we can't say that! And I didn't say it! Honest!)

Anyway the upgrading of this route seems a pretty timid choice to me. Though of course I know nothing about anything.

Chris Hutt said...

I think you're right Martin. That path has long been used by some cyclists but never very many, which makes one wonder whether it will ever be heavily used.

There is an aspiration to create a path northwards on scrub-land just to the east of the railway line up to Abbey Wood and Parkway. This might feed more cyclists onto the Hopetoun path but having to cross Muller Road at grade is always going to a deterrent to use.

A much better idea is Josh Hart's Cycle Expressway which would use redundant trackbed beside the railway tracks and cross Muller road on the railway bridge. That really would generate a new cycling constituency.