Saturday, 7 March 2009

More of the Portsmouth Seafront

More on the Portsmouth Seafront, in a cycling town.

This is the Eastern end of the area, Eastney. Formerly fairly navy-centric -the building is the navy swimming pool, now open to the public.

At the end of this 30mph stretch of road -a road which closes due to storms in winter- there's a bend. On this bend, there is a hint of a bike lane. A hint. The dashed line on it means that cars are free to cut across the corner, which is what anyone taking the corner at speed would do.

The safe and sensible action for any fit cyclist would be to pull out, acquire the lane and so have no concern about cars swinging into you, but giving you more exit strategies if there turns out to be something like a parked car round the corner.

Which is not that unusual, given the way the bike lane ends, the road narrows and the first free-parking area near the seafront opens up. If even here, midwinter, there are cars in the way, high summer is going to be worse.

This is a bike lane for those willing to die, or at least injure themselves. Not for commuting, not for leisure work. You can't even bank into the corner at speed, what with the wall on the left-hand side. It has no value whatsoever. The only possible explanation for its existence is to push bicycles out of the way of cars. But even that is less than ideal, as they will still get in the way of taking the corner at speed, and then they will swerve out unexpectedly once the lane ends. Which makes it of limited value to anyone.

1 comment:

pompeybug007 said...

An excellent summary of Portsmouth, the Premier Cycling City (not). Cyclists have managed to change council policy so that when any new one-way scheme is considered, then two-way cycling is retained (we try not to call it contraflow cycling as this is a contentious term). Unfortunately, many councillors don't like this policy and one new scheme at Eastfield and Westfield Roads in Southsea is set to be withdrawn. Local councillors said there was "no public support for contraflow cycling" and "it's far too dangerous". But what about the situation before the one-way? How many accidents involving cyclists were reported in the last 10 years in these streets? NONE. So what's the difference? Thanks councillors of Eastney & Craneswater and Milton wards, you will now cause howls of protest as young and old take to cycling along the pavements to avoid the long detours through the one-way system. One resident typified the attitude of some "I pay my road tax and cyclists should obey the highway code like everyone else". Quite so! The Department for Transport permits enlightened local transport authorities to allow two-way cycling in one-way streets and we're not going to disobey that, are we?