Saturday 28 February 2009

UWE shared paths

We've been picking on Bristol University for a bit, which is unfair. They have a staff-pay-to-park policy in their limited parking spaces, no-student-parking, and even cross-charge the departments for their vehicles parking permits. Most students at the university probably walk there.

But UWE, out on the fringes, is a different story. It's very isolated. Some people walk, but otherwise -bus, bike or car. The U1-U5 buses are fantastic, and as students who live on-campus get free bus permits, their existence must help reduce the number of students killing themselves from being stuck in an industrial estate somewhere near parkway.

Time for a closer look. Here is the Coldharbour Lane shared pavement.. The Cyclists Touring Club are very critical of pavement cycle lanes, as they are so inordinately hazardous at the junctions. Is this lane safe for bikes?

Well, there's an expectation that you cycle on the right of the pavement, which must help foreign students blend in. But you are expected to pull out and cross a junction -does it have signs warning traffic out of this housing estate about the risk?

Sadly no. The give-way signs are painted for the road junction, not the pavement. The presence of the (listed?) pillar helps reduce visibility

Further south, the same thing: the path just has a give way -not a stop, just a give way- that pushes you straight under cars. Nice. And, because bikes heading in both directions are expected to stay on the same side of the pavement (white line -no crossing), there's the risk of a head-on collision with oncoming bicycles.

Do note that bikes are given give-way to pedestrian signs near the pedestrian crossings.

Whoever designed this lane must have been concerned that some bikes may survive the first two junctions and so threaten pedestrians, hence the give way.

There are rumours that much of the Cycle City funding is dedicated to such lanes. These particular pavements are in South Gloucester -a council that seems very fond of shared pavements, dual carriageways and roundabouts. We will have to explore nearby, to see their most recent development.


Unknown said...

I spoke to a Cycling city employee recently (I know quite amazing isn't it). I was pleased to learn that they are all cycling fanatics, unfortunately they also work for the council, but you can't have everything.

Anyway if you want to influence the debate on spending the thing to do is join Bristol cycling campaign who are now involved in the regular consultations.

Sadly whilst they accept the failings of many cycling facilities (narrow cycling lanes and paths) there is only so much they can do.

SteveL said...

good point. These paths are in S Gloucs., though, that still regards bicycles and pedestrians as an inconvenience.