The worst place in the UK for cycling?

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mjr
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The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 18 Sep 2019, 10:58am

As a complement to the other discussion viewtopic.php?f=1&t=132771 I start this topic to keep the negativity out of that.

Cornwall I already mentioned: flipping steep, rough unpaved cycleways that become grinding paste slurry in rain, intermittent signage and absurdly high speed limits on small lanes. A long way from the worst, though. Just not doing enough to make the most of itself.

But Nuneaton sticks in my mind: not steep, but a badly-signed mess including narrow gutter lanes, angry feral motorists and bad maintenance of badly-designed obstacle-filled cycle tracks.

And a special mention for Harwich: greeting Dutch cyclists with a cycle route sign pointing across a high kerb and then an unnecessary 2½ mile detour around the headland on steep bumpy bramble-infested cycleways and narrow painted footpaths before joining unreconstructed B roads and back roads anyway... Well, it might lower their expectations appropriately but it's embarrassing!
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Richard Fairhurst
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 18 Sep 2019, 11:45am

A few suggestions at viewtopic.php?f=6&t=56359 (before the thread got derailed and went all vehicularist).
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 18 Sep 2019, 12:08pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:A few suggestions at viewtopic.php?f=6&t=56359 (before the thread got derailed and went all vehicularist).

Thanks for that. I wonder if anywhere's moved off the "worst" list in the 8 years since. And yes, it's disappointing to see the same old fibs and misdirection posted by certain offenders but at least they were challenged.
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mattheus » 18 Sep 2019, 12:48pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:A few suggestions at viewtopic.php?f=6&t=56359 (before the thread got derailed and went all vehicularist).


I found that a very good read (despite it's 2011 age!). Good points about how simply building segregation isn't the best way to do things.

Shame "jonty" is no longer here:
Jonty wrote:<snip>When I retired from Local Government and sought new challenges in the private sector I accepted an attractive position working part-time for a major UK airport.
With others I established a Surface Transport Forum involving cycling groups and other interests. Employees working at the airport who lived in surrounding villages were encouraged to cycle to work by the provision of showers, good safe parking and enhanced cycle routes including highly innovative road-crossing signalling.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=56359#p472442

If his "major UK airport" is Heathrow, then I can vouch for the brilliant signalling/lanes to access the airport from the Slough direction. It was way easier than I expected for West-ish London. :)

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby DaveReading » 18 Sep 2019, 1:43pm

mattheus wrote:If his "major UK airport" is Heathrow, then I can vouch for the brilliant signalling/lanes to access the airport from the Slough direction. It was way easier than I expected for West-ish London. :)

It' just a shame that you can't get to T2/T3 by bike, despite repeated (broken) promises by the airport that they are planning to restore cycle access through one of the side tunnels.

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Mick F » 18 Sep 2019, 1:52pm

It depends on what you mean by "worst".
Traffic?
Hills, or lack of them?
Noisy?
Smelly?

For me it would be "noisy" and "smelly" and lack of hills.
Can't say I'm bothered by traffic. I can do without the traffic of course, but I can't do without the hills. Flatlandia would be a boring place to live.
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 18 Sep 2019, 2:08pm

DaveReading wrote:
mattheus wrote:If his "major UK airport" is Heathrow, then I can vouch for the brilliant signalling/lanes to access the airport from the Slough direction. It was way easier than I expected for West-ish London. :)

It' just a shame that you can't get to T2/T3 by bike, despite repeated (broken) promises by the airport that they are planning to restore cycle access through one of the side tunnels.

Isn't that mitigated by free train transfers from 4&5 or are bikes banned there? Few bike ban roads have as good a replacement shuttle.

Anyway, far from the worst airport for cycling, let alone worst place.
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby pwa » 18 Sep 2019, 2:22pm

Any town where you can't cycle of out into quiet lanes without first enduring fast, busy roads. Southport in Lancashire (now Merseyside but I pretend not to notice) used to be like that. Is it still? Porthcawl on the south Wales coast is like that. I have found one nearly acceptably quiet way of getting into and out of that town but it involves using a twisting route with extra hills.
Last edited by pwa on 18 Sep 2019, 2:56pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Si » 18 Sep 2019, 2:25pm

Well, my nomination, back in 2011, was Telford. Funnily enough I went through there a couple of weeks back on a cycle tour. Don't know what it's like as a whole but I followed the Silkin way and NCN85. Have to say that it was very pleasant. Used a perfectly adequately surfaced old railway line to get out of the Severn Valley rather than the 1 in 7 that I used to use. Cycle paths (some shared, some segregated, but all perfectly fine to use) to get me right into the centre with little effort. Signs in a couple of places could have been better, although in one place the signs were right and opencyclemap was wrong IIRC. Also took me through a very nice park in the middle that I'd never got to by bike before.

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Si » 18 Sep 2019, 2:31pm

I'm guessing that I may have nominated Birmingham as one of the worst towns too. Eight years later it's both better and worse. We have much more usable infra, including the two new (almost) fully segregated blue routes with priority over many side roads and their own phases on a number of traffic light controlled junctions. We have much more support for cycling: somewhere between 5K and 10K free bikes given to adults and kids in the worst off areas, lots of support for new cyclists (free learn to ride sessions across the city), much more cycle parking in the city centre, around 20 CUK Community Cycle Clubs, etc etc. On the other hand, the city centre is a 'mare... it's got worse because of all the development going on, especially the new tram extensions. And worse that that, although it's a very subjective call, I feel that the attitudes of a minority of drivers has got much worse towards cyclists. And the Council looks like bottling it on the Clean Air front.

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Mick F » 18 Sep 2019, 2:45pm

pwa wrote:Any town where you can't cycle out into quiet lanes without first enduring fast, busy roads. Southport in Lancashire (now Merseyside but I pretend not to notice) used to be like that. Is it still?
We used to go to Southport as a family for a day out.
Pleasure Beach, sand dunes, shopping on Lord Street ......... it was posh back then.

The roads in and out were wide and clear and had separate wide tarmac cycle ways! :shock: First I ever saw.

As I grew up, I would often cycling into Southport. Easy going and flat - no gears, and then later 3sp SA.
We lived in Newburgh latterly.

Mrs Mick F (username Burscough-Girl) worked in Southport as a GPO telephonist for a few years before we married.
Her gran and grand dad lived in St Lukes.

Over the decades, we've been back to visit Southport.
Shadow of its former self.
Litter and rubbish on Lord Street, and the posh shops seem to have all gone to be replaced with burger joints and convenience stores.
The cycle lanes have been built on too. :cry:
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mattsccm » 18 Sep 2019, 5:21pm

Any town , full stop.
Natural features are all good so hills can't make a place bad. I would suggest that the greater the presence of humans the worst the place can be.

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 18 Sep 2019, 5:38pm

Worst place for cycling in the UK is any city or large town,and on any fast A road.It's the loonie drivers Mr Mannering
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 18 Sep 2019, 5:50pm

Si wrote:I'm guessing that I may have nominated Birmingham as one of the worst towns too.

Guess no longer! 2011's nominations were:
· Cheltenham (Mark R)
· Guildford (ChrisPeck)
· Reading (thelawnet)
· Bolton (Nutsey)
· Preston (Nutsey)
· Bury (Nutsey)
· Salford (blackbike, Nutsey)
· Liverpool (jochta)
· Telford (Si)
· Sheffield (nez)
· Warrington (ransos)
· Cambourne, Cambs (snibgo)
· Slough (PW)
· ...and then the usual suspects posts the usual lies about Milton Keynes and it all gets derailed.

The only one of that list near me is Cambourne and I've still never visited it - probably partly due to there being no great route to it by bike and no real reason for me to go to or through it. Of the others, I've ridden Sheffield a few years ago and thought it was average but the tramlines are a big hazard they've not dealt with at all.

I've visited a few of the others without riding much and didn't see much to indicate them as good or bad. Still nothing sticking in my memory like Nuneaton - I've just looked at 2019 photos and the bad designs are still there. It should be made a criminal offence to paint a cycle lane so narrow that the bike symbol's wheels are not only oval, but almost square and still touching both line and kerb!

I'm not much interested in the usual "any town", "anywhere with hills" and "anywhere without hills" suggestions unless there's something special about that place which makes it specially bad for cycling compared to a similar place elsewhere.
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby nez » 18 Sep 2019, 8:52pm

Mick F wrote:
Over the decades, we've been back to visit Southport.
Shadow of its former self.
Litter and rubbish on Lord Street, and the posh shops seem to have all gone to be replaced with burger joints and convenience stores.
The cycle lanes have been built on too. :cry:


This is a universal description of England I'm afraid