I had a look around on google earth (maybe I should have done that before posting ) and I see there aren't any little blue signs on the pavements along the A13.simonhill wrote:
As someone who knows Southend very well, I tend to agree that it is pretty poor for cycling.
sadly, as far as I am aware your best bit along the A13 in Hadleigh isn't actually a cycle path it is the footpath/pavement. Also I wasn't aware that the A13 had a segregated cycle path.
When I had occasion to cycle there, I used the road, but other cyclists I saw were mostly on the pavement. If I had to take a guess, less than 10% used the road. So I assumed it was pavement shared use. Certainly, the pavements are wider in some areas than places other authorities have made shared use. I have used the pavement by Hadleigh, as I thought it was cycle path, and I'm quite sure that I saw others doing so, as well.
I agree that it is a leisure route. I never commuted in Southend, so I haven't experienced it early enough to be nice, though I can well imagine that it's lovely place to ride a bike at 6:00 am.simonhill wrote:I agree that the seafront cycle path is a bit iffy, but this is mainly due to pedestrians. The Council (no fan) have made it as clear as possible that it is a cycle path - hard kerb on either side, different colour (green), signage and painted cycles on the path, etc. Nonetheless, the peds just walk across it without looking. Others park too close, ignoring the safety zone and then use the cycle path to unload on. I cycle this route most mid week mornings in the summer and it is OK if you are early enough (pre 10 am). Once the trippers arrive and particularly at weekends it is very difficult to use safely. A further flaw with it is that in the middle it becomes a shared space around the busiest part of the seafront - madness. For me most days, pedestrians are a far bigger problem than cars
I always consider it a leisure route, more suited to gentle pedalling and not fit for faster road bikes (particularly ones without a bell). Most (sensible) fast roadies use the road, but they attract the ire of drivers who wonder why they aren't on the cycle path. The problem with the road is that it is a mixture of people going slow and enjoying the seafront and others who use it as a fast East West route through the town.
simonhill wrote:On one thing Southend was years ahead of other towns as back in the 1930s the A127 was constructed with full width bike lanes on either side (as was the A12) all the way from London to Southend. For a great part of the A127 these still exist on at least one side and give reasonable access into the town, albeit probably with plenty of road debris and sometimes compromised by slip roads and other 'road improvements'. Unfortunately as you get into the town, these paths are often used for parking etc.
I've used the A127 cycle paths for most of their length at one point or another. I can well imagine that they were quite good before the slip lanes were put in. Because honestly, where the original ones are still there, they're wide enough that, if well maintained, they'd be fine between junctions. But some of the slip roads are an absolute nightmare. The speed limits have been reduced in some areas since I was cycling in the area, which must help a little, but those cycle paths would be *greatly* improved with safe crossings.
The A12, where the paths haven't been taken out as part of road widening schemes are much the same.
The shame of it is that there is some really lovely cycling on the lanes in the area.