West Yorkshire Cycle Route discussion ( split )

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
mikeymo
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Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

West Yorkshire Cycle Route discussion ( split )

Postby mikeymo » 23 Oct 2020, 12:00pm

thirdcrank wrote:
mikeymo wrote:While you're there Richard, this looks a bit odd:
Image

that's from 53.8753,-1.5387 to 53.8764,-1.5574 ....


There's quite a bit of history to the stretch of the West Yorkshire Cycle Route in that screen shot from the new park-and-ride at one end to the new site of Leeds Grammar School at the other.

The bit being queried here runs near Eccup Reservoir which used to belong to Leeds City Council when the WYCR was devised by the West Yorkshire County Council just as it was being abolished. In those days, municipal waterboards tended to ban any public access to their land so there was a very nice but private road just where it was ideal for the cycle route. This meant that in theory at least, the route took to the fields, for want of a better expression. That was a bit academic anyway, because those responsible for the route didn't want to encourage inexperienced riders onto the roads so it received little publicity and discreet signage which only covered anti-clockwise.

In the heady days of the Notional Cycling Strategy, some of us persuaded the five local authorities to sign the route properly in both directions and to publicise it: that resulted in a rather natty map based on the OS.

By then, water had been privatised and Yorkshire Water took a different line on public access. I've tried unsuccessfully to cut a long story short but I'll guess that ownership of that stretch of lovely cycling road is involved here.


"Notional Cycling Strategy" - lovely. Whether it's intended or not, an excellent misspelling (respelling?).

That stretch over the dam of Eccup Reservoir, and the roads towards Eccup etc. are almost ideal cycling routes. Though I noticed at the start of lockdown there was an increase in motor traffic. A couple of lads in a snazzy beamer were clearly lost at one point near the YW plant. I suspect that some drivers were using those roads as a way of evading police and/or social distancing rules. The road down from Harrogate Road to the reservoir is one of the few places I actually dare to go faster than 25 mph. The other day I got the "what do you think you're doing" hands in the air thing from a motorist coming the other way. If I could be bothered I would have asked him what job he had at Yorkshire Water, as there's a sign clearly forbidding unauthorised traffic. There are a few temporary barriers around the place there. I wish YW would raise them occasionally, to get drivers out of the habit of using that route to cut through, given that it's not public highway, as far as I can tell.

The section of WYCR immediately to the east of Harrogate Road is one of those stretches that somebody on a thin tyred road bike, or a fully loaded tourer, might not consider suitable. Though maybe it's up to me and some other Leeds cyclists to get out and clean it. Another problem is that if you're riding west, crossing Harrogate Road at that point is too dangerous now. These days I'll go west across Harrogate Road on the WYCR, but not east. Traffic is too fast, and sight-lines too poor. If a cyclist decided to cycle the WYCR, and didn't know that particular stretch of road, they'd be at risk crossing it westwards.
Last edited by mikeymo on 23 Oct 2020, 12:19pm, edited 1 time in total.

mikeymo
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby mikeymo » 23 Oct 2020, 12:18pm

thirdcrank wrote:There's quite a bit of history to the stretch of the West Yorkshire Cycle Route in that screen shot from the new park-and-ride at one end to the new site of Leeds Grammar School at the other.


Bit of advice then please, because you probably know this.

The Harrogate Road/WYCR crossing. The speed limit is still 30mph at that point, and NSL immediately north of the crossing. I'd lay money on it that most of the vehicles travelling between that crossing point and the GSAL roundabout are exceeding 30 mph. If I were a traffic officer wanting to get some speeding tickets, I'd just park in the entrance to the Eccup Reservoir road, and point my speed gun back at Leeds. Even drivers who noticed would probably not have time to slow down.

It's an ideal spot for a pair of speed cameras, and/or greater enforcement. Given that it's one of the places where my chances of getting killed are highest, how do I go about encouraging enforcement?

Thanks.

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Oct 2020, 1:03pm

IIRC, until the Grammar School moved and the roundabout was built at the entrance, the junction you mention was not within the 30 mph so it was quite a hairy crossing. Around that time, Leeds City Council seemed to stop maintaining that bit of Manor House Lane. Once upon a time, the Manor House was the home of the late Frank Marshall, formerly the leader of Leeds City Council.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Mar ... l_of_Leeds

I see that it has now been closed to motor traffic with bollards and it may be that the existence of the WYCR was all that stopped its being ploughed up. I see that the google car doesn't go down there any more. The last time I did, I broke a Campag back axle.

Re: enforcement, all I can suggest is lobbying, although I fancy that the people in charge at the Grammar School do plenty of that.

Harrogate Road has always had a bad record for crashes. I can't claim to be up to ... er .... speed but AFAIK, there are criteria for enforcement cameras based on KSI crashes and if they are not met then no cameras. Not that meeting the criteria guarantees installation. As for the camera vans, they came after my time so again, I don't know. I think that again lobbying must play a part.

SA_SA_SA
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby SA_SA_SA » 23 Oct 2020, 2:33pm

....Another problem is that if you're riding west, crossing Harrogate Road at that point is too dangerous now. These days I'll go west across Harrogate Road on the WYCR, but not east. Traffic is too fast, and sight-lines too poor. If a cyclist decided to cycle the WYCR, and didn't know that particular stretch of road, they'd be at risk crossing it westwards.

Why would be Ok on one direction but not the other when you need to look both ways? Just how fast is traffuc going : 80+?
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mikeymo
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby mikeymo » 23 Oct 2020, 3:19pm

SA_SA_SA wrote:
....Another problem is that if you're riding west, crossing Harrogate Road at that point is too dangerous now. These days I'll go west across Harrogate Road on the WYCR, but not east. Traffic is too fast, and sight-lines too poor. If a cyclist decided to cycle the WYCR, and didn't know that particular stretch of road, they'd be at risk crossing it westwards.

Why would be Ok on one direction but not the other when you need to look both ways? Just how fast is traffuc going : 80+?


Tricky to explain if you don't know the road, but I'll try. Here's Google Street View, on Harrogate Road (A61) just north of Leeds, just before the WYCR (West Yorkshire Cycle Route) crosses Harrogate Road. The view is looking south towards Leeds:

Image

The WYCR goes across the main road, from the bollards on the LHS of the image, to the side road entrance on the RHS. If you're cycling the WYCR that way (left to right on the image) then the sight line to the left, back towards Leeds, is very short. You can see the bend in the road, yes? The sight line to the right, away from Leeds, is quite long (though when hedges started growing in the summer it got obscured a bit).

So, crossing from left to right (on the image, westward), I would wait for traffic to clear, look both ways a couple of times. I could well see that there was nothing coming from my right, and that's a long way. I could be pretty sure that even if a car did turn the corner, onto the stretch I had just seen as clear, it would take a long time to get to me. And anyway, I was crossing that carriageway first. On the other hand, traffic coming from my left was harder, I can't see anyway near as far - look at the image, and now imagine you're tucked into the side of the road, by those bollards. And this is the first bit of "open country" after leaving the suburbs of Leeds. Even though it's still 30mph there, it's a place some drivers will pick up speed, illegally. What has happened a couple of times is that I've checked both ways, road clear, but then there's oncoming traffic by the time I get to the middle of the road so I have to wait there, in the middle of the road, sometimes with traffic both sides of me. Not nice.

Even more terrifying is this thought: I perform the move I just described. I get stranded in the middle. There are two cars coming out of Leeds. The first one, which has stopped me crossing, is obeying the speed limit. Driver behind, impatient, decides to overtake, despite the double white lines. And meets what? A cyclist in the middle of the road. I'm dead. I've got better things to do than get out there with my 100m tape and calculate the exact distances and speeds for that scenario to occur, but I'm pretty sure it's perfectly possible. There's a cyclists warning triangle back up towards Leeds, but unless you're actually a cyclist that knows this area well, you probably wouldn't know what it meant (if you even notice it). Even competent drivers might well expect to see cyclists riding along the road, not crossing it.

I've probably driven on that very road more times than you've had hot dinners (unless you eat a lot of salads), and I know what happens on that stretch of road. Reckless drivers accelerate, sometimes hard, because, well - "I'm free!!" In fact you'll see a couple of cyclists on the pavement, which is what I've done recently approaching that junction (from a different direction).

Whereas the other way, going from right to left (across the image), I can see a lot further to the right (towards Leeds), that's the first carriageway I cross, and I can still see a pretty good distance in the opposite direction. Ohh, and that way is slightly downhill, so I move faster anyway.

Hope that makes it clear.
Last edited by mikeymo on 23 Oct 2020, 3:47pm, edited 2 times in total.

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Oct 2020, 3:38pm

Yes. I think the main point is that once outbound drivers have cleared the Grammar School roundabout, for some it's foot to the floor. At certain times of the day, many will have been doing the school run and they are then either picking up the commute or racing home. If they've not been dropping of at the GS, they have been getting impatient in the queues of those who were doing so. All the way between Leeds and Harrogate crashes tend to be "injudicious overtaking."

mikeymo
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby mikeymo » 23 Oct 2020, 3:44pm

thirdcrank wrote:Yes. I think the main point is that once outbound drivers have cleared the Grammar School roundabout, for some it's foot to the floor. At certain times of the day, many will have been doing the school run and they are then either picking up the commute or racing home. If they've not been dropping of at the GS, they have been getting impatient in the queues of those who were doing so. All the way between Leeds and Harrogate crashes tend to be "injudicious overtaking."


Yes, I was talking to a woman the other day whose husband cycle commutes Harrogate to Leeds. She says she hates him doing it. Specifically mentioned Harewood drag. I know what she means.

I've no need to go that way (at school time), but GSAL must be a pain for those people living near that roundabout. These private schools with the queues of Chelsea tractors dropping kids off are a nuisance. Oh, wait....

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Oct 2020, 3:57pm

It's moving away from Cycle Travel but Harewood Bank used to be particularly bad for crashes when there were two lanes up and one down. They scrapped that arrangement for safety reasons but about the same time introduced it on the drag up the A 62 Gelderd Road to Gildersome. There was an unexplained fatal not long afterwards and another fatal more recently where a cyclist was killed just before the climb. The ghost bike has been there several years. There are warning signs for enforcement cameras along the A62 from the Ring Road to the A650 although there are no fixed cameras and I only see a camera van occasionally.

mikeymo
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby mikeymo » 23 Oct 2020, 4:10pm

thirdcrank wrote:It's moving away from Cycle Travel but Harewood Bank used to be particularly bad for crashes when there were two lanes up and one down. They scrapped that arrangement for safety reasons but about the same time introduced it on the drag up the A 62 Gelderd Road to Gildersome. There was an unexplained fatal not long afterwards and another fatal more recently where a cyclist was killed just before the climb. The ghost bike has been there several years. There are warning signs for enforcement cameras along the A62 from the Ring Road to the A650 although there are no fixed cameras and I only see a camera van occasionally.


I've noticed it's possible to buy official looking speed camera signs. It would be strange if somebody fixed one of those to one of the available posts immediately after the Grammar School towards Harrogate. Though I'm sure illegal to do that ;-)

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Oct 2020, 4:14pm

There have been various reports of people putting up fake speed cameras but plenty of people ignore the real thing.

SA_SA_SA
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby SA_SA_SA » 23 Oct 2020, 10:12pm

mikeymo wrote:...1 Tricky to explain if you don't know the road, but I'll try. Here's Google Street ....
2 Even competent drivers might well expect to see cyclists riding along .


Thanks.
1 From maps it is not clear its slightly staggered but surely a west ward cyclist could simply cross as a
pedestrian then walk along the pavement (with bike on short visibility side)?


2 Do you mean they are surprised by a stationary cyclist waiting to turn (with arm signal?) ...but if they are a competent driver they will be driving at at an appropriate and legal speed and thus able to stop.
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mikeymo
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby mikeymo » 23 Oct 2020, 11:12pm

SA_SA_SA wrote:
mikeymo wrote:...1 Tricky to explain if you don't know the road, but I'll try. Here's Google Street ....
2 Even competent drivers might well expect to see cyclists riding along .


Thanks.
1 From maps it is not clear its slightly staggered but surely a west ward cyclist could simply cross as a
pedestrian then walk along the pavement (with bike on short visibility side)?


2 ? By my definition a competent driver is driving at a speed to suit visibility hence the unexpectedness of crossing cyclists (as opposed to pedestrians) is irelevant.


That route, the WYCR, basically cuts a corner of normal road, and replaces it with completely traffic free, but (mainly) tarmac road. Through a golf course, as it happens. So it's a really nice route to take, from my gaff.

An added problem the last time I tried going westward across Harrogate Road was that visibility to the right had also become more difficult, while waiting at the side of the road, because of outgrowing hedges.

I think I've tried it once as a pedestrian. It's probably a little safer, because it's slightly shorter. One of the problems crossing (at an angle) on the bike is that it's a little up hill, and I'm starting off from a standstill. I might try it again as a pedestrian sometime.

It's not the competent drivers I'm worried about. It's the incompetent ones. Oh, and being dead. Not being dead is a high priority for me. The "unexpectedness of crossing cyclists" is very very relevant. If I'm the unexpected cyclist. What drivers should do is one thing. The "relevant" thing is what they actually do.

Are you far away? Perhaps you could come up sometime and we could look at it together. Maps don't give all the information, and Street View photos may be deceiving because of distortion of perspective and distance. As I said, I know very very well how people drive on exactly that stretch of road, which is too fast. I'm basing my decisions on intimate knowledge of a particular stretch of road. Knowledge which, with all due respect, I don't think you have.

Here's another point you may like to consider. After looking both ways, and seeing no traffic, I make the decision to cross. At that point, I can't see a car to my left, and any driver up there can't see me. But as I start to cross both my vision, and that of any driver to my left, increases. By which I mean, he/she comes into my view, and I come into his/hers. There will (probably) be a point somewhere on that stretch of road to the south of that crossing where that would be true even if the car were stationery, because of the curve and the hedging. Except they'll be moving. So even a perfectly competent driver, driving at a speed so that he can see to be clear, is now faced with another vehicle which has entered the carriageway, and seems to be about to cross his half of the road. And it's worth pointing out that it's their right of way, isn't it? There's no escaping the fact that it's perfectly possible to make the decision to cross the A61 from east to west when it's clear, and for traffic to appear on the left during the crossing. All that would depend on my speed of crossing and the speed of traffic coming from the left of course. It might be better for me to try it as a pedestrian, as you suggest. We can do it together when you come up and have a look.

DaveReading
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby DaveReading » 24 Oct 2020, 9:11am

mikeymo wrote:Even more terrifying is this thought: I perform the move I just described. I get stranded in the middle. There are two cars coming out of Leeds. The first one, which has stopped me crossing, is obeying the speed limit. Driver behind, impatient, decides to overtake, despite the double white lines. And meets what? A cyclist in the middle of the road. I'm dead.

That, of course, applies any time you are cycling on a bendy road with double solid white lines. Wherever you are positioned on the road, you are vulnerable if an idiot coming the other way decides to ignore the white lines and overtake without looking.

mikeymo
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby mikeymo » 24 Oct 2020, 10:56am

DaveReading wrote:
mikeymo wrote:Even more terrifying is this thought: I perform the move I just described. I get stranded in the middle. There are two cars coming out of Leeds. The first one, which has stopped me crossing, is obeying the speed limit. Driver behind, impatient, decides to overtake, despite the double white lines. And meets what? A cyclist in the middle of the road. I'm dead.

That, of course, applies any time you are cycling on a bendy road with double solid white lines. Wherever you are positioned on the road, you are vulnerable if an idiot coming the other way decides to ignore the white lines and overtake without looking.


Not really "wherever you are positioned on the road". Position on the road makes a lot of difference.

In the specific case I posited, I would be just to the left of the centre line, and stationery. I would have no way of escaping. The situation would be far more likely to produce panic, from all three of us. The idiot might try to get back in, or he might try to pass on the far side of me. The "good" driver might attempt some sort of escape move. I might try to get out of the way - but which way would depend on what the other two did. In fact what any of us did might depend on what others did, or what we thought they were going to do.

If I were riding south on the road I would be on the left side of the carriageway, and moving. I could bail into the verge. It's far more likely then that all three of us would just "squeeze". The "good" driver would (hopefully) pull to left, the idiot would squeeze between us straddling the centre line, and I'd squeeze to my left, or just aim for the ditch. I would be less vulnerable than in my "crossing the road" scenario.

It's worth pointing out, as I have before, that I know this stretch of road very well. It's also worth pointing out that another forum member, who is a retired police officer from this area, in fact a traffic officer I think, has confirmed that many of the deaths along the Leeds-Harrogate road were due to "injudicious overtaking"

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle Travel Question

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Oct 2020, 11:13am

mikeymo wrote:[ ... in fact a traffic officer I think ...


For the sake of accuracy, I was never in what used to be called Road Traffic. I do have quite a bit of experience of enforcing traffic legislation because there was a time when it wasn't the preserve of specialists and the police used to do much, much more of it.