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Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 4:12pm
by ThePinkOne
No, I'm not being daft.

I was thinking to myself the other day as I drove to a client site in the East Midlands. If it's OK for cyclists to use the A46 between the M40 and the M69 (I didn't see any signs suggesting not), then why in the name of little green apples are they not allowed to use the M-way hard shoulder in some areas? OK, they would probably have to exit every junction and rejoin, but it would open up a big commuter network.

Thing is, some of the A46 along that stretch is 3-lane, no cycle path or footway and often very busy. It'd be far safer to be on a bike on the hard shoulder of some M-ways (e.g. the M69 into which the A46 becomes) than on some busy roads like that part of the A46.(Some stretches have what looks like reasonable quality new cycle provision- e.g. through Tollbar End).

Or, if it's not OK to be on the hard shoulder of at least some M-ways, should cyclists consider accepting they should not be allowed onto some A-road stretches....?

The concerning thing is that on some A-roads, until you get there you may never realise they become a 3-lane pseudo M-way unless you had been along them, or used Google Street View.

Or is the solution to make these stretches of pseudo M-ways into real M-way?

I am interested on thoughts. If nothing else, it does tend to illustrate how road transport policy in UK is increasingly ad-hoc; travelling to my clients in the East Midlands has introduced me to some roads which are blinking scary in a car/big van, never mind on a bike! Is this the case in other areas I wonder?

TPO

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 5:13pm
by drossall
There has to be a limit somewhere, and it's usually imperfect. So, the current rules probably lead to cyclists being allowed in some places where most of us might not want to be, and banned in some others that cyclists would want to use (see the A63 debate, for example). That's not, in and of itself, a reason to allow, or ban, a whole load more places.

The most common reason for wanting cycling allowed (or made less frightening) on certain roads is the absence of decent alternatives that get you where you're going in a reasonable way and time. Motorways, by and large, run parallel to the A-road network, so there are generally preferable alternatives. Of course, there are exceptions, such as where the line of the A1 has been stolen to build a motorway in some places - but, in that case, the road had degenerated anyway to the point of unusability.

So, on the whole, no.

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 5:30pm
by De Sisti
To get onto and off a motorway one has to encounter a slip road with FAST moving traffic.
The differential between that traffic and the speed of a bike is a substantially greater than
that between cars and bikes in an urban situation.

Absolute madness to even consider it as being feasible. :roll:

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 5:31pm
by amaferanga
No.

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 5:39pm
by rjb
The advice for motorists is to leave your vehicle and get off the hard shoulder. So unless you have a death wish don't go there. You don't know when the next HGV that has a problem pulls onto the hard shoulder without a thought for who might be there. :shock:

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 5:45pm
by irc
Works OK in the places it is allowed in the USA. I felt safer on an 8 foot hard shoulder of a rural freeway than many other roads. Probably not ideal for much of the UK network due to volume of traffic. For some rural secions maybe. And as suggested above going off and re-entering at each junction is safest.

bikelane.jpg
Texas freeway with hard shoulder marked as a bike lane.


Edit - that pic is a bit misleading that is on an entrance slip. Once on the actual freeway the hard shoulder is 8 feet wide.

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 5:52pm
by thirdcrank
Putting aside any considerations of safety, there's little point: where traditional trunk routes have been gradually "improved" into motorways, there's generally an alternative for prohibited traffic provided. It may not be ideal, but it's generally better than the new motorway. Totally new motorways are inevitably in places where there was no road before and are inevitably little use to cyclists. Subject to providing decent alternatives this bit may be it
Or is the solution to make these stretches of pseudo M-ways into real M-way?

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 8:10pm
by softlips
No, the hard shoulder is the most dangerous place on the motorway. Hence if you breakdown on there it’s recommended to get everyone out and behind the barrier.

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 8:26pm
by NUKe
softlips wrote:No, the hard shoulder is the most dangerous place on the motorway. Hence if you breakdown on there it’s recommended to get everyone out and behind the barrier.

Beat me to it, exactly what softlips says.

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 9:05pm
by Bmblbzzz
In UK there are only two classes of roads in law: roads and special roads, ie motorways. Because cyclists, pedestrians and animals are banned as groups from the "special road" class, facilities have to be made for them where ordinary roads or other rights of way are interrupted by motorways. This is why motorways have many bridges and subways for smaller roads and footpaths. A road like the A46 is an ordinary road, so it does not have to have those provisions in law; hence it can represent a bigger barrier to non-motorized travel than a motorway does.

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 9:27pm
by whoof
I would not ride down the motorway hard shoulder in the UK for all the tea in China. As an alternative i have heard a suggestion that where there is room that cycle paths be built next to railway tracks. Such as where there were formally double tracks and
now there is only one.

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 5:55pm
by mediumbird
I've had the same thought. Cyclists can cycle on dual carriageway with the same speed limit as a motorway but zero separation from the 48 ton lorry in the slow lane.....the hard shoulder surely has to be safer than that for a cyclist? However I avoid cycling on any dual carriageway as far too dangerous in my opinion. For me anyway....

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 6:01pm
by Mick F
Bmblbzzz wrote:In UK there are only two classes of roads in law: roads and special roads, ie motorways.
Some A roads - - that aren't motorways - - are also roads where cycling is disallowed.

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 8:07pm
by Bmblbzzz
Mick F wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:In UK there are only two classes of roads in law: roads and special roads, ie motorways.
Some A roads - - that aren't motorways - - are also roads where cycling is disallowed.

And cycling is also banned on some unclassified roads (in town centres for instance). But as a class, only from motorways.

Re: Should cyclists be allowed to use (some) M-way hard shoulders?

Posted: 13 Jan 2019, 8:29pm
by atlas_shrugged
Many motorways are being converted to smart motorways by using up the hard shoulder and then ripping off any unfortunate motorist who breaks down on a smart motorway with exorbitant fees.

In addition there is a new appetite to build expressways which are dual carriageways that prohibit cycling (and other stuff).

There should be no reason that Greenways could not be built beside motorways if protected by crash barriers or by an embankment. But to use the hard shoulder for cycling might be taking too many chances IMHO.