NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

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cold_wet_and_tired
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NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby cold_wet_and_tired » 12 Jan 2019, 10:29am

Hello

My commute goes along NCN5 north of Stafford but the road has been closed this week and will remain so for a month due to roadworks associated with a new housing development.
http://roadworks.org/?tmi=5878122

The proposed diversion is up the A34 but the whole point of the NCN going that way is to give cyclists a more pleasant option. I spotted that the second TRO notice (available as PDF from the link above) states that pedestrian access will be provided so I thought I could hop off and push past. However, no such luck. There is no pedestrian provision at all.

I tried ringing the number but was presented with a menu - apparently highways aren't responsible for this kind of closure so I didn't get through to anyone useful. Before I try again I'd like some advice:
- Is there any obligation to provide provision for cyclists when closing a road like this, especially one allocated as a cycle route?
- Are they obliged to provide pedestrian provision having stated that they would in the notice?

Thanks

thirdcrank
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Jan 2019, 10:45am

The authority to close roads temporarily for roadworks etc is here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/27/section/14

My interpretation is that they can do as they like, so long as they keep a straight face. Re pedestrian access, this has to be maintained to affected premises, but I don't think that a through pedestrian route must be maintained.

I get the impression that as public utilities increasingly outsource their traffic arrangements at roadworks, so there will be more closed roads.

s 16 of the same Act makes contravening a temporary TRO an offence.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/27/section/16
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PS Official guidance is provided in Traffic Advisory Leaflet 15/1999 which makes it rather dated. At the time, I did have an exchange of views with the author which concluded with him telling me that it was aimed a "professionals" rather than cyclists.
https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov ... #roads1999

cold_wet_and_tired
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby cold_wet_and_tired » 13 Jan 2019, 4:10pm

Thanks. It sounds as though I'll just have to go a different way for the next month or so. I'll call the council again to express my opinion, even if only so they know people use the lane.

cotswolds
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby cotswolds » 16 Jan 2019, 8:24am

There was a case some years back which established contractor liability for an unsafe route for cyclists because of road works https://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/multi-million-pound-damages-for-roadworks-accident-cyclist-26607/.

You could try writing a letter along the lines of "your diversionary route for cyclists is unsafe; are you aware that it has been established that you your company is likely to be liable in law for any accidents happening to cyclists on your diversionary route", with a reference to the case linked to above.

Address it to "Company Director responsible for safety" at the housing developer, copied to any relevant subcontractors you can identify, the highways department, and a councillor with an interest in road safety if you can identify one.

Doubt if it will change anything for this set of roadworks, but it may get a few people thinking.

basingstoke123
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby basingstoke123 » 16 Jan 2019, 9:23am

Have you contacted Sustrans? They need to update their website to say that the route is blocked.

I haven't looked at the links provided and don't know the area. But a similar thing happened on the NCN23 into Basingstoke.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=101006

The road diversion was via the A33 - totally unsuitable for an NCN route, which the developer acknowledged. They said that an alternative diversion suitable for cyclists would be signposted. This never happened. They did eventually put in an alternative path along side an adjacent field, and put up a significant amount of fencing (which must have cost) to keep you to the path instead of picking a less wet or muddy route across the field (it was their field, waiting to grow more houses). And after several more phone calls, they made it accessible at at the north end! But the path was un-passable except with wellington boots.

The local authority were uninterested, even though they had just published a new cycling 'strategy'. (Councils seem to think that 'strategy' is 'action', thus nothing else needs to be done.)

I would suggest phoning the contractor, and asking what provision they will be making for diverting a National cycle route, and if via the A34, whether they consider that to be safe (ask for their cycle safety audit). They will almost certainly not be aware it is a cycle route. There is usually a phone number for the developer on one of the advertising boards.

If the TRO states that pedestrian access will be provided, ask where this is. Phone every time you try to use the route (when at the road closure, if you have a mobile phone, and have a signal there).

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mjr
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby mjr » 16 Jan 2019, 12:19pm

thirdcrank wrote:PS Official guidance is provided in Traffic Advisory Leaflet 15/1999 which makes it rather dated. At the time, I did have an exchange of views with the author which concluded with him telling me that it was aimed a "professionals" rather than cyclists.
https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov ... #roads1999

Isn't the current official guidance the red book aka "Code of Practice on Safety at Street Works" which is legally binding?

The current problem IMO is that enforcement seems to be the responsibility of the highways departments (notably their Street Works Officer) and, like basingstoke123 describes, most don't enforce it.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

basingstoke123
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby basingstoke123 » 18 Jan 2019, 6:44pm

mjr wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:PS Official guidance is provided in Traffic Advisory Leaflet 15/1999 which makes it rather dated. At the time, I did have an exchange of views with the author which concluded with him telling me that it was aimed a "professionals" rather than cyclists.
https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov ... #roads1999

Isn't the current official guidance the red book aka "Code of Practice on Safety at Street Works" which is legally binding?

The current problem IMO is that enforcement seems to be the responsibility of the highways departments (notably their Street Works Officer) and, like basingstoke123 describes, most don't enforce it.


Having now had a look at the link in the OP, clearly the A34 dual carriageway is unsuitable for the NCN diversion.

I don't think that the problem is with enforcement. The road is being closed - I have no doubt that the local authority, if asked, will ensure that the closure is effective! Neither will the roadworks have any affect on the safety of cycling along the A34 detour. The problem is that cycling is ignored when it comes to roadworks. The assumption is that cyclists can use the same provision as motor vehicles, or get off and walk. But on rural roads, it seems to be assumed that there will not be any pedestrians (which is generally the case) as there are no pavements. And people out walking sometimes have options that are not practical for cyclists even when pushing. Things like styles, mud, footpaths only just wide enough for one person walking.

The cycle detour must be along similar standard roads. Where this is not possible, then the contractor should be required to provide cycle access across the roadworks. But you cannot add this requirement after the contract has been awarded.

When it comes to safety, too often a tunnel approach is taken. One area or section is looked at in isolation, ignoring the wider context. It might be safer to prohibit cyclists (and walkers) to get past road works on a narrow road. But it fails to take into account that using the alternative busy fast dual carriage way will be far more dangerous.

A similar problem is seen with 'no right turns', where all traffic has to turn left, go to the next roundabout, then return. This may well be safer for cars etc. But not for cyclists.

I do not know what the OP cold_wet_and_tired (and others in similar situations) can do practically, which would actually work. Perhaps find out who authorised this work, and ask them to accompany you cycling the detour at night. If (?) they decline, ask who else would be willing. It would make a good story for the local press: "official XXX refuses to use their own detour, as it is too dangerous".

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mjr
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby mjr » 18 Jan 2019, 9:43pm

basingstoke123 wrote:
mjr wrote:Isn't the current official guidance the red book aka "Code of Practice on Safety at Street Works" which is legally binding?

The current problem IMO is that enforcement seems to be the responsibility of the highways departments (notably their Street Works Officer) and, like basingstoke123 describes, most don't enforce it.


Having now had a look at the link in the OP, clearly the A34 dual carriageway is unsuitable for the NCN diversion.

I don't think that the problem is with enforcement. The road is being closed - I have no doubt that the local authority, if asked, will ensure that the closure is effective!

Enforcement of the legal requirement to follow the red book and provide a sane detour, not the closure.

The cycle detour must be along similar standard roads. Where this is not possible, then the contractor should be required to provide cycle access across the roadworks. But you cannot add this requirement after the contract has been awarded.

The requirement to follow the law and red book will already be in the contract.

I do not know what the OP cold_wet_and_tired (and others in similar situations) can do practically, which would actually work. Perhaps find out who authorised this work, and ask them to accompany you cycling the detour at night. If (?) they decline, ask who else would be willing. It would make a good story for the local press: "official XXX refuses to use their own detour, as it is too dangerous".

Great idea.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

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gaz
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby gaz » 18 Jan 2019, 10:06pm

Red book.
Page 35 covers cycling generally, page 70 diversions.
A risk assessment must be carried out on any diversion route to ensure it is suitable and safe for the diverted traffic or pedestrians.

One issue that you do face is that the TTRO is for a full road closure, i.e. it does not provide an exemption for cyclists. Even if the contractor were prepared to open up a route through the works AFAICT the current TTRO effectively prohibits it.

thirdcrank
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Jan 2019, 10:14pm

If the TAL I quoted has been superseded by something stronger it's good to hear although somebody has to be constantly on the case if there's to be any action. If you are able to quote official guidelines etc which are being ignored then IME it's one of the occasions when a letter to the MP for that constituency may work because their office staff will probably write to somebody senior at the organisation involved asking if it's being complied with. ie They can fob you off with guff at ground level but something from an MP comes in at the top'

The Kotulla v the EDF case (cyclist falls into roadworks on footway) was quoted above and here's a full report of that case
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2010/B11.html

cold_wet_and_tired
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby cold_wet_and_tired » 19 Jan 2019, 10:46am

The red book is an interesting read but I don't think I've ever seen a "Road Closed Except Cycles" sign as described on page 70.

I think they'd struggle to provide the widths specified - they were putting a huge sewer pipe in last time I went to look which took up most of the road so I'd be happy to dismount and push past a narrower path. I remember doing the Dunwich Dynamo one year past a road closure where everyone had to use a temporary pedestrian route which involved lifting bikes up some temporary steps over a hedge, walking along the edge of an adjacent field and back over the hedge again further along the road.

MikeF
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby MikeF » 19 Jan 2019, 10:33pm

basingstoke123 wrote:
mjr wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:PS Official guidance is provided in Traffic Advisory Leaflet 15/1999 which makes it rather dated. At the time, I did have an exchange of views with the author which concluded with him telling me that it was aimed a "professionals" rather than cyclists.
https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov ... #roads1999

Isn't the current official guidance the red book aka "Code of Practice on Safety at Street Works" which is legally binding?

The current problem IMO is that enforcement seems to be the responsibility of the highways departments (notably their Street Works Officer) and, like basingstoke123 describes, most don't enforce it.


Having now had a look at the link in the OP, clearly the A34 dual carriageway is unsuitable for the NCN diversion.

I don't think that the problem is with enforcement. The road is being closed - I have no doubt that the local authority, if asked, will ensure that the closure is effective! Neither will the roadworks have any affect on the safety of cycling along the A34 detour. The problem is that cycling is ignored when it comes to roadworks. The assumption is that cyclists can use the same provision as motor vehicles, or get off and walk. But on rural roads, it seems to be assumed that there will not be any pedestrians (which is generally the case) as there are no pavements. And people out walking sometimes have options that are not practical for cyclists even when pushing. Things like styles, mud, footpaths only just wide enough for one person walking.

The cycle detour must be along similar standard roads. Where this is not possible, then the contractor should be required to provide cycle access across the roadworks. But you cannot add this requirement after the contract has been awarded.

When it comes to safety, too often a tunnel approach is taken. One area or section is looked at in isolation, ignoring the wider context. It might be safer to prohibit cyclists (and walkers) to get past road works on a narrow road. But it fails to take into account that using the alternative busy fast dual carriage way will be far more dangerous.

A similar problem is seen with 'no right turns', where all traffic has to turn left, go to the next roundabout, then return. This may well be safer for cars etc. But not for cyclists.

I do not know what the OP cold_wet_and_tired (and others in similar situations) can do practically, which would actually work. Perhaps find out who authorised this work, and ask them to accompany you cycling the detour at night. If (?) they decline, ask who else would be willing. It would make a good story for the local press: "official XXX refuses to use their own detour, as it is too dangerous".
Yes. That's very true. I complained to a local council that provision hadn't been made for cyclist as a result of roadworks blocking the road. Their rapid response was to install a "Cyclists Dismount" sign. :roll: :evil:
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

cold_wet_and_tired
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby cold_wet_and_tired » 22 Jan 2019, 6:46pm

I contacted Sustrans and, as luck would have it, their representative will be at the county council tomorrow so will bring it up with them.

mattsccm
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Re: NCN5 Blockage due to Roadworks

Postby mattsccm » 22 Jan 2019, 9:01pm

I am not really keen on this method but you could try being awkward if the verge permits. A similar situation near me closed a road with no footway and thus the highway included verges which were thus closed. However the adjoining land was Forestry Commission owned. The contractors couldn't stop me using it although it was under a metre from their works. Carefully avoiding moving machinery I used the FC land instead. Contractors just had to wait a minute or so. Gradually word got out. A brambly scramble evolved into a cyclable muddy path. FC didn't react until too late. When they did we just used the other side of the road which they hadn't thought about :roll:
Maybe irresponsible in some way but it was legal and safe.