Crap cyclepaths

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Flinders
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Flinders » 12 Aug 2013, 3:40pm

As I understood it, in theory most cycle paths here are built/maintained for speeds of up to 12mph. I average more than that, so they aren't much use. On many of them here you couldn't do 12 mph anyway as the surface is so bad; the off road ones are little more than rough ballast in one case, and in others, muddy compressed clay with puddles in it everywhere. Unless you wanted to be covered in clay up to your knees when you got to work, not up to much for commuting.
If they seriously want people to commute on them, as they claim they do, they need to be well drained tarmac, cleaned of glass, leaves, etc. regularly.
Some paths/tracks on roads or pavements have had green or red very rough tarmac stuck on the top, which falls to bits in months leaving an appalling surface.

Mark1978
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Mark1978 » 13 Aug 2013, 11:47am

Just a tiny example. Saw a guy this morning, looked about 20 and on his way to work. Walked his bike along the pavement out through Chester-le-Street, then walked across the roundabout until he got to the shared use path, then he got on his bike and away.

Now the road out isn't particularly busy or dangerous (here if you're interested: http://goo.gl/maps/yIOFM ), although there are issues with parked cars along there so I tend to take primary. But obviously this guy didn't like the idea sufficiently that he would walk that section until he got to an off road path.

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Si
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Si » 13 Aug 2013, 12:50pm

Now the road out isn't particularly busy or dangerous (here if you're interested: http://goo.gl/maps/yIOFM ), although there are issues with parked cars along there so I tend to take primary. But obviously this guy didn't like the idea sufficiently that he would walk that section until he got to an off road path.


Reminds me of some of our newbies from last year - although they wouldn't even walk across the road at a toucan crossing, pushing their bikes! But we got them riding on the "crap" cycle paths (I know they are "crap" as the local roadies complain about how hard it is to do 20mph on them on their paper thin tyres) and built their confidence and ability, and now they are happily cycling on minor to moderate roads around town. The difference between our riders and your man is that as well as the "crap" path our riders get the additional training and support, whereas your example chap may well just have been left to get on with it by himself.

Postboxer
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Postboxer » 15 Aug 2013, 9:44am

I went for a ride last Saturday, mainly on cyclepaths, the main problem I had, wasn't the surfaces, although I did almost get stuck in the mud in one part, wasn't the lack of signs, which led to a few wrong turns, the problem was all the stupid barriers everywhere, drove me mad, including ones like the ones here http://goo.gl/maps/HAuSt that I couldn't figure out the point of. Just constant slowing down, dismounting, lifting, just don't see the need. Really put me off going out with either one or both of my kids in either a rear seat, a trailer or both, as all the barriers would make it very nearly impossible and probably dangerous too. A couple of years ago I nearly hurt my sons arm whilst trying to negotiate a kissing gate, he stuck out his arm and trapped it between the fence of the kissing gate and his seat, I was trying to watch everything, front wheel, back wheel, bike frame, pedals, handlebars and him and it just isn't possible to do safely.

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meic
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby meic » 15 Aug 2013, 10:02am

Totally right,
I always complain about barriers to the Council when they come and give us "low level" volunteers a pep talk. So often they end the conversation with "it is a requirement put on us from [insert Police, adjacent landowners etc W.H.Y.] and "you are the only one complaining". Then you get the overwhelming feeling that such negativity isnt welcomed by the surrounding members of a positive minded, "can do", organisation like Sustrans.

I recall one in the Valleys probably in Gwent where two paths intersect and it has four barriers. It must have taken a REALLY REALLY stupid group of people to design authorise and build that. Could none of them see that three would mean the paths were completely sealed by barriers? Also they were cycle paths that had barriers at the other ends as well most likely.

Every time I do the Taff Trail the barriers come out slightly ahead of the workers' vans for obstructing and annoying me.
Yma o Hyd

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Si
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Si » 15 Aug 2013, 10:08am

On the positive side for us, they seem to be learning and the slalom barriers are being used less often. What has made a real difference to keeping motorcycles off the paths (main reason given for maze-like barriers) is having regular patrols by PCSOs on bikes....this has also reduced the amount of broken glass too because people feel safer in the parks, so more people use them and consequently there is less trouble making...some of the parks are even getting "Friends of..." groups looking after them.

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monxton
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby monxton » 15 Aug 2013, 10:34am

The Wigan one that Postboxer posted looks tolerable to me - effective against motorised traffic but not impassable by a laden cycle. But what I wanted to add is:

I recently did a Danube tour, and where EV6 goes through Germany much of the path is good quality wide tarmac, sometimes also a service road for motor traffic. On the sections where motor traffic is not allowed there are no complicated barriers, just big clear signs. Still there seemed to be little abuse by non-cyclists. One day we were cycling along and a police car came racing up behind us, sirens screaming, and stopped. We were rather fearful we had unwittingly done something wrong, but the police asked us (in good English) if we had seen a motorcyclist on the path, and then raced off again.

So someone had taken the trouble to report abuse of the cyclepath, and rather than the response you might expect here - "We'll get somebody out there tomorrow" - the police had treated it as a matter of urgency. Their policy of open access but taking action against abusers is very different to one of trying to prevent abuse by complicated barriers.

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meic
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby meic » 15 Aug 2013, 10:48am

The Wigan one that Postboxer posted looks tolerable to me - effective against motorised traffic but not impassable by a laden cycle


Care to try it with a tandem, trike, tag a long or trailer?

Did you also notice the gratuitous great curve put in the path ending up with cyclists side on to the gate? You can see that many have just cut out the curve and ridden the natural route over the grass.

Crossing that road could have been done fairly quickly and efficiently but instead they have made it into a weaving circuit with an obstacle course thrown in for good measure.

It just goes to show how seriously they are taking cycling as a form of transport. It would have to be a fairly long length of path to make it even worthwhile getting onto it in the first place. Those of us carrying children on our less usual vehicles will just have to mix it with the cars instead, so not surprisingly you dont see many people taking their children around on such machines.
Yma o Hyd

Postboxer
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Postboxer » 15 Aug 2013, 11:24am

I just can't figure out what the low barrier is intended to stop, it won't stop a motorbike, and the gap would be too narrow for a car to fit up if the low bit wasn't there at all. The slopes are ok if you're heavily laden, but I did meet one barrier with the slope straight after it, making it tricky to remount/clip in and that was me on my own, if I'd been loaded with touring kit or children it would have been very tricky to get moving again.

Mark1978
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Mark1978 » 15 Aug 2013, 11:46am

As always with this I always think, if they just removed every single barrier everywhere, would the world come to an end? Would cyclists be unable to use the path due to the sheer weight of motorcycle traffic? I doubt it.

This one bugs me every time I see it http://goo.gl/maps/frZAs a short bit of path (maybe 150 metres?) alongside a road. And yet has barriers at either end? Why? It motorcycles really wanted to use this tiny bit of path (and why would they when there is a road right there) they can just bump up the curb. You may think it's to slow bikes before the corner, but the corner itself does that. I would imagine most cyclists using this bit of NCN1 would just ignore this stretch of track and use the road, if you swing to the left of that picture the continuation of the route also has barriers, but the path worn in the grass suggests most don't use them.

So they are actually creating a safety hazard, as cyclists will go around on the road ignoring the island and bumping up a curb - higher probability of getting the curb mount wrong and falling. The barriers should be removed.

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monxton
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby monxton » 15 Aug 2013, 2:23pm

Mark1978 wrote:As always with this I always think, if they just removed every single barrier everywhere, would the world come to an end? Would cyclists be unable to use the path due to the sheer weight of motorcycle traffic? I doubt it.

That's what I was intending to demonstrate with my German experience. A complete absence of barriers worked fine when backed by the knowledge that there is a genuine sanction. Annoying barriers are a cheaper option.

DaveGos
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby DaveGos » 23 Aug 2013, 1:19am

Not read all the thread but have the following comments

I would rather have 1 mile of useful cycle path that most cyclists will use , than 20 miles of white lines they deem cycle paths.

Unless cycle paths have the same priority over side roads that the main road they are following has, then they are in my opinion more dangerous than riding on the main road

The success of them should be measured ( not expensive to get a few students on min wage to do a sample census) If they find they are getting less than 2 or 3 cyclists an hour using the facility , this should be fed back and be a black mark on the employees career and the council

By far the best cycle paths are turning old roads , railways etc into cycle paths

We don't need a system where by the council get a random political grant that if they don't spend by the end of the year they lose. We need the council to have long term funding that they can plan to use, and all new developments and changes to road layouts should have to explain why they cant incorporate cycling properly ( unless of course they do) As like with disabled facilities , its a lot easier and more effective as part of a new build.

They should consult cyclists as to where they can effectively spend the money . I am sure that we all know somewhere we could make a reasonable improvement without rebuilding the whole road.

I will give you an extreme example. There is a natural route out of Wellington - Shropshire that we use that follows and old lane that has been cut off so no longer is a through road . Its now incorporated into a residential road. It now ends with a barrier . To the side of this barrier is a drain gutter 12 inches wide , where confident experienced cyclists ride through non stop. But you have to be a confident rider. We had one older member fall and hit the barrier resulting in a nasty injury . Now the person next to it is growing there hedge over it , because they don't like cyclists riding through . For very little cost you can adapt the barrier making it wide enough to get through and put up a few signs and have a low traffic way out of the town . I know of a few other improvements like this that can be done , but the council prefer white paint.

reohn2
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby reohn2 » 23 Aug 2013, 6:05pm

Postboxer wrote:I went for a ride last Saturday, mainly on cyclepaths, the main problem I had, wasn't the surfaces, although I did almost get stuck in the mud in one part, wasn't the lack of signs, which led to a few wrong turns, the problem was all the stupid barriers everywhere, drove me mad, including ones like the ones here http://goo.gl/maps/HAuSt that I couldn't figure out the point of. Just constant slowing down, dismounting, lifting, just don't see the need. Really put me off going out with either one or both of my kids in either a rear seat, a trailer or both, as all the barriers would make it very nearly impossible and probably dangerous too. A couple of years ago I nearly hurt my sons arm whilst trying to negotiate a kissing gate, he stuck out his arm and trapped it between the fence of the kissing gate and his seat, I was trying to watch everything, front wheel, back wheel, bike frame, pedals, handlebars and him and it just isn't possible to do safely.


I went though that same set of barriers this afternoon on the tandem with my 9year old granddaughter and go through them regularly solo,TBH I don't find it and the other's like it on that path too bad at all.
I do however find the lack of maintenance of the path and other paths like it atrocious,not to mention the litter,broken glass etc and general state of the whole area a bit grotty,which is a pity as on the whole Hindley used to be quite a nice little mill town(I originate from Platt Bridge)
The problem is a social one,the lack of social conscience in certain areas has to be seen to be believed.
Those barriers are there to deter illegal off road motorcycles which in that area of Hindley I've no doubt would use that path endangering other users.
We have a choice,until a social conscience can be realised the richardheads have to somehow be stopped.
BTW we rode through Borsdane Wood and the barriers at either end are far worse for a tandem than the one's in the link,but I've no complaints for the same reasons stated,the thoughts of goons ripping through the wood on motorcycles fills me with dread.
Last edited by reohn2 on 23 Aug 2013, 6:17pm, edited 1 time in total.
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reohn2
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby reohn2 » 23 Aug 2013, 6:16pm

monxton wrote:The Wigan one that Postboxer posted looks tolerable to me - effective against motorised traffic but not impassable by a laden cycle. But what I wanted to add is:

I recently did a Danube tour, and where EV6 goes through Germany much of the path is good quality wide tarmac, sometimes also a service road for motor traffic. On the sections where motor traffic is not allowed there are no complicated barriers, just big clear signs. Still there seemed to be little abuse by non-cyclists. One day we were cycling along and a police car came racing up behind us, sirens screaming, and stopped. We were rather fearful we had unwittingly done something wrong, but the police asked us (in good English) if we had seen a motorcyclist on the path, and then raced off again.

So someone had taken the trouble to report abuse of the cyclepath, and rather than the response you might expect here - "We'll get somebody out there tomorrow" - the police had treated it as a matter of urgency. Their policy of open access but taking action against abusers is very different to one of trying to prevent abuse by complicated barriers.


But then they have a police force to speak of and a proactive one too.
The UK OTOH........... :?
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Mark1978
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Re: Crap cyclepaths

Postby Mark1978 » 23 Aug 2013, 7:32pm

Off road paths on ex railway alignments are a good idea as they go to useful places and are never too steep. But with few exceptions poorly implemented, usually gravel surface which means a large amount of cyclists are excluded right there. A not properly maintained so allowed to narrow such that dog walkers, pedestrians and cyclists come into conflict.

And they still end up giving way to every side road.