Saturday, August 12, 2017

By Wolf Simpson

I am writing this after an experience I had earlier today & thought I'd shared what I had already posted online so others can read it & help others see the need for good quality infrastructure..

Whilst waiting on the Wivenhoe Trail to see a steam train passing, in the hour I was there I saw 4 eBikes passing & 2 gentlemen riding some of those eBikes stopped to chat & get photos too. Whilst we all were waiting we chatted about eBikes & the gentleman in the hi-viz jacket with the walking stick attached to his eBike normally uses a mobility scooter.

As he explained to me he found eBikes to be better & faster to use & something I didn't consider before when thinking of mobility scooters compared to eBikes. When the battery dies on a mobility scooter especially when using on terrain like the Wivenhoe Trail then you're stuck there as the mobility scooter is too bulky & heavy to push but if the battery dies on the eBike then its light enough for you to push it along & use it as a walking frame.



Now these guys are in their 60s or older & they found eBikes gave them the mobility & freedom to go around town more than mobility scooters ever could & this is why we need to build infrastructure, for these sort of people especially as the aging population increases & why we need infrastructure suitable for all ages & abilities whether they're walking, cycling or using any other mobility aid.

Just like they already have in the Netherlands.

   

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Colchester view of the new London cycleways

Jim and friend on Santander hire bikes
By Jim Rayner

During a recent visit to London with a friend I used the cycle hire bike and the cycle superhighway along the Embankment in order to get around the city.

I highly recommend the experience if you have never done it before.

The dedicated cycleway is between 3-4m wide and for a large part runs alongside the Thames. The road engineers created the space largely by taking a lane away from general traffic.

The cycleway is well used and the feeling of freedom when travelling by bike through one of the world’s greatest cities in exhilarating, but also highly practical.

My only complaint is the cycle routes don’t stretch far enough!

Not everyone sees it this way, however, and some people have blamed the new lanes for a range of ills — including helping the terrorist to attack Westminster on March 22 to bus stop bypasses being a danger to hospital patients (read the case for such bypasses here).

Thankfully, the cycleways are here to stay, despite Chancellor Philip Hammond trying his hardest to twist the arm of London mayor Sadiq Khan.

The proof must be measured in the number of people riding on them. This article in the Guardian helps debunk the myths. It supports the arguments put forward in Bike Nation, a new book about cycling infrastructure. One key quote from the Guardian is:

"So why does this myth (of cycle lanes causing congestion) persist? I’m afraid it probably comes down to – as I have written about before – how cycling and cyclists remain one of the few areas of life in which newspapers and columnists feel able to write sweeping generalisations without worry. 

"This is a complex and longer-term issue, as are the many reasons why separated cycle lanes and other infrastructure are so vital for a modern city or town
"But in the meantime, when someone repeats the bike lane myth, ask them for evidence."

Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save the World by Peter Walker is out now.

Review of the improvements to the Ipswich Road cycle path, Colchester

General overview of the Ipswich Road improvements whereby the pavement was widened outside the Rovers Tye and a cycle path created, segregated from pedestrians by a white line. While this scheme is a big improvement on what was there before, there are problems…


By Jim Rayner

I thought I would like to do an "occasional personal review" of the various recent cycle improvements in the town, plus some other bits and bobs from earlier times.

Many of us in Colchester Cycling Campaign may well  know what has taken place, but some may not.

It would be good to know what people think who use these facilities every day.

I'll start with Ipswich Road, where the footway was widened in 2016 by taking about a metre of carriageway in a realignment scheme outside of the Rovers Tye pub.



Apart from a simple kerb, there is no  buffer between the cycle path and the road. Already you can see tyre marks and concrete clips caused by vehicles hitting the edge

I stopped at the one spot for about ten minutes. In this time three cyclists passed by, two of whom were cycling on the pedestrian side of the path. To me this indicated that many cyclists feel uncomfortable riding too close to the edge.
Slightly to the south of the pub the path has also been widened and new demarcation lines laid out. The width of the cycle path here, while much improved, is still very narrow. The lack of national cycling standards for England mean we have to have these ridiculous give-way markings. The corduroy slabs for the disabled can also be a hazard for cyclists, gripping tyres and also slippery when wet.



With regard to the distance buffer between the road and the cycle path the Dutch CROW design manual recommends:

"The higher the speed of the traffic, the greater the separation should be between the tracks and the main carriageway although for safety, bikes should still be visible to car drivers.

"In built-up areas, the minimum width of the buffer between a cycle track and the road should be at least 0.35m for a one-way cycle path and 1m for a two-way, but usually the width will be greater depending on the barrier type."

Apart from the kerb itself on Ipswich Road, effectively there is no other barrier between the traffic and what is a two-way cycle path.

This seems crazy as there are plenty of examples elsewhere in Colchester of a 0.35m kerb markers / concrete strips to demarcate an extra edge between the road and the cycle path.

This example is at the Hythe:

This example (above and below) is a shared-use cycle path at the Hythe, Colchester, where a 0.35m buffer has been incorporated into the design. This should have happened Ipswich Road, either taking the space from roadside properties under the Road Improvement Act, or reducing the (very generous) width of the road for general traffic.

Yet another cyclist on the pedestrian side of the path. I reckon about half of all users do this. Is this because the demarcated section is too close to the road?

As an aside, this rider had a bag dangling from her handlebars, which I consider to be a dangerous practice because they can go into the front wheel and cause a spill — it is always best to get a rack and use pannier bags. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Proposals for a new A120 between Braintree and Colchester






A discussion paper by Colchester Cycling Campaign

CCC is neutral on whether this new road is needed. Supporters’ opinions range from being enthusiastically for it (safety) to vitriolically against it (the environment). We do not anticipate taking a stance on the project’s rationale or giving an overarching view on its desirability. That said, we strongly believe in the need to mitigate the effects of a bigger road on towns, villages and the countryside.

A120 will mean more traffic, especially in towns
A bigger A120 will create more traffic — as did the M25 and roads such as Newbury bypass (a traffic generation case study). Most journeys begin and end in towns and cities. The A120 will have a disproportionately adverse effect on urban areas which will be to the detriment of quality of living, health and local economies.

Campaign recommendations on cycling and the A120
CCC calls on the powers-that-be to:
  • consider better cycling provision and infrastructure at every stage of this scheme, both adjacent to and across the new and old roads and in nearby towns
  • include, publish and consult on cycling proposals and cycle proofing at the earliest possible date
  • apply the Equality Act and the Brown Principles as the scheme is being developed
  • take into account the recent report on air pollution from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) and the DfT’s interim standards for highways
  • give early assessments of how each option for the road will increase traffic in Colchester and Braintree
  • limit the number of new junctions to restrict use by local traffic and hence overall traffic growth


Campaign recommendations on restricting traffic growth

We would welcome:

  • pressure for a daily car-use toll (no multi-day tickets) to replace annual/six-monthly vehicle tax (possibly the best way to reduce the number of short car journeys)
  • a move towards workplace car park charging, which has shown its value in Nottingham
  • consideration of the potential of e-bikes in the general move to electric vehicles
  • support a future Colchester to Stansted railway line

Campaign recommendations on helping cycling and improving quality of life

We would also welcome:
  • a national cycling design manual to replace the current mishmash of guides (some good, some bad)
  • support for area-wide 20mph where people live in Essex
  • backing for Cycling UK’s Space for Cycling campaign
  • support for Cycling UK’s Road Justice campaign
  • installation of real-time pollution monitors in all major Essex towns
  • greater coordination of Essex County Council’s public health, transport planning and highways functions

    ---
    Paul Avison, Neil Allen and Will Bramhill, January 2017