Friday, June 23, 2017

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. 


3 comments:

  1. Not necessarily specific to Ipswich Road, I'm baffled by the cycle/pedestrian paths where the side for cyclists randomly changes from left side to ride side. Why are these not consistent? Whilst I use my bell when approaching pedestrians, it often falls upon deaf ears owing to ear phones or the head down in a mobile phone distraction.

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  2. Hi Will, great post. I particularly like your point about the lack of national design standards. Here in Colchester, like many other places, we tend to get council engineers making things up as they go along. The lack of any separation marker between Ipswich Road and the newly widened path does make it very tight. The give way markings at the crossing are also nothing short of ridiculous. Jim

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