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13/05/2011 // INFO Leave a comment

Cycle lane widening scheme brings positive results

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The recommended width of a cycle lane is 2 metres. When at this width, a clearly-marked lane will give the cyclist the space they require to ride safely away from passing traffic, but often painted lanes do not even meet the minimum recommendation of 1.5 metres.

Widths below 1.5 metres give cyclists very little room to manoeuvre around debris, potholes and drainage which tend to be concentrated in cycle lanes. Cycling lobby groups, both locally and nationally, have fought to see 2 metre lanes introduced, with varying degrees of success.

Cambridge

One of the most controversial cycle lane widening schemes that has been undertaken in recent years has been Cambridge’s Gilbert Road project, where Cambridgeshire Country Council decided to put in 1.7 metre wide cycle lanes along Gilbert Road, one of the main commuter routes into the city. The lanes would also be coloured red to ensure motorists knew not to drive into them.

It also decided to ban on parking along the cycle lanes and the neighbouring grass verges to provide maximum safety for cyclists. Surveys conducted by the Council last year, before the cycle lane widening consultation had begun, found about 20 vehicles were often parked in the Gilbert Road cycle lanes at any time.

Local residents opposed the project, but the council was able to complete the changes to the cycle lanes on Gilbert Road in January this year.

Positive outcomes

Now in a vindication of the thought and work put into the Gilbert Road project, it is great to report that the numbers of cyclists using the cycle lanes on Gilbert Road have risen.

Surveys carried out by independent consultants for Cambridgshire County Council found that the number of cyclists using the lanes have increased by 9.5% since January. At the same time motor vehicle traffic decreased by 12.5% and the average speed of what remained dropped by 6%.

Roy Pegram, Cabinet Member for Growth, Infrastructure and Strategic Planning at Cambridgeshire County Council, told Going Going Bike, that the surveys “proved” that by installing high quality cycling infrastructure, levels of cycling can increase.

See also

City regions have potential for cycling growth

Birmingham strategy offers glimpse to a better future

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

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