Thursday 5 May 2011

Cycling Infrastructure

Here is an interesting arrangement that I discovered cycling down the A30 in Hampshire between Camberley and Basingstoke.  This piece of road used to be an important trunk road.  I can just remember being driven up and down it to and from Dorset as a young child.  However since the M3 was constructed running parallel and only a mile or so to the south then, like a lot of old trunk roads, it lost its importance along with most of its traffic.
What a great opportunity to use some of this space for long distance cycle routes.  You could easily use one carriageway for bicycles and one for motor vehicles; alternatively one lane in each direction could be a high quality wide cycle lane.
However cyclists were obviously the last thing on the mind of the Highway Engineer who designed this.  I was cycling down here with a lorry behind.  I had no wish to hold him up but the 'blanking off' of one lane with projecting keep left traffic islands meant there was no way he could get by.  To give the driver his due he was not a road rage moron and he waited patiently until the end of the previously dual section before he could get by.
This scene to me just typifies want of thought and wasted opportunity.  Useful cycling infrastructure could be set up here and on roads like it at minimal cost.  It is not that we do not have the space for infrastructure; we do not have the will.
Further up the A30 east of Staines, money has been wasted painting a cycle lane onto the pavement with give way markings at every junction and crossing point.  Nobody will use it and motorists will wonder why not.
You can glimpse some of this exciting new infrastructure (and maybe some of the reasons I will not be making use of it) on the left in this footage.


  1. It depressing to see roads arranged in such a manner, and yet it is commonplace. If a lot of these old trunk roads could be used to form a network of subjectively safe and pleasant to cycle intercity routes by simply re-arranging the existing space. In addition to making the worst parts of some people's commutes more pleasant and appealing, there could be economic benefits from cycle tourism too.

    Even in the cities the space is there, but it is usually given over to free or subsidised parking for private motor vehicles. Cyclists who are incapable of reaching or sustaining a fast 20 mph sprint speed are inevitably forced into the door zone of these parked cars by the pressure from motor vehicles. Some may give up cycling, and people who want to cycle are deterred from trying.

    Still, many wonder why our modal share is so risible

  2. Have you seen this post of a similar theme by stabiliser? On this occasion, it is the A38 (replaced as a trunk road by the M5 in places) that has had a lane hatched out. You could obviously turn the inside lane into a cycle lane, maybe even a cycle track with a kerb, unless your name is John Franklin and you are "advising" local authorities that, actually, you can just make the hatchings a bit narrower and that will encourage the masses to cycle. But then, the masses will struggle with a 20mph sprint speed, so he doesn't want them on the roads.

  3. Have you shared this with Hampshire County Council Highways?

  4. There's a new shared bit near me, complete with 6 ft post right in the middle, leaving insufficient space for you to actually use the lane and pass it (it's a post to hold a sign advising of the shared lane...) I've seen 1 cyclist using it - propped his bike against the post while finding something in his bag!

  5. Good to see your post as i rest in Torino at the start of my 13th riding of the route of the Giro d'Italia .
    Wish the Italian had posted the photo of Contador and me to add to this comment

  6. Wasted opportunity there. IME 50% of cycle lanes are rubbish/dangerous the useful 50% are ignored/used by car drivers. A-roads like this should be targeted for cycle use.

  7. It can be done the old A130 south of Chelmsford

  8. I can't believe it! And the link christhebull gave on the second comment is more horrible stuff.

    Half the road space marked out of use by paint. Added a pinch point, too. What's left is suitable for 'Level III' cyclists, so there's no need to do anything better. Never mind the majority of people who would love to cycle on a segregated cycle path, instead of playing frogger with cars.

  9. <>

    They have done just that on the A74 south of Glasgow, north of Abington: