Gateshead Revisited - Still A Shockingly Bad Bike Lane?
Some of you may remember the video I made last year about The World’s Shortest Cycle Lane. This was in Gateshead, next to their shiny new college, and a mere ten metres long.
At the time, several commenters, and Gateshead Council’s extremely friendly and approachable* Team Leader for Traffic Projects and Rights of Way said that I wasn’t really being fair, as the path clearly wasn’t finished. I should wait to see how it was completed before whining about how hard-done-by people on bikes are.
Well, it’s finished now. So I took my camera along to see the finished article, and make like an extremely dangerous terrorist suspect from Croydon to take a few snaps of the infrastructure:
What an improvement - they’ve included all sorts of great features to make riding your bike extra fun!
- The cycle lane on the road’s a space-saving 980mm wide
- It then mounts the pavement (that’s sidewalk to you), and increases in width to 990mm
- To mount the pavement, you have a handy 125mm high (5 inches) kerb to simply bunny-hop up, having approached it at an oblique angle. As we all know, approaching a kerb at an angle can easily lead to a fall, if you don’t see the ridge before your wheels hit it. There’s almost no danger of that, with this five-inch monster, so it’s completely safe.
- And then just ten short metres up the pavement, you can practice stopping & starting your bike on a hill, as the bike lane gives way to pedestrian access to the road. I’m all in favour of pedestrians, as the most vulnerable of all road users, they need protecting. But when it’s only bikes (and not cars, as they would under Rule 195 of the Highway Code if there were a zebra crossing here) that have to give way, it makes me wonder where people on bikes fit into the council’s hierarchy. Probably somewhere close Mackems.
I know that there are actually worse bike lanes than this - the Warrington Cycle Campaign has even published a book of them. But this was supposed to be a flagship development, designed by enlightened engineers who’ve realised that Predict & Provide for cars is madness, while for bikes, it may just save their bacon. We have a right to expect better than the solution they’ve provided here.
Or am I being unreasonable again?
*Warning - this post does contain Industrial Strength Sarcasm.