Peaks Lane/Peaks Parkway link

These pictures show the new link between the top of Peaks Lane (by the YMCA) and Peaks Parkway. It’s a big improvement on the shambles that was there before and will make access from the Weelsby Rd / Hainton Ave area towards New Waltham much better.

The new link, with the YMCA to the right.

The new link, with the YMCA to the right.

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Shame the new wide surface couldn’t have been continued all the way to Peaks Parkway though. Nevertheless, it’s still a welcome improvement.

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Get those tap-ins!

Sometimes footballers try to score the perfect goal, like the one Jack Wilshere recently scored for Arsenal. Of course, those sort of goals are wonderful, but just as valuable are the simple tap-ins from 6 yards. They all count! It doesn’t matter how they go in, just score them!

Jack Wilshire scoring his goal of the month recently for Arsenal

Jack Wilshere scoring his goal of the month recently for Arsenal

Today I was off work and the weather was so beautiful, a perfect autumnal day, so I went for a little ride. To use the footballing analogy, it was very interesting to see how many opportunities there are for some simple cycling infrastructure ‘tap-ins’ along the route of my ride. Not every improvement in our infrastructure needs to be a big project (AKA the wonder goals), there are lots of ‘tap-ins’ available.

My ride took me from Weelsby Rd left onto Park Avenue and then right along Barretts Recreation Ground. This is just asking for a little bit of spending on a proper surfaced cycleway and some lighting. It’s a short cut from the busy Weelsby Rd to Scartho Rd (exiting at the swimming pool), and it just needs a little TLC.

The pathway through barretts 'Rec', looking towards Scartho Rd.

The pathway through barretts ‘Rec’, looking towards Scartho Rd.

Barretts 'Rec' pathway brings you out at the swimming pool car park

Barretts ‘Rec’ pathway brings you out at the swimming pool car park

...with a nice separated pathway taking you up to Scartho Rd itself (slightly obscured by the lovely bright sunshine!)

…with a nice separated pathway (top centre) taking you up to Scartho Rd itself (slightly obscured by the lovely bright sunshine!)

Then along Scartho Rd, where there is a good separated cyclepath. It needs a continuous cycleway though, from one end of Scartho Rd to the other. As I say, I think the cycle path itself is good but could be better if it wasn’t up and down all the time. Make it a level surface for cyclists and give the cycle path priority over the drives and roads, so that it’s they that have to drive up and down and not the cyclists. Otherwise it’s pretty good.

The separated cycleway on Scartho Rd, showing the 'driveways drops'.

The separated cycleway on Scartho Rd, showing the ‘driveways drops’.

Same location but facing the other direction, back towards Grimsby.

Same location but facing the other direction, back towards Grimsby.

Approaching the roundabout at the end of Louth Rd on the separated cycle path (good)......

Approaching the roundabout at the end of Louth Rd on the separated cycle path (good)……

...but exiting the roundabout onto the A16 (bad!). And just when you need it most, the cycle path  just disappears!

…but exiting the roundabout onto the A16 (bad!). And just when you need it most, the cycle path just disappears!

At the end of Louth Road there is a proper separate cycle path, which is great. It takes you round the roundabout and then…….. Oh dear! Onto the A16, Peaks Parkway: “Join the 60mph traffic folks and be careful!” What kind of infrastructure is this that places cyclists in harms way, on a pretty rough surface too? There’s loads of space here for a cycleway, separated from the traffic.

Turning right onto the A1098 Hewitts Avenue and it’s the same criticism as above. Again there’s plenty of space for a cycleway. Passing the junction with Peaks Lane, there is at least an off-road path here, but it’s very narrow and very bumpy. Once again there’s loads of space to turn this into a first class cycleway.

Lots of room here for a proper cycleway, as the path separates from the road behind a copse of trees.

Lots of room here for a proper cycleway, as the path separates from the road behind a copse of trees.

The surface on this pathway is very bumpy and unpleasant to ride on. If this was wider and properly surfaced, it would be so much better!

The surface on this pathway is very bumpy and unpleasant to ride on. If this was wider and properly surfaced, it would be so much better!

In all of these examples, it wouldn’t actually take much to turn them into something really worthwhile from a cycling point of view, and it would once again earn NELC lots of Brownie points for not a lot of outlay.

Lessons from London

There have been a number of high profile deaths of people killed by trucks whilst cycling  in London recently. At the recent inquest into the deaths of Brian Dorling, 55, who died in a collision with a lorry on the notorious Bow roundabout, and French student Philippine De Gerin-Ricard, 20, who was hit from behind by a lorry on CS2 at Aldgate Gyratory, Transport for London were heavily criticised for ignoring multiple warnings.

Philippine De Gerin-Ricard and Brian Dorling, who both died whilst cycling on London's streets. (Photo from iBikeLondon)

Philippine De Gerin-Ricard and Brian Dorling, who both died whilst cycling on London’s streets. (Photo from iBikeLondon)

At the inquest, Transport for London were exposed for having ignored warnings from the Police and various cycling campaigns. Not only that, it was shown they had instructed their own consultants to ignore cyclists at one particular junction, and that they had ignored their consultants report that stated Bow Roundabout was so dangerous that traffic signals and separated cycle lanes should be installed. (Read a full report from iBikeLondon here)

Even yesterday, there was another “accident” in Camden, where a woman was knocked off her bike by a truck. Thankfully she wasn’t killed, but that’s not the point. She could have been. I say “accident” but in reality these aren’t accidents at all. They are the natural consequence of bad design, and as such they are completely predictable.

Locally, last night there was a serious accident at the junction of Peaks Parkway and Hainton Ave at evening rush hour. I don’t have any more details at this point, but on our own roads we have plenty of examples of bad design leading to hazard for people walking or cycling.

The more one looks into this whole subject you begin to realise just how much death, injury and carnage is caused by road accidents in this country, but also that much of it could be avoided by better design.

Some say the problem is cyclists riding dangerously, getting in the way. I’ve no doubt some do. You do see people cycling without lights in the dark. You do see people (usually youths) riding dangerously across roads without any regard for anyone else. I accept that. People should certainly ride safely and appropriately.

But I also see so many more examples of people driving dangerously, of drivers ignoring the safety of people walking or riding bikes by driving far too fast. Only last week, a stupid driver almost hit us by racing around in a residential area.

A typically dangerous situation, familiar to many cyclists. (Photo from London Cyclist, originally BBC)

A typically dangerous situation, familiar to many cyclists. (Photo from London Cyclist, originally BBC)

What can be done to improve matters? There are many things that can be done, some for minimal cost, that will greatly improve matters. These will be looked at in a future post. The question is: do our planners really want to improve things, or are they happy with the status quo? Are they prepared to change things in order to improve things? Will they be like Transport for London, who compromised their designs knowing that would result in death and injury, or will they be like local authorities across the Netherlands, who actively value the quality of life of their residents by prioritising cycling in their planning?

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