Monday, May 21, 2007

Pedestrian Heart: Northgate bike lane update

Heading in to work today (slower than usual having taken a MTB to the ribs in Hamsterley yesterday) I saw that the line marking on Northgate is now in place for the contraflow cycle lane and the bus stops.

The cycle lane allows bikes to travel against the direction of the one way system on Northgate, from Boots to McDonalds. It is a 'mandatory' cycle lane, being painted with a solid white lane, meaning that vehicles should not enter it at any time. There are also double yellow lines in place. This morning, a secure courier van was parked in the cycle lane outside the bank, meaning anyone trying to use the lane would have to pull out around the van into the path of oncoming vehicles...

Access to the bike lane, when coming from the Pedestrian Heart, is via a bit of road which allows cyclists to bypass the No Entry signs. This morning there was a delivery truck parked in this bit of road, forcing cyclists to ride through the No Entry signs, into the path of oncoming vehicles...

Update: This morning there was another van parked in the bike lane as I rode past in the opposite direction, forcing anyone heading out of town into the path of oncoming buses (who get very close to the bike lane when coming off the roundabout).

Tomorrow morning I'll be carrying a camera with me and will photograph any vehicles parked in the cycle lane. Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bikes on trains: how we used to live

So, we could do it in the Fifties...

Part two can be seen on the site I found this on: Film Of British Cycling Club Outing (1955)

Greenbank Road junction update

All the road markings seem to be in place now at the almost-completed Greenbank Road junction but there doesn't seem to be any sign of Advanced Stop Lines or filter lanes for bikes. This is a key junction for cyclists and it's a crime that there has been no provision made for bikes, despite there being, in our opinion, ample space.

I approach this junction from the town centre each morning on my way to work. I can, just, get past the queue of cars by filtering on the left and then wait just over the stop line, in the middle of the lane, until the lights change. This is easily the safest place for a cyclist to be at this junction and I am easily able to clear the junction and move back to the left a little before I slow any cars. This process would have been made much safer with the inclusion of an Advanced Stop Line and a filter lane.

Pedestrian Heart update

Most of the shuttering has now gone from High Row, meaning cyclists can now safely use this route through the Pedestrian Heart, making it much easier for me to call at a cash machine on my way to and from work, but also allowing travel from Conniscliffe Road, down Blackwellgate and into the town centre.

Some yellow chalk markings have appeared on Northgate in front of Boots. The work 'BIKE' is used, so the contraflow bike lane would seem to be getting nearer completion.

There is also some marking on the traffic island at the end of Commercial Street, where it joins the Northgate roundabout, which could possibly be for a bike lane. If this is what it is, it looks like bikes will have to give way to cross entrances/exits of the roundabout, so I will be avoiding it. Of course, it could also be nothing to do with bikes and could be to do with the new shopping centre.

The little 'twiddly bits' which will allow bikes to bypass the No Entry signs on Northgate and Bondgate look to be almost completed.

Council update

Nick Wallis reports that he is to remain as cabinet member in charge of transport, and also hints that things may be moving on two important links for people travelling into the town centre from the east end of town:

A cycle/pedestrian bridge will be built across the East Coast Main Line on Haughton Road, and I hope there will be substantial progress on the cycle path along the Skerne towards the town centre.

The bridge on Haughton Road should make a huge difference. This will make the new route from Albert Road to the town centre viable (past Banatynes and down Borough Road to get over the ring road and into the Pedestrian Heart by going past TK Maxx). Getting to Albert Road is still a bit hairy for Haughton, Whinfield and Springfield residents though as there is no alternative but to ride on the road or pavement from the Seat garage onwards.

The Riverside Path development mentioned sounds like there may be progress on extending the route past Magnet, which will link it up to Valley Street and then onto the Russell Street crossing of the ring road. This would mean an almost traffic-free route to the town centre for a large portion of the town. The secluded nature of the route does make it unattractive as a route to work for a large part of the year, however, so work to make Haughton Road and North Road safer for cyclists still needs to continue (or start, in the case of North Road).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bikes on Trains - Photo

Darlington Cycling Campaign: Bikes on Trains

Members of Darlington Cycling Campaign, Tim Stahl and Mike McTimoney, meet with Liberal Democrats, including Fiona Hall MEP, at Darlington Station, to discuss the government's attempt to block EU legislation which would require train companies to provide more space on trains for bikes, pushchairs and wheelchairs.

From left to right: Dr Tim Stahl, Ian Barnes, Alan Macnab, Cllr Malcolm Dunstone, Cllr Martin Swainston, Fiona Hall MEP, Mike McTimoney, Robin Cradock and Dr Robert Upshall.

More details on the previous blog post: Bikes on Trains

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Ride of Silence

On May 16, 2007, at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride Of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.

The Ride Of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There is no brochure, no sponsors, no registration fees and no t-shirt. The ride, which is held during Bike Safety month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured.

Thanks to Dan for letting me know about this.

It's probably too late to organise anything big for Darlington, but would anyone be interested in a Ride of Silence through Darlington next Wednesday evening? Please email or comment here of you're interested.