Thursday, February 10, 2011

Town Centre Cycling

Today, the Borough Council's Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee receives a report about cycling in the town centre during 2010.  As most people will recall,  when the centre of Darlington was pedestrianised, there was considerable resistance from a number of quarters to the idea that cycling could be part of the new arrangements. But following a number of studies, including our own, that showed that town centre cycling posed little danger to anyone, the council backed cyclists. At the same time, and to calm the fears of others, it agreed to set up a monitoring programme and regularly review the decision. Today that review takes place.

You can download the full report here. Here are some interesting extracts:

  • "whilst cycling continues to increase across Darlington and at high levels through the town centre, no personal injury accidents have been recorded by the Police and incidents reported to the Transport Policy team do not show any collisions between a cyclist and a pedestrian."
  • During this period, there have been three collisions between pedestrians and cars (two taxis and a private car) in the Pedestrian Heart.  The private car failed to stop. The manner of the reporting suggests that the pedestrians were at least partly to blame.  All injuries were described as slight.
  • The only cyclist/car accident reported was not strictly within the Pedestrian Heart.  A car decided to do a U-turn at the Stonebridge/Tubwell Row/Crown St mini-rdbt.  A cyclist attempted to avoid a collision, contact was minor, but as a result he collided with a kerb and then a wall.  This was rated as a serious injury.  There is no comment as to prosecution or outcome of injury.
  • There has been only one 'reported incident' in the year - by a cyclist, of cyclists:  ".. two young cyclists overtook him at close proximity on Tubwell Row and then appeared to nearly collide with two pedestrians before performing a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre on a car."

A representative from the Campaign will be at the committee meeting today to argue that the monitoring  process should now be terminated.


Brian Vigurs said...

As cycling is now "officialy" permitted in the - poorly called – “Pedestrian Heart” - What also needs mention is if you visit Darlington on a cycle and decide to commence your wheel turning (as most visitors do in a strange town, I do) at the centre they will find NO INFORMATION at all as to where Darlo’s cycling infrastructure exists.
Park your bike in the Market Square / High Row, take in a coffee, look around, nothing, and yet we are on NCN 14. Can you see a few signs? No.
We need a simple straightforward large scale map of Darlo’s cycle routes inside a nice vandal proof frame where not just visitors, but non cycling residents can see our cycle routes, perhaps for the first time and think “I never knew that” and maybe get them on a bike. Information can also be placed inside this frame. Why not have two, or perhaps push the boat out and to hell with the expense and have three dotted about!
I’ve taken this issue up with the council and they tell me this has been looked at for some time and not acted upon, yet it is a simple, inexpensive task.
Darlington Sustrans Rangers will be looking at signing the town centre for NCN 14 & 52 in consultation with the council in the near future and will pursue this issue of no info at the same time.

Richard Grassick said...

It's interesting that there are all these signed routes into the town centre, but no recognised point at which they all meet. The Market Square - right outside the Dolphin Centre/Tourist Information - would be an obvious location for what you suggest.

Brian Vigurs said...

Absolutely Richard – and if you arrive by train re-attaching your panniers once more and push your bike through the gates, you are left thinking where to now? We need signing to the town centre and out to NCN 14.
Every time I’ve returned to Darlo after a cycle trip away I feel embarrassment after having experienced other railway station signing.
I've been taking some pictures of possible routes, making notes etc. I'll pass a draft to you for your input.