February 14, 2008

Cycling conditions on campus

Fed up bike commuter wrote (07:30 today)

Actually the really important point is this: cycling is surprisingly unpopular at Warwick, every little new obstruction and difficulty will make it even less of an attractive option.

Personally, I am an ordinary commuter, not a cycling enthusiast. I choose my transport on a practical basis. I see very little advantage in cycling to Warwick. Obviously it is hard work, especially with a child. But more significantly, it is dangerous and clearly unwelcome. Routes are incomplete and full of permanent and temporary obstructions.

If the University wants more people to cycle, there must be a change of attitude throughout the university…

1. don’t let contractors wreck our routes.
2. don’t let staff drive vehicles and park on cycle paths.
3. provide complete safe routes, not just show-piece fragments for the press.
4. enforce road rules.
5. ensure that all drivers at Warwick (including those coming from very different cultures) understand our road laws.


- 16 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. mick wrote (10:25 today)

    It is rather shambolic. I heard a rumour that they were planning on replacing the bridge at the same time that Giblet Hill Road was going to be closed for the gas main to be replaced making it impossible for cyclists to get to work!

    Hopefully common sense has prevailed and the posts are a temporary solution and that the bridge will be fixed sometime soon?

    I agree with ‘Fed-up bike commuter’ who gets annoyed at the abuse of bike lanes on Campus. I have often come across Warwick vehicles – mainly Hospitality (but others too) blocking bike lanes – e.g. the contra-flow bike lane on Library Road, outside the post room, etc. And why, o why have they barricaded off the bike lane on the road past Claycroft? Grrrr

    14 Feb 2008, 10:59

  2. Steve Rumsby wrote (Today 10:45):

    I do use the contra-flow cycle lane on Library Road, but I’m really not sure how safe it is. Pedestrians don’t seem to realise it is there and just step out without looking. Drivers seem to think it is OK to drive along it, even though I’m approaching them. Maybe they don’t realise it is there and so assume I am in the wrong? Plus, the surface is not in the best of condition in places.

    How much use does it get? I assume not much, or else non-cyclists would be more aware of it.

    I should stop using it, really, and if it was taken away I wouldn’t object…

    14 Feb 2008, 11:03

  3. Concerning the popularity of cycling at Warwick university. A greater proportion of staff cycle to work than is the case at most workplaces in the Coventry & Warwickshire area. Yet as a university, the popularity of cycling at Warwick is perhaps rather low compared to many others. I think the main reason for that is its out-of-town location, which means that many people find their commutes too long for daily cycling. Those who are unconcerned by the distance from Leamington are put off by the very poor quality of the most direct route to campus, the A452.

    I’m wary about “complete safe routes”, as attempts by many authorities to provide “cycle routes” have worsened rather than improved matters. Examples. I’m skeptical about the proposition that new tarmac or white lines on campus will provide much improvement.

    I think the narrow path past Claycroft should be pedestrian only. Cyclists should use the same tarmac as motor vehicles. Blog entry

    14 Feb 2008, 11:13

  4. dave norman

    can somebiody h – e – l – p please… does anyone have a presta tyre valve adaptor on campus i could borrow asap please?...

    i sit in the iarc building at the uni on 1st floor (opposite the WMG building) – have come in today on my racing bike with very low tyre pressure – i have a pump with me but don’t have the presta valve adaptor—first attempt to try an unusual type of adaptor resulted in completey flat tyre! i wanted to go out at 12.15 today… now stuck

    many thanks for any help offered – dave norman tel 024 76241251

    14 Feb 2008, 11:16

  5. Robert O'Toole

    provide complete safe routes

    Perhaps a safe crossing on the route in from Kenilworth might help matters?

    14 Feb 2008, 11:25

  6. Steve Rumsby

    That, of course, is outside the University’s control, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t comment on it. George was collecting comments about the new Kenilworth cycle path to pass on to relevant people in Coventry City Council. He was aware of your blog about that crossing so I assume passed it on. George – have we had any feedback about the comments?

    14 Feb 2008, 11:48

  7. I think the Library Road contraflow is a good idea, without it how would I go home? When I’m on campus I’m usually in Ramphal, Social Studies or the library and leave the University by the Lynchgate Road access. I ding my bell when pedestrians are in the lane and just ignore motorists driving towards me in the lane (ok I’m prepared to stop if they don’t shift over to their side).

    I’ll raise the Kenilworth Road cycle track at the Coventry Council Cycle Users’ Consultation Group on Tuesday 19 February afternoon.

    14 Feb 2008, 13:09

  8. Access from Kenilworth should be solved by the Kenilworth Connect2 project.

    14 Feb 2008, 13:14

  9. Robert O'Toole

    Access from Kenilworth should be solved by the Kenilworth Connect2 project.

    Yes. All very good. But for the foreseeable future we have an excellent cycle route that crosses a very dangerous junction with no safety measures for either cyclists or pedestrians. It shouldn’t take much. Even some action to stop people driving through on red would be good.

    George, thanks for raising the issue. I’m back to cycling almost every day now, taking Lawrence to nursery, so I’ll also have to find some way to get some action on this.

    15 Feb 2008, 08:45

  10. But for the foreseeable future we have an excellent cycle route that crosses a very dangerous junction with no safety measures for either cyclists or pedestrians. It shouldn’t take much. Even some action to stop people driving through on red would be good.

    Action to prevent people driving through on red needs cameras, which I suspect is a matter for the West Midlands Casualty Reduction Partnership. A quote

    “Camera deployment is based on a “red, amber, green” strategy, whereby the sites suffering highest KSI figures, red sites, receive most enforcement.”

    A cyclist/pedestrian phase would reduce the capacity of the junction, something that the motor lobby would strongly oppose. The pedestrian/cyclist phase would have to take some of the time currently allocated for cars to cross the junction. Even if cars were allowed to proceed along Kenilworth Road during the pedestrian phase, drivers wishing to turn into Gibbet Hill road would soon form a queue large enough to block the northbound lane. Placing a crossing someway west of the junction would alleviate this problem as the queue would form on Gibbet Hill Road.

    I came across these photos of a road close to where I was born and brought up which illustrate the progress we have made by accommodating to ever larger volumes of motor traffic.

    15 Feb 2008, 22:13

  11. Nicholas W

    Cycling to work today down the Tocil Wood cycle lane was rather a hairy experience. Unlike the road network and many of the paved areas of the University, the cycle path was not gritted, and was hence really very slippery. I cant believe that it will be too long before someone travelling down the cycle path slows to pass the treacherous and thoughtlessly constructed barricades, only to lose grip on the ice and slide head-long into the ditch / pedestrians / barricades.

    18 Feb 2008, 09:59

  12. Steve Rumsby

    That does seem to be a common problem with cycle paths. They are put in and forgotten, and no thought is given to ongoing maintenance. It doesn’t take much debris on a cycle path to make them dangerous, especially in weather like this, but I see little evidence of them being swept on a regular basis. Or gritted/salted. Or neighbouring hedges being kept well trimmed.

    18 Feb 2008, 10:45

  13. Side roads aren’t gritted either.
    On occasion the gritting of main roads fails.
    Also salt spray kills off the grass at the side of roads. Perhaps in frosty conditions people should work at home if possible?

    18 Feb 2008, 16:30

  14. Steve Rumsby

    Some side roads are gritted, but even if not, motor traffic does a pretty good job of getting rid of any frost. You don’t need many cars to have driven a stretch of road after a frosty night before it is safe enough to cycle. Just like motorised traffic does a good job of sweeping rubbish from the road surface. Neither of those things happen to cycle paths which is why they need more attention than roads if the surface is to be maintained to the same standard. Or we could all just use the roads…!

    18 Feb 2008, 16:39

  15. Nicholas W

    George, A tad insensitive to bring up the death of several cyclist on this discussion thread, don’t you think? I don’t buy the implication of your argument that since gritting isn’t 100% effective, it shouldn’t be attempted, although I like the idea that at the first sign of a frost, no-one should venture out…

    25 Feb 2008, 21:56

  16. I wasn’t trying to imply that since gritting isn’t 100% effective, it shouldn’t be attempted. More that no-one should assume that roads are gritted. A friend of mine recently skidded at the side of a car park due to ice and cracked a rib on a low fence.

    Alas the law and public opinion believes that it is reasonable for motorists to assume that main roads are gritted (note grit does wash off) and thus saw the incident at Abergele as an accident.

    The next time a motorist complains about Transco & Gibbet Hill Road, I’ll be inclined to suggest that they don’t visit campus so frequently.

    25 Feb 2008, 22:58


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