September 09, 2013

Save a cyclist

Follow-up to Sustrans Route Planning Application from Cycling to and around Warwick University

These images show the position that a cyclist needs to adopt in the central reservation to wait while turning right. Several buses travelling at <20 mph came within 10 - 30 cm of the cyclist, note the bus wheel position relative to the central markings.


Now look at the position of these cars as they negotiate the corner.


white van




- 26 comments by 7 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Simon Harper

    I had imagined that would happen so it’s no surprise that your photos confirm it. It’s a truly terrible idea to have a right turn in the middle of bend. I think we should petition the University to remove those road markings before someone gets badly hurt. (I hope the cyclist in the photos was getting danger money!)

    Although I don’t like them in principle, it would be much safer to have a loop to the left which bring the cyclist to a point where they are crossing both lanes from the perpendicular (I’m sure there’s a better way of explaining that).

    The solution here is plain dangerous.

    09 Sep 2013, 14:55

  2. Steve Rumsby

    That needs to have a traffic island with a good solid bollard protecting the cyclist. When there’s lots of pedestrian traffic on the footpath you could be waiting a very long time to turn right there. Why not put the right turn where there is already a side road (Health Centre Road or Sports Centre car park) and join up from there? Those right turns would be where pedestrians already expect to give way and would not be on a bend.

    09 Sep 2013, 16:23

  3. Andrew Marsh


    Yes, I agree IF this has any chance of going ahead a solution that includes a left loop waiting bay would seem sensible. If the road were one-way except cyclists, with the cycle land extending across the oncoming lane that might work?


    09 Sep 2013, 18:29

  4. Simon Harper

    Thanks Andrew. Do you think there is a realistic chance of making the road one way? I admire your ambition, don’t get me wrong, but it seems like quite a fundamental change to the campus. And that if it affects car parking, at least in terms of which way people would have to leave campus, I suspect you would have a lot more people with something to say who were hitherto unaffected. But let’s see how it pans out – if successful it would be a real improvement.

    Steve makes a good point which I didn’t wholly appreciate before – which is that the cyclist would have to look for a break in both vehicular and pedestrian traffic (even with the loop). So perhaps taking an establish right turn would be a sensible compromise?

    09 Sep 2013, 20:12

  5. Simon Harper

    Following a corridor conversation this morning with some cycling colleagues here it’s obvious that safety is the first issue (leaving cyclists in the middle of the road in the middle of that bend is not acceptable) but on a pragmatic point there needs to be some face-saving. Personally I think keeping cyclist on the road and using the existing right turn at the sports centre road would have been fine, but the path behind the sports centre has now been built. So perhaps a compromise would be to turn right into Health Centre Road and a new path could join up from there to the back of the sport centre? It might even be a mixed-use path with the existing pavement. Just a thought.

    10 Sep 2013, 09:17

  6. Andrew Marsh

    I agree a pragmatic solution is needed and this does depend on what funds are available.

    The simplest is to leave a right turn at the Sports Centre road / pelican crossing but to add appropriate signage. There may be downsides to this from Sustrans’ viewpoint due to the proximity of the bus stops at the car park, but these have recently been improved.

    The shared use track you suggest was considered by Sustrans and Estates along the length of University Road, but rejected due to high pedestrian flows amongst other reasons. If one of the the recommended cycle routes followed that exisiting along Health Centre Road it might make sense to make a wider track to accommodate cycles along just the HCR to Sports Centre corner new shared use path. The right turn to join the track would then be on that minor road (somewhere). This would join the route between the Halls of Residence and lead to improvements in the existing track including the link to Gibbet Hill (would have been excellent!). There would then be at least two routes for cyclists to choose between.

    This problem still requires further consultation. My view is still that implementing Sustrans and Estates Office’s current plans, as linked below, at that corner will be more hazardous for both cyclists and pedestrians than the road as it stands.

    10 Sep 2013, 10:08

  7. Simon Harper

    I agree. Good luck with the negotiations.

    10 Sep 2013, 10:28

  8. Catherine Fenn

    Personally, having attended the “new path” walk through and seen Andrew risk life and limb to test the proposed turning point, I still much prefer the existing route for Sustrans 52 – only one obstructive set of barriers to negotiate on virtually traffic free Scarman Road, straight ahead at roundabout and then a left hand turn into the existing road at Sports Centre. Always my choice when heading to Main Campus from Cryfield Pavilion. If heading from Cryfield Pavilion to Gibbet Hill Campus or the SU area of Main Campus, I head to roundabout at other end of Scarman Road and go straight through Bluebell residences (negotiating another set of traffic barriers) to join up with existing cycle path joining Main Campus with Gibbet Hill (negotiating bizarre double set of speed bumps when heading to Gibbet!). Have to highlight that I much prefer negotiating static hazards than taking risks with impatient traffic and, I don’t think we’ve yet mentioned these, the 2x raised level zebra crossings on that busy stretch of University Road sandwiched between SU & Arts Centre.

    Also worth noting that the new path by Desso Hall back wall is an excellent improvement for wheelchair access from main campus to sports centre and residences in that part of campus. Worth the investment just for that.

    Hopefully ongoing negotiations will lead to a better understanding all round of traffic flows on campus and generally improved provision for all users. Always optimistic :-)

    10 Sep 2013, 23:53

  9. Simon Harper

    I agree that Scarman Road is ideal for cyclists – a proper wide road with virtually no other traffic to worry about. But I wouldn’t be quite so enthusiastic about the roundabout at the bottom near the gatehouse. I cross that twice a day and it’s a terrifying ordeal. For some reason motorists on Gibbet Hill Road just don’t see cyclists (and I wear full Dayglo most of the time). I’m lucky not to have been in an accident myself, but I’ve seen too many ambulances there to be able to recommend it to others.

    The ‘elephant in the corner’ is that there is only one proper crossing of Gibbet Hill Road. And unless another is built it’s the only option for a project like this.

    11 Sep 2013, 07:26

  10. Catherine Fenn

    Hi Simon, from your comment it sounds like safety at the Gatehouse roundabout should be addressed as a matter of urgency? Personally I was unaware of the history of incidents there but with the growing number of residences on Scarman Road there is a larger than ever student population regularly cycling over that roundabout to and from campus. I would hope the University/Local Authority would be recording incidents especially any requiring ambulance attendance (RIDDOR?) and taking action to reduce risk? (my optimistic hat).

    btw: which of the crossings of Gibbet Hill Road do you identify with as the “proper” one?

    11 Sep 2013, 09:12

  11. Simon Harper

    Hi Catherine,

    Your question made me wonder what I’d missed so I took a trip down Gibbet Hill Road on Google Maps and realised that I’d missed the one near the medical school. But there’s only a bus stop on the other side of that one, which is why I forgot it. The one ‘proper’ one, in my opinion, is at Roots.

    I would be interested to see how many accidents involving cyclists have been recorded at that roundabout but it’s probably much lower than I would imagine as so many go unrecorded. The most recent incident I witnessed was a cyclist who fell to the ground after swerving to miss a car entering the roundabout. The most recent one I was involved in was an almost certain collision which somehow I rode through. I know neither of those were reported (unless shouting swearwords count? ;-)

    I don’t want to go too off-topic but I know that pedestrians hate that crossing too as the road widens to three lanes southbound and four (!) lanes northbound.

    11 Sep 2013, 09:50

  12. Andrew Marsh

    Simon and Cath

    I think the Agenda is clear: the Campus needs improvements to the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians alike, in several places. I agree that recording incidents as well as accidents on the University Health and Safety Department’s website is a priority. I shall ask the Director of Health and Safety for the number of traffic-related incidents and accidents on campus and their location, if known, as a matter of urgency.


    11 Sep 2013, 11:11

  13. Andrew Marsh

    Data requested 11 Sept 2013 from Director of H&S, UoW.

    11 Sep 2013, 11:28

  14. Graeme Shaw

    I recently spoke out on the BUG mailing group about how dangerous the gate house roundabout is. I also use it twice a day to go from University Rd to Scarman Rd and vice versa. As far as ways to improve it go, I thought it was interesting to note how easy it was to safely navigate it yesterday (11/9/2013) evening as the roundabout was completely gridlocked between 4 and 6 due to the temporary traffic lights on Gibbet Hill Road. Perhaps the University might consider making these a permanent feature as a way of reducing speeds on Gibbet Hill Road at peak times to create a safer environment for vulnerable road users? ;)

    12 Sep 2013, 11:06

  15. Sustrans (Ed Healey) writes
    “The University are currently undertaking swept path analysis to implement a refuge to protect right turning cyclists. The BUG suggested using the access road to the Digilab but that has 700 car park spaces accessing it and next year will see the start of developments to extend this road as another loop road behind the Square open to all traffic with a further multi-storey car park and another 500 spaces.”

    24 Sep 2013, 15:46

  16. Peter Millar

    The University are currently undertaking swept path analysis to implement a refuge to protect right turning cyclists
    I don’t know what a swept path analysis is supposed to mean. I imagine it doesn’t include talking to existing cyclists on campus.

    ... a further multi-storey car park and another 500 spaces
    That will be sustainable car parking spaces for sustainable cars, so as to fulfil with the sustainable transport plan.

    25 Sep 2013, 11:24

  17. I suppose ” a swept path analysis” is an attempt to work out which parts of the road a motor vehicle must sweep over as it follows a curve. Largely dependent on the curve’s radius, the distance between the wheels and the distance between the wheels and the ends of the vehicle.

    I would suspect that an adequate refuge could be provided in the middle of the carriageway if it were placed a couple of metres further SW from the bend. That would mean the dropped kerb would have to be placed a couple of metres south-west of the position where the line of the new path meets the carriageway. Someone would look a bit silly if a refuge were built which lorries, coaches or buses couldn’t by pass.

    Regarding the western junction of Scarman Road with Gibbet Hill Road. Perhaps a 20 mph speed limit on Gibbet Hill Road starting NW of that roundabout and continuing to where the other end of Scarman Road meets Gibbet Hill Road? With zebra crossings on all four arms. To make desire-line crossing by pedestrians safer and to calm motorists enough that cyclists feel safe sharing the carriageway with them.

    25 Sep 2013, 12:06

  18. Graeme Shaw

    More details on Swept Path Analysis (which I’d never heard of either) here:

    I think George’s suggestions for improving the Scarman Road and Gibbet Hill gatehouse roundabout for pedestrians and cyclists sound excellent.

    I’d also like to see the speed table on the corner of University Rd near University House improved. Cyclists and pedestrians regularly cross, or join the road here, but motorised traffic is very, very reluctant to give way, even during peak times when the traffic is often crawling along below 10 mph. This has ironically been made worse by the resurfacing works that improved the speed hump when traveling in a north-easterly direction which allows vehicles to drive up onto the speed table more quickly than they were able to when the surface was deteriorating. I’d like to see the road markings altered to give cyclists and pedestrians priority to cross, join or leave the road here.

    25 Sep 2013, 15:35

  19. A more radical solution for Gibbet Hill Road would be to swap its role with Scarman Road. And make Gibbet Hill Road a cul de sac for motor vehicles. It’s a road through the centre of campus – through traffic shouldn’t use it given the number of pedestrians crossing it.

    Even more radical would be to move the bulk of the University’s car parking to the Stoneleigh exit of the A46 – have shuttle buses to carry people between their cars and campus during working hours. Enough parking would remain on campus for evening/weekend use.

    25 Sep 2013, 19:43

  20. Peter Millar

    The University could at least ensure that any new car parking is close to Gibbet Hill Road so as to minimise vehicle movements within the campus for the sake of pedestrians and cyclists.

    25 Sep 2013, 20:07

  21. Andrew Marsh

    Re: [18] from Graeme.

    I raised the need for improved crossing for pedestrians and cyclists at roundabout with Cycle Coventry and we need to keep this on their Agenda. I think it could be productive.

    26 Sep 2013, 19:30

  22. Andrew Marsh

    Re:[20] This is shockingly obvious.

    I have more detail which needs to be discussed urgently. We need to get a meeting with Estates because more motor traffic on University Road will exacerbate all the problems the Campus has currently.

    26 Sep 2013, 21:47

  23. Andrew Marsh

    I am pleased to report that the bike / turn right markings at Sports Centre corner have been removed. I look forward to seeing the new plans and other traffic analysis that has been proposed by Estates and external consultants.

    09 Oct 2013, 19:27

  24. Simon Harper

    Congratulations Andrew – thanks for all the hard work.

    09 Oct 2013, 20:59

  25. George Riches

    I see that a couple of islands have been added to provide a waiting space in the middle of the road for cyclists wishing to turn right. Also a dropped kerb for the path.

    Is this satisfactory?

    27 Nov 2013, 12:17

  26. Simon Harper

    I spotted that myself yesterday and I think it’s thoroughly excellent. The difference in terms of safety is like night and day.

    I think those involved in campaigning for, and implementing, the change should be commended.

    27 Nov 2013, 12:20

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