All entries for Thursday 30 November 2006

November 30, 2006

Cross in 3 seconds or you're dead – cycling to Warwick University

The Kenilworth to Coventry cycle path was finished several months ago. This should be hailed as a great advance. I have been cycling to the University most mornings since the summer. There is, however, a flaw in the design of the route that I believe will soon prove fatal.

A photo taken this morning at the junction of Kenilworth Road and Gibbet Hill Road illustrates the problem…

Late through the lights almost on red

Look at the traffic lights through which the car has passed. See the colour: red, as in stop. In this case the car reached the lights just as they turned to red. The driver made no attempt to stop. There was no precautionary slowing down in the case of a change to amber (as required by law). As the car approached the lights the driver actually accelerated a little. This is not a rare occurence. Almost every time that we try to cross this road a car comes through, either as the lights are changing OR AFTER THEY HAVE TURNED RED. The flagrant disregard for road safety and law is astonishing. I have even seen some drivers come through seconds after they have changed, with lights flashing and horn blaring (blue BMW X5).

And what does this mean for the cyclist as they seek to cross to the other side of the cycle path? Under normal circumstances the light sequence at the junction allows around five seconds in which to safely cross. This is inadequate at a crossing on a busy cycle path. I ask: is the council negligent in laying a path with such a junction? Should there be a proper pedestrian crossing in place before the cycle path?

To make matters much worse, the failure of motorists to obey the traffic lights as they cross towards the University actually reduces the safe period in which pedestrians may cross to around three seconds. THREE SECONDS!

At this point I ask you to consider if such motorists understand that they are attempting to murder a 15 month old boy and his father?

Lawrence on the bike

Does this sound bad? Then let me tell you, as a warning, about a circumstance in which one must definitely not attempt to cross this junction. Consider this photo…

Hidden traffic

When traffic is turning across the junction, as in this case, smaller vehicles coming across from the direction of the A46 are difficult to see. The drivers of these vehicles cannot easily see the pedestrians. On many occasions I have seen cars emerging quickly (over 40mph) from behind the turning vehicles. The poor design of the junction makes this worse. Drivers seem to panic and accelerate, fearing that they will get stranded in the middle of the junction. I can predict that the fatal accident will happen under these circumstances.

So then what should be done? I will be contacting the University Road Safety Officer to express my fears further. I will also suggest to the police that occasionally stationing an officer at the lights might act as a deterrent. I have the number of the council officer responsible for the cycle path, perhaps a new junction arrangement is planned. I hope that it happens before there is a disaster.

For now I say: cyclists please be very cautious. Car driver, please approach the lights slowly, and as the lights change to amber be prepared to stop (as you are required to do by law).

And please stop trying to kill us.

Please note that I delete comments that are too far off topic.