Councillor calls for work to be stopped on 'dangerous' £300,000 Sustrans cycle route until junction priority sorted

Yarm councillor warns that junction where bikes have priority followed by one where cars have priority a recipe for trouble

by Sarah Barth   April 26, 2014  

Children cycling (picture credit pressedienst fahrrad)

A new cyclepath partly funded by Sustrans could lead to injuries, a local councillor has said.

The path designed for use by primary school children travelling to Levendale Primary School in Yarm near Stockton on Tees, has right of way for cyclists at one junction, but the reverse situation at the following one.

This could lead to potentially harmful confusion, says Andrew Sherris, Conservative councillor for Yarm.

He told the Northern Echo: “As the path crosses Lingfield Road cyclists have priority and this is something new that I don`t think exists elsewhere. Such confusion could lead to a child or adult getting hurt or worse.

"The next crossing point is Mt Leven Road but here vehicular traffic has the priority. Signs are very close to the roads giving cyclists little time to stop and there are visibility issues for drivers travelling West along Lingfield Road and an absence of any safety barriers.

“I appreciate that the scheme has yet to have its safety audit and would hope that these problems can be reviewed. In the meantime this particular section should perhaps be closed off? I remain supportive but these teething problems need sorting urgently.”

The scheme is projected to cost £300,000, and Mr Sherris says it should be halted until the issues have been resolved.

Coun Mike Smith, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said: “The scheme received a very positive consultation response with 75 per cent of respondents in favour and was developed and funded in partnership with Sustrans.

"Local ward councillors have been informed and involved from the start of the process.”

Tom Bailey Sustrans Network Manager for the North East said: “Though we are aware that concerns have been raised we understand that the work on the project is not yet complete. Cycling to school is proven to help kids show up alert and ready to learn.”

This issue also affects some of the ‘cycle superhighways’ in London, including the CS3 on the stretch along Cable Street, where cyclists variously do and do not have priority as they cross the side streets, which could potentially lead to confusion with serious consequences.

16 user comments

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I find it best to give way to things that are bigger and/or going faster than me.
You stay alive longer that way
No one seems to care who has right of way on a cycle.... or is it a shared use path? Until someone gets hurt of course Sad

posted by SideBurn [765 posts]
26th April 2014 - 15:30

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Do you stop on roundabouts to let lorries out? Glad most people don't think like you. Seems a better idea if everyone knows one set of rules and follows them, rather than make up their own.

Quiddle's picture

posted by Quiddle [7 posts]
26th April 2014 - 15:37

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Fine, best to give cyclists priority at both junctions then.

That way the councillor's stated concerns are met, and priority is given to the best transport mode. I suspect he really wants to be just able to ponce about in his car without giving way anywhere

posted by gazza_d [189 posts]
26th April 2014 - 16:33

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Never thought I'd agree with a councillor but he does have a point. Lets hope the priority and sight line issues can be addressed with alacrity and this cycle-path gets opened.

Why is it that a councillor spotted this and Sustrans didn't? D Oh

posted by levermonkey [341 posts]
26th April 2014 - 18:01

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I'm glad he's taking an interest.

I hope he continues to complain when the street planners come along and decorate it with bollards, rubbish bins, road sign posts and electrical cabinets like every other cycle path in this country.

posted by bikebot [455 posts]
26th April 2014 - 18:16

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Tory Councillor In 'Talking Sense' Shocker!

posted by Some Fella [722 posts]
26th April 2014 - 19:12

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Some Fella wrote:
Tory Councillor In 'Talking Sense' Shocker!

Not only making sense but also using the correct language.

It's "priority" not "right of way". The road and paths are "rights of way". I find it hard to believe the councilor got it right in his comments to the Echo and this site goes and messes up. Calling priority "right of way" is like calling VED Road Tax.

posted by Initialised [105 posts]
26th April 2014 - 19:48

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Quiddle wrote:
Do you stop on roundabouts to let lorries out? Glad most people don't think like you. Seems a better idea if everyone knows one set of rules and follows them, rather than make up their own.

So you are approaching a roundabout, on a bike, and you have priority over an old man driving a 4x4. He is chatting away on a mobile phone completely oblivious to your right of way and driving at a speed that means he has no hope of stopping even if he does see you at the last minute, do you;

(a) Give way, or

(b) Pull out anyway because you have right of way

You will never guess what happened next, the clue being that I am still alive to write this Thinking

posted by SideBurn [765 posts]
27th April 2014 - 10:44

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SideBurn wrote:
Quiddle wrote:
Do you stop on roundabouts to let lorries out? Glad most people don't think like you. Seems a better idea if everyone knows one set of rules and follows them, rather than make up their own.

So you are approaching a roundabout, on a bike, and you have priority over an old man driving a 4x4. He is chatting away on a mobile phone completely oblivious to your right of way and driving at a speed that means he has no hope of stopping even if he does see you at the last minute, do you;

(a) Give way, or

(b) Pull out anyway because you have right of way

You will never guess what happened next, the clue being that I am still alive to write this Thinking

Sorry, but if every vehicle gave way to every larger vehicle, we would have utter chaos. No, don't obviously ride into the path of a vehicle of *any* size that is being driven/ridden dangerously, and always attempt to make eye contact/confirm that they are slowing/giving way, but the idea that you meekly stop just because they are larger is laughable.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [437 posts]
28th April 2014 - 8:23

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SideBurn wrote:
Quiddle wrote:
Do you stop on roundabouts to let lorries out? Glad most people don't think like you. Seems a better idea if everyone knows one set of rules and follows them, rather than make up their own.

So you are approaching a roundabout, on a bike, and you have priority over an old man driving a 4x4. He is chatting away on a mobile phone completely oblivious to your right of way and driving at a speed that means he has no hope of stopping even if he does see you at the last minute, do you;

(a) Give way, or

(b) Pull out anyway because you have right of way

You will never guess what happened next, the clue being that I am still alive to write this Thinking

When someone says "jump!" do you always reply "how high?"

Really, though?

posted by workhard [356 posts]
28th April 2014 - 8:29

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KiwiMike wrote:
SideBurn wrote:
Quiddle wrote:
Do you stop on roundabouts to let lorries out? Glad most people don't think like you. Seems a better idea if everyone knows one set of rules and follows them, rather than make up their own.

So you are approaching a roundabout, on a bike, and you have priority over an old man driving a 4x4. He is chatting away on a mobile phone completely oblivious to your right of way and driving at a speed that means he has no hope of stopping even if he does see you at the last minute, do you;

(a) Give way, or

(b) Pull out anyway because you have right of way

You will never guess what happened next, the clue being that I am still alive to write this Thinking

Sorry, but if every vehicle gave way to every larger vehicle, we would have utter chaos. No, don't obviously ride into the path of a vehicle of *any* size that is being driven/ridden dangerously, and always attempt to make eye contact/confirm that they are slowing/giving way, but the idea that you meekly stop just because they are larger is laughable.

Sorry to be anal on this one.

If you are approaching a roundabout and assuming the 4x4 is already on the roundabout. They have right of way anyway and if you pull out you are commiting a traffic offence and deserve to be "splatted". In the UK anyway. In Europe I know the rules are different but the onus is still on the driver to be aware as they will be held at fault.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [284 posts]
28th April 2014 - 8:58

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KiwiMike wrote:
SideBurn wrote:
Quiddle wrote:
Do you stop on roundabouts to let lorries out? Glad most people don't think like you. Seems a better idea if everyone knows one set of rules and follows them, rather than make up their own.

So you are approaching a roundabout, on a bike, and you have priority over an old man driving a 4x4. He is chatting away on a mobile phone completely oblivious to your right of way and driving at a speed that means he has no hope of stopping even if he does see you at the last minute, do you;

(a) Give way, or

(b) Pull out anyway because you have right of way

You will never guess what happened next, the clue being that I am still alive to write this Thinking

Sorry, but if every vehicle gave way to every larger vehicle, we would have utter chaos. No, don't obviously ride into the path of a vehicle of *any* size that is being driven/ridden dangerously, and always attempt to make eye contact/confirm that they are slowing/giving way, but the idea that you meekly stop just because they are larger is laughable.

So what should I have done? (this is the point of the actual scenario above) Should I have committed suicide just to make a point? Rolling On The Floor Or jump up and down an scream and make people think I need sectioning? Rolling On The Floor Call the Police? Rolling On The Floor Write to my MP? Rolling On The Floor Or just give way? Thinking
If you are really interested I will tell you what happened next! Waiting

posted by SideBurn [765 posts]
28th April 2014 - 9:10

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I have thought about the issue of cycle routes and priotity where they intersect other roads a few times. We've all encountered cycle/shared use paths where you are required to give way at side junctions every couple of hundred yards and know them to be totally useless (with the possible exception of young children who would be tolerated on normal pavements anyway). On the other hand some shared use paths have very infrequent intersections with roads (the Bristol to Bath railway path is a good example) where stopping and waiting for a gap or using the traffic lights is not a big deal.

I think that there should be some sort of national policy on these things. I would say that any cycle infrastructure should carry you for at least a mile at a time without requiring you to give way to other traffic. Obviously this would never be possible in urban environments but I feel that cycle specific infrasture is not particuarally useful here anyway; we should just have roads designed and constructed to be cycle-friendly.

posted by Matt eaton [307 posts]
28th April 2014 - 14:11

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I can only trust the councillor has genuine safety concerns and is not in reality simply objecting to cyclists getting priority at one of the crossings

there is a problem with many cycle routes in that infrastructure isn't standard and clear to approaching cyclists who has priority - here's a road layout near to me in Melbourne, Aus which uses standard signs for drivers to give way

but just down the road I could find you a UK style zebra with "cyclist dismount" signs as the law is the same here - cyclists aren't supposed to ride across zebra's - this confuses both drivers and cyclists, some drivers don't stop for cyclists - not sure what has happened since the parliamentary enquiry reported almost a year ago but wasn't having the DfT speed up design guidelines and propose changes in the law to make cycle routes work better - issues like this have been around for years and Local Authorities and Sustrans have to do the best with a poor set of guidelines and a dated legal framework
Incidentally I've seen some near misses on the layout pictured above - drivers fail to recognise what it is - Zebras are far better as are familiar

posted by antigee [144 posts]
29th April 2014 - 9:21

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Antigee is right - very good pic example too - but the problem with that set-up in the pic is the design, not the uniqueness. If the road were made less straight, and raised significantly, narrowed and had other design elements such as the lanes parting from one another to make it less "primary, main roadish", it'd work better. As ever, cash is maybe the issue.

There's a great road design book somewhere or other with an example of planting a tree in the middle of the road.

posted by vbvb [220 posts]
30th April 2014 - 7:15

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I'm a bit late responding to this as have only just realised the story was picked up by road.cc

The situation here is that the greenway style track crosses two roads. One of these is a pure residential street, not a culdesac but close enough, what the Dutch would call an "access road". The second is a 30mph road that distributes motor traffic around a large housing estate and carries buses, what the Dutch would call an "estate distributor road".

Hopefully most would accept that the two are different types of road and one would expect a cycle track to interact differently with them.

When the scheme is finished there should be clear differences in appearance between the two. In neither case is guardrail a suitable solution.

posted by TomSustrans [1 posts]
1st July 2014 - 14:27

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