Cycle path still not finished on 10th anniversary of cyclist’s death that secured council promise

Location in Rye where Graham Matthews lost life in 2004 is on incomplete section

by Simon_MacMichael   August 13, 2014  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

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A cycle path on a busy road that a council promised to install in Rye, East Sussex, following the death of a cyclist a decade ago today has still not been completed six years after work on it ceased – and won’t be finished until next year.

The parents of Graham Matthews, aged 22 when he was killed after being struck by a car on Rye Harbour Road on 12 August 2004, pushed East Sussex County Council to install the path, reports BBC News Sussex.

So far, 1.1 miles has been completed, but no work has been done on the final 400 yards, which includes the location where Mr Matthews was killed.

According to the council, which had said in 2007 that completing the facility was a priority but halted work the following year, the delay has been caused by problems related to ownership of the land and budget cuts.

The council’s leader, Keith Glazier, said: “These issues have now been resolved and we have funding in place to complete the final phase of the scheme."

Mr Matthews’ father, Brian Matthews, told the BBC that he had "been through hell over the last 10 years and I do not want anybody else to have to go through that."

He added that finishing the path would mean that “at least my son will not have died in vain as something will have come from his death."

Jim Hollands of Rye & District Wheelers, who have supported the campaign, said that the part of the path that is yet to be built is "in the worst place because its right on a blind corner."

In a post last week on the club’s Facebook page, he said: “The Wheelers were prime supporters of Graham's dad Brian, who was determined that no other cyclist or pedestrian should be killed on this road that had been promised various foot paths over a period of 40 years by governing bodies.

“None of these promises were fulfilled and 11 people were killed throughout those 40 years.”

He added that the council had initially put 200 yards of path in place, but it was only after Mr Matthews’ death and the ‘path to nowhere’ being featured on BBC local news that it took further action.

At lunchtime today, cyclists on the club’s weekly Tuesday run was due to head to the spot where the rider died to meet his father and observe a minute’s silence on the tenth anniversary of his death.

13 user comments

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Quote:
The council’s leader, Keith Glazier, said: “These issues have now been resolved and we have funding in place to complete the final phase of the scheme."

Funny that. A cynic might suggest that such issues have been 'resolved' due to the council receiving adverse publicity...

posted by dp24 [193 posts]
13th August 2014 - 8:59

29 Likes

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.943537,0.745825,3a,75y,301.89h,76.86t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sU6EjIFbUK4kc1kL2y1kSuQ!2e0

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Harbour+Rd,+Rye,+East+Sussex+TN31/@50.946893,0.735029,3a,49y,305.45h,82.27t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1smgokeMLtC9tSXU0nosGIMw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x47dee1e6ab84f68d:0x869348f6e864d482

I am guessing the second is the section in question.

Looking at that it is the usual crap I am sorry to say, lots of blind junctions, expecting cyclists to stop at every turning, and appears to cross the road at least once. How hard would it be to design a path that gives cyclists and right of way of side turnings for instance.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.944261,0.744284,3a,75y,151.69h,73.31t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sJcfC_3fzAtnnVn1rSf8-iw!2e0

the obligatory blockage.

Obviously the path is shared cyclists and pedestrians, what else would you expect. But the path surface is also fast, which just enhances the potential for user conflict, I refer to the DoT guidelines about sightlines, and speed.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.939432,0.756773,3a,75y,110.42h,73.65t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sWDHzhNbcrRnrJlAJGHVWyQ!2e0

and what now?

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1288 posts]
13th August 2014 - 9:04

20 Likes

mrmo wrote:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.943537,0.745825,3a,75y,301.89h,76.86t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sU6EjIFbUK4kc1kL2y1kSuQ!2e0

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Harbour+Rd,+Rye,+East+Sussex+TN31/@50.946893,0.735029,3a,49y,305.45h,82.27t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1smgokeMLtC9tSXU0nosGIMw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x47dee1e6ab84f68d:0x869348f6e864d482

I am guessing the second is the section in question.

Looking at that it is the usual crap I am sorry to say, lots of blind junctions, expecting cyclists to stop at every turning, and appears to cross the road at least once. How hard would it be to design a path that gives cyclists and right of way of side turnings for instance.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.944261,0.744284,3a,75y,151.69h,73.31t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sJcfC_3fzAtnnVn1rSf8-iw!2e0

the obligatory blockage.

Obviously the path is shared cyclists and pedestrians, what else would you expect. But the path surface is also fast, which just enhances the potential for user conflict, I refer to the DoT guidelines about sightlines, and speed.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.939432,0.756773,3a,75y,110.42h,73.65t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sWDHzhNbcrRnrJlAJGHVWyQ!2e0

and what now?

Yes, a depressingly incompetent piece of work that causes as many hazards as it resolves. That right-angle turn onto and off the path rather than a proper 'slip road', causing cycles to need to virtually stop to get on and to emerge onto the road at 90 degrees to the direction of travel, puts cycles at risk and will actually mean it gets ignored by cyclists. The side-entrances increase risk as well. And this is what the family gets in response to a death and ten years of campaigning? How sad.

posted by arowland [96 posts]
13th August 2014 - 9:44

20 Likes

Thanks for the streetview links. I just followed them to the top of the road to check and it's all national speed limit. Bonkers, 60mph on a narrow road with blind corners.

So there's a solution that will make that road safer that the council can apply to change tomorrow.

posted by bikebot [724 posts]
13th August 2014 - 10:35

19 Likes

shared use cycle paths that have priority OVER side roads etc. are possible in the UK with existing signage and road markings.

See here where it's been done in Cheltenham on Princess Elizabeth Way:

http://goo.gl/maps/jCZ5d

it's very nice, but degenerates into the usual rubbish of give ways, Toucans and pig pens at the roundabouts at each end and the traffic lights part way up...

posted by Paul_C [237 posts]
13th August 2014 - 10:48

21 Likes

Quote:

So there's a solution that will make that road safer that the council can apply to change tomorrow.

It is hard to believe that anyone could believe that 60mph is a reasonable speed for a road like that.

posted by Ush [420 posts]
13th August 2014 - 11:00

17 Likes

Ush wrote:
Quote:

So there's a solution that will make that road safer that the council can apply to change tomorrow.

It is hard to believe that anyone could believe that 60mph is a reasonable speed for a road like that.

You could say that about most country roads with bends and/or high hedges. Trouble is some drivers assume that a "National Speed Limit Applies" sign means it is safe to travel at the maximum speed ... which it doesn't. Drivers are supposed to use their judgement to travel at a safe speed, within the limit, according to conditions.

posted by Joeinpoole [303 posts]
13th August 2014 - 11:34

21 Likes

Paul_C wrote:
shared use cycle paths that have priority OVER side roads etc. are possible in the UK with existing signage and road markings.

See here where it's been done in Cheltenham on Princess Elizabeth Way:

http://goo.gl/maps/jCZ5d

it's very nice, but degenerates into the usual rubbish of give ways, Toucans and pig pens at the roundabouts at each end and the traffic lights part way up...

What you fail to mention is that when they first surfaced the path they used the slippyest paint known to man as my hip can testify, and how many drivers understand that they have to give way. I make a point of doing so when I drive through, but plenty of drivers just ignore the first give way. Coming off the lizzy way south side the sight lines aren't great on that turn, again it doesn't help, particularly when the traffic is on the heavy side.

Final whinge, pedestrians and buggies infest that section by the lights and bus stop.

to be honest I find life easier on the road rather than second guessing what the cars and pedestrians are going to do.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1288 posts]
13th August 2014 - 11:41

18 Likes

The problem with these cycle paths is the designers drive cars and have been on a "training course" to learn all about cycle paths. They proudly hang their certificates on the office wall, and get stuck into designing lots of miles of cycle paths (on a minimum budget) so the council can meet their government sustainable transport targets!

Thing is, I doubt if any of them are regular cyclist commuters, in all weathers, fit enough to go faster than a gentle Sunday ride with the kids. I wonder if any of them have tried to ride their cycle routes in winter, after dark, in rain, and a gusty side wind?

Then they would understand the crazy road network, and ridiculous cycle paths they are so proud of. If they actually had a go, then they would understand why most cyclists stay on the road. They would also have first hand experience of the dangers we all face and deal with each day when we ride on British roads.

It also would explain why so many people who would like to use a bike more often do not feel confudent (or safe) to do so.

For what it's worth.... that's my opinion!

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [245 posts]
13th August 2014 - 20:16

11 Likes

East Sussex County Council clearly don't give a fuck about finishing this last stretch of path. If they did it would have been finished years ago.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [442 posts]
13th August 2014 - 22:03

16 Likes

deleted

antigee's picture

posted by antigee [169 posts]
13th August 2014 - 23:09

11 Likes

“None of these promises were fulfilled and 11 people were killed throughout those 40 years.”

Hmm - Perhaps a local person might like to make a Freedom of Information request for ESCC Section 39 reports going back for 10 years, generally and also specifically for that road.

Section 39.3.a (RTA 1988) mandates ESCC to investigate road crashes, and then Section 39.3.b (which is one of its major flaws) mandates them to use the lessons learned to make the existing and future design and management of their roads safer. 11 deaths on just one stretch of road - should mean at least 11 investigations, and 11 sets of recommendations on the hazards to eliminate and risk to manage.

Even the most cursory glance at this example shouts that a fundamental hazard is the speed limit and actual speeds at which this road is used. Reduce the speed limit AND change the road geometry where possible to passively enforce lower speeds.

Most of the Section 39 FoI returns I've seen are abyssmally poor, and provide nothing in the way of objective review of crashes, from which causal factors can be extracted, and actions delivered.

Clearly here is a place to paraphrase a line from Oscar Wilde's famous play "To have one fatality on this stretch of road is unfortunate to have more than two seems culpably careless"

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [499 posts]
14th August 2014 - 7:54

8 Likes

The council's idea of a cycle facility I some paint on the pavement, and yet they can't complete that in 10 years?

This is a council that simply does not care whether people on bicycles live or die.

But in context, that's what most councils are.

posted by severs1966 [100 posts]
14th August 2014 - 15:49

7 Likes