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Regeneration agency in Northern Ireland city and Sustrans join forces to appeal to riders

Ilex, the urban regeneration agency for Derry-Londonderry, has joined Sustrans in urging cyclists to cut their speed on the city’s iconic Peace Bridge, which spans the River Foyle.

The cycle and footbridge opened in 2011 and was built to improve links between predominantly unionist and nationalist areas on opposite sides of the river.

Quoted in the Londonderry Sentinel, Paul Doherty from Ilex said: “In recent weeks an increasing number of cyclists have been speeding over the Peace Bridge and through Ebrington. We’re seriously concerned about public safety and if cyclists don’t slow down, there could be an accident.

“The speed limit for all vehicles on these shared spaces is 5mph and we urge everyone to respect this when approaching and when passing over the Peace Bridge and Ebrington.

“On this, National Bike Week, we appeal for those cycling to be mindful of those on foot by slowing down, so that everyone can enjoy these much loved spaces.”

In recent weeks, Sustrans has urged cyclists to slow down on shared use paths at locations such as Ashton Court in Bristol, and on the Bristol-Bath Railway Path.

The sustainable transport charity’s area manager, Ross McGill, said: “We all have responsibility for the safety of others when we are sharing spaces. It’s important not to startle other people, particularly those who have reduced sight, hearing or mobility. The tranquillity of these areas is something people value greatly, and all path users need to respect this.

“Cyclists tend to be the fastest movers on these paths, but these routes aren’t suitable for high speeds so it’s important to keep cycling speed under control. Remember that they are for sharing, not for speeding. If you wish to travel quickly, train for fitness or record personal best times, this is better done on quiet roads.”

Historical divisions between the city's communities are reflected in the name used for it; those from traditionally unionist areas tend to use Londonderry - the city's legal name - whle people from nationalist ones favour Derry, and the local council is officially Derry City Council.

Those differences are reflected well beyond the city; news outlets in the Republic of Ireland, for example, favour Derry, which is also the name that appears on road signs towards it until the border is reached.

In recent years, one approach adopted to tackle the issue has been to use both names - Ilex's website, for example, uses Derry-Londonderry, as does the organisation co-ordinating events around the city's status as UK City of Culture 2013.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

10 comments

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simeond [20 posts] 3 years ago
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If you check Strava out you can see there is a sprint set-up in both directions.

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CraftyDutchie [5 posts] 3 years ago
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... This is now being used as an excuse by some to not surface new routes in other locations.

Can't you compare willies on non-shared routes? Or, race each other in an actual race?

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a.jumper [846 posts] 3 years ago
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"The speed limit for all vehicles on these shared spaces is 5mph" Even the old farts group rides at 10mph. That isn't high speed. Why does sustrans sanction anything not suitable for at least 15mph average? Doesn't the trans bit mean transport? Is it a useful transport route at 5mph?

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Bing Bell [8 posts] 3 years ago
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a.jumper wrote:

"The speed limit for all vehicles on these shared spaces is 5mph" Even the old farts group rides at 10mph. That isn't high speed. Why does sustrans sanction anything not suitable for at least 15mph average? Doesn't the trans bit mean transport? Is it a useful transport route at 5mph?

Is it that hard to respect peds and a 5mph speed limit on a shared bridge?

Nice lookin' bridge, hope it does the job in bringing people together  1

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Leviathan [2269 posts] 3 years ago
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Londonderry-Derry, the city so stupid they named it twice.

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Doctor Fegg [143 posts] 3 years ago
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a.jumper wrote:

"The speed limit for all vehicles on these shared spaces is 5mph" Even the old farts group rides at 10mph. That isn't high speed. Why does sustrans sanction anything not suitable for at least 15mph average? Doesn't the trans bit mean transport? Is it a useful transport route at 5mph?

Of course it is. Have you actually been there? This is one bridge - not a five-mile path with a 5mph limit, just one bridge - which cuts off a tiresome, lengthy haul upriver to the Craigavon Bridge.

Yes, you have to slow down and ride respectfully because it's shared use. But, you know, even in a car you have to slow down/stop for traffic lights, roundabouts, built-up areas, etc. etc. If you insist on doing 15mph everywhere, keep to the roads and stop giving the rest of us a bad name.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 3 years ago
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Maybe the deck of the bridge should have been made a bit wider?

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a.jumper [846 posts] 3 years ago
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Doctor Fegg wrote:

Of course it is. Have you actually been there?

Nope. Closest I've got so far is Belfast. Hence the question!

Doctor Fegg wrote:

This is one bridge - not a five-mile path with a 5mph limit, just one bridge - which cuts off a tiresome, lengthy haul upriver to the Craigavon Bridge.

Right. How long is it? It looks about a third of a mile long on a map.

Doctor Fegg wrote:

Yes, you have to slow down and ride respectfully because it's shared use. But, you know, even in a car you have to slow down/stop for traffic lights, roundabouts, built-up areas, etc. etc. If you insist on doing 15mph everywhere, keep to the roads and stop giving the rest of us a bad name.

Yeah, I've no problems with slowing down if it's actually busy (as I do when riding along seafront promenades and so on), but Paul Doherty makes it sound like it's a permanent, arbitrary 5mph limit.

Bing Bell wrote:

Is it that hard to respect peds and a 5mph speed limit on a shared bridge?

It seems quite hard to ride 5mph. What's that? A fast walking speed? I think I'd wobble a lot, but I don't really know as I don't have a speedo on my bike. Why would I? I'm no racer (and so rarely reach 15mph anywhere).

This is not about respect. If there's congestion, I'll slow down, but a permanent 5mph limit seems a bit crazy. Conversely, was it too hard to respect everyone and build a bridge that has enough capacity not to cause conflict between different types of users?

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Doctor Fegg [143 posts] 3 years ago
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Well, with shared-use paths there's always an aspect of "Schrödinger's Cyclepath" to them - if no-one else is there, who can tell what speed you're going? So, yes, on a canal towpath I'd usually bimble along at 10mph-ish, but will go faster if there's no-one about, slower if it's busy. Same applies here. But I've seen plenty of people who will just barrel along at 15mph, continuously ringing out Beethoven's Ninth on their bell, even when there are hordes of dog-walkers around. That's what this plea, and the equivalent on the Two Tunnels, is about.

The bridge is just under 300m long, I think. The alternative is almost two miles down the embankment, over the road bridge and back up past the station - a fairly unpleasant ride on the east bank, in particular. So for efficient transport purposes, it's a huge improvement.

It would be lovely to have a deck twice as wide so there was more space for fast cycling. But given that the bridge cost £14m as it is, we've not done too badly, I think.

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a.jumper [846 posts] 3 years ago
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Doctor Fegg wrote:

Well, with shared-use paths there's always an aspect of "Schrödinger's Cyclepath" to them - if no-one else is there, who can tell what speed you're going?

PC Plod and his speed gun. That's why it should not be an exact and unreasonably low speed limit, as it's an open door for jumped-up idiots to fine most cyclists at quiet times for speeding whenever they like. Put up the "don't be a tit" green/blue Shared Space signs and just stop the anti-social nutters trying to win the Strava sprint at rush hour.

Doctor Fegg wrote:

It would be lovely to have a deck twice as wide so there was more space for fast cycling. But given that the bridge cost £14m as it is, we've not done too badly, I think.

£14m seems like peanuts compared to the £350m NI spends on road-building each year, even in this age of cuts. If it was worth building, it should have been built big enough.