“There was space for cycling here, the council chose to ignore it,” is cycle campaigner Tony Roelich’s verdict on Derby’s new London Road Bridge. The bridge reopened on Thursday after 16 months of disruption but despite £7m of investment, local cyclists feel they are no better off than before.
Roelich, who is campaigns co-ordinator for Derby Cycling Group, told the Derby Telegraph that his organisation had urged the council to provide a cycle route over the bridge but that nothing had come of their efforts.
“Despite much agreement with this principle, the final designs were agreed without consultation. The bridge is no wider than it was before. There is no cycle path – not even cycle lanes because the bridge is just 1m too narrow.”
But 81-year-old Mickleover resident, Les Sims, said it was even worse than that. One of the first cyclists to cross the bridge, he identified the narrowing of the road as being a major danger.
"It is a positive death trap for cyclists because the road narrows across the bridge and there will not be enough room. They have spent millions of pounds and there is nothing for cyclists. They could have at least marked out a cycle lane."
Roelich says that pavements have been narrowed as well, so that pedestrians are also worse off than they were before.
“The bridge sits in the middle of an area which receives £5m of government funding to develop sustainable travel to work options, and still the bridge delivers a bad deal for pedestrians and cyclists. There was space for cycling here, the council chose to ignore it.
“Without making the city more accessible to the thousands of people who want to cycle but are afraid to ride on the road, traffic congestion will only get rapidly worse, new bridge or not.”
The nearby Bombardier plant is likely to take on hundreds more staff in coming years having this year won the £1bn contract to provide trains for the London Crossrail project. Roelich feels there was an opportunity to get many of these people arriving at work by bike but concludes: “The new bridge will not feel any safer for cyclists than the old one, so many may choose to remain in their cars.”