York cyclists petition for two-way cycling on one-way streets

Cycling UK says contra-flow cycling can significantly improve the safety, convenience and attractiveness of cycling

Cyclists in York are petitioning the council to allow them to ride both ways on a number of one-way streets.

The petition’s creator, Lars Kramm – a former Green Party councillor for Micklegate – says allowing cyclists to ride both ways on some one-way streets would make cycling in York and its villages more appealing and convenient as it would open up the street network and provide short-cuts.

He feels the move would make cycling safer by offering alternatives to busy roads and would also prevent many people from riding on the pavement.

Some one-way streets in York already make exceptions for cyclists, but on the majority of such roads they either have to take a detour, get off their bike and push, or ride illegally.

"Illegal cycling cannot be condoned,” Kramm told the York Press. "However, many ordinary people who live on or near these streets choose to cycle in the contraflow direction because it forms a natural desire line for them.

"Cyclists need direct and convenient routes. A great deal of evidence has accumulated that two-way cycling in one-way streets can be safely accommodated."

Cycling UK’s position on contra-flow cycling is that one-way systems put cyclists at a disadvantage, making their journeys longer and more stressful.

“Restoring two-way cycling on one-way streets can significantly improve the safety, convenience and attractiveness of cycling,” it says.

The charity argues that contra-flow works perfectly safely in many other European countries, where it is already widespread and, as it gives cycling an advantage over driving, also helps encourage a shift from cars to bikes for short local journeys.

It believes all local authorities should review their one-way streets with the aim of progressively converting them to two-way use or permitting contra-flow cycling unless it can be demonstrated that there are overriding hazards.

A trial to allow cyclists to ride down High Petergate in York when the road is closed to other traffic during the day was given the green light earlier this year.

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