Friday, 20 November 2009

Crazy cycle lanes in Leamington town centre

Nothing really illustrates the difference in provision for cycling in Assen and Leamington more than the onroad provision of space for cyclists.
Here in the UK all that is needed it seems is a pot of white paint and a bike symbol.
Here are a selection from the centre of Leamington

As you can see the Parade which is the main shopping street goes uphill and here they have thoughtfully provided a nice white line to keep buses at bay! Note the clever way in which it suddenly ends as the pavement is built out so you can race the bus for the road space.

Here just around the corner is a special lane for those wishing to try cycling over cars.

Here at the top of the Parade a short stretch of cycle lane connects to a forward box to enable right turns ...

If it is not full of buses of course.
The Parade should of course be pedestrianised and this was discussed about 9 years ago when a considerable sum of money was made available for improvements to help "vulnerable road users" - walkers and cyclists. After many fraught meetings the town traders convinced the authorities that trade would suffer and the money was spent on widening the pavements, some speed tables and the cycle lanes!
Did you notice the lack of bicycles - I wonder why?
In Assen where there is no space for seperate facilities they use either bicycle roads where the only cars are those going to properties on the road and there is no through way, making for very little traffic or have two cycle lanes one on each side of the road and with no centre line in the road. Cars can drive in the cycle lanes when there are no cyclists and pull out to overtake any cyclists they catch up. However, as the road width is such that if a car is coming the other way they cannot pass one another so they must wait behind the cyclists until it is clear.

Here is the essentially pedestrianised centre of Assen, cars can come in but so few do as they are not really catered for!
Did you notice the number of bikes compared with Leamington?


  1. "The parade should of course be pedestrianised"
    Wouldn't that mean banning cycling from it?

    The centre of Coventry is pedestrianised and has "no cycling" signs at the entrance to the pedestrianised area. The signs are not legally enforceble, but there are number of people who keep on calling for something to be done to prevent cycling in the pedestrianised area.

    Like or not if you want to cycle in the UK for everyday activities you have to get used to interacting with motor traffic. That means making the shared car/cycle spaces cycle friendly.

  2. The Dutch idea of pedestrianising is to keep cars out and give bicycles wide enough lanes to prevent them from bothering pedestrians. Assen's town centre is accessible to cars but only for business use and in the morning, and they have to make do with the bike lanes. So far this works.

    Interacting with motor traffic is also the norm in Dutch cities which don't always have the space to provide bike lanes. In those cases critical mass helps a lot :-).

  3. BTW, the "essentially pedestrianised centre of Assen" is actually the A-Kerkhof in Groningen. Not that it makes much difference, Groningen has just more of these facilities than Assen.

  4. As Frits has pointed out what is meant by pedestrianisation seems to be different in the UK and the Netherlands, indeed in most of Europe! Perhaps we should use the term "car free".
    As to the Parade in Leamington even if it was made for pedestrians only I don't believe that would be too much of a problem. There are parallel roads on both sides which could be converted to bike lanes and motor traffic goes the next layer out. Crossings would be needed of course to enable cross town routes.

  5. I've just posted a copy of the photo of the cycle lane outside the Mem Saab restuarant on the CTC message board - on a thread about cycle lanes.

    Perhaps Warrington cycle Campaign might feature it as a "Farcility of the month"?
    I got one in for Coventry in October 2009.

  6. Intersting stuff Bob. The answer is there and it works, why do local authorities here insist on trying to reinvent the wheel.They really know how to do it over there.
    Tony a

  7. Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
    Warrington Car Centre