Wednesday 28 December 2011

Manchester Cycling Strategy - consultation drafts

Update: The second document was indeed an earlier draft with a different name and FoE have since deleted it from their Scribd pages.


These are two consultation documents that you won't find on the City Council's web site. They have been posted online by Manchester FoE .

The first is called an "Interim Strategy for Cycling in Manchester" and dated December 2011 and the second is called "A Strategy for Cycling in Manchester 2011-2015" and dated November 2011.

As far as I can work out they are two different attempts at the same document, and the council has just changed the working title. The documents appear to have been circulated to people who manage to attend the council's cycle forum.

Either way round, at a first glance the story seems to be yet more timid measures that won't have any real impact. This document is being produced because of a Memorandum of Understanding between British Cycling and the City Council. Unfortunately this means that it is big on events that promote British Cycling's main sponsor and not so good on the things that really matter like removing the many barriers to cycling in this city.

We may well see more of this because the council doesn't want to upset motorists by giving too much road space over to bicycles, and the Lib Dem opposition are falling over themselves to curry favor with drivers who clog up and pollute the City Centre. So much for the LibDems being environmentally friendly.

And it is in the interest of British Cycling for us all to ride round Manchester advertising Sky.

Manchester FoE say that you should send your comments to Dave Whyte via d.whyte(at) by the end of January.

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Two way driving on one way streets

You really have to take care at junctions in Manchester, because you never know when a car is going to emerge the wrong way from a side road...

It seems that the local drivers don't take much notice of one way streets round here, particulally around Deansgate.

And this one was by the Council House...

Still, it demonstrates two way working of one way streets, something that can now be done on these streets for bicycles with minimum cost.


and more info on contraflow cycling from the CTC

Thursday 15 December 2011

Irwell River Park - Width Restriction Update

The situation along here has got much worse. There are now three sets of scaffolding here, forcing people on bikes to ride over the docks metalwork, so quite dangerous. Even more worrying is the amount of rubble which has fallen onto the path, including broken bricks and mortar. This clearly isn't a safe place to be when the construction site is running.

UPDATE - some photos (yes it was snowing on Friday morning)

This machine is causing the damage

These bricks had come down all over the path the previous evening - they had been pushed back under the scaffolding by the morning.

and the path is now very narrow.

View Larger Map


Wednesday 14 December 2011

Sunday 11 December 2011

Irwell River Park - Width Restriction

Scaffolding has gone up between the Regent Road Bridge and the Woden Street Footbridge.

The Path is completely blocked apart from the part between the light and the railings. There is only just enough width for an ordinary bike, so tricycles and anything wider will be forced onto the road.

Looking South

Looking North

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Saturday 10 December 2011

Hi-Viz and Helmets - for cars?

It seems that the (BMW) Mini is setting a new trend in Hi-Viz cars. I've spotted one or two of them sitting in traffic jams in Manchester, but I haven't grabbed a decent photo yet, so here's one I found online.

Pic from

Of course this mirrors a familiar approach to cycle wear...

Pic by manchesterfoe

Now all we need are for BMW to promote car helmets as well...

photos via Copenhagenize

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Warwick Road - pushing cycling onto the pavement

What do you do when a cycle lane gets in the way of increasing the level of on-road parking right outside Trafford Town Hall? You look for help from your local partners of course.

"Using funding of £410k from Sustrans Links to School grant and £600k from Trafford Council Section 106 contributions," you "improve" conditions for pedestrians and cyclists by shoving the bike lane onto the pavement. Of course increasing the number of on-road parking spaces is a great way to encourage cycling.

This is part of the "Old Trafford Cycle Link" or NCN Route 55. Look at this image of the junction of Barlow Road and Warwick Road from Google Maps

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Notice how the cycle lane continues past the junction, unlike the map view which shows a set of parking spaces in place of the cycle lane.

View Larger Map

These photos, taken back in June, tell the sorry story.

The old cycle lane's white line has been scratched out and has been replaced by a line which moves outward to the width of the new car parking spaces which replace the cycle lane. The pavement edge has then been dropped and bikes are now supposed to go onto a fairly busy pavement.

Bikes are then supposed to cross Hornby Road using this dubious crossing,

only to rejoin the road a few yards later at the approach to a busy road junction.

The inevitable cyclists dismount sign marks the end of the on-pavement part.

A passing cyclist takes the more sensible route, staying well out in the road to avoid being hit by car doors.

Still at least the Town Hall now has a few more useful parking spaces.

(If you think this is bad then go and have a look at Warwick Road South.)

View Larger Map

Sunday 4 December 2011

Cycling for Everyone - Dutch Video

From Amsterdamize

Cycling For Everyone from Dutch Cycling Embassy on Vimeo.

It's rather twee, but if you've ever been to the place and seen the school run with 3 kids to a bike you'll know that the shots aren't atypical. This is actually a promotional video for an industrial and academic consortium called the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

It shows what can be done when space is reallocated from motor vehicles to bicycles in a comprehensive fashion. The Dutch Cycling Embassy as an organisation can't directly claim any credit for the situation in the Netherlands, as it has only been running for a few months and the increase in cycling can be traced back to the change in government policies in the 1970s. However, it does seem to be built with longstanding organisations like Fietsberaad.

Monday 28 November 2011

Salford Quays - Swing Bridge Closed All Week

Update - seems it may be open in the evenings


The swing bridge over the ship canal in MediaCity will be closed all week for maintenance, it should reopen by the evening of Friday 2nd December.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Cooper Street - Contraflow Blockages

What use is a contraflow cycle lane without parking enforcement?

Sod all really! Three times last week this contraflow cycle lane in Cooper Street was obstructed by vans or lorries loading during the morning rush hour.

It's not as if the cycle lane isn't protected by no loading orders, it's just that there is little enforcement of road traffic law in the city and almost none when it comes to the obstruction of cycle facilities.

There is a large loading bay in adjacent Kennedy Street which is specifically designated for deliveries to this area.

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Wednesday 23 November 2011

Violent bus driver walks free from court

The MEN reported last week how a "Bus driver repeatedly punched 65-year-old cyclist - for complaining he had been cut up on Portland Street". The, now former, bus driver "walked free from court having been found guilty of common assault by beating – after magistrates were told he had been made homeless after losing his job at bus firm Finglands." It seems that punching an old man is ok if he's riding a bicycle!

In my experience the standard of driving by some Finglands drivers is dreadful, and this particular driver even took the trouble to open his window and shout abuse at me.

The poor state of the bus services in Manchester is a product of bus deregulation by the Thatcher government. Bus companies actively compete for passengers along hot spots like Oxford Road, increasing danger for pedestrians, bus passengers and those riding bicycles.

Monday 21 November 2011

"Why We Shouldn’t Bike with a Helmet"

Mikael Colville-Andersen speaks out against the culture of fear.

"The bicycle is hot all over the world"

For further reading here is the link to the European Cyclists Federation's page about helmets: and a link to their "Ask Me Why I Cycle Without a Helmet" campaign mentioned in the talk: (you are free to download the pdf of the button and brochure)

An interview with the Dutch Cyclists Federation - Fietsersbond - on the subject:

A link to the helmet policy of the French FUBICY (bicycle users org) in English:


Sunday 20 November 2011

Colour Crazy November Critical Mass


Meet at 6pm at Central Library M1

This month we encourage everyone to get on their brightest and most clashing colours ever..imagine a pot of rainbow paint has sloshed all over you + your bike. This is in celebration of our long standing critical masser Anna who is leaving our fair city....

Critical mass is a bike ride that happens in our city and cities all over the world every last Friday of the month.

Critical Mass rides began in San Francisco in 1992 and rides spread around the United States and the world with over 200 rides taking place in 2006.

Critical Mass has no leaders, and no central organization licenses rides. In every city that has a Critical Mass ride, some locals simply picked a date, time, and location for the ride and publicised it, and thus the ride was born. Critical Mass is an idea and an event, not an organization.

It is a great way to meet other cyclists and to have a fun bike ride. It is not a fast ride and often children come too, everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the bicycle!

More info here...

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Michael Hartmann - car-walking

Michael Hartmann confronted truly horrific levels of pavement parking in Munich by ‘car walking’ and then went on to challenge motorists sole right to the road by waking in the road to slow the traffic..

He started this in 1988 and it resulted in numerous arrests, time in jail, time in hospital and being sent for psychiatric testing twice. He responded by saying that he wouldn’t stop and that he was the one who was sane. He also got a lot of publicity and was sent many letters of support.

Pavement parking isn't quite that bad in Manchester at the moment. If anything things seem to be a bit better now on Sundays in the city centre with the new parking restrictions.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Blockage on Princes Bridge - NCN 6

Normally it looks like this

but today it had become a camp site full of caravans.

National Cycle Network Route 6 has become a camp site for what looks like a film unit.

I have emailed our local city centre councillor to find out who in the council gave permission to obstruct a busy cycling and walking route without any notice or public consultation being posted on the route.

This camp site could have been set up in the car park next to this bridge, but presumably it was cheaper to obstruct the cycle route.



Later that evening there was also a car parked across the end of the row of caravans which must have been driven up the pavement to get there.

The following day it was clear that most people ended up cycling along the pavement rather than try and stick to the road up between the caravans.

It was also clear from the permits on the vehicles that they did not have permission to close the road.



I have now received a response from the council's parking manager via my local councillor Kevin Peel

We have spoken to the Film Unit Manager, who has apologised if they were obstructing any access, although they consider they were not parked in a manner which was blocking the cycle lane.

We did receive a request from the Filming Unit to park vehicles and they did apply for a dispensation. The Dispensation has strict criteria that vehicles must not be parked in a manner which could obstruct or incontinence other road users.

It is evident that the vehicles are parked on the bridge over the river Irwell which is the boundary between Manchester and Salford. As soon as you made us aware of this issue we contact the film crew advising them of the complaint received, requesting they park in a manner that does not obstruct others, including the cycle lane, and issued them with a warning that the Dispensation to park could be withdrawn.

Filming at this location has now finished, however, should we receive any further requests we will highlight the need to park correctly at this location.

And by the Friday morning the place looked more or less back to its normal state, even including the regular dozing taxi driver who used to park blocking the path, but has now been persuaded by passing cyclists touse the other side of the road.

View Larger Map

Irwell River Park: Part 2 - Extended opening hours

Irwell River Park: Part 2 - River Park Central was due to be locked after 3pm from 1st November.

However, it was still unlocked at 7:30 pm today and has not been locked every evening this month.

My guess is that they are sticking to the summer opening hours of 8am to 8pm to allow people to cycle home from Salford Docks now that MediaCity is fully open.

My only word of caution is that the lighting is pretty poor, and has failed completely along one section, so a good front light is advisable to spot other people and the dog shit...

Sunday 6 November 2011

Ashton Canal - Chips to the ISIS offices

The south west most part of the Ashton Canal cycle route has reopened. It's only a short section between the Chips development and the ISIS offices, but it makes the route more pleasant and means you no longer have to use the a difficult ramp.

At this point the path has been moved slightly and the new bridge added where the canal is now joined to the marina development.

The cycle way then leaves the canal tow path at the ISIS offices.

About a mile up the canal, past MERCi to where the canal curves round the river, we saw a kingfisher this morning. This really is a lovely route.

View Chips to ISIS in a larger map

Sunday 30 October 2011

Irwell River Park: Part 3 - River Park City

Parts 1 & 2 of the Irwell River Park are quite rideable for the most part, but travelling north into part 3 it all gets a bit difficult...

(Since these photos were taken there has been a cociderable amont of work on the route, including a new bridge - update to follow....)

The best that can be said is bits of it are being built, but most, if not all of it is unsuitable for anyone on wheels.

I tried to follow the route on foot back in August. The first section as you take the right fork just before Prince's Bridge looks good.

However, the path soon degrades as you go under the railway bridges.

Once under Prince's bridge you go up over the entrance to the Manchester, Bolton & Bury canal

and down onto a mud path

which narrows and becomes engulfed in bracken.

Then under the Irwell Street Bridge the path is narrow and uneven

and whilst it then improves, the path goes up a set of steps to get round the Mark Addy

where the pavement doubles up as a car park.

Across the road there was building work going on and the way was blocked.

Further up by Trinity Bridge the path is wide and well surfaced,

but ends in steps up to Blackfriars Bridge.

From trying to interpret a presentation on the park web site there are plans for another bridge at this point crossing over onto a path on the east side of the river flying above this section.

Then just north of Victoria Street Bridge, a new pedestrian bridge will cross back over to the west bank

and into the new Greengate development where work is underway.

The result should look something like this...

Finally there will be a crossing over Chapel Street and the long Greengate bridge under the railway will have a wide segregated path.

The River Park City section finishes somewhere before Greengate hits the ring road.

View Irwell River Path Part 3 in a larger map