Sunday, 17 April 2011

Barriers to Cycling on the Fallowfield Loop

On Saturday, I took the Brox Compact on the ride from Oxford Road to Chorlton's Big Green Festival to provide a bit of entertainment. As the route included the Fallowfield Loop railway path I had checked the website of the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop and the online map for information about the use of barriers on the route and couldn't find any information whatsoever. I also checked the Manchester cycling map, but again nothing.

Now I would expect a Sustrans Railway Path to have barriers at the exits and entrances to make it difficult to get motor vehicles onto the route, but the rest of the route should be clear. Sustrans got rid of the in-route barriers on the Bristol to Bath path around 20 years ago.

I had no real difficulty getting onto and off of the path, the machine is narrow enough to get through a normal house door, about the same width as a large wheel chair. However, along the short piece of route between Wilmslow Road and Sandy Lane we encountered four three major barriers, and in three two cases I was very grateful for the other riders who helped lift the Brox over the gates.

This was the first one

This bit of bank on one of the barriers was just wide enough.

and the last one, again the Brox had to be lifted.

Quite how the City Council thinks it can get away with barriers which prevent access for anyone with a disability who has to ride a tricycle or other specially adapted machine. It must also be a real pain for large cycle trailers and tandems. I am sure that the DDA would stop this kind of thing being installed now, and may even make them illegal.


I've tried to find the barriers on Google maps, to plot them, and in the process found this image with two motor vehicles on the path...

View Larger Map


  1. Happy to help.

    Fear the tram will remove all the barriers and the cyclepath along with it in the coming decades.

  2. sustrans may have removed/never added barriers on the BB ath, and we fought off BRT on the path because it didnt make sense economically and it was the main park for the ara, but S gloucs council keep trying to put traffic calming in when nobody is looking. It's like they don't believe that you can have a bike path without bollards and gates.

  3. I find these barriers a nuisance. They're difficult to navigate and there's the etiquette problem of who goes through first if you arrive at the same time as someone else. Plus they're not just annoying for cyclists, but how would you get round on a mobility scooter, in a wheelchair or with a pram?

  4. When The Loop first opened my friend in her wheelchair and I attempted the gateway at top of hill on Sherwood St. Wheelchair didn't fit and had to be collapsed to get it through...then we had to tackle The Hill, going down was a bit scary, but getting back up again was absolutely awful. Not sure what gradient it is, but it's certainly not wheelchair friendly!
    Since then the gateway has been widened a little, but due to gradient of hill...thanks, but no thanks