Monday 27 June 2011

Locked Gates on the Irwell at 0845am

The gates on the Irwell near Trafford Road Bridge were still locked at 0845 this morning causing those of us using the path to double back and find our way round the obstructions. They are supposed to be unlocked at 8am, which is still too late for many commuters.

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Sunday 26 June 2011

Barriers, bollards, boulders and tank traps – all part of the Manchester Cycleway.

On a clockwise ride along the South and East section of the Manchester Cycleway, you soon get the feeling that someone isn't too keen on people riding bikes particulally non-standard machines, after all this is the National Cycle Network...

The Barriers round here come in many forms, one starts to wonder if the designers get paid more that way. Sadly there are no warnings about them on the map. There are gates and "A" frames,

steel obstructions, it's easiest to lift your bike over

and British Cycling - funded by motor manufacturers and the right wing media.

The bollards, on the other hand, are pretty standard.

But the boulders are a one-off on this route. However, they do get you in the right frame of mind for

the tank traps. These crop up several times, making me wonder if council officers still think they are fighting the last war somewhere around Gorton!

Finally at Chorlton, there is that sign again. This time, two in a row, just in case you miss the first one.

All this would be a bit of a joke, except that for someone riding a tricycle, a tandem, a four-wheeler, or towing a trailer this route is impossible without help to lift the machine round the obstructions. Many people can't or don't use these routes because the council seem to think that only fit people with conventional bicycles need to be catered for. Sustrans, however, should and does know better.

The Disability Discrimination Act was
enacted in 1995, but the duties on
service providers were introduced
in stages. On 1 October 2004, the
final stage came into force. The duty
on service providers reads as follows:
“Where a ‘physical feature’ makes it
impossible or unreasonably difficult for
disabled people to make use of any
service which is offered to the public,
a service provider must take reasonable
steps to:
  • Remove the feature; or
  • Alter it so that it no longer has that effect; or
  • Provide a reasonable means of avoiding the feature; or
  • Provide a reasonable alternative method of making the service available to disabled people.” (2)


Update: a timelapse video of the route from manchestercyclist

Fallowfield Loop - Ashton to Chorlton

Saturday 25 June 2011

June Critical Mass

A somewhat different experience this month. Rather thin on the ground, possibly as many regulars were busy with other Bike Week events or maybe the rain kept people away. The rain meant the camera stayed firmly inside the waterproofs, so no photos.

The different mix of participants seemed to bring about a somewhat different route, crossing the river into Salford at one point and returning in style over the Calatrava Bridge before winding up with a rather hairy decent of Jutland Street, probably the steepest road in Manchester. After that someone sensibly decided it was time to get out of the rain & retire to Sandbar.

Monday 20 June 2011

Is this the narrowest cycle lane in Greater Manchester?

This was a "WTF" moment this morning.

Salford Council are responsible for this one.

This is a cycle lane painted on the westbound side of A57, Eccles New Road in Salford.

Yes it really is narrower than the double yellow lines, and yes it really is intended to be a cycle lane, here is the beginning... this is NCN 55.

and here is where it goes from narrow to WTF?

Notice how you are trapped between a traffic island and a dangerous barrier.

It even continues like this across the junction with Howard Street.

I have emailed the cycling officer,, and sent copies of these photographs in the hope that this facility has been incorrectly painted...

and it is just as bad at this point eastbound.

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The cycling officer has replied saying he will look into this lane.

Meantime I have found the Department for Transport's design guidance document which says on the topic of cycle lanes...


Cycle lane widths

A cycle lane offers cyclists some separation
from motor traffic. Under the National Cycle Training
Standards, cyclists are trained to ride in a safe
position in the carriageway which is usually at least
1 metre from the kerb edge to avoid gulley grates and
debris, and to ensure that they are within the
sightlines of drivers waiting at side roads.

Cycle lanes should be 2 metres wide on
busy roads, or where traffic is travelling in excess of
40 mph. A minimum width of 1.5 metres may be
generally acceptable on roads with a 30 mph limit. For
cycle feeder lanes to advanced stop line
arrangements, a minimum width of 1.2m may be
acceptable. Cycle lanes less than 1.2 metres wide
cannot easily accommodate tricycles or child­carrying
cycle trailers wholly within the lane.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Matt Busby Way - update

Is this the biggest cyclists dismount sign in Greater Manchester?

You can see clearly that the priority is the shopping...

The Roadworks have started outside MUFC.

The first sign of problems for bikes going north is the line of cones in the cycle lane.

Then you see the real damage...

The path is wider than many Sustrans Railway paths, but they still stick barriers across to make it inconvenient for everyone.

With a second set at the other end.

Then they are digging up the road beyond.

And the final problem is that the set of traffic lights onto Trafford Wharf Road stay at red untill a car triggers them. A bike doesn't seem to contain enough steel, so you end up waiting bloody ages because they've got rid of most of the traffic!

Saturday 11 June 2011

Road closed outside Old Trafford - NCN 55

This section of Route 55 along Sir Matt Busby Way has been closed to through traffic.

Whilst this slows down the cars etc, you've still got to watch out for wandering fans and taxis...

MEN - "Red card to cars: Sir Matt Busby Way closed to traffic outside Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium"

Trafford Council - Sir Matt Busby Way closure

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Saturday 4 June 2011

Ashton Canal - Sportcity to New Islington Wharf

It is not often you find a piece of cycleway with no "Cyclists Dismount" signs, massive barriers or other idiotic rubbish, but that is just what I found out on an afternoon walk.

The section of canal side path from the Alan Turing Way to the canal works at New Islington Wharf is mostly well surfaced, quite wide and there is a reasonable amount of space under the bridges. It might even be wide enough for the Brox.

This is a really nice quiet path for pottering along on a bike and enjoying the afternoon sun.

Alongside Sportcity.

The steep slopes alongside the locks may be a bit of a challenge for some cycles.

But they are in good condition.

Most of the route has a good wide surface

and good clearance under most of the bridges.

Past MERCi...

and the last section up to the canal works which block the route.

Manchester City Centre to Sports City and Medlock Valley (council map) 1.48 MB PDF

And the work going on here makes me think there will be further improvements.

View route 86 in a larger map