YP Letters: The '˜cycle superhighway' is more like a white elephant

From: Clive Newsome, Harrogate.
The opening of the new cycle route from Leeds to Bradford. Its design has angered bicycle riders.The opening of the new cycle route from Leeds to Bradford. Its design has angered bicycle riders.
The opening of the new cycle route from Leeds to Bradford. Its design has angered bicycle riders.

IN the last year I have watched (and endured) with interest the construction of the so-called cycle superhighway from Leeds to Bradford.

I am writing from the standpoint of a cyclist who has now cycled well over 300,000 miles all over Europe and continue to cycle to work two to three days in the week via Ilkley, Guiseley and Kirkstall. I had assumed that the powers-that-be knew what they were doing and would consult with cyclists such as myself to get feedback prior to spending millions of pounds (over £30m I hear) to create an unusable crazily designed cycle road for people who do not cycle.

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Although the scheme looked to me ‘as mad as a box of frogs,’ I thought I would give the benefit of doubt to the myriad of builders and designers organising the construction. I assumed they would know what they were doing, clearly not.

I work in Bramley and have a good knowledge of the number of people who cycle along Stanningley Road. You can count the number normally on one hand in a whole day, it is just not going to be used.

However, the cycle lane has fundamental flaws. There are cycle traps/dangers everywhere – kerbs, narrow sections, cars stopping and starting, cars in the way, shop furniture, sections missing, street furniture, junctions, incomprehensible directions, pedestrians. I can go on and on. The whole thing is utterly and truly impractical.

Cars joining Stanningley Road do not see the cycle lane as part of the road and pull right up to the main road, completely ignoring the fact that cycles will run straight into the side.

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How does a cyclist turn right? He has to stop and push across two lanes of traffic rather than indicating right pulling over and simply turning right as normal. A dangerous and ludicrous situation.

If I had been asked and I have consulted quite a number of cycling colleagues, all they wanted was a clearly identified cycle lane which was smooth, ideally painted a different colour with a dashed line separating from the main carriageway that clearly identified to other road users that cyclists are present.

This could have been done at a fraction of the cost and would have saved this dangerous and unnecessary debacle.

I suppose it is too late now to do anything about it (ideally remove it and go back to simple cycle lanes) but for God’s sake Leeds and Bradford, please, please, please consult the cycling public prior to building any more white elephants. Keep it simple, clean and clear that is all we ask.