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Manchester Oxford Road Bike Person Sign

Bad planning, ignorant motorists or just plain unsafe: what is stopping more people from getting on their bike?

  • Bad council planning and vehicle obstruction are some of the reasons that stop people using bikes
  • Change in driver mentality essential to promote a safe cycling city
  • Cyclists say they face danger from buses and cars

Cyclists in Greater Manchester are voicing their anger over the dangers they face when using Manchester’s bicycle lanes.

Images shared by cyclists show that poor planning and vehicle obstruction are among the many problems which means traveling along cycling routes is not the safe option it should be.

Cyclists across Greater Manchester are campaigning to tackle the reasons that stop more people from getting on their bike.

NQ spoke to Nick Hubble who is an avid cycle campaigner.

Nick Hubble campaigner Greater Manchester bicycle lanes
Nick campaigns for better bike routes and for more people to get on their bikes

He said the most unsafe and ‘useless’ bike lanes are those with a painted line on the road.

“A painted line is completely unprotected. In order to provide adequate safety for someone on a bicycle you need a protective lane. With a lot of the cycling infrastructure, you might as well not bother,’’ he said.

Greater Manchester cycle lane and buses in city centre
An unprotected 'painted line' cycle lane

“It’s not properly protected, you can still drive into it.”

Nick and many others believe the future of cycling and the way to getting more people on their bikes is through ‘Dutch style’ bike lanes.

Iin 2015 Manchester opened its first such lane on Oxford Road, giving cyclists a safer journey and enables them to bike behind rather than in front of bus stops.

“They’ve taken car traffic off the road, it’s reasonably wide and that feels pretty good," said Nick.

Since they finished it, cycling levels have gone up

Oxford Road Manchester Bike Lane Dutch Style
Bike lane usage on Oxford Road has risen by a massive 118% since the dutch-style lanes were installed

TfGM recently announced a £1.5bn investment in new cycle routes and are planning for a 300% increase in levels of cycling by 2025.

A total of 1, 000 miles of safe cycling routes are to be constructed in Greater Manchester which include the Dutch-style bike lane.

Oxford Road Manchester Bike Lane City Centre
Dutch-style bike lane on Oxford Road in Manchester

But Nick said that educating motorists is also key to achieving a safe city for cycling.

There needs to be a massive shift in the mentality on how people drive.

He said educating motorists on cyclists should be part of the UK’s driver theory test.Several cycling groups campaigned for there to be changes to the driving test to make road users more aware of cyclists.

In 2016 British Cycling campaigns manager, Martin Key said: “Our members tell us that drivers overtaking too close to them is one of the biggest concerns they have about cycling on the road.”

Images from several Twitter users show that vehicles also frequently obstruct bike lanes by parking in them.

 

State transport minister Jesse Morgan said in a statement that the Department for Transport will “work with key cycling and walking organisations to develop a behaviour change campaign”.

He said another measure being implemented to make roads safer for cyclists would include enforcement against parking in mandatory cycle lanes.

The implementation of new and upgraded bicycle lanes will commence in the new year.

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