The death of Sam Boulton on London Road on 27th July highlighted the lack of space for cycling on London Road. There were two Critical Mass rides, one of which ended up at an exhibition of Sam’s art at the Parcel Yard. A petition was started to allow cycling on New Walk with 1034 signatures at time of writing.
The city council took the (unprecedented) step of sharing its early plans for a two way cycle track on the inbound side of London Road. They were discussed at the August Cycle City Workshop meeting which agreed unanimously that a two way track on one side of the road isn’t good enough, and that there should be tracks on both sides of London Road.
The cycle campaign supports calls for tracks on both sides for the following reasons –
- Cyclists are put in danger when they are (legitimately) riding on cycle tracks against the flow of traffic because drivers turning out of and into junctions frequently fail to look for or see them – try riding along Granby St past Northampton St towards the station for an example. Cycle tracks should run in the direction of general traffic (but allow use the ‘wrong’ way where necessary).
- London Road is a destination with shops, businesses and other routes on both sides. A cycle route on one side only will make riding here less attractive and lead to pavement cycling.
- Routes each side will be easier to build at an appropriate width than one two way one.
As ever, the detail of any design is critical here. Schemes in Leicester tend to treat us as fast pedestrians who don’t mind giving way at every opportunity. We would like to see the planners treat cyclists as vehicles which need priority when passing side roads and design a safe, continuous and direct route along this busy road.
The plans released by the council are said to be at an early stage. We need to lobby for tracks each side as a matter of priority. The campaign will be in touch with Adam Clarke (assistant mayor with responsibility for Energy & Sustainability) to press this point and will continue to lobby for an first class route which will be an example of what can be done.