Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

Who thought that was a good idea?

It's a substantial gradient, the last thing cyclists need is more traffic-enraging.

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Agreed!  

I am glad I am not alone on being concerned about this.  In my view it is an accident waiting to happen.  (https://twitter.com/ShivajiShivaLaw/status/896026340624879618)

I met Chris Lowe and David Cox on Friday about something else and took the chance to have a rant about this.  As a result, we rode (back) up to take a look and:

- Chris took some video of the difficulty these pinch points present for cyclists,

- a passer-by who lives nearby said he thought there had been some consultation by the Council (I have not seen any), and

- Pushbikes are interested in a piece on these for the blog.

Shivaji 

I saw the Linden Road pinch points yesterday, thankfully whilst going down hill.   In the opposite direction a bus was having to follow behind a cyclist struggling to climb the hill, as the pinch points prevented an overtake.

BCC have also installed pinch points and "speed cushions" on Gibbins Road, which have failed to reduce the amount of traffic (which the residents have been complaining about), but have increased the aggression level.   I did contact Karen McCarthy beforehand to object to the measures, explaining how the problems in Gibbins Road could be successfully addressed.

The techniques used by BCC to address heavy, speeding traffic are a donkey that's not just dead, but one that never lived in the first place.

I passed these new pinch-points today, took one look at them, and thought "who on earth approved these?" They aren't pedestrian refuges for crossing the road, so someone in the Council must have decided it was a good idea to put them into the road because... I cannot think why.

I agree with you, Robert, about Gibbins Road. It is one of the roads in the this neck of the woods that I simply will not cycle along unless going downhill, such that I can keep up enough speed to get along it and off it again as soon as possible. The speed cushions seem to have made it worse rather than better.
I understand that speed cushions are meant to make it possible for ambulances and fire engines to pass over them at full or nearly-full speed without trouble, but it seems that only the very smallest cars (1960s style Minis) actually have to slow down to go over them. Mostly what they seem to do is encourage cars to drive right down the very middle of the road.

I'd be grateful if someone who knows about these things could advise me on who I should contact in the Council, etc., to complain about these measures/ask if any assessment was carried out of their impact on vulnerable road users, etc?

This is the response I had via Twitter  I think Shivaji is following up on this?

  Retweeted

Letter & plan sent to local residents. If you'd like to follow up further, pls email connected@birmingham.gov.uk so we have >140 characters!

I rode past them again today.  Temporary traffic lights at the top of the hill meant no particular conflict with motorists, for now.

I note the one nearest the Cadbury World entrance is in fact an accessible pedestrian refuge, which bothers me slightly less (still horrible for cyclists, but at least it has a decent purpose).  The others are pure pinch points, presumably because the 'kerb' on the Cadbury side of the road is a substantial drop, and pedestrians aren't expected to be crossing there.

I measured the gap between curb and edge of bollard. Two were 2.75 metres and most less than 4 metres. The Dft note 2/08 Cycling Infrastructure Design  says "a minimum gap of 4 metres is recommended unless  features to significantly reduce motor vehicle speeds are incorporated. If the approach to the narrowed section is not direct (e.g. at chicanes) or significant numbers of HGVs or buses are expected, it is worth considering increasing this minimum allowance."

I doubt if road engineers at BCC ever refer to this standard guidance note, which also recommends that Cyclist Dismount signs and End of Route signs should be avoided (not bought as job lots and used whenever possible).

I notice that both the post thingies have been broken off one of them already.  I assume the oikery of Bournville having a go, rather than an actual motor vehicle collision.

Sorry to have been silent on this for a while.  I've had a busy patch at work and have been trying to clear my desk for a week off.

The district engineers have explained that:

These pedestrian Islands are being constructed in Linden Road as a part of a Local area Safety scheme. Part of Linden Road is already traffic calmed using similar horizontal traffic calming devices. Whereas this scheme covers from Mary Vale Road to Oak Tree Lane.

 

As you may be aware that Linden Road is a classified route (A class road) and is also a Blue route therefore vertical traffic calming devices such as humps and cushions cannot be considered on this road. Therefore considering the high level of accident frequency we were left with no other option but to consider Traffic Islands in this section of Linden Road.

 

While constructing these Traffic Islands the safety of cyclist was kept in consideration. Accordingly the space between the curb line and the Traffic Island was kept below 3.2 meters as suggested in chapter 4 of TfL. The space less than 3.2 meters deters overtaking a cyclist while they are in the vicinity of an Island. This management will not only ensure the existing level of safety of cyclist but will also enhance their safety by reducing the speed of traffic on Linden Road.

I am a bit confused by this, particularly given the comments by John Bennett above.  To try and get a clearer understanding of the issues, I have written requesting more information on the intentions behind the scheme, the evidence on which it is based, how its effects will be monitored, the consultation carried out, and what alternatives were considered.

I'll post an update when I receive a response.


Dave Cox said:

This is the response I had via Twitter  I think Shivaji is following up on this?

  Retweeted

Letter & plan sent to local residents. If you'd like to follow up further, pls email connected@birmingham.gov.uk so we have >140 characters!


Andrew

Please get in touch if you'd like to discuss this.

Thanks,


Shivaji


Andrew George said:

I passed these new pinch-points today, took one look at them, and thought "who on earth approved these?" They aren't pedestrian refuges for crossing the road, so someone in the Council must have decided it was a good idea to put them into the road because... I cannot think why.

I agree with you, Robert, about Gibbins Road. It is one of the roads in the this neck of the woods that I simply will not cycle along unless going downhill, such that I can keep up enough speed to get along it and off it again as soon as possible. The speed cushions seem to have made it worse rather than better.
I understand that speed cushions are meant to make it possible for ambulances and fire engines to pass over them at full or nearly-full speed without trouble, but it seems that only the very smallest cars (1960s style Minis) actually have to slow down to go over them. Mostly what they seem to do is encourage cars to drive right down the very middle of the road.

I'd be grateful if someone who knows about these things could advise me on who I should contact in the Council, etc., to complain about these measures/ask if any assessment was carried out of their impact on vulnerable road users, etc?

And today I had the full being-followed-by-a-HGV-while-my-tired-legs-failed-to-achieve-any-kind-of-speed-on-a-heavy-bike experience.  The HGV driver was as professional as they usually are and waited patiently until he turned off, but it's still a big intimidating-sounding vehicle and the sort of thing that would put people off cycling.

I think I'm doing bikeability there this term...wonder how much havoc I can cause shepherding a flange of school kids through them?  Seriously though....I will ask at the school what they think of the safety implications for any child or member of staff who might like to ride to school....not that I imagine many would anyway on that road.

Thanks Simon.  It would be great to understand if the school haseh seen any improvement as a result of the new islands. 

At least one of the islands is a pedestrian refuge which could be useful.

However, as a parent I would be worried about children crossing the road using the islands.  Most are poorly positioned for pedestrian use and in my experience motor traffic continues to move at speeds which makes using the islands dangerous, even for the one with a pedestrian refuge.

Perhaps this is a prompt to introduce other schemes to slow traffic or a high quality segregated route for cycling? 

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