Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

From my ride in Ghent region on sunday, it was a total pleasure to ride this 


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Some of it isn't quite up to Dutch standards of segregation (you might be reluctant to let a child cycle on a lane with just a white line and a row of posts to separate it from the motor traffic), but it's notable that the infra is continuous and mostly does the right thing at junctions.

The things that struck me when cycling around Ghent was the proliferation of tramlines (scary in places where you had to ride between them, but the tram drivers kept their distance) and that it didn't suffer from saturation levels of parked cars the way an equivalent British city usually would.

couple of points not been to NL so can not compare but yes it is continuous and that gives you the cycle ways for commuting etc ! 

As for the trams, one thing to note the lines are no problem crossing including on my road bike and compare to the farce with trams in Brum and Edinburgh and my hotel was near the Cathedral ... so I saw on one road - peds, cycles, cars, buses and trams and guess what ?? not a single issue, beep of the horn etc ... 

Hey! Good news. There’s going to be a National Cycling network!

That’s brilliant. So we’re going to have dedicated cycle path which will encourage new cyclists..

Well we’ll have marked cycle routes on roads and shared paths…

Oh, that’s something. And at least there’ll be routes where cycles have priority

Some of the roads will have cycle lanes with continuous lines that can’t be crossed by cars…

So cars won’t be able to come into cycle lanes..

Well some of the roads will have dotted lines to show the cycle lanes because they’re too narrow to have a dedicated lane..

But the paths will be nice and free of obstacle..

Yes, except when there are pedestrians and dogs etc- they’ll also be allowed…

But they’ll know that they need to give way to bikes, there’ll be notices..

Well not exactly, the notices will say the opposite- cyclists must be careful of others after all.

But at least we won’t have to get off our bikes at all

Well there will be some Cyclists Dismount signs where the paths are narrow or where traffic is bad on crossings…

But these routes- they’ll get from place to place by the shortest routes?

Er, actually they’ll tend to go round nice quiet back roads and sometimes take much longer..

But at least they won’t go up very steep hills where most people will have to push their bikes?

I’m afraid that a lot of these back roads do go straight up hills, only the major roads are graded..

At least the roads used won’t be very busy…

Inevitably some of the roads will have a lot of traffic…

But the bike lanes will be really wide to make sure that they don’t come too close?

Oh yes, the minimum will not be less than about 40cm….

And the lanes will help cyclists across junctions and bus stops etc…

On some junctions bikes will be able to share the footpath. In the case of bus stops, we have to end the lanes abruptly...

But it’ll be all right on the separated bike lanes by the side of roads. They’ll be good for getting along safely?

Oh yes, every time they come to a minor road or a drive on to the main road, the cycle route will have helpful Give Way signs to stop the cycles and let the traffic through.

The routes will be well signposted though, like the signs for all traffic?

Well there will be signs from time to time, but they’ll be a bit, well actually a lot, smaller, harder to read and they’ll fade in a few years.

But the traffic will know that they’re on a cycle route- it’ll be obvious

Well there will be a few signs…. though they do look a bit like ‘No Cycling’ signs admittedly..

But at least the cycle routes will be well maintained with a good surface for cycling on?

I’m sorry, I’ve just remembered that I need to be somewhere else……enjoy your cycling!

Spot on Hugh!

Council leaders (and their officials) seem more interested in the photo shoot than how useful these cycle routes really are.

I tried cycling through the city centre yesterday (Hill St - Snow Hill) and got totally bamboozled by the lack of signage. There were plenty of cyclists dismount signs, but nothing (I could see) to tell me where cycling was allowed. I ended up walking more than cycling...

Puts me in mind of cycling in Germany - a long way short of the Netherlands, but good enough to make cycling stress free and enjoyable.

As it happens I spent Easter in Bavaria.   Although there was plentiful cycling infrastructure, I had no bike (though when I stopped to ask for directions whilst walking, I was asked if I had my bike with me somewhere, which in itself says a lot).   The hotel had a bike available, but my plans included going very much "off-piste".   Like the roads, footpaths and cycleways (including the gravel forest tracks) are in excellent condition, with (almost) no potholes.   But it was the trains that had me saying "Britain is f*cked".   As my partner and I sat on various stations waiting for trains, there was a constant stream of modern, clean, S-Bahn, Regional Express, and ICE trains zipping in and out of the stations almost silently (the vast majority of trains are electric).   The ICE line has been built since I was last there a few years ago, and according to a local newspaper headline, it is booming.   Even though everything was state-of-the-art, travel was much cheaper than in the UK.   Our infrastructure is utterly worn out and hopelessly out of date compared to countries in continental northern Europe.   And we just don't seem to understand that cycling infrastructure is critical to encouraging people to leave the car at home.

Hugh great post, can I nick it :-) 

The point is spot you make, these lanes are not quite the gold star NL ones but boy we had them here and you would soon see the difference not only in the numbers but people's health etc.

BTW rode out to Telford and back today, all fine, no issues but the difference is there for all to see, no bike lanes until Walsall and then a shared path with signs, lamposts etc int he way so money council spent totally wasted, no way I would use that 

This needs to be turned into a Mitchell and Webb sketch.  :)

Hugh Willliams said:

Hey! Good news. There’s going to be a National Cycling network!

[....]

The Belgians have it sorted even around tramtracks . I  rode into Ghent from Oudenaarde 2 years ago in Classics week

totally as can ride across them and the design is perfect and no issues and then I checked the ones on Corporation street and shows the big difference in thinking 

Former Highwayman said:

The Belgians have it sorted even around tramtracks . I  rode into Ghent from Oudenaarde 2 years ago in Classics week

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