Active travel improvements for Oatlands Drive

14th August 2020

Oatlands Drive, Harrogate
Oatlands Drive, Harrogate

The sub-standard painted advisory cycle lanes on Oatlands Drive could be replaced with proper protected cycle tracks if North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) succeeds in its bid for funding.

The road would be made 20mph and one-way (south) for traffic, and physically-protected 1.5m cycle lanes installed either side. A tiger crossing would be created where Slingsby Walk crosses Oatlands Drive, as well as where it crosses Wetherby Road and meets Knaresborough Road; a further tiger crossing is envisaged at the junction of Oatlands Drive and Hookstone Drive.

EATF Tranche 2 bid

NYCC's Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF) Tranche 2 bid had to be submitted by 7th August 2020, and has now been published. It includes five schemes for the county, three of them for Harrogate:

The A59 scheme would be from High Bridge, Knaresborough, to Harrogate Golf Club. Protected on-road cycle tracks either side of the road are proposed. The protection is to be a kind of light segregation with rubber kerbs and wands, but there's some doubt as to whether this is sufficient to comply with new Cycling Infrastructure Design. The A59 is a busy road and even though the speed limit would be reduced from 50 to 40mph, more substantial protection should normally be used.

Kerb and wands as light segregation
Kerb and wands as light segregation

On Victoria Avenue, protected cycle tracks would be introduced - either a 2-way track in the centre, or one track either side in between parking and the kerb.

Harrogate District Cycle Action has more details of the bid; they are broadly positive about it.

Why Oatlands Drive cycle lanes are dangerous

26th August 2020

I rode along Oatlands Drive twice today. The first time, the two children I saw on bikes were both on the pavement. Rightly, their parents don't believe paint will protect them.

BMW NA60VXY

The second time, a huge BMW 4x4 came up behind me, and I could see it was not moving out to overtake me. (Many drivers believe 'he's in his lane, I'm in mine', and pass you with hardly any gap).

I made a polite gesture - moving my arm away from my body - to ask him to give me space. Apparently the driver was angered by this, and stopped by St Aidan's school. I went past, and I could see he was coming after me.

In that situation, you have an angry man in charge of a lethal weapon, and you don't know what he is going to do. It could just be shouting, it could be a 'punishment pass', or it might be using the vehicle as a weapon. I went onto the pavement and asked him to get away from me.

The car was NA60VXY, a grey 2010 BMW X5 Diesel Estate. I would say to its driver:

  1. Please give people riding bikes space when you overtake; painted cycle lanes are not a reason to do a dangerous close pass
  2. Please control your temper, and don't instigate arguments and confrontation

North Yorkshire County Council is failing us with these dangerous painted bike lanes. I blame them most of all. We shouldn't have to put up with this when getting about Harrogate by bike.

While the Tranche 2 bid is some cause for optimism, NYCC have totally failed to provide any infrastructure since they were asked to do so by Grant Shapps on 9th May 2020.

They included a protected bike lane on Beech Grove in the Tranche 1 bid, but the design is dangerous, and they have failed to build it anyway.