Cycling in Yorkshire

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Design vs UX on Harrogate Cycle Path

Design vs UX on Harrogate Cycle Path
Design vs UX on Harrogate Cycle Path

I noticed someone’s interpretation of this crossing facility and cycle path today. The design is daft, so the person ignored it and took the logical route.

It’s a crossing of the A59 Skipton Road, from Claro Road towards Coach Road. You’re asked to make a tight left turn, dodge a metal pole, ride along a narrow footway, make a tight right turn, then go on your way. It’s impractical, so people just ride straight ahead instead.

I will admit that it’s not the end of the world. Still, in countries that take cycling seriously, a design like this would be corrected pronto. If you ride a bike in Harrogate, you come across lots of designs that don’t work but aren’t changed. It gives the impression that the local authority doesn’t understand cycling as a mode of transport, or doesn’t care about the standard of its cycle facilities.

Neglecting the Small Improvements

There are some good plans for Harrogate, including Harrogate Station Gateway (although it’s still an idea on paper, not a real-life cycle scheme). Station Gateway shows that North Yorkshire is capable of bidding for funding for big schemes.

What about the small improvements that could be made? Nothing is happening. Why?

It could be that local authority officers are too busy, or that they feel they will be criticised for making changes – so they don’t make any.

Maybe a contributory factor is transport officers being based outside Harrogate. They don’t see the transport issues here on a daily basis. Out of sight, out of mind.

In any event, the mantra appears to be ‘leave everything as it is.’ Since rapid changes are needed, that’s a problem.

The Stray: an Asset and a Liability

Another factor is the Stray. It’s a great asset to Harrogate, but it also gets in the way of minor changes like this. Would anyone mind if the alignment of the path was changed? There would still be the same amount of grass and the same amount of path.

Actually making the change would, I believe, be a complicated process. As I understand it, Harrogate Borough Council would have to ask the Duchy of Lancaster (and who knows, maybe the County of Poulton-le-Fylde) to approve the change. That all seems a bit unnecessary.

Active Travel is the Future – so Get on with It

As global heating becomes a more acute problem, active travel is the future for short trips around town.

We need a change of approach from the local authority. They need to compress the time they spend on meetings, minutes and reports, and on thinking about taking action.

Instead of taking 3 years to mull over tiny tweaks to the active travel network, they should crack on with the work.

With the will and a can-do attitude, you could change the alignment of that path in a couple of weeks.

Design vs UX on Harrogate Cycle Path

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