Cycling in Yorkshire

Header image with bicycles

Creating Space for Cycling by Removing the Centre Line

Fig. 6.21, LTN 1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design
Fig. 6.21, LTN 1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design

When you need safe cycle infrastructure on a road but there isn’t enough room for protected cycle tracks, what do you do?

One solution is to make the road one way for motor vehicles, and use 3m of the carriageway for a bi-directional cycle track. This is often met with howls of protest from people who see themselves primarily as motorists.

I recently suggested this on Haxby Road in York, and I can see it could be controversial. On the other hand, if City of York Council went ahead and did it, I’d wager at least £5 that in 10 years’ time local residents would put great value on their brilliant, safe cycle track. It might even increase property prices.

What’s the alternative to a one-way scheme?

LTN 1/20 and Removing the Centre Line

LTN 1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design mentions removal of the centre line (paragraph 6.4.14 onwards). Full-width advisory cycle lanes are provided.

The benefits are that it provides marked space for cyclists, and the visual narrowing can reduce vehicle speeds.

‘On narrower roads, where oncoming motor vehicles pass each other, one or both vehicles may need to momentarily pull into their respective near-side advisory cycle lanes, with drivers having first checked to see the lanes are clear of cyclists.’

para 6.4.16, LTN 1/20

LTN 1/20 says that the arrangement is only suitable on quieter roads with a maximum vehicle flow of:

  • 4,500 vehicles a day or
  • 500 vehicles an hour at peak times

The benefits of the cycle lanes are lost when motor vehicle flows are higher, which is quite understandable.


Centre line removal on Woodhall Way, Beverley
Centre line removal on Woodhall Way, Beverley

I’m prompted to write about this because I cycled a road with such a scheme in Beverley recently.

I found it ok, but as it was Bank Holiday Monday morning, traffic was very light. I’m quite enthusiastic about this type of scheme where there’s no better alternative.

Specifically in Beverley, I feel the arrangements for cycling would be much improved with:

  • 2m cycle lanes instead of the approximately 1m50 that has been allowed, and
  • coloured tarmac as shown by the LTN 1/20 illustration

Where Would this Work?

What do you think of removal of centre lines as a concept? Would it work on Oatlands Drive or Pannal Ash Road in Harrogate? Or some other street that you often ride?

Creating Space for Cycling by Removing the Centre Line

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