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Abysmal Cycle Infrastructure Fail in North York Moors

Cycling towards the White Horse
Cycling towards the White Horse

I find it quite terrifying cycling along the A170 near the White Horse, in the North York Moors. The Highways Authority, North Yorkshire County Council, has failed to make any safe provision on this fast and busy road, so you’re required to mix with the traffic.

The area near the White Horse and Rievaulx Abbey is rightly popular with road cyclists. There’s also an excellent mountain bike centre at Sutton Bank.

Unfortunately, many bike rides in this locality involve at least a short section of the A170. You have to ride along it from the White Horse/High Town Bank Road to reach Sutton Bank Visitor Centre, and to get to either of the roads to Rievaulx.

Map showing routes around White Horse/Sutton Bank Visitor Centre
Map showing routes around White Horse/Sutton Bank Visitor Centre

This part of the A170 is an official cycle route with blue cycling signs.

Blue cycling signs but no provision on the A170
Blue cycling signs but no provision on the A170

The reason the signs are there, I believe, is that this is National Cycle Network Route 656. The Sustrans NCN map shows the A170 as a broken link in the route.

Is it acceptable to throw cyclists to the wolves here? Should people on bikes be expected to take their chances with vehicles charging at 60mph+ between Sutton Bank and the east coast?

LTN 1/20

The government’s Cycle Infrastructure Design, LTN 1/20, says not. According to Figure 4.1, cycling in mixed traffic above 50mph is not acceptable – only a fully kerbed cycle track is safe.

Fig 4.1, LTN 1/20
Fig 4.1, LTN 1/20

What’s more, there should be a buffer between the cycle track and the road of 2 to 2.5m (Table 6-1, LTN 1/20). That would be easy enough to do, as there are wide grass verges.

What Does North Yorkshire County Council Say About This?

A year ago I raised this issue with the North York Moors National Park Authority. They told me that it was the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council as the Highways Authority, but that North Yorkshire refuses to do anything about this dangerous situation.

Taking bikes off the road would mean they then had to cross it at right angles to traffic that was moving too fast to be safe.

North yorkshire county council’s excuse for failing to provide safe cycle provision on the a170

This is classic North Yorkshire – using safety as an excuse for failing to remedy a dangerous situation.

I would describe it as negligence, but it isn’t – it’s a deliberate failure, which is inexcusable.

Abysmal Cycle Infrastructure Fail in North York Moors

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