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Cycling in Yorkshire

Header image with bicycles

A Level Difference Makes All the Difference

White line segregation on Otley Road, Harrogate
White line segregation on Otley Road, Harrogate

Where a cycle path is next to the footpath, a level difference makes all the difference.

If the council just paints a white line down the middle of the pavement, the cycling experience is often very poor because people walk into the cycle path.

LTN 1/20 points out that a level difference is the preference of visually-impaired people too.

Para 6.2.7 LTN 1/20
Para 6.2.7 LTN 1/20

I’m not sure whether colour and tonal contrast also relates to those with a visual impairment, or if LTN 1/20 is saying it is helpful to everyone. I think it is helpful to everyone.

Even where there is no colour contrast, a level difference alone clearly differentiates the cycle track from the footway. This facility is in Doncaster, and it was absolutely fine. Those on foot stayed on the footway.

Cycle track in Doncaster
Cycle track in Doncaster

I know some people worry about debris in sunken cycle tracks like the Doncaster one, but I didn’t find it a problem. Perhaps the solution is as simple as regular sweeping.

When Will Councils Start Applying LTN 1/20?

The image at the top of the page is the Otley Road Cycleway in Harrogate.

LTN 1/20 was published in July 2020, and North Yorkshire started building the first bit of the Otley Road Cycleway in September 2021. September 2021 is definitely after July 2020, but there must be a satellite delay in applying the standards.

The cycle path with white line segregation pictured at the top is also a tapering one, down to 93cm.

Tapering cycle path
Tapering cycle path

I believe the concept of a tapering cycle path is new to the discipline of transport planning and design. In the future, those studying active travel will come on a pilgrimmage to Harrogate, to see where it all began. Or not.

For the time being some local councils at least appear to have adopted LTN 1/20 as an excuse for not making active travel provision:

  • “we’d love to build a cycle path here, but we would have to do it to LTN 1/20 standards, and we just don’t have the budget”
  • “if only we could create separate walking and cycling facilities that would be fantastic, but we would have to do it to LTN 1/20 standards, and we just don’t have the space”

Cycle campaigners are putting a lot of faith in Active Travel England to sort councils out. Active Travel England are going to be very busy from day one.

A Level Difference Makes All the Difference

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