Roads & Paths for June – Design Guidance

George Riches writes

In April I went on a half day course on the Cycling Design Guidance document produced by the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Many cyclists complain about the U.K.’s poor cycling infrastructure. Warrington Cycling Campaign even has a website mocking various token cycle facilities. By the late 1990’s the British experience of cycling infrastructure was so bad that a significant number of cycle campaigners were considering rejecting the whole idea of cycle facilities separated from motor traffic.

Nevertheless good cycling facilities are possible and slowly design standards are improving. In 2010 the Department of Transport produced the first design guidance. It had plenty of flaws:

  • cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders were lumped together as “Non Motorised Users”, as if their needs and speeds were much the same.
  • facilities were always an “add on” to the motoring facilities, often squeezed into insufficient space.
  • there were lots of “where possible” clauses.
  • no consideration was given to “place” (user numbers and purpose).
  • the Public Sector Equality Duty was not considered.

Since 2010, better documents have emerged from Transport for London and the Scottish and Welsh governments. The Department of Transport is revising its own guidance.

I’ll certainly cite the West Midlands guide when communicating with engineers and planners about their highway proposals, especially those who are not cycling specialists.


Sustran’s Bike Life study extends over West Midlands Combined Authority area.

Road Danger Reduction Forum’s response to the government’s Cycling Safety Review.

Why forcing cyclists to wear helmets will not save lives:  Video

Roads & Paths Newsletter for May – Kings Hill

Prepared by George Riches

There’s a proposal to build up to 2,500 dwellings on the site just south of Coventry bounded by Stoneleigh Road, the Leamington-Coventry railway, Green Lane and the A46:

Details of the proposals can be seen on Warwick District Council’s planning website. (Put “Kings Hill” in the search box).  Master Plan.

It’s proposed to have two motor vehicle accesses at the site, one on Stoneleigh Road and one at the Green Lane / St Martins Road / Howes Lane junction.  George Riches made the following comments:

Stoneleigh Road

The distance between the development and both the University of Warwick and Kenilworth would make cycling to those destinations an attractive prospect for many of the future residents of the development, if the routes were largely free from motor traffic.

To make cycling routes acceptable to residents, paths segregated from motor traffic are needed along Stoneleigh Road to the University’s Gibbet Hill Campus (where an off carriageway route exists to the main campus) and to Dalehouse Lane. Also a path segregated from motor traffic is needed along Dalehouse Lane into Kenilworth.

It has been suggested that a A46 – Birmingham Airport expressway will be built and if it were built, traffic levels on Stoneleigh Road would reduce enough to make cyclist/motorist sharing of the carriageway acceptable. However, that’s only a possibility, low traffic routes are needed when the new estate is opened.


St Martins Rd / Green Lane / Howes Lane junction

This is covered by an application to Coventry Council, as it is the planning authority for the area covered by the junction.

The proposal is a roundabout:


This will negatively impact cycle journeys between

  • Green Lane and Howes Lane
  • Both Green Lane and Howes Lane and the B4115

The B4115 is a useful route between Coventry and Warwick for cyclists as the level of motor traffic is rather low.

1. Howes Lane to Green Lane

A cyclist will either use the roundabout’s carriageway or use the paths shared with pedestrians.

Only fast cyclists will use the carriageway, the traffic level will be too high for the majority of local residents. According to the West Midlands Cycle Design Guidance, segregation of motor and pedal cyclist traffic is preferred to integration at roundabouts with over three arms or more than 10,000 vehicles/day.

Use of the paths shared with pedestrians will involve crossing far too many streams of traffic in such a short distance:

  1. southbound St. Martins Road traffic on the Southern arm of the new roundabout
  2. northbound St. Martins Road traffic on the Southern arm of the new roundabout
  3. (possibly Kings Hill Lane, according to where the cyclist crosses the site access road)
  4. bothway traffic on the site access road

An uncontrolled cyclist crossing across the northern splitter island would be a cheap but significant improvement.

2. Howes Lane to the B4115

There’s already a wide footpath on the eastern side of St. Martins Road for most of the way and some signs of dropped kerbs at the B4115/B4113 junction (near Finham bridge over Finham Brook). Opportunity should be taken to upgrade this to the 3m standard for a shared use path.

3. Green Lane to Howes Lane

A cyclist will either use the roundabout’s carriageway or cross the streams of traffic (a-d) as listed in (1) above, but in reverse order.

An uncontrolled cyclist crossing across the northern splitter island would be a cheap but significant improvement.

4. B4115 to Green Lane

A cycle path along the west side of St. Martins Road would be useful.