Compare and Contrast

Today was a ride up the coast to visit a prospective new client in Ashington. About 15 miles each way, and in the past I’d have driven this, to arrive looking smart & business-like. But now that I’ve got Siegfried – an Eminently Sensible Sturdy Commuting Bike (ESSCB), I can ride that kind of distance in regular clothes. And seeing as it was such a lovely day, that’s exactly what I did.

With the ESSCB, I’ve found that I’m no-longer in such a rush, and more amenable to trying out cycle paths / trails – those paved, off-road routes that are for bikes only. There’s one that runs along the road North out of Whitley Bay, and it’s pretty good – about 2.5m wide, with a separate footpath, and segregated from the road by about another 1/2m or so of paving.

However, when I came across this section of the route, I had to stop and take a photo, as it clearly showed the difference between the UK and David Hembrow’s Promised Land of Assen in the Netherlands, as posted yesterday:

The road on the right is actually a dual carriageway – there are two car lanes going in either direction, and as it’s still within the town boundaries, the speed limit’s 40mph. What better symbol of “cycling matters here” could there have been than coning off one of those car lanes to divert the bikes onto the road, but still segregated from the traffic? It’s not as if this is a seriously busy road that needs those two car lanes in each direction to prevent all sorts of traffic mayhem.

But no, instead, we have the cycle path coming to an abrupt halt. No indication of what you’re supposed to do. It just ends.

Compare with the picture from the Netherlands:

Alongside the cycle path in this location is a two lane road, which normally has one lane in each direction. Today the road is reduced to a single lane, and in using it drivers in the two directions have to negotiate. Cyclists have been given one of the lanes for full time use in both directions. Yet again, cyclists come first, and have the least disruption.

If that doesn’t say what the transport priorities are, then I don’t now what does!

Posted in 'A'-List Blogs, Bike Culture, Bike to Work, Business, Cycle Infrastructure, Photographs, Road Safety, Whitley Bay

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