Did I just enter a dream? I just pedalled up from Newcastle City Centre to Chillingham Road in Heaton and experienced some AMAZING cycle infrastructure! In the UK!
Where is it?
It connects Heaton Park Road with Meldon Terrace (perhaps it starts all the way back towards Byker; I didn’t use that bit).
What’s so good about it?
The lane is wide enough! It is between the pedestrian footpath and car parking spaces, rather than wedging cyclists between moving vehicular traffic and driver-side car doors that might open into us.
The lane is at a different height to the pedestrian lane (when it’s hard to tell the difference, pedestrians can tend to wander into the cycle lane, then get a shock to find a bicycle behind them, which does reputational damage to cyclists even though we’re just trying to do the right thing, you know?). It doesn’t plough straight through a bus stop, or the space where people congregate at it; it actually skirts around with plenty of space, and is clearly demarcated from the pedestrian footpath.
It seems to have been actually designed with cyclists’ journeys in mind. The kerbs are lowered in all the places cyclists might enter or exit the cycle lane, rather than having to bunny-hop our way around because, quel surprise, we might need to turn down a side road or cross a junction.
Bollards stop cars from parking in the cycle lane, and clear road markings discourage drivers from stopping in the cycle lane when they give way at junctions.
It interfaces with the road, not merely stopping abruptly and spitting you out on to a no-man’s land in the gutter – here’s looking at you BRIDGE OF ALLAN, STIRLINGSHIRE – but bringing you out onto the advanced stopping box at junctions. It has its own traffic lights, making it clear when cyclists have priority and when they don’t.
In conclusion, it makes you feel like a legit traveller, rather than an afterthought in the ether between vehicular road user and pedestrian. (Deep down cyclists have feelings too…)
Chapeau, Newcastle City Council 👏 (yes I will be writing you a congratulatory letter!).
Is this my nerdiest post yet?
I’m unrepentant! Being made to feel safer while making my journey as COOL AF.
Funnily enough, this is the same road where I once got bollocked by a White Van Maniac for not using the cycle path, which was icy at the time. Well NOW YOU HAVE YOUR WAY, DICKHEAD! This is prime evidence that if you put the infrastructure in, and it’s fit for purpose, people will use it…
Tuesday 9 May, 2023