For the few that don’t already know, the proposals for Holmfirth, drawn up by Kirklees Council, have been roundly rejected in the consultation process. The plans have now been scrapped.
This is not to say that all is well in Holmfirth. It’s geography results in it being a cross-pennine route for a lot of HGV’s that are held up in the town centre. This, and the continual increase in new housing, without a sufficient transport network in place, is creating an ever worsening environment in which to walk and cycle. What is clear though, is that these problems will not be solved by tearing out the heart of the town centre.
It should not be left solely to Highways Engineers to work out solutions to urban traffic problems. Highways Engineers tend not to have communities at the top of their agenda.
Huddersfield Station Bike Parking :
Regular users will be aware that the old “toast racks”, used for bike parking on the platform for many years, have been removed and people wishing to park their bike at the station have to now use the new hub.
It would have been nice to have been consulted about this given that there is a Cycle-Rail Forum who meet with TPEX. As well as being a minor irritant, having to park one’s bike at the end of the platform, there is a concern that ,if the numbers of cyclists using the hub continue to grow, it will not be too long before it reaches capacity and the old “toast racks” or an additional hub will be required.
KCC has written to TPEX about this and is awaiting a reply.
- More on Bike Lanes
- A few Newsletters ago we had an item on non-segregated Cycle Lanes and a YouTube video by Chris Boardman.
- In this edition KCC supporter Heike Vehling has found some more evidence of some of their shortcomings:
Scientists from Melbourne studied whether cars give cyclists enough space when passing. They equipped 60 cyclists with a special device called MetreBox that measures the distance of each car passing, and what they found was quite surprising.
The study by researchers at Monash University, which was published in April 2019 in the Accident Analysis and Prevention journal, has been the largest of its kind in the world. They gathered more than 18000 vehicle-passing events from 422 trips.
“We know that vehicles driving closely to cyclists increases how unsafe people feel when riding bikes and acts as a strong barrier to increasing cycling participation,” said Dr Ben Beck, lead author and Monash University’s Deputy Head of Prehospital, Emergency and Trauma Research. Most Australian states and territories have a minimum distance of 1 metre when the speed limit is 60 km/h or less, and 1.5 metres when the speed limit is greater than 60
Cars often pass way too close
The researchers found that 1 in every 17 cars came within 1 metre of the travelling cyclist and, alarmingly, 124 cars came within less than 60 cm. In higher speed zones, with speed greater than 60 km/h, roughly one in 3 passing events was a ‘close’ pass of less than 150 cm. There were approximately 1.7 passing events of less than 100 cm for every 10 km travelled on a bike!
Why do cars give less space than they should?
Research findings suggest that marked on-road bicycle lanes, particularly alongside parked cars, are not the optimal solution for protecting cyclists. Passing events that occurred on a road with a bicycle lane and a parked car had an average passing distance that was 40 cm smaller than a road without a bicycle lane or a parked car.
“Our results demonstrate that a single stripe of white paint is not sufficient to protect people who ride bikes. In situations where the cyclist is in the same lane as the motorist, the driver is required to perform an overtaking manoeuvre. Whereas in situations where the cyclist is in a marked bicycle lane, the motorist has a clear lane ahead and not required to overtake. As a result, we believe that there is less of a conscious requirement for drivers to provide additional passing distance.”
A physical barrier is needed to separate cars and cyclists
Previous studies by Dr Beck showed that the number of cyclists admitted to hospital with serious traumas from road crashes has more than doubled in the last 10 years, and that 22% of all on-road bicycle crashes occur while the cyclist is riding in a marked on-road bicycle lane. Dr Beck suggests that in order to improve safety and increase cycling participation, far greater investment is clearly needed in providing infrastructure that separates cyclists from motor vehicles by a physical barrier.
Dr Ben Beck
Written by: Jiri Kaloc
The integration and importance of cycling, within the larger transport framework in our local environment, is an important component for the existence of KCC.
There are two forthcoming Huddersfield Civic Society talks where it will be interesting to hear whether the speakers share this concept.
On Tuesday September 3rd – Greg Marsden, Professor of Transport Governance at Leeds University will be speaking on “The Future of Travel in Kirklees”.
Tuesday October 1st – Karl Battersby, Kirklees Council Strategic Director, Economy and Infrastructure will be elaborating on – “The Huddersfield Town Centre Blueprint” both talks are at 7.30 pm in the Huddersfield Town Hall reception Room. For further details see the Events section of the Huddersfield Civic Society website.
Chair – Kirklees Cycling Campaign