Here we have the only significant bit of Cycling City infrastructure to have been completed so far, the upgrading of the old path through the St Werburgh's allotments and alongside the mainline railway to Muller Road, now known as the Farm Pub Path. The engineering of the path is generally good but, as ever, the devil is in the detail.
Here's another example at the old Ashley Down station site, the high point of the path before it drops back down to Muller Road. The path from St Werburgh's comes up from the right in the foreground while the path on to Muller Road heads off to the left. The straight-though path passing through the subway also links to Muller Road at the junction with Shaldon Road but is not intended to be part of the main route.
Cyclists using the main through route are supposed to give way to crossing movements on the minor route, which of course they will be reluctant to do. That's why the century-old convention is for minor routes to give way to major ones, but such tried-and-tested conventions, like the need for sight lines, are routinely ignored by our Cycling City route designers who apparently know better.
Here's the particular problem at this junction (above), looking at it from the point of view of someone coming up from Muller Road on the main through route. You arrive at the intersection but cannot readily see if anyone is coming down the hill due to the fencing. Below is the view for someone heading down the steep incline to the subway - again they cannot see if anyone is emerging from the main route, particularly as vegetation obscures the limited visibility through the fencing. All that was required was for the fencing to be set back a metre or so at the corner.
Now you may be thinking this is another example of Chris Hutt making a mountain out of a molehill and exaggerating the significance of minor details. So here are some unsolicited and independent comments by another user which were recently posted on the Bristol Cycling Campaign web site -
"The new speed opportunities of this widened and well-surfaced path haveYou see designing cycle facilities is not something that can be left to the officer who failed to make the grade as a highway engineer. It requires much the same understanding of the dynamics of handling traffic as do normal roads. Speeds of 20 mph are not unusual and closing speeds (two cyclists approaching from opposite directions) could easily exceed 30 mph, enough to result in serious or fatal injuries. Design has to be based on realistic expectations of users' behaviour, as it is for general roads.
almost knocked me flying twice in as many days. Watch out coming UP from near the pub where you curve round to the 'T junction'. First time, unawares, I was enjoying the view, when someone hurtled past from the left as I was about to turn right. Today I was watching super-carefully, climbing towards the junction on LHS, when a youngster on BMX, apparently unable to steer leftwards or brake, sped down at me and just squeaked through on my left as I ground to a shaking halt! Hate to be a killjoy, but fear we may need cycling speed bumps or signage?"
I have offered the advice many times in this blog that it is crucial that competent professionals are engaged to oversee Cycling City, but it does not appear to have been taken. We have technically demanding cycle routes being designed by people who seem to think they're designing footpaths. It's only a matter of time before people are seriously injured as a consequence of such design defects and they will be entirely justified in suing the council for all they're worth.