27 Jun 2013

Cyclists Dismount

Experienced cyclists generally ignore any sign they see with these words.  99% of such signs are meaningless.  Dismount and do what exactly?  Remount and ride on - so why ask me to dismount?  Do you ask drivers to get out of their cars at tricky junctions?
The excessive stupid use of these signs means that when they actually are sensible and helpful they are also ignored, which can place cyclists and other road / path users in danger or difficulty.

This post is triggered by the report in the Herts Advertiser, 27 June, page 7: 'Cyclist terrified me'.  It is the age-old story of one selfish idiot getting us all a bad name.  The report confirmed that the cycle path across Verulamium Park ends at the bridge, and cyclists should dismount and walk across the bridge and on out of the park.  There should be a Cyclists Dismount sign there, but it has gone.

This is in my opinion one of the very few places where a cyclists dismount sign is justified.  Last time I used this route I was surprised that there was no sign.  I found that I could not maintain enough momentum to get up the slope whilst at the same time going slowly enough to take account of not being able to see through thick undergrowth and brick walls.  Dismount by default!

Could I suggest that it would help the cause of cycling in St Albans if we all obviously dismounted and behaved impeccably at this location? Cycling in the park is still very sensitive, and any good impressions that we as cyclists can make to redress the bad impression left by the few is beneficial, even if it is unlikely to generate press coverage!

PS for some really, really stupid use of Cyclists Dismount signage, take a look at the Warrington Cycle Campaign Facility of the Month for September 2007.


Mike1727 said...

What we need is the new bridge- as primised in the plans. This would complete the park section of the route, even if it's not connected to any other routes at each end.

We wouldn't build a street where motorists have to get out and push, so why do it for bikes?

I'm following up with Sandy Walkington and Dan Chicester-Miles, though roumours have it that fundiong is being held back for the green Ring project.

Mike1727 said...

The actions of the cyclist who upset Ms Evans in Verulamium Park were inexcusable. In the interests of safety and maintaining good relations cyclists should always be careful around pedestrians on shared routes and shouldn't ride where we're not permitted.

As a cyclist you can easily understand how upset pedestrians can be by close passes by remembering what it feels like to be passed too close by a motor vehicle on the road. Close passing by motor vehicles or bikes always scares the more vulnerable party, even if the person passing thinks they aren't passing too close.
Here's an information booklet which St Albans Cycle campaign have developed to help cyclists and walkers understand how to behave on shared paths: http://stalbanscyclecampaign.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/ride-safely-on-shared-paths.html

The park is there to be shared between all users and the routes provide a very safe alternative to the roads for people on bikes travelling to the city centre, Westminster Lodge and the park itself. It took ten years of campaigning to get the cycle paths installed, let's not have the actions of a very small minority wasting this effort.

This incident does draw attention to the fact that cycle routes through the park have not yet been finished. The plans called for a new bridge at the King Harry lane end and widening of the Westminster Lodge to Museum route. The money has reportedly been secured, largely from Section 106 planning, but neither of these crucial improvements have been delivered. We have an incomplete route running North-South and a narrow route running East-West causing friction between people who ride bikes and people on foot- hardly what was intended.

Let's have a complete solution, as planned, to deliver the safety and access improvements they were intended to give, helping people with active travel to improve their health, reducing the demand for car parking spaces in Verulamium Park and doing something to reduce car traffic into the city.

We wouldn't build a street where drivers had to push their cars along an unfinished section, why have we done it for bikes?

Mike Hartley

Secretary, St Albans Cycling Campaign.
Pondfield Crescent, St Albans