Leicestershire the anti cyclist county

If you live or travel in Leicestershire you have probably realised that this is a county that is resolutely anti cycling and cyclists. Let me give you some examples.

1. The County Council hold a Cycling Consultation meeting. Sounds good but it is scheduled for twice a year and this year one of the 2 meetings was cancelled and the other was scheduled for 1:30pm so that people would have to miss work to attend. It was allocated 1 hour. A County Council that believes 1 hour a year is an appropriate amount of time to invest in meeting cyclists to discuss the whole county makes the total lack of priority obvious. (to be fair the meeting ended up lasting 4 hours but still had to massively cut the agenda and has not agreed to increase the frequency or length of the meetings).

2. The County Council routinely ignore maintenance needs and reports about cycle facilities. At the above meeting CTC Right to Ride campaigners were struggling with problems that have been reported multiple times over 2 or 3 years and yet which have been ignored. I have twice reported a bad bit of cycle path alongside the busy A6 at a field entrance that floods every time it rains, no response yet.

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3. Tonight there are resurfacing works on the A46 between Syston and Rothley. The County Council ignore cyclists so have not even noticed that there is a two way cycle path alongside the A46 where they are working. They put up road blocks and diversions for drivers but cyclists don’t matter. I was stopped by a supervisor who was concerned when he saw me riding on the separated cycle path – he hadn’t even known it existed and didn’t know where it went. For my part I had not known of the road works when I joined the cycle path because there was not a single sign or lorry or anything.

Of course there are no plans to resurface the cycle path or make it meet minimum standards or make if feel safe. At the moment an Officer from the County Council, who designs cycle infrastructure, has told me he would not use it because it does not feel safe –  that is a big problem as during the recent floods it was the only crossing of the River Soar available to Cyclists between Leicester City and Loughborough. Here it is on video:

4. Then there is our MP Stephen Dorrell he generally ignores any letters relating to cycling and so far as I can tell has not signed any pro cycling (not The Times campaign nor any Early Day Motions) while our MP. That is very worrying in an MP who has a Health Service role at a time when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence say that Cycling and walking should be the norm for all short journeys

5. Then there is the appalling quality of cycle infrastructure that Leicestershire County Council are still installing even this year. A reminder of my video of a “Safe Route to School” in Syston (taken at 10am because it is too dangerous to ride it when children are about).

I could go on and on about the low design standards (and have done so in quite a few other blog posts), yet the Council are determined to defend their designs as both good and cost effective, while doing their best to use as an excuse that Cyclists don’t all want the same thing (yet we were unanimous at the meeting that this particular infrastructure was dangerous and should never have been implemented).

6. This one is quite hard to believe. Cyclists are being told how wonderful it is that Leicestershire County Council were successful in a LSTF (Local Sustainable Transport Fyund) bid. Yet the very first tried and tested scheme of this SUSTAINABLE transport bid that they write about on their website is:

The expansion of ‘Wheels to Work’ – where young people are loaned scooters to go to work or training

Duh! I am sure that The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will think that is an excellent idea.

Note that the whole of the LSTF bid is being spent in just a few areas (Coalville, Loughborough, Shepshed) and so the rest of the county have been promised that nothing will be spent on them for several years.

 

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  1. g2-1d8fb35e5a4e1b1fec239b5dca7aedf3

    And I thought Essex was bad. The LSTF money is just crumbs that hasn’t captured councillors’ imaginations. In Colchester we won £4.2m as a cycling town, which meant they had to pay attention to spending it. Things have cooled since Cycling England was dropped, but we still have a dedicated officer (who knows her stuff and is always available) and we still meet at least twice a year.

    • Leicester is doing a bit better with monthly meetings. One of the agenda items is to specifically comment on new proposals for infrastructure. Some positives coming such as the new “Connecting Leicester” project by the mayor and it is encouraging to see that cycling is being supported by that.
      Still Leicester has not yet tackled any of the big dangerous junctions and roads although the first plans to do so are being drawn up.

  2. Hi. That A46 looks very scary, I haven’t tried it myself. In the absence of signs, how do we know it’s a cycle route? It’s not shown as such on OS or google maps, and there are no blue signs on posts or dead bikes on the tarmac. I can only find it marked as a cycle route on OpenStreetmaps, If I had followed the blue sign at the junction from the A6, I think I’d have ended up following the signpost and turning left at the bottom of the slip road, then right and finished up deciding between the right turn onto the Eastbound carriageway of the A46, with no cycle provision, or the left turn to the Water treatment works. Either way, you’re in the sewage, as it were. If that really is a cycle route, it needs a great deal of work on safety & signage. When I see things like this, I usually think to myself “I’ll check that out next time I’m in the area”, but I really think I’m going to give that one a miss.

    • Martin,
      You make good points. On my first use I did go left and all into the Water Treatment works looking for the continuation, I then went right upto the A46 thinking the path would be there before deciding that looked too suicidal. So finding the “proper” route was a process of elimination of impossibles that took ages – would have been incredibly frustrating if I was on a journey rather than exploring where I had moved to live.
      Given the scary statistics about death rates of people on hard shoulders who are not behind a barrier I do not understand why a design like this is not condemned on health and safety grounds. It needs to be wider, have a crash barrier between the path and cars and it needs to be properly contoured for drainage.

  3. That puddle – arragh! Coming along that cycle path the other way is even worst. First you have to cross the traffic coming off the A6 at 70mph to get on it and at night have two lanes of headlights coming at you.

    • Swampdogg,

      I agree. At least the rose bushes from the B&B have now been cut back a bit, used to cover nearly 2/3rds of the width at that point.
      Too many cars use this section of the A6 as a race track which makes it more scary.

  4. Dave saie “4. Then there is our MP Stephen Dorrell he generally ignores any letters relating to cycling and so far as I can tell has not signed any pro cycling (not The Times campaign nor any Early Day Motions) while our MP. ”

    Stephen used to be the MP for Loughborough and back in the 90’s he was involved in some rides during bike week. I popped into one of his surgeries and at the time was quite keen on promoting cycling.

    I don’t know if you can spare the time, but it might be worth making an appointment for a chat at one of his surgeries. What politicians will tell you in private and what they will put their signature to that can appear in the public domain can be two rather different things.

    If a politician is not supporting cycling then I think it very useful to find out why. At the end of the day, improving the situation will require “political will”.

    • John, I have written to Stephen on a number of issues. I generally get replies when it relates to the NHS (nothing reassuring in the content sadly) for example. But not always for letters about cycling.

      I have checked on his surgeries and there is only 1 a month. I can’t get to the December one so will see if I can book a place for the January one.

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