Drayton Park – the vanishing cycle bypasses

In early January 2012, ICAG responded to Islington Council’s public consultation on a proposed width restriction on Drayton Park near the railway station. We said ‘we welcome the cycle bypasses on both sides of the restriction’.

Last week, the contractors added the finishing touches to their scheme. However the scheme looked very different to the one that we had been consulted on. That’s not surprising, the contractors were using a different drawing.

On the original scheme, cyclists are able to bypass the width restrictions and keep well away from the cars. This is considered to be good practice.  London Cycling Design Standards says about chicanes and pinch points at 3.6.4 that ‘It is important to ensure that the feature is designed in such a way that cyclists are neither squeezed nor intimidated’.

However on the ground, the cycle bypasses have been removed and cyclists and motorists will be brought into direct conflict as they jostle for position ahead of the restriction. All cyclists will have to take the primary position (centre or right hand side of the lane) well before they reach the width restriction. However some motorists will want to squeeze in front of any cyclists so that the cyclists don’t slow them down. This is what sometimes happens on Benwell Road at a similar width restriction. However Benwell Road traffic flow and speed is much lower than Drayton Park.

Drayton Park forms part of Islington’s second most popular cycle route. The route goes from Finsbury Park to Farringdon via Barnsbury Road.

Islington Council and its partners have received £600,000 funding for a local Sustrans Connect 2 project which links Highbury Fields to Finsbury Park along Drayton Park. The guidelines to the Connect2 project say ”Connect2 will create a new way of living, where people, and not cars, are at the heart of travelling within communities throughout the UK”.  The Connect2 project is still in design stage; the width restriction has not been funded by the Connect 2 project.

For most cyclists, this is just a step backwards and a nuisance only 100 yards from another nuisance, a set of echelon parking bays. For potential cyclists, it’s just another reason for their parents to not let them cycle.

Drayton Park Width restriction - This is the drawing that went out to public consultation and that ICAG and others commented on
Drayton Park Width restriction - This is the drawing that the contractors have used on site

May 22nd : Drayton Park The Movie directed by Robin again.

A concern has been that cyclists would have difficulty in establishing primary position in the lane if there is speeding traffic behind them.  However this video shows confident cyclists moving into primary position then peeling off to the right, skipping the width restriction and using the wide cycle bypasses now flipped into the center of the road.  Cyclists then remerge with the motorised traffic, it’s probably not what motorists expect to happen.  The video also shows cyclists queuing in line with vehicles waiting to go through the width restriction.

May 23rd : Drayton Park Squeeze shot from a high quality head camera by cycleoptic (Steve K).  But you need an old telephone directory to realign your screen to the horizon.

This is how it looked on 24 May 2012

More Related Stories

May 11th, Islington Tribune – Drayton Park lorry-ban scheme ‘has no signage’ – Dangerous layout leaves drivers, cyclists and pedestrians ‘totally confused’

May 30th: Islington Gazette: Car accident at controversial new Highbury road safety measure

June 6th: London Cycling Campaign forum – Islington Council create new improved death trap

June 7th: Freedom of Information request to Islington Borough Council

June 21st: ICAG 92% of people surveyed felt Drayton Park less safe

June 22nd: Islington Tribune: Cyclists oppose narrow road layout at Drayton Park