Luke Bosman, who chairs the Garstang Cycling Club, said that basic cycle lanes are not always the answer to the risks faced by riders.
He was speaking after Lancashire County Council last week unveiled £0.5m worth of safety upgrades for the two-wheeled users of the region’s roads. While Luke welcomed the investment, he said all local authorities should be thinking of the most innovative ways to keep cyclists safe.
“That strip of coloured tarmac could be the difference between someone arriving safely at work – or not arriving at all,” Luke says.
“But it could sometimes be more effective to segregate cycle lanes from the main carriageway with a raised kerb – or create a shared cycleway and footway instead.”
One of the biggest planned projects on the county council’s list – totalling £150,000 – is a shared-use path for bikes and pedestrians along a stretch of Fleetwood Road in Wyre.
Luke recently had his own close encounter on the road – with a horsebox on the A6 between Broughton and Barton.
“Cycle lanes often disappear at the most essential moments. The one I was using ran out just before a hump-backed bridge and a vehicle gave me no more than three inches as it drove past.
“Whereas in a more cycle-friendly country like the Netherlands, it is the responsibility of the driver to see that a cycle lane is coming to an end – and pull back to give the rider room.”
As part of County Hall’s safety plans, cyclists on the western approach to the Freckleton roundabout – along the busy A584 Preston New Road in Fylde – will be protected by road markings which provide an audible warning if a motor vehicle drifts into the cycle lane.
Luke says that there is a misapprehension amongst many motorists that cyclists should be riding on the pavement – even though that is illegal, unless there are signs permitting it. But he believes there is more scope for schemes which allow cyclists to share footpaths.
“As a way of connecting one town with another for cyclists, they are a good concept – because the density of pedestrians is low on those routes. Destinations within towns would benefit more from segregated cycle lanes, because footpaths in those areas tend to be busy.
“If we connect schools and the communities they serve with safe cycle routes, then we help solve congestion problems for people in towns. And if we connect different towns with cycle routes, then we help solve the problem for commuters,” Luke adds.