Infrastructure / Uncategorized

Hatton Garden Suicide Lane gets more Suicidal

A few months ago I wrote about the Hatton Garden Suicide Lane. This is a contraflow cycle lane that terminates at a point where you have cars and vans coming head on around a bend at 30-40mph.

Riding down it last night for the first time in a while I was shocked to discover that things have got much worse while some roadworks are being conducted.
The roadworks now force the oncoming vehicles to drive straight towards you in the mandatory contraflow cycle lane
I’ve sent some questions to Liverpool City Council, I await their reply with interest…
  • Who is responsible for permitting this arrangement?
  • Was a risk assessment undertaken, if so, may I have a copy?
  • What was done to mitigate the increased risk to cyclists?
  • Was there a consultation of stakeholders, if so, who was included?
Update 15/10/12 – A reply from the council
I have received a response from Northwest gas alliance who are carrying out the work
The temporary traffic regulation order was granted by the City Council on Friday afternoon to suspend the cycle lane.  Cycle lane closed signs were to be in place on Saturday morning

Marvellous, except the assuming they mean this Friday the 12th the roadworks began at least two days before the TRO was granted and I rode down Hatton Garden on my way to town this afternoon after work

Hatton Garden
No signs at the top of the street
Hatton Garden
Still no signs further down.

They must be having real problems finding those ‘Cyclist Dismount’ signs at the back of the storeroom, this deathtrap has been allowed to remain for five days.

I replied again…

Thanks for the info. I was cycling along Hatton Garden again yesterday morning and this afternoon, as you can see from the attached photographs, no signs are in place at the top of the road or closer to the obstruction. That means this hazard has been in place and unsigned for a minimum of five days.

It is also disappointing that when faced with this situation the course of action decided upon is to simply close the cycle lane. Considering the obstruction is in the road and not the cycle lane, the obvious solution is to close the road and leave the cycle lane open.

I dare say in a city where cycling has a modal share of probably <1% that last comment will either result in jaws hitting the floor or hysteria, I can even imagine now what the response is, closing the cycle lane inconveniences fewer people. However, I want them to know that this is how people are beginning to think, a year or eighteen months ago I wouldn’t have even thought about it, now, I want answers.

Update 17/10/12 –

The decision to suspend the cycle lane along Hatton Gardenwas a joint decision taken between the contractor, Enterprise Liverpool and Liverpool City Council. Due to the extents of the works along Hatton Garden, it was necessary to suspend this cycle lane as vehicles where travelling in the cycle lane when negotiating around the works on site. As you may be aware it is an offence for any vehicle to drive within a mandatory cycle lane as they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice.
A cycle lane is no different from a bus lane where as if works need to be undertaken on site, then in order to minimise disruption on the highway network, the City Council will suspend such a lane and allow vehicles to travel in these lanes. Your suggestion of closing Hatton Gardensfor vehicles but keep the cycle lane open is not viable due to the amount of vehicles that use this route compared to cyclists.
The cycle lane in this area will be suspended until the 4thNovember. I will ensure that the contractor erects signs on site stating that the cycle lane is closed for the duration of these works.
I hope the above explains the City Councils thoughts and actions at this time. Please contact me direct if you require any further information.

As expected then, closing the cycle lane inconveniences fewer people. As for the signs, well, I went past again tonight, there are no signs saying the cycle lane is closed, the two signs opposite the roadworks have had plastic bags put over them, but a sign with a bag over it can mean anything, how would anyone not familiar with the road know that it is a cycle lane sign that has been covered over? Also, the sign at the top of the street is still uncovered. It’s turning into a bit of a farse, Enterprise Liverpool can’t even scrape together a couple of cycle lane closed signs or even a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign. An entire week now that this lethal hazard has been allowed to exist.

Update 22/10/12 – The saga continues, I was back to Hatton Garden again today, the first time in a week, it seems the promise of proper signage was merely empty words, what we have here are cycle lanes signs that have had the plastic bags taken off them and grey paint daubed across them. I do hope they have checked the paint comes off and haven’t just destroyed public property.

Hatton Garden
The problem remains of course, if a sign has had paint smeared across it, how do you know what it was telling you and therefore what is now not permitted. At the top of the road you pass a sign that says this is a cycle lane, you then pass no other legible signs to tell you that the cycle lane has been suspended.

Update 24/10/12 – I have emailed again to Liverpool City Council and also to my local councillor.

I was passing Hatton Garden again on Monday evening, unfortunately the contractors do not seem to have erected any signage to suggest the cycle lane is suspended. The sign at the top of the road is still as normal, the signs opposite the road works have been painted over as you can see in the attached image. I’m sure you will agree that the logic behind painting over a sign is flawed, because unless the passer by knows what the sign was before it was painted over they will not know what it is saying is now not permitted and even if they do know what was there beforehand a painted over sign is not a typical means of conveying information. Anyone unfamiliar with the road would be in an even worse position, they could easily continue along it believing they had right of way in the cycle lane and ride themselves in to an extremely hazardous, potentially life threatening position. It has been twelve days since I highlighted this issue, at least 13 days since the road works started and 12 days since the TRO was granted.

I would also appreciate it if you could send me a copy of the TRO or at least let me know from where I can get a copy.


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