The Commute Part Deux…
... or How to cross the River Hull on a bike in relative safety: The Commute Part Deux (with apologies to Kern).
I haven’t been enjoying my ride to work just lately. I have to get from the east to the west of the River Hull. On the route I usually take there is a roundabout with a short approach road that has two lanes. The left hand lane is for traffic going left and the right hand lane is for traffic going right and straight ahead. So to get across from the left hand lane to the right hand lane on a bike (I go straight ahead at the roundabout) often requires an assertive line and a nod and a wink to the driver coming up behind. But the other day there appeared a baffling cycle lane – all green paint, or whatever – on the road around the roundabout at its furthest point from roundabout itself. (I need a photograph, don’t I?) Anyway, on Thursday morning I saw two cyclists take different lines to do the same thing. One got across to the right hand lane and went straight ahead. The other took the green outer circle and appeared to be cut up by one car whilst the driver behind him, mercifully, didn’t take him out as this second cyclist circumnavigated this new-fangled road marking and went straight ahead. Me, I felt a little guilty; I was following them in my car. Sorry, Alan
But not all of the designated cycle lanes are bad news in Hull. This week Hull was reported as being the 'fourth best cycling city' according to the University of East London. (I don’t know which three places were found to be better for cyclists.) There were a few comments on the web site of the local newspaper along the lines that Hull’s facilities for cyclists actually aren’t that good, but I think that view is unfair. Certainly anyone wanting to ride their bike anywhere near the A63 would have to be very brave, or foolish, but elsewhere the provision for cyclists isn’t that bad at all.
As it happens, I tried a new route to work this week, or, more accurately, a new way home. On Monday, after deciding to take the pavement route at that roundabout (I was on my folding bike and I haven’t got the acceleration to get across a lane of traffic whilst signalling right), I cycled home along a more cycle-friendly route. It’s actually best ridden in the opposite direction, and I did that yesterday. I haven’t included images of all the road markings and cycle-specific route that I passed by, but here is a selection. What do you think?
So, just a sample of the cycle provision in Hull, officially the fourth-best cycle city in the country! Admittedly, once you get closer to the Humber Estuary the cycle lanes are little more than painted lines near the gutters of various roads until you reach NCN route 1 parallel to the terrifying A63, but I don’t think the facilities deserve to be rubbished by people who probably don’t realise just how fortunate they are.
This route adds 10 minutes to my commute, but it's one I can imagine using more often. I will just have to get out of the house that bit earlier