Chair: Ben Lukey, 6 Dundonald Avenue, Stockton Heath, Warrington, WA4 6JT
17 Beech Road
1st March 2000
SANKEY WAY CYCLE PATH
I am writing to express our serious misgivings about the safety standards of
the cycle facilities recently implemented following the A57 Sankey Way. We
have tested the facilities out by bicycle and have concluded that in practice,
the facilities fall significantly below good safety standards.
I writing following Susannah Moss’s letter to Carmel Foster of 12 January
1999 in which we supported the principle of the proposed safety schemes
along the Liverpool Road/Sankey Way route. Following that letter a number
of our members met with Steve Heckley and Carmel to look at the details of
the schemes. Among other issues, we spoke about the value of well-designed
advanced stop lines at the Liverpool Road/Crosfield St/Parker St. junction,
and we expressed some reservations about the detail of the design around the
Sankey Green Roundabout.
West of Hood Lane
The unsegregated shared footway/cycleway on the north side of Sankey Way
is only 1.2m wide (less than 1.1m in places). This falls considerably short of
the recommended minimum width of 3m for such facilities (and even the
absolute minimum of 2m applicable in exceptional circumstances).
See: “Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure”, Department of Transport / Bicycle Association / Cycling Tourist
Club / Institution of Highways and Transportation, 1995.
The cycle facility has been provided to the detriment of pedestrians who had
previously enjoyed exclusive use of this narrow footway which is only just
wide enough for a parent walking in hand with a young child. Any cyclists
using this path will come into conflict with pedestrians who will feel
threatened and unsafe.
This facility is dangerous for cyclists. The path is too narrow for a cyclist to
pass pedestrians or other cyclists, forcing them to ride off the path and onto
the narrow grass verge between the path and the carriageway. The likelihood
of a cyclist slipping or falling into the path of traffic is too serious to
We would urge that all signs directing cyclists towards this path should be
removed, and that cyclists should not be encouraged to use it.
Hood Lane Toucan Crossing
We are pleased to see the upgrading of the pedestrian crossing to a toucan
crossing. This has been well designed with plenty of space for cyclists and
pedestrians to keep out of each other’s way. The dropped kerbs are in need of
attention to ensure that they are flush with the road surface.
It would be a good idea to provide a ramp at the blocked end of Hood Lane
North to enable cyclists to access the crossing.
East of Hood Lane
The segregated section on either side of Cromwell Avenue is 2.5m wide.
Again, this falls short of the both the recommended width of 5m and the
absolute minimum of 3m (which would only be acceptable if the path had a
clear verge on each side). If a shared facility is to be segregated it is important
that cyclists and pedestrians are able to pass other users while remaining on
their own side of the path. This is not possible in this case, so it would be
better for the facility to be unsegregated.
We are also concerned about vegetation obscuring visibility, particularly near
to Cromwell Avenue where the path bends and space is very restricted.
The cycle paths around the Crossfields Roundabout have again taken space
from an existing pedestrian facility. The crossings are unsegregated, with
complex turning and crossing movements, which will lead to
For cyclists, passing each other within a 1.5 m path immediately adjacent to
oncoming traffic is dangerous enough, but the path is further reduced in
width at several paces by the presence of lampposts, signposts and even a
litter bin. It must be remembered that these facilities are most likely to be used
by young and inexperienced cyclists who do not understand the dangers of
using off-road cycle facilities. These cyclists will be the least skilled and are
most at risk when trying to negotiate these obstacles.
The cycle path should be realigned so that it is kept at least 0.5m away from
the carriageway. All obstructions should be removed from the cycle path, or
where this is not possible the cycle path should be diverted round them.
Where there is insufficient space it would be preferable to mark an
unsegregated path rather than to compromise safety. Cyclists should also be
encouraged to ride along Green Street, which in any case provides a more
direct route towards the town centre.
Liverpool Road Cycle Lanes
The cycle lanes on the Liverpool Road crossing the railway bridge are
uncomfortably narrow at 1.2m, particularly at bends where it is common for
traffic to encroach into the cycle lanes. While these are not sufficiently
dangerous to justify immediate remedial action, they should be widened to at
least the minimum recommended width of 1.5m when they become due for
routine re-painting. We would also like to see the cycle lanes extended to
reach the off-road paths to ensure route continuity.
The common practice of designing a transition from the carriageway to off-
road cycle paths via dropped kerbs causes hazards to cyclists. Unless extreme
care is taken during construction there is usually a small upstand. This can
throw cyclists off balance, particularly where the kerb line is crossed at a
tangent. All dropped kerbs should be carefully inspected and remedial
treatment undertaken to ensure smooth transitions.
“Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure” offers sound advice on designing such
transitions and we hope this will be followed in the future.
There is a sign, which directs cyclist into Warrington toward the cycle lane on
the south (right hand) side of the road. This is extremely dangerous for
anyone who actually follows the sign (this practice has been seen).
In conclusion, there are a number of serious safety concerns about the new
cycle facility. Would it be possible for you to conduct a short review of the
facilties with the above points in mind? Such a review could perhaps be
along the lines of the new cycle audit procedures that I understand the
council now has in place. Our experience has been that a thorough test of the
facility should include at least 2 cyclists, a pushchair and a toddler. I would
be pleased to hear of the results of your review, and look forward to working
with you to sort out some of these issues.
For the Warrington Cycle Campaign