Sunday, 6 March 2011

A nice day out

I had this idea in the back of my head that perhaps I ought to do a detailed route map of the Plym Valley trail and Drake's Trail, with photos and info on handy places to stop for a rest (and perhaps a picnic). Throw in references of good shops along the way (like Sonya's in Yelverton for coffee and cake) and places where you may be able to find help.

In due course, the idea is to have video clips covering the entire route from Plymouth to Tavistock. So far it is only an idea, and I may never actually complete it. I'll have to see how it goes.

Anyhow, I went cycling that way today and while out cycling realised something blindingly obvious that doesn't bode well for the dream of having decent, Dutch-style cycling infrastructure in the UK. According to David Hembrow, the minimum width of a Dutch single-direction cycle path is 2.5 metres.

The issue I'm struggling with is how the blazes will we ever get Britain to build decent, Dutch-style cycle paths like that when we have roads that are narrower? Just look at the picture below (courtesy of Google Streetview, obviously) showing a rural road that forms part of NCN 27.

This bit is beteen the site of the old Grenofen Viaduct and Tavistock. I've cycled this road today and though I haven't measured it, it cannot be wider than 2.5 metres.


True, it is a quiet, rural lane, and I'm not even for one second suggesting we need separate cycle lanes alongside it, or on it. 
The point I'm making is this road remains this width almost all the way into Tavistock, and there are a great many roads just like it, or even narrower, criss-crossing the British countryside. And roads like this are considered perfectly acceptable to have speed limits of 60 mph, so how can we get the UK to take cycling paths seriously when we have such ridiculously high speed limits for country lanes? It is no wonder the DfT states more than 60% of road crash fatalities were on rural roads.