You would think that a shared use path would have adequate security, or at least no obstructions blocking users who would use it. However, a Worcester cyclist was “amazed” by the sight of kissing gates on a shared pedestrian and cyclist path and obstacles he described as “totally a shambles and not at all inclusive” that forced a family of four cyclists to turn around.
Brian was out on a pleasure ride in Worcester yesterday when he stood in front of a Gandalf-like gate and loudly announced “You shall not pass” despite a blue signpost just a few feet away indicating that this was instead a route where cyclists were welcome.
“I decided to take the route that showed on my GPS as passable,” Brian told road.cc. “When I reached the gate, I was amazed by the device I saw in front of me. The path is marked for pedestrians and cyclists and is therefore a shared use path.”
> “Oh! Poles!” Delivery cyclist claims that new barriers on the cycle route designed by the council are too narrow for bicycle cargo trailers… also supplied by the council
Upon closer inspection, pedestrians can pass through the kissing gate. Bikers? Forget about it.
— Brian Gilliver (@BrianGilliver) October 8, 2023
Initially, he thought he wouldn’t be able to get through the gates at all, so out of desperation and frustration, he decided to take a photo and post it on Twitter (like many of us would do). At that moment, a family of four approached from the other side – a mother, a father and two children – all riding bicycles.
“I was annoyed by the obstacle, so I walked up to it and realized that the gate would open to let something through,” he said (then a rather poor imitation of Gandalf).
He added: “Unfortunately, the family was unable to reach us, although they tried very hard. I managed to maneuver the bike by tilting it in a strange way. However, the family was forced to return and go elsewhere.”
Brian said the kissing gate has some type of padlock that can be opened with a key to allow larger cycles to pass, however this would still be extremely difficult and in most cases downright impossible for users of wheelchairs, scooters, trishaws, cargo bikes, tandems and so on .
“It’s a complete mess and doesn’t cover all the issues. In my opinion, this is an unnecessary obstacle and should be removed,” he said.
> Campaigners welcome council’s U-turn on installing ‘discriminatory’ barriers on cycle and walking routes
A few hundred meters away, on the path on the eastern side of Trotshill Way leading to Trotshill Lane East, which is also part of the bridleway, he was greeted by another device. This time it was another old enemy of many cyclists and accessibility users: staggered barriers.
And a few hundred meters away we have this nonsense. pic.twitter.com/fecCSTOXl8
— Brian Gilliver (@BrianGilliver) October 8, 2023
Other cyclists weren’t too happy with the state of affairs in Worcester either.
> ‘Bad solution that causes conflict’: Unconvinced advice from delivery cyclist moving controversial bollards will work
“Trotshill. This has been a serious problem for years. Countless complaints have been made and yet the city council claims it is intended to stop motorbikes. The funny thing is this is where the horses are dropped off on the other side of the road. Horses don’t come through here.” – wrote one user on Twitter.
The cyclist said: “The biker/scrambler can just zip along and gain access somewhere else. It just makes everyday life harder for non-riders,” while another person noted: “Cycling infrastructure provided by people who have never used it before. used (or even saw?) a bicycle.”
Worcestershire Country Council has been contacted for comment.
> Disabled cyclist accuses Stockport Council of trying to ‘sneak out’ to ensure all cycle and walking routes are accessible
Accessibility problems for cyclists due to strange placement of locks and bollards are nothing new. In March, we reported that Steve Abraham, a Milton-Keynes cyclist known for his long-distance record attempts and also working as a delivery driver, had criticized the local authority’s decision to install barriers and bollards on the city’s cycle paths and shared-use routes, which he believed , prevents delivery drivers with large bicycle trailers – which were themselves supplied by the council – from using the paths.
The council defended its decision, saying the bollards were placed for “safety” reasons and to prevent vehicles from entering the area and driving on the red road.
However, ultracycling legend Abraham was not convinced by the council’s decision to change the arrangement of the poles from a straight line to a triangular shape.
He said the new bollards made it more difficult for providers to find efficient, accessible routes using the city’s expressways – a traffic-free shared-use network covering most urban settlements and extending into older towns in the area, and described the triangular realignment as “a bad solution that creates conflict with other users.”
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