A cyclist who has just returned to York from London is not enjoy riding around our city streets. Here, they explain why…
I grew up in York and always thought of it as a really pro-cycling place.
I moved to London about a decade ago, relied on public transport, then really recently started cycling as my default way of getting around the capital.
For family reasons I ended up spending a lot of time in York recently and – given the size of the city – it felt obvious to use a bicycle to get around.
I’m sorry but it’s terrible and terrifying and I felt FAR more scared cycling along some of the roads in York than I ever do in London.
Among other issues:
- Cycle markings just faded out of existence pretty much everywhere.
- “Cycle lanes” on the major routes out of town consisting of just a dashed white line in the gutter – eg Shipton Road – no physical separation, while cars whizz past you at 40mph. (In London they’d never get up to that speed!)
- Most of the ‘cycle lanes’ on major routes aren’t cycle lanes – they’re just moderately sized pavements that have to be shared with pedestrians, meaning you’re always at risk of ploughing into a mum with a buggy or a crowd of schoolkids.
- Going over eg the Monkgate roundabout means just pulling out into a lane and owning the traffic and hoping no one in a car tries to overtake. (Clue: They do!)
- Where there are cycle lanes mandated on new developments (bits of Rawcliffe spring to mind) they seem to last a few hundred yards before vanishing because the next housing estate was built by a different developer at a different time.
- Not enough counter-flows / cycle-only routes (why on earth Bootham Bar is open to traffic I don’t know) for bikes.
- The Mount/Tadcaster Road is a total mess, tiny bits of cycle lane on pavement that force you to weave in and out of the main road. I saw they were planning a massive series of improvements to this road, so looked up the plans, and I think – please I hope I’m wrong – they’re putting in about 200m of segregated cycle lane while spending millions on the road?
- Cycling from the city centre to Haxby is 50% lovely (back routes across fields, winding through New Earswick) and 50% “ohmygodiamgoingtodie” as you head past the ring road. This is a 20 minute cycle ride! It’s nothing! And yet all of Haxby/Wigginton are queuing in their cars to drive into town! Frankly I don’t blame them!
- Oh and the rental e-bike scheme is crazy expensive and has limited places to drop the bikes, meaning it doesn’t really get you door-to-door.
I say this all with love because I adore my home city so much and am so proud to be from there.
But it’s such an insanely car-focused place given you can get anywhere within the ring road in about 30mins on a bicycle.
The whole city is based around a few arterial roads, surely you just stick a segregated cycle lane along each one? Given the current situation obviously only the cycling obsessives/ nutters/ people with no other option will use a bike.
This first appeared on Reddit and is reproduced here with permission of the author