Make the Disley A6 cycle lanes safe

Make the Disley A6 cycle lanes safe

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In late 2017 Cheshire East Council replaced the hashed central strip of the A6 north of Disley towards the Stockport boundary with "cycle lanes" along each side: dashed lines that are "advisory" under the Highway Code and unenforceable by police when it comes to vehicles blocking and parking in them. This was done with "mitigation" funding from the A555 A6-Manchester Airport Relief Road allocated to mitigating the impact of increased traffic on local roads and encouraging people to travel by more sustainable means.

When originally proposed at a local consultation in March 2017, the “cycleway” element of these “A6 Mitigation Works” differed strongly to what was built in several important ways:

  • Proposed: an enforceable, solid mandatory line throughout, except for junctions and access. Built: dashed advisory line with no protection from parking
  • Proposed: removal of all traffic islands except for one necessary, repositioned crossing near Lyme Park entrance. Built: two needless traffic islands remain, bollards long since destroyed by vehicles, forcing the “cycle lanes” to suddenly stop with pinch points.
  • Proposed: speed limit reduced to 30mph around “Lyme Bends” accident blackspot. Built: speed limit retained at 40mph despite severely narrowed lanes to fit narrow “cycle lanes”.
  • Proposed: “Cycle lanes” given coloured surface at key danger points such as junctions to make clear their presence. Built: Basic black asphalt throughout, poor driver awareness.

Together, we are calling for Cheshire East Highways to undertake a comprehensive rethinking of the scheme. In the short term, we request that several key interventions be made as a matter of urgency to protect cyclists from some of the dangers posed by the current design:

Double yellow lines or parking restrictions along the full length of the painted lanes

  • The lanes currently provide no protection from parked vehicles and cannot be enforced by local police. Parked vehicles are a consistent nuisance and danger outside numerous properties along the route, all of which have off-road parking. Just a single vehicle parked in the lanes renders them dangerous and useless to cyclists: if double yellow lines cannot be provided, the lanes should be removed entirely — they are unfit for purpose when the guidelines of LTN2/08 are applied.

Removal of two disused traffic islands

  • Heading north/west before Lyme Park bend and just south of the Park Road junction, two dilapidated islands remain from the previous road design. They do not have dropped kerbs and do not provide crossing points; they serve no purpose. This creates incredibly dangerous pinch points where motorists can easily misjudge the overtaking of cyclists. Both islands should be completely removed and the painted “cycle lane” markings extended to form continuous lanes.

Speed limit reduced to 30mph

  • The original consultation presentation boards on the scheme clearly stated that the 40mph speed limit on the Lyme Park bend would be reduced to 30mph, for the safety of both motorists and users of the new “cycle lanes”. This never happened and the road continues at 40mph despite the severely narrowed traffic lanes. Evidence clearly shows that painted “cycle lanes” cause motorists to overtake cyclists with even less space than usual — in this case a fully loaded quarry wagon screaming past centimetres from a cyclist at up to four times their speed. For the safety of all road users, the speed limit must be reduced.

We are clear, however, that these interventions are only short-term aids to the dire problems caused by the initial scheme. Cheshire East must also make it a genuine priority to provide a truly safe and fit-for-purpose cycleway along this essential corridor, working alongside Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council to form a joined-up, safe link along the A6 to enable more journeys to be made by bike.