Darlington Cycling Campaign was recently consulted on proposals to develop new cycling infrastructure in the north of the town. Such consultations occur on a regular basis. but what makes this particular proposal exceptional is that it is the first that is being made on a busy arterial road, Whinfield Road, and will involve the reduction of space for motorised traffic in favour of cyclists. The map here shows the proposed stretch in red, connecting existing routes marked in yellow (advisory) and green (actual cycling infrastructure).
For some time now, we’ve been arguing that more visible, and more direct cycle routes are needed if more people are to get on their bikes. The core of the local authority’s strategy had been to try to avoid busy roads altogether by developing signed “alternative routes” on quiet side roads. Thus, rather than cycling down North Road, we are encouraged to use the signed route down Pendelton Road, running parallel. The advantage is that a series of signs are relatively cheap to install, legally simple, and of course they do not incur the wrath of the motorist by threatening their road space. The disadvantage is that they can be, as is the case with the West Park route, somewhat roundabout, and still requiring the use of relatively busy roads.