Cycle-only outbound access through Micklegate Bar: lets keep it!

Its nearly eight months since Micklegate Bar was restricted to only cyclists heading out of the city. Talking to our members they think it’s a success and want to see it retained beyond the remaining 10 months of the trial period. We wrote the below response to the Council’s consultation to tell them this, if you’d like to write your own response you can do so to highway.regulation@york.gov.uk


In conversation with members since the start of the trial in December, we have heard many positive comments about the restrictions, which are of a huge benefit to cyclists using Micklegate as a route to/from the city centre. A common theme is the perceived decrease on traffic numbers using Micklegate, particularly westbound. Our members have informed us that this makes using Micklegate as a route out of the city centre much more attractive, as there is less worry about dangerous interactions with motor vehicles. This is particularly welcomed along the cobbled uphill section, which often requires cyclists to adopt a position away from the kerb and adopt an irregular line to avoid the most severe cobbles.

The trial has also meant that the green light onto Blossom Street has effectively become a cycle only phase, with riders able to make good distance along Blossom Street before traffic coming from other directions passes. This comes up most often with cyclists travelling with younger children in their own cycles, as it removes the previous danger of what could be a chaotic junction.
Since the change, we have had concerns raised about the restriction being disobeyed and outbound motorists being observed bypassing through the inbound arch. We understand that the police have previously taken action against this, however the frequency with which this has been observed would suggest further efforts such as the use of cameras should be taken to combat these actions and protect oncoming road users.

Going forward we believe that the scheme should, as a minimum, be retained and we would also welcome any extension. When the proposed improvements to York Station and Queen Street have been discussed at our meetings the link between that masterplan and Micklegate is often raised, despite our understanding that it does not include Micklegate within its boundaries. It is, however, obvious to our members that there is a natural benefit to linking the two schemes regardless.

Another desire often raised is for a similar restriction inbound, which would protect cyclists coming into the city centre from Blossom Street. Just this week in our social media group, a member reported a near miss, which could have been a severe incident, after being overtaken through the lights by a taxi which had to then brake sharply to make it through the arch. Unfortunately this is not an irregular report. It’s also been considered by some members that such a closure would free up room on Blossom Street for a segregated cycle lane and widened footpaths as the straight ahead lane would no longer be required for traffic.

Below are a sample of the kind of comments we’ve received since the changes were made (names have been removed for GDPR purposes).

December 17, 2018
“Well I’ve just cycled up Micklegate. What a joy! I hadn’t realised how much I usually avoid it!
Cycling up the wet cobbles holds no fear when you are not being pushed towards the gutter by cars. It was quiet and civilised. And then straight through the Bar and into the now unnecessary bike box.”

April 16, 2019
“Today I exited Micklegate Bar for the first time since closure to outbound motor vehicles. An amazingly pleasant experience and time to safely establish lane use before the next outbound traffic wave. Still to contend with Blossom St. outbound bus departures, when I generally give way to their drivers. Vastly improved and much safer than previously.”

January 14, 2019
“Car-restricted Micklegate appear to be thriving, not struggling. Purely anecdotally, I spent several hours in the Micklegate Social recently and only noticed one customer being dropped off by car – everyone else arrived by bike or on foot. Obviously some of these pedestrians could have been walking from parked cars, but it seems unlikely given that there is no shortage of competitors/alternatives to the Micklegate Social.”

May 27, 2018 (before the changes were made)
“Micklegate Bar is a terrible spot for cyclists in any part of the intersection”


We’ve previously written about the closure; to support the proposals to enact the restrictions and to consider the positive impacts the street will see.

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