Campaign Welcomes e-Bike Hire

Early this week (18th Jan 2021) City of York Council agreed to allow Tier expand its current offer to include e-bikes for public hire as well as the e-scooters currently on offer. The range in which hires will be allowed to be used, enforced by the e-assist cutting out if you go out of range, will be gradually increased to cover the whole of the city by March 2021.

As with all e-bikes, the bikes on offer still require riders to pedal with the motors providing additional help. The e-assist function limited to 25 km/h (15.5mph) – at speeds over this e-assist will switch off and only the rider will be powering the cycle.

Cycle hire will cost £1 to unlock the bike, with a fee of £0.15 per minute of hire. This means a typical trip from the station to the hospital would cost around £2.50, although options can be made available for frequent users or specially identified groups.

Tier’s e-scooter are already on offer around the city. Photo: c/o Tier

In the run up to the decision session, York Cycle Campaign issued the following statement of support to the council;

Two years ago the Campaign gave a statement in support of a proposed cycle hire scheme in the city, to an executive of transport decision statement. Unfortunately that scheme did not come to fruition, however the proposal by Tier provides another opportunity to bring a cycle hire scheme city.

There is strong support amongst our members for a bike hire scheme. Ahead of our last statement we conducted a poll of our members, with 87% of those who responded saying they were in favour of a cycle hire scheme in the city. Interest in a scheme continues, with discussion about the latest proposal ongoing on our social media accounts.

Members’ enthusiasm comes from their experience of using similar schemes in cities throughout the UK and the world.  

We hope that if the initial offer of cycles proves successful, Tier might consider introducing some cargo bikes into their offer. This would allow residents to hire cycles for when they need to transport large, bulkier and heavy items, which would in turn would benefit local shops.

Cargo e-bikes operated by Tier in Europe. Photo: c/o Tier

Many members, including the few who oppose a bike hire scheme at all, have called for better infrastructure to support cyclists in York. As a cycle hire scheme, it’s likely the majority of users won’t be regular cyclists in York but visitors to the city and occasional cyclists for whom confidence to ride unprotected routes they are not familiar with will likely be low. 

Overall, the attitude of York Cycle Campaigners towards the proposed introduction of a bike hire scheme is one of firm support.

January 2021 Newsletter

The new year has certainly blasted in with a few challenges for us, including sub-zero temperatures and icy surfaces to cycle or walk on. Thanks to staff shortages and safety measures, gritting of cycle and footways seems to be left to a few generous volunteers, for whom we are very grateful. But even small areas of ice can catch you out (doesn’t my ankle know it) so take care out there. You might want to look back at our top ten tips for cycling in winter.

Danger in Dunnington

Intrepid committee members Juliet and Kate ventured out to Dunnington to explore ideas for making the cycle route into York – which can involve scary 60mph close passes – safer. Read how they got on with Councillor Mark Warters and local residents. 

Navigation Road: our official response

Although we are broadly in favour of trialling a low traffic neighbourhood on Navigation Road, you may remember we have a number of specific concerns. We would like the restrictions to be imposed in both directions and re-designed to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians around key pinch points. You can read our response to the Council here.

St George’s Field multi storey car park 

Juliet read a statement from the campaign at the Council planning meeting on 7 January, asking for a decision on this site to be deferred. This would allow further work to be done on the walking and cycling aspects to bring them into clear compliance with planning and DfT requirements. It would also improve council chances of taking advantage of Government funding for these aspects. We raised particular concerns about the proposal to have a shared path rather than a segregated cycleway. Although the plans were approved, both officers and councillors took note of our points and confirmed that they would like to continue working with ‘cycling groups’ to improve the walk/cycle infrastructure and bring it more in line with LTN1/20 guidelines

Free after three?

A proposal was put to the full council meeting in December to allow free parking after 3pm to stimulate York city centre’s economy in January and February. Whilst this was rejected, and has been made less relevant by the current lockdown, Maeve read a statement to express our worries about increasing vehicular traffic at a time schoolchildren would (normally) be heading home. She suggested instead relaxing footstreet restrictions to allow cycling after 3pm which would make the centre much more accessible to cyclists. 

York Disability Rights Forum

Kate attended the forum’s public meeting during York Disability Week and learned that we have a number of shared aims. We look forward to working more with this vibrant group in the future.

Welcome York Collective

We are delighted to welcome York Collective as one of our corporate sponsors (joining Cycle Heaven and Get Cycling). York Collective is a not-for-profit worker-owned cooperative of cycle couriers in York who, like us, want to see an improved cycle infrastructure locally. Their goal is to transform the logistics of the city to assume social responsibility and achieve a better quality of life through less traffic, air pollution and noise. 

Are traffic signals ignoring you? Check your lights!

Do you sometimes cycle up to traffic lights and find they refuse to go green until a motorist appears behind you? Most York traffic light systems have now been converted under the TSAR (Traffic Signal Asset Renewal) programme. TSAR uses an above-ground detection system to sense traffic rather than induction loops in the road (which were dependent on road surfaces being sufficiently well maintained). The council told one of our members that, whilst the new traffic sensors should detect cyclists, there may be some issues at night: the sensors may not register you if you have no or low power lights. Let us know if there are any locations which consistently cause you problems.

Ride to Dunnington

“I used to cycle to work, but I’ve given up now; it’s just too dangerous,” explained Zoe. A small group of us were watching cars hurtle by, trying to figure out how conditions could be made safer for cyclists and pedestrians accessing the village of Dunnington .

It was a cold and icy morning soon after Christmas when committee members Juliet and Kate went to meet with councillor Mark Warters, members of Dunnington Parish Council and local residents. We walked along York Road and bandied some ideas around.

York to Dunnington by cycle is a clear desire line – there are lots of commuters and school children wanting to access places of work and schools in York from Dunnington and from further afield, as well as leisure cyclists seeking access to the Wolds. There is suggested route via Murton but it’s indirect and flawed.

York Road is the most direct way into Dunnington from York but has no speed limit beyond national restrictions and blind summits. Drivers zip along at 60mph for much of the 500m or so until they reach the houses on the edge of the village, making it an intimidating space for cyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrians have to trudge down the rough verge, whilst cyclists experience the thrill of close-passes at high speed. Amazingly this road is part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 66.

One member of our party explained how the local U3A group would like to be able to walk this way. Another person told us that students travelling to Fulford and Archbishop Holgate’s Secondary Schools could be seen cycling along the road each morning in a mini ‘peloton’ but the danger associated with this stretch meant that parents were taking turns to accompany the children.

For many years (over 20!), local residents have campaigned for a path by the side of York Road for pedestrians and cyclists to use and speed calming measures. The verge on the northern side of the road has utilities buried under it, making it difficult to convert. Instead our little group examined the verge on the southern side of the road. Cllr Warters has put forward the idea of laying a rough crushed tarmac planings track down this verge to create a safe path. At around 1.5m it wouldn’t be the widest, and with a rough surface it wouldn’t be somewhere to ride a racing bike, but on the plus side it is something that could be done quickly and cheaply (using ward and Parish council funding) and it would be a start.

The cycle campaign has previously put forward the idea of inserting a point closure on this road, which would reallocate road space to cyclists. Local residents were worried about the impact that this might have on the local bus service, and they weren’t keen on motorists being forced to use the other roads in and out of Dunnington, both of which don’t have traffic light controls and can be very difficult to exit at busy times.

During our walk we also talked about measures to reduce speed along York Road. Most people favoured a 30 or 40mph speed limit being introduced. Some liked the idea of chicanes or gates at the road-side as a visual reminder that motorists are entering a zone where pedestrians and cyclists are present and which leads into a quiet village.

We agreed to continue working together on a solution, and to ask others with more expertise in transport planning for their advice.

One thing Juliet and I concluded as we trundled home was that the Grimston Bar roundabout is another weak link in the route between York and Dunnington. The visibility is poor along the slip-roads, the paths are in shoddy condition, the traffic is very fast moving and there are little in the way of measures to aid pedestrians and cyclists. This weak link needs urgent improvement.

There are many in the village of Dunnington who are determined to achieve a safe and convenient cycle/walk route to York as soon as possible: the Cycle Campaign hopes that it can contribute to making this happen.

Navigation Road LTN Consultation:Response

In late 2020 City of York Council held a consultation on introducing a low traffic neighbourhood around Navigation Road to the east of the city centre. We wrote about the proposals in an earlier blog, below is our official response submitted to the council.


York Cycle Campaign broadly welcomes the proposals for conducting a trial low traffic neighbourhood on Navigation Road. Navigation Road. Navigation Road forms part of NCN Route 658, better known as the Foss Islands Route, which provides a connection to shops and workplaces in the city centre from areas to the east of the city such as Tang Hall, Derwenthorpe, Osbaldwick, and Heworth. The short section of road being considered for the LTN is often complained about by members as a weak point in the Foss Islands Route, which is mostly quietways through the city centre and greenway to the east.

Many members tell us that they are reluctant to cycle into the city centre with their families along this stretch, instead having to walk in or drive elsewhere. It is hoped in rerouting those cars that use this neighbourhood as a shortcut heading north such issues will be reduced and the route made attractive for families to travel into the city centre safely. However, as the restrictions only apply in one direction there is unlikely to be any improvement seen relating to people short cutting south-bound, and there are concerns that people will continue to travel north ignoring the restrictions.

One Way Plug

Numerous members have expressed their surprise that the plug isn’t being implemented in both directions, and are concerned that the overall effect on traffic reduction and improving safety won’t be effective as it could be.

The Campaign has received the proposed layout for the plug as shown in revision P02 of drawing HW-0005, and believes that some alterations could be made to remove potential conflict points between cyclists and road users. The largest planter pinches the traffic lane down to 1.5m which means any traffic using the lane will have to cross over into the cycle lane. The continued cycle lane markings imply a priority onto cyclists, however it can not be relied upon that this will be observed in a situation in which a cyclist and motor vehicle reach the pinch point at the same time. We would like to know if an alternative layout could be considered, possibly reducing the size of the planter or splitting it to create a gateway, in order to eliminate the pinch point with the potential to endanger cyclists.

As the traffic lane and cycle lane meet the minimum widths in LTN 1/20, and double yellow line parking restrictions are proposed, the Campaign would like to know if there is a reason a mandatory cycle lane can’t be implemented along this stretch. The row of planters on the offside of the traffic lane will prevent drivers moving out too far when passing cyclists. A mandatory lane reinforces that separation should be given and for drivers to hold back if a safe pass can’t be made. Recent research has shown this, with advisory lanes shown to increase the risk of collision by over 30%.

Hungate Bridge

The Campaign has not seen any proposals to date for the changes to Hungate Bridge, however our members tell us that this location is a conflict point with pedestrians and motorists.

The bollards at the foot of the bridge create a pinch point for users of the bridge, but also push southbound cyclists over to the left where visibility of pedestrians approaching from the Navigation Road pavement is limited due to the wall of Travis Perkins.

The conflict with motorists arises from a lack of clear priority over motorists leaving the car park, and lack of visibility for motorists leaving the car park of cyclists approaching from the bridge. A revised junction of the car park exit should make priorities clearer and improve visibility.

Navigation Road

Members tell us that the section of Navigation Road between Hungate Bridge and the Foss Islands Road junction is notorious for close passes. Map data indicates that this section of road is around 6.0m wide, leaving around 4.2m of carriageway once the parking has been allowed for, which doesn’t allow enough room for a safe overtake of a cyclist in secondary position or for a cyclist to confidently maintain primary position.

Reduction of the carriageway width alongside the parking in line with recommendations in chapter 7 of LTN 1/20 could help reduce close passes along this section, in allowing cyclists to confidently take primary position along the road. This could be achieved by the introduction of a marked buffer alongside the parking bays, which would also have the benefit of reducing the risk of dooring. A reduction in traffic and speeds along the route fits with the recommendations in the chapter. 

Foss Islands Road Junction

The Campaign has received the proposed layout for the plug as shown in revision A of drawing TP/190028/GA/01 and welcomes the increased width available to cycling and enhanced priorities at the junctions – collision data shows the entrances to these junctions to be a black spot for incidents.

It has been raised by members that a rearrangement of the build-out on Navigation Road could improve usability for cyclists leaving the carriageway. Currently to leave the carriageway cyclists will need to make a 90° left turn immediately followed by a right turn, which will require moving out onto the opposite side of the carriageway for many larger cycles when the radii in table 5-1 of LTN 1/20 are referenced. There will also be added complications if cyclists are already on the build-out waiting to turn right. The question asked is if a shallower entry to the cycle track could be accommodated through the removal of an additional parking space and introduction of a short length of marked cycle lane leading onto the build-out, such as that shown in figure 9.6 of LTN 1/20. 

Foss Islands Road

We welcome the measures to change the driver perception of priority at the entrances to Travis Perkins and Majestic Wine, but we’d like clarification over whether this section alongside Foss Islands Road is intended to be a segregated cycle path or a ‘shared use’ path with pedestrians? LTN1/20 recommends that cycle infrastructure is segregated, to avoid conflict between pedestrians and cyclists, and to increase comfort of both types of user. The campaign would like to see a segregated cycle path along this stretch. 

YCC Welcomes Navigation Road Consultation

The Campaign is welcoming a council consultation on improvements to Navigation Road, a key walking and cycling link into the city centre, and encouraging members to take part before the deadline on January the 4th.

On Monday this week (7th December 2020) City of York Council launched a new consultation on proposals to create a new low-traffic neighbourhood for Navigation Road. The aim of the proposals would be to reduce traffic using the neighbourhood as a short-cut avoiding the traffic light junction at Walmgate Bar, alongside upgrades to pedestrian and cycle facilities along the route.

A map produced by CoYC showing the proposed changes
A map produced by CoYC showing the proposed changes

Navigation Road forms part of NCN Route 658, better known as the Foss Islands Route, which provides a connection to shops and workplaces in the city centre from areas to the east of the city such as Tang Hall, Derwenthorpe, Osbaldwick, and Heworth. The short section of road is often complained about by members as a weak point in the Foss Islands Route, which is mostly quietways through the city centre and greenway to the east.

Traffic along this route is notorious on the Campaign’s Facebook members’ group for travelling at speed and dangerous close passes, as some drivers squeeze through the limited space left due to the parked cars rather than waiting for the short 100m stretch. Many members telling us that they are reluctant to cycle into the city centre with their families along this stretch, instead having to walk in or drive elsewhere. It is hoped in rerouting those cars that use this neighbourhood as a shortcut heading north such issues will be reduced and the route made attractive for families to travel into the city centre safely. However, as the restrictions only apply in one direction there is unlikely to be any improvement seen relating to people short cutting south-bound, and there are concerns that people will continue to travel north ignoring the restrictions.

As well as reducing traffic, changes are proposed for the end of Hungate Bridge where it meets the exit of Rowntree Wharf. Whilst proposals are unclear, it is hoped that the changes will resolve issues the bollards creating a pinch point for pedestrians and cyclists and clear up the ambiguity of priorities over vehicles leaving the car park.

Bollards at the bottom of Hungate Bridge cause a pinch point for pedestrians and cyclists

Changes are also proposed for the junction with Foss Islands Road to increase safety for cyclists, and make accessing/exiting cycle track alongside Foss Islands Road safe. Since 2005, there have been 19 reports of traffic collisions involving cyclists 50m stretch of track from this junction. As well as being unsafe the track is difficult to access and leave, especially whilst cars are queueing waiting to exit onto Foss Islands Road. We hope that proposals for the junction once released will follow the latest LTN 1/20 design guidelines to relieve this issues, making the track and easier and more attractive route to the retail park and beyond.

The junction with Foss Islands Road where access off the cycle path can prove tricky

How you can help

York Cycle Campaign will be submitting a formal response to the consultation, although we do strongly encourage members to submit their own comments. It takes about five minutes but the more members who submit comments the stronger the representative voice of the Campaign. This puts us in a stronger position to input into consultations. So if you can please take a few minutes to respond here.

If you think there are important points that should be considered in our response, please flag it in the members’ Facebook group or email us at YorkCycleCampaign@gmail.com