The decision to improve some of Manchester’s busiest and most hazardous road junctions has been lauded by a leading cycling group in the city.
Manchester Wheelers’ Club – 294 members strong – have welcomed council plans to make the junction of Wilmslow Road, Wilbraham Road, and Moseley Road in Fallowfield safer for cyclists.
Club vice-president Viv Slack feels the planned segregation at the junction will help to reduce road cyclist casualties at one of the busiest areas of South Manchester.
“It is extremely important to all of us that cyclist safety is taken seriously by Manchester City Council so it is reassuring to see them looking at new measures,” she told MM.
“The Wilmslow Road area is a popular route for many cyclists but always feels fairly dangerous with cars and buses pulling in and out of parking spaces and side roads, often without checking mirrors or indicating.
“If segregated junctions for cyclists has improved safety in other countries, I am glad it is something being considered for Manchester.”
The plans are expected to cost £200,000 and be completed by March 2014, and will include segregated lanes for cyclists and ‘cycle-only’ traffic signals.
Given Fallowfield's heavy student population, it is estimated more than 2,000 cyclists pass through the area every day – ten times more than the next busiest route.
However Wilmslow Road also serves as part of Manchester's 'bus corridor', with buses often passing through within minutes of each other.
The new junction design was inspired by measures seen in the Netherlands, a country famed for having cycle-friendly cities.
Recent road accidents including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Olympic gold medallist Joanna Rowsell have put cycle safety in the spotlight, with Ms Slack feeling even more can be done.
“Ideally we would love to see some dedicated cycle routes during rush hour as has been implemented in many big cities,” she said.
“We often support charities working to improve road safety with riding events and raising sponsorship.
“Encouraging cycling by providing secure lock-ups and changing facilities is nice but what we really need are safer roads.
“Anything the council can do to decrease those risks is really important to all of us and our families.”
The money from the Department for Transport's Cycling Safety Fund will also see 100 advanced stop lines and 50 blind spot ‘Trixi’ mirrors installed across Greater Manchester.
Councillor Nigel Murphy, executive member for the environment, feels the introduction of these measures helps consolidate Manchester as the home of British cycling.
“We have an ambition for Manchester to become a world class cycling city,” he said.
“These changes, making one of the region’s busiest cycle routes much safer, will be a major step towards that aim.
“More confident cyclists can continue to use Wilmslow Road and will benefit from this innovative new junction design.
“Those who prefer not to use major roads will be able to make the same journey using a well signposted quiet route.”
For more information about Manchester Wheelers’ Club visit http://www.manchesterwheelers.co.uk/index.htm.
Picture courtesy of Yurri, with thanks.