Cycling safety in Cardiff: Your verdict

January 4, 2013 13 Comments »


Cyclists in Cardiff have delivered a damning verdict on the safety of the city’s cycle network, with none of them agreeing that it was well organised or maintained, and more than 90% saying they had felt unsafe while cycling in the city, according to our online poll.

A yourCardiff survey showed 0% of respondents felt “the cycle network in Cardiff is well organised and maintained for the benefit of cyclists and drivers”.

More than 65% of respondents said they felt that cycle routes in Cardiff were badly organised and poorly maintained by Cardiff Council, while just over 34% said the cycle routes were only sometimes well maintained.

Asked “Do you feel safe cycling in Cardiff?”, just 2.4% of 120 people who took part in the poll said they felt safe all of the time. 74% agreed with the statement “sometimes – some areas of the city are safer than other”, while 23.6% said they never felt safe on the city’s cycling network.

question 1We set up the poll after being contacted by Philip Freeman, 38, a cardiologist who has travelled to work on his bike for 18 years.

He said the city’s cycling infrastructure is poorly thought out and maintained.

“There doesn’t appear to be a joined up thought process going on and it seems that a lot of cycling lanes are there for the sake of it,” he said.

“The majority of bike lanes in Cardiff are red stripes painted on the roads right next to parking spaces.

“These are dangerous and pointless as they bring cyclists into an area of danger where car doors open and should be disregarded as cycle lanes.

“The other cycling lanes that have been created are short and poorly maintained with bollards, dismount signs, and signs that partially block the path. They don’t encourage cyclists to use the lanes.”

Dr Freeman pointed to a cycle lane on Neville Street which is often blocked by residents’ rubbish or vehicles and another on North Road used by residents to park cars.

Cycling safety bar chartCycling instructor Nicholas Pow, from Rhiwbina, said Cardiff’s cycle lanes could contradict National Safety Cycling Standards.

“The infrastructure is very poor, wherever there is red paint on the road,” he said.

“Often lanes are not much more than half a metre [wide].

“The council has not thought junctions through. Some of the places where they have painted red paint, a cyclist would get squashed.”

Dr Freeman and Mr Pow both said drivers and pedestrians become angry if cyclists cycle outside the cycle lanes.

Dr Freeman said: “I’m worried about my safety every day I get on my bike. Every day you have to be super aware and cautious.”

A Cardiff council spokesperson said they were committed to improving cycle safety and aimed to create a joined up cycle network, but appreciated ongoing feedback.

“Ongoing feedback is essential in developing the cycle network in the city,” the council said.

“In addition to the network of routes a number of initiatives including the installation of flush kerbs to improve access to/from off-road routes, the removal of redundant signs to reduce street clutter, and the installation of advanced stop lines at junctions were also identified.

“Ideally cyclists should be able to share the road with other traffic. Where footways are not clearly signed as shared use the assumption should be that cycling is not permitted.

“In recent years there have been moves to reduce the amount of street clutter, including signage, on our highways.”

Jane Lorimer, deputy director of Sustrans Cymru, said the council was moving in the right direction.

“There’s still lots to be done. We advocate that cycle facilities should be properly designed so the red paint is not always best choice.

“In the past Cardiff may have used red paint just to say they have facilities but I don’t think that’s the approach they take now.

“They’re taking the right approach I think.”

We also asked you to tell us where you thought Cardiff’s most dangerous spots for cyclists were, and where you thought there were good cycling safety facilities. You highlighted many of the city’s main, busy arteries as the most dangerous for cyclists, while the Taff Trail and much of Cardiff Bay were thought to be safer.

Have a look at our map below to see your cycling safety hot-spots and not-spots in the city.

What do you think of the results of our survey? Do you agree with them, as a cyclist, driver or pedestrian? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

View Cycling safety in Cardiff: Your verdict in a larger map

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  1. Paul Gimson January 4, 2013 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Couldn't agree more. There restriction on pavements without any other safe viable alternative also makes it dangerous for young children. This means, stupidly, you have to use the car to transport their bikes to a safe starting point for a bike ride!

  2. peter posh January 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Whoever thought of painting bike lanes on the road , and or cycles sharing lanes with buses needs to be taken out and shot

  3. Steve January 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    While Jane Lorimer and Sustrans do a fine job in developing and maintaining the leisure cycling network, I worry that their interest may divert potential resources from the more important goal of adequate networks of urban utility cycle lanes. Why are they not pointing to best practice abroad, as any sensible cycle network campaign should? They need to revise their strategy, and so do all UK transport planners.

  4. Jayne Moore January 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Gwern ruddi road has traffic calming narrowings with no provision for bikes.Many a time I have been cycling up the hill having right of way and the cars refuse to give way to cyclists.By the speed camera on Pentwyn road the central reservation forces cyclist into the gutter which is full of large pot holes. Will there ever be anywhere safe to leave a bike in the city centre?

  5. Andrew Brockway January 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    I cycle 20 miles a day as my commute (Pentyrch–>Cardiff Centre), most of it is on the Taff Trail which is superb and I afford the many pedestrians and other cyclists the room and respect I would want.

    The few miles I that am on the road are a sad and dangerous joke. I have to deal with a sufficent minority of nut-job motorists who will overtake cyclist at full speed regardless of the situation and the road surfaces around Penytrch hill are a submerged 60mph lunar landscape.

    The rare bicycle lanes that do exist in Cardiff are a token joke.

    When I consider the amount of people who cycle in Cardiff and networks like the Taff Trail I question why the council doesnt have the foresight to invest in this properly and encourage more people to get out of their car.

  6. Andrew Moon January 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    The Cardiff cycle lane "network" is confusing, dangerous, fragmented and in disrepair. None of the cycle routes are even enforced. Motorists are parking in lanes even when they are situated on pavements! Cars also regularly stop in the cycle area at lights, forcing cyclists nearer busy junctions. If the council want to save on road repair, they should invest in a proper cycle network, which should be promoted and enforced. This will reduce traffic, slow traffic and reduce congestion. Ask cyclists what network they want and put some real money behind it!

  7. janinehjones January 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    I'd be interested to know what we can do about it, as cyclists – I'm willing to put a bit of time into campaigning and so on but would love more info on what channels we can approach, rather than just the usual criticism (which I wholeheartedly agree with).

  8. Llandaff North Independents January 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    In my experience, Cardiff Council planners have been reluctant to insist on proper cycle lanes because 'they won't be joining up to anything.' The logic that if the planners start implementing safe, segregated cycle lanes now, they'll eventually, jig-saw like, join up and form a network holds no sway.

    Although piecemeal development isn't usually desirable, at least it would be moving in the right direction and would keep the question 'what about cyclists?' high in the planners' minds. Unfortunately, as this is not happening, it will require a large scale overhaul of the cycle lane network in Cardiff. This will only come about with a large injection of cash (unlikely) and with strong, strategic direction from the Labour administration in County Hall.

    Hopefully, when the administration publishes the more detailed Local Development Plan, it will make provisions for segregated cycle lanes suitable for adult commuters and school children.

  9. Betty January 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Cardiff is awful for cycling. I have made various complaints to Cardiff Bus re: dangerous driving, been shouted at by car drivers and pedestrians and complained to Cardiff Council re: persistent parking in cycle lanes, particularly on Cowbridge Road. The network needs a complete rethink by someone who actually knows about cycling, but also some enforcement when other road users misuse cycle lanes.

  10. musekidd January 5, 2013 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    "A Cardiff council spokesperson said they were committed to improving cycle safety and aimed to create a joined up cycle network, but appreciated ongoing feedback."

    – I wonder; is there a written outline or document that actually outlines what Cardiff Council has planned for improving cycle safety? What are the specifics, timetables, goals, etc. If such a thing exists, I would like to see it.

  11. Spencer Mumford January 6, 2013 at 9:14 am - Reply

    I believe there are people in the council who genuinely want Cardiff to be a great place for cycling.
    However, any issue raised is dealt with by people who have clearly been in the job too long. The typical response you get from these people is 'tough!'.

  12. Michelle Gandy March 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I decided to take up cycling to work from Thornhill to Cardiff over a year ago. I think I only lasted a couple of months. I didn't feel safe in all of the cycle lanes so had to cycle on the pavement in some areas. This resulted in a police officer one day threatening to fine me for cycling on the pavement and even though I was new and didn't know you could be fined for cycling on the pavement (I had seen most cyclists do it so thought it was ok) the police officer was still cross with me and told me he didn't care if others did it or that I didn't know about the fining. I cycled one more time after this incident making sure I stuck to the road and I nearly got hit by a white van coming out of a side road. I haven't cycled since.

  13. Hilda M. Wilton April 4, 2013 at 1:46 am - Reply

    I'll check out the google maps coordinates when we make our trip there. Tripadvisor has a lot of local inputs there about local stops.

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