DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT CYCLING STRATEGY 29 February 2008

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1 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT CYCLING STRATEGY 29 February 2008 INTRODUCTION The Department of Transport s Business Plan for the 2007/08 financial year stated the following: Government Aim: Quality Environment To protect and improve the quality of the environment Purpose: Department Aim: Objective: To ensure that the Manx environment continues to be an asset for future generations. To balance the needs and aspirations of the infrastructure users with the impact on the environment. Environment and Sustainability Promote and support initiatives and schemes which benefits the environment and comply with the guidelines for sustainable development. We will develop a strategy to increase the use of cycling as a mode of transport to employment and school premises. This strategy will initially assess the provision of safe cycle routes into lower Douglas from residential areas, cycle training for school children and the introduction of designated cycle routes on North Quay, Bath Place, Pervril Square and from Anagh Coar to Harcroft. This document will provide recommendations for an Island Cycling Strategy, background information and will set out the Department of Transport s aims and objectives. The Need for a Cycling Strategy This Strategy will primarily focus on reducing the daily reliance on the car as a mode of transport to access employment, education, retail, leisure and public transport facilities. Cycling is an essential part of the Government s transport strategy because it provides a real alternative mode of transport to the car for journeys up to 5 Miles. This distance is more than the 5 Kilometres recognised by the Institute of Highways and Transportation guidelines as the length of short car trips which have the potential to be replaced by a bicycle journey. However, a 5 mile journey on a bicycle will take less than 45 minutes and is suitable for occasional/seasonal cycling. 1

2 The Need for a Cycling Strategy The Department of Transport s Business Plan objective recognises the concentration of the Island s population, business, retail and public transport facilities within Douglas compared to other locations on the Island which has resulted in improvement works being targeted on the Douglas area. Existing Cycling Policies and Strategies in the Isle of Man 1. The Department of Transport had a Policy and Strategy decision to seek funding for a cycleway from Bridge Road Douglas to Peel which uses the disused Douglas to Peel railway line between Quarterbridge and Peel following the installation of the Iris drainage system. 2. The Department of Transport are currently constructing a cycleway on North Quay which will eventually link to the existing cycleway facility on the Promenade. This scheme will be completed in The Department of Transport prepared a design in 2007 to link Anagh Coar to Harcroft in Douglas adjacent to the New Castletown Road with a pedestrian and cycle route. This work is scheduled for completion in The Isle of Man Strategic Plan for the Town and Country Planning Act 1999 places sustainable transport including cycling as a core development objective by stating the following: Transport Policy 1: New development should where possible be located close to existing public transport facilities and routes including pedestrian, cycle and rail routes. Transport Policy 2: The layout of development should where appropriate make provision for new bus, pedestrian and cycling routes including linking into existing systems. Transport Policy 3: New development on or around existing and former rail routes should not compromise their attraction as tourism and leisure facilities or their potential as public transport routes, or cycle/leisure footpath routes. Transport Policy 5: Any improvements to the Island s highway network including the provision of new roads, footpaths and cycle routes, should be undertaken in accordance with the environmental objectives of this plan. 5. The Department of Transport have co-operated with the Department of Tourism and Leisure to provide a number of leisure cycling routes with information leaflets on the Island s highway network. 6. The Department of Transport provide the Manx cycling proficiency course within schools to improve the standard of children s cycling and their road safety. The Department of Transport are currently assessing the Bikeabilty course offered to school children in the United Kingdom to ascertain its suitability for implementation in the Isle of Man 2

3 Cycle Usage, Cycle Safety and Demand for Cycling Facilities Cycle Usage The Department of Transport do not hold any data on the volumes of cycling traffic which use the public highway to gain access to employment, education, retail, leisure and public transport facilities. However, the volumes of vehicular traffic on the Island s main road network is increasing which causes congestion, pollution and delays to traffic particularly around Douglas. For example in the last seven years daily traffic volumes on Kewaigue Hill, Douglas has increased from 6280 to The Department of Transport recognise a number of strategies must be adopted in response to this increase in vehicle traffic volumes and improved cycling facilities to encourage commuter cycling on a daily basis will supplement the road infrastructure improvements and traffic management measures proposed by the Department of Transport within their Douglas Highway Strategy which was received by Tynwald in Anecdotal evidence exists from the construction of the cycleway on Douglas Promenade which has indicated the construction of a commodious and safe purpose built cycleway which is segregated from vehicular traffic will result in an increase in the volumes of both commuter and leisure cycling. Cycling in leisure time for pleasure, sport and fitness is in high demand on the Island and additional cycling facilities, information and signage would improve the cycling environment for this group of highway users particularly if they are segregated from roads with high volumes of traffic or fast moving traffic. Cycle Safety Cyclists have been involved in the following number of accidents over the last three years: In incidents are recorded resulting in 1 serious injury, 2 slight injuries and 1 damage only. In incidents occurred resulting in 5 slight injuries and 1 damage only. In incidents occurred resulting in 1 fatality, 4 serious injuries, 12 slight injuries and 3 damage only. (Note: The fatality involved a lorry tyre hitting the cyclist on the A1 at Greeba) This data cannot be accurately assessed because the Department of Transport do not hold data on the number of persons who cycle daily on the Island or at a particular location. However, it is likely the following factors will determine a cyclist s perception of risk on their journey: Speed of traffic, speed limits, age of cyclist, level of cycling experience and competency, highway width, proximity of vehicular traffic, the presence of parked vehicles, the volumes of vehicular traffic, the volumes of heavy goods vehicular traffic, number and types of road junctions, highway gradient, segregation of vehicular and cycling traffic, surface condition of highway, priority afforded to cyclists, weather conditions and levels of lighting. 3

4 The existing urban cycleways are segregated from other forms of vehicular traffic and they are located adjacent to the carriageway to ensure the cyclist is not completely isolated from other members of the public and have the benefit of street lighting. The disadvantage associated with this arrangement is cyclists should reduce their speeds to ensure pedestrian safety, stop or give way at all accesses/junctions and the cycleway is not kept clean through the passage of vehicular traffic. The Department of Transport currently offer cycling proficiency training to all school children. The Department are currently assessing the Bikeability course offered to United Kingdom children to determine its suitability for introduction on the Island. In addition an adult cycling course could be developed for members of the public subject to the Department recovering its costs from course attendees. Demand for Cycling Facilities The Department of Transport approach to the provision of cycling facilities has largely been reactive to public requests and opportunistic when land is being developed or when other highway improvements are required. This has resulted in the provision of facilities which users require and ensuring new developments can be accessed where appropriate by cyclists. A planned and systematic approach to the provision of cycling facilities is recommended in this document followed by consultation with existing highway users and other interested parties before improvements to cycling facilities are implementation. The highest demand for cycling is likely to be within 5 miles of the main business, retail and public transport facilities in Douglas and in the vicinity of Schools. Benefits of Cycling Reduce Travel Times in Congested Areas This would apply to congested locations in peak periods such as the Promenade in Douglas and it is likely vehicular traffic would overtake the cyclist outside the congested areas. Reduce Dust, Noise and Pollution An increase in the number of people cycling would improve the environment of residents and businesses located adjacent to Douglas main commuter routes. Health Benefits Cycling is an excellent form of exercise with those people who regularly cycle being fitter and subject to less medical problems including obesity, heart problems and respiratory complaints. 4

5 Economic Benefits Cycling is a low cost form of transport when you compare the life expectancy of the bicycle against the initial purchasing, maintenance and running costs Increasing Numbers of Tourists and Visitors The provision of cycling facilities encourages increases public access to countryside and visitors to the Island for cycling holidays Strategy Aims Increase the Safety of Cyclists on the Public Highway Ensure all highway improvements strike a reasonable balance between cycling use and other highway traffic. Continue the ongoing assessment of the Police s accident records when an incident occurs involving a cyclist. Meet the Existing Demand for Cycling Assess requests for improved facilities from cyclists and evaluate the Police s accident records when an incident occurs involving a cyclist. Increase the Number of Persons Cycling Promote cycling as a first class mode of transport in urban areas through the provision of bespoke cycling highway improvement and improve the image of cycling for commuter use with employers and community groups. Influence Development The Department of Transport will encourage the provision of cycling facilities and promote cycling through our response to individual planning applications and our involvement in the preparation of area development plans by the Department of Local Government and the Environment. Create Partnerships Develop partnerships with the Department of Local Government and the Environment, Police, Schools, Department of Education, Cycle Retailers, Cycling Groups, Local Authorities and the Department of Tourism and Leisure to promote cycling. Identify Resources Identify additional stakeholders and sources of financial funding. 5

6 Objectives We will: Collect and monitor cycling accident and volume data to assess future cycling infrastructure needs. Increase the volumes of bicycle traffic by 5% where cycling facilities are provided by Influence land use patterns to help reduce distance travelled to work to less than 5 miles. Encourage the provision of safe and secure cycle storage facilities in new residential property and business developments and particularly within 5 miles of Douglas town Centre. Encourage the incorporation of cycling as a mode of transport and the development of safe cycling routes in business and school travel plans. Encourage the provision of safe and secure cycle parking facilities at public transport facilities and in retail centres. Develop and support the development of safe cycle routes to retail, employment, public transport and education facilities. These facilities will be provided in a planned and systematic way by initially improving the facilities in the retail and business areas of Douglas and at Schools throughout the Island by linking these areas with safe cycling routes to the surrounding residential areas. Develop and support the development of safe cycle routes to retail, employment and public transport facilities in urban areas. These facilities will be developed in conjunction with the preparation of the Department of Local Government and the Environment Planning and Building Control Division s Area Plans. Assist the Department of Tourism and Leisure to develop and review recreational/tourist cycling routes. Continue to train school children to be proficient cyclists and offer where practicable suitable training for adults. Recommendation 1. To receive the report at the Department of Transport s Policy and Strategy meeting on 3 March To approve the Aims and Objectives of the Department of Transport s Cycling Strategy. 3. To consult other Government Departments on the contents of Department of Transport s Cycling Strategy. 4. Incorporate the aims and objectives of the Department s Cycling Strategy within future Business Plans. 6

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