Part of Otley Road Cycleway
Part of Otley Road Cycleway

In theory Phase 1 of Otley Road Cycleway is from the Arthurs Avenue/Cold Bath Road junction to Harlow Chase, just beyond the Harlow Moor Road junction.

Work finished for the time being on Tuesday 21st December 2021, but the contractors will come back after Christmas to do the jobs they didn’t have time for.


Here’s a summary (too long; didn’t read) before the detailed analysis.

(1) The funding bid for the Otley Road Cycleway succeeded in 2017, and it has taken 4 years to get this small part of it (‘Phase 1’) built.

(2) There are space constraints on Otley Road, and in making criticisms of the design we have borne that in mind.

(3) The one big improvement on ‘traditional’ North Yorkshire cycle infrastructure is that the cycleway has priority over minor side roads. It’s disappointing that pedestrians aren’t also specifically given priority too (although in theory the new Highway Code gives them priority over turning vehicles).

Priority cycle track across mouth of Pannal Ash Drive
Priority cycle track across mouth of Pannal Ash Drive

(4) Notwithstanding (2) above, nearly all difficult decisions have been ducked. Where there was a choice to be made, motor vehicles have been prioritised to the detriment of cycling and walking.

Cycle Infrastructure Design guidance states that space for cycling should be taken from the carriageway, and the level of service for pedestrians should not be reduced. At major light-controlled junctions on Otley Road, North Yorkshire has done the exact opposite: it has given nearly all the space to motor vehicles, and crammed pedestrians and cyclists together into what’s left over.

(5) Following on from point (4) above, arrangements for cycling at the light controlled junctions with Arthurs Avenue and Pannal Ash Road are very unsatisfactory. Cyclists are asked to go a short way up the side road, wait at a Toucan crossing, then share a very small amount of space with pedestrians.

(6) The Harlow Moor Road junction arrangements are unforgivable. In clear breach of the guidance, North Yorkshire has created extra lanes for turning vehicles, and left a tiny amount of space for those on foot and on bikes. The designers have considered the interests of drivers to the exclusion of any other road users.

(7) The guidance says that CYCLISTS DISMOUNT and END OF ROUTE signs should not be used, but North Yorkshire is still using them as a matter or routine.

(8) When the contractors finish off Phase 1, it will represent only a fraction of a cycle route, and as such it won’t be of much use yet. People need complete routes that join up to form a network.

Tl;dr Distilled

To distill the review even further:

  • there are genuine space constraints on Otley Road, and we do not criticise North Yorkshire where it has done its best in the space available, but
  • Cycle Infrastructure Design guidance says that space for cycling should be taken from the carriageway where this is possible, not from pedestrians. North Yorkshire has not done this. Indeed, this project involves more space being given to motor vehicles, at the expense of those on foot and on bikes

Following Pages

On the following pages, there’s:

  • a detailed look at the infrastructure, starting from Arthurs Avenue and going uphill on the south side of Otley Road to just beyond Harlow Moor Road
  • a detailed look at the infrastructure coming back down on the north side of Otley Road to Cold Bath Road
  • a summary of minor snags and major design flaws
  • a summary of the relevant Cycle Infrastructure Design guidance
  • a word about the future and turning Otley Road Cycleway into a complete route, linked into a cycle network
Otley Road Cycleway Phase 1 Review

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