Segregated cycleway in Bradford
Segregated cycleway (Bradford)

Harrogate District Cycle Action already has some priorities for new routes and for improvements to existing routes. These are generally planned or ongoing projects.

The priorities aren’t set in stone – they will evolve as some projects are completed and others are identified.

Also, these priorities aren’t intended to be an overview of all that needs to be done to create a complete network. The Harrogate areas and Knaresborough areas pages are designed to gather ideas for the cycle network as a whole. Ripon and other areas of Harrogate District are still be worked on at the time of writing.

New routes

Harrogate Cycle Highway Route 1

Cardale Park, Harrogate

Harrogate Cycle Highway Route 1 is the most ambitious proposed cycle route in the District. Ultimately, it would link Knaresborough and Cardale Park, with a high-quality, largely segregated cycle route.

Otley Road Cycleway

The Otley Road cycleway will form part of Cycle Highway Route 1. Plans for Otley Road are more advanced than for any other part of Route 1. A bid for funding from central government was successful, designs have been drawn up for at least part of Otley Road, and a consultation has been held.

Originally, the cycleway was to be created in July 2018, but it has been delayed several times. Now, work on the cycleway is scheduled for July 2020 – but only a short section is to be built initially. That’s disappointing, and we’d like to see the cycleway as a whole built without further delay.

Although there have been some objections, there is a huge amount of community support for the Otley Road cycleway.

Knaresborough to Harrogate

Another part of Route 1, the section from Knaresborough to Harrogate, is included as part of a bid for government funding from the Transforming Cities Fund. The bid was made at the end of November 2019, and at the time of writing a decision on the bid hasn’t been made by central government.

There’s already a cycle path by the A59 (almost) from High Bridge Knaresborough to Harrogate Golf Club. It starts a short way after High Bridge, which reduces its value a lot. We’re asking for it to begin at High Bridge, so people don’t have to brave a short stretch of busy main road.

Nidderdale Greenway extension

Portrait bench on the Nidderdale Greenway

We would love to see the Nidderdale Greenway extended from Ripley all the way to Pateley Bridge, and beyond to Scarhouse Reservoir.

HDCA member Malcolm (who was instrumental in creating the existing Nidderdale Greenway) is working on the proposed route and design, together with Sustrans.

The next step is to hold a series of consultations with the community, in order to finalise the route. Details will be added here.

Read more about the Nidderdale Greenway extension.

Fountains Abbey to Ripon cycle path

Stags, Studley
Stags at Studley

It’s a short distance from Ripon to Fountains Abbey and Studley, and it makes sense to have a cycle route, to reduce the number of car journeys and demand for parking.

Our Ripon branch are working on this, with Sustrans and the National Trust.

Improvements to existing routes

Follifoot underpass

This project is designed to provide a safe cycle crossing of the A658 where Pannal Road was severed when it was built.

The existing underpass is to be re-surfaced, and funding was provided some time ago when Harrogate Rugby club moved to it new Rudding Lane site. At present, the underpass is usually so muddy that it is impassable by bike.

The re-surfacing could have been done with celerity, but at the time of writing no work has been done.

Yorkshire Showground access points

The entrance to/exit from the Yorkshire Showground near Crimple Lane/the Traveller’s Rest is to be improved, thanks to the hard work of HDCA member Gia. Sections that are currently gravel are to be surfaced properly.

This will improve the route from the Showground to Rudding Lane, a route which continues towards Follifoot, Spofforth, and Wetherby.

Slingsby Walk crossings of Oatlands Drive & Wetherby Road

Slingsby Walk, Wetherby Road crossing
Slingsby Walk, Wetherby Road crossing

Slingsby Walk is a good walking and cycling route in Stray ward, but it lacks crossings of Oatlands Drive and Wetherby Road.

This means that drivers have priority at all times. Traffic can be constant, and anyone on foot or on a bike has to wait and hope for a gap in the traffic before dashing across.

We think that’s not good enough, given that it’s government policy that walking and cycling should be the natural choices for short journeys. We’re working to secure Pegasus crossings at both these locations.

Harlow Moor Road link to Otley Road

Harlow Moor Road
Harlow Moor Road

As conditions of the new Linden Homes and Miller Homes housing developments, a section of pavement along Harlow Moor Road was re-surfaced, and designated shared use.

Shared use pavement should really be a last resort, where there’s no other option. It’s likely that this pavement will largely be ignored by people on bikes, whereas a dedicated, protected bike lane would be used.

At the time of writing, the shared use path is isolated – it doesn’t connect to anything. We are trying to ensure that at least it connects to Otley Road, where there will be a cycleway.

Hookstone Drive & Oatlands Drive

Hookstone Drive cycle lane
Hookstone Drive cycle lane

There are painted, advisory cycle lanes on Hookstone Drive and Oatlands Drive. The lanes are 80-110cm wide.

When Hookstone Drive was resurfaced, we were consulted about whether the white lines should be replaced. According to guidance, 2m is the preferred minimum width, and 1.5m the absolute minimum.

Due to the width of these roads, it’s not possible to simply widen the cycle lanes.

On Hookstone Drive, we asked for a protected, on-road cycle lane of proper width on one side, and a widened shared use pavement (with priority over side streets) in the other direction.

Oatlands Drive is arguably even more important than Hookstone Drive, because it is the link from Slingsby Walk to two schools – St Aidan’s on Oatlands Drive itself, and St John Fisher near the end of Oatlands Drive, on Hookstone Drive.

Painted cycle lanes

There are some advantages to painted lanes – they narrow the effective carriageway width, which tends to reduce traffic speed, and they show that people riding bikes should be there. When traffic is at a standstill, they sometimes provide a ‘filtering lane’ for people on bikes to use to get past.

On the other hand, there are disadvantages. Paint isn’t protection from traffic, and narrow lanes (in breach of all guidance) effectively ask cyclists to ride in the gutter, which isn’t recommended. Also, research shows that drivers leave less space where there are painted lanes, and there’s some evidence that there are more accidents.

Oatlands Drive cycle lane
Oatlands Drive cycle lane

Overall, these painted lanes are not the kind of quality infrastructure which will encourage more people to get around by bike. How many parents would be reassured by sub-standard, painted bike lanes, enough to let their children ride to school?

20mph & traffic-calming

On Oatlands Drive, one option could be to reduce the speed limit to 20mph, enforce it, and add engineered traffic-calming measures.

Many other towns and cities are adopting 20mph as the default speed limit, not only near schools, but in all residential areas. We believe this is the right approach for Harrogate District, but adopting the speed limit is insufficient by itself – enforcement and changes to the road itself are needed, to ensure the legal limit is respected.

3 thoughts on “Priorities

  • March 3, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Generally I’m in agreement with priorities here. However, some comments…
    Regarding Oatlands Drive – the painted lines reserving the gutter for cyclists are not ideal but they are a great deal better than nothing at all. I regularly appreciate the opportunity to filter down the inside of queues of stationary traffic. So I’m very much in favour of keeping them until we can come up with something better.

    Something new I’d like to suggest…
    A nice way to get out of town into open country is a route along Kingsley Drive / Bogs Lane / Forest Lane / Rudding Lane. It’s mostly pleasant cycling but can be very difficult to cross Wetherby Rd at the Forest Lane / Rudding Lane junction. Is there something we could do to improve matters at this junction?

    • March 4, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Philip,

      Thanks for the comment. Some members of HDCA agree with you about the narrow painted lanes! But there is evidence that painted lanes are worse than nothing in terms of safety

      Also, the lanes on Oatlands Drive are 80-100cm, which breaches all guidance – the absolute minimum is 150cm, and the recommended minimum 200cm.

      I take the point about filtering. Still, with two schools here, bike lanes need to be clearly safe to encourage mode shift.

      I’ll pass on your comment about the Wetherby Road junction and see what others think.


      • March 9, 2020 at 2:16 pm

        Yes I agree with everything you say about Oatlands Drive not conforming to guidelines – there’s a real need for something better. But I hold by my view that they are still better than nothing. I have an impression that since the recent resurface they are very slightly wider.

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