Nuneaton’s shortest shared use path?

Just a quick thing...

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When it comes to shared use infrastructure, how short is too short? Perhaps when it’s only a few metres, flanked on either side by a regular footpath (i.e., not designated for cycling), and where the path on the opposite side has a proper and useful (if poor considering modern standards) shared use route.

This is the situation on St George’s Way in Nuneaton, where the new installation has been fitted as part of the Bermuda Connection Project. In the photo of the short section, the start and end are clearly marked on separate poles spaced with just a few metres between them. On the pole showing the roundal that marks the beginning of the shared space, the reverse outline of two signs can be seen – the same two signs that mark the end of route and instruct cyclists to dismount that are visible on this angle (confirmed from a grainy cycle camera image). This is definitely just a stub of shared use path.

The highly controversial, expensive, and over-running road scheme opened up a through route for motor traffic, making use of a bridge over the A444 – a bridge that was formerly closed to motor vehicles but useable as an important pedestrian and cycling link crossing the busy main thoroughfare to town. Part of the project included the creation of a shared use path running from the existing main roundabout, along St George’s Way, and over the bridge before ending where riders are required to rejoin the carriageway.

An extremely short designation of shared use path seen on the opposite side of the carriageway to the camera. A shared use roundel announces the start of the route which is then ended just a few meters on with "end of route" and "cyclists dismount" signs. A proper shared use path is on the camera side of the road.
Nuneaton’s shortest shared use path?

That shared use path exists on the eastern side of St George’s Way, but the reason for the very short on the western side is not clear. The only possible reason I can see is that it allows riders who might be on the carriageway heading northbound, to leave the carriageway with a safe place to cross over to the main shared use path. This seems to be a stretch in reasoning though – a cyclist who has chosen the road this far would presumably be happy to continue on the road over the bridge.

Beyond that mystery, Warwickshire County Council have also used incorrect signage. Riders should never be asked to dismount. Instead, they should be asked to rejoin the carriageway, or a proper crossing should be provided to connect with the opposite path. The same signage has been used on the other side of the bridge.

The end of a shared use path, with "end of route" and "cyclists dismount" signs visible a short way away. A drop-kerb with tactile paving provides an opportunity for cyclists to join the carriageway.

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