Post by Iain
Bears Way provides a safe space for cycling for all ages and abilities with physical protection from motor traffic. However, it is not without its design problems. This article will look at a problematic side road and what could be done.
There is an example of a side road crossing on Bears Way which works well for all users. The junction to Allander Leisure Centre has enough space for car drivers to easily negotiate the pavement and cycle path and the main road separately. People walking or cycling benefit from right of way and a raised table for having a continuous journey. All users of the junction can easily see each other since their paths cross 90 degrees to each other.
The problematic side junction we want to look at today leads to America Golf. The bike path continues alongside the edge of the main road and the junction itself is on a bend which makes visibility difficult.
Car drivers find it hard to negotiate because they have to bring their car forwards over the bike path to see around the bend on the busy main road and look out for bicycles coming both ways at the same time! People cycling feel vulnerable because there is no physical separation from the main road and often their path is blocked by a car trying to get across the junction.
This junction could be vastly improved by copying the good example we looked at earlier; the bike path goes away from the main road and allows cars to easily negotiate the main road separately from the bike path. This reduces conflict and the risk of human error.
We can go further and allow this redesigned junction to also be the sole car access point for Burnmouth Place and the roofing company down the back. The remaining side road junction access would be for walking and cycling only; eliminating motor traffic conflict here. This would also make it more pleasant for walking to the shops or station.
The Bears Way does give a great improvement for all ages and abilities who want to cycle in comfort and safety, but we do recognise there are problems at the America Golf Junction. We hope that the junction will be improved on in the future to prevent a serious accident.