Friday, 5 November 2010

The M60 and cycle infrastructure

This is the queue of traffic you’ll see every day if you cycle over the Denton roundabout bridge in the morning. It’s always moving, but very slowly. The same can be seen at various other parts of the entire motorway network every day. In fact this is probably a mild case compared to some. I’m told it stretches like this all the way to the Co-op pyramid where the thin lanes finish. I don’t know far it stretches back towards Ashton, but you can see from the photo that the queue is still going all the way off behind the Audenshaw reservoir. That means all these drivers sit in at least a 6 mile queue of traffic every morning (that’s being generous). 

It's caused by a number of things, drivers will mostly blame it on the 50 mph section or the thin lanes or people braking too much, but the simple reason is there are just too many cars trying to use the road all at once. You could increase this motorway to 4 lanes wide and you’ll still get queues because it would just mean more people would drive down it. It’s actually not that many people causing this as almost every vehicle has just the driver on board.

Let’s take a guess at a scenario that a number of these drivers live in Ashton and work in Trafford Park. A perfectly reasonable assumption based on what we can see. To go the most direct route past the edge of the city centre is around 9.5 miles, which is a perfect distance to cycle for a healthy adult. To go via the M60 is 19 miles. So coincidentally that’s twice the distance. Now imagine if there was a proper segregated cycle infrastructure that would allow these drivers to feel safe enough to take the direct route on a bicycle. How many would take that option?. Sat in their flash car some drivers would scoff at the concept, but in reality it would be loads of them.

The solution to Motorway congestion is not extra lanes or hard shoulder use in rush hour. That’s all just bullshit. The solution is proper continuous segregated cycle infrastructure on the all major streets in the towns and cities. 

Here it is in the evening from the Mill Lane bridge further down.This is the reality of car driving in Britain, not this bullshit or this bullshit.


  1. I don't think anything will be done about it until the price of oil gets so high as to force people to stop driving. The average motorist believes that congestion can be solved with extra capacity, that bicycles and pedestrians are merely "in their way," and not valid methods of transportation, that a car is a necessity, that travelling by car is quicker and that it is cheaper than public transport (due to comparison of fuel prices with public transport fares). The main political parties in the UK are happy to accommodate these views, because most adults and hence voters are motorists.

    What we need is some kind of benevolent dictator.

  2. The only 'problem' the 50mph section 'causes', is that the huge number of cars driving towards it who are perfectly aware of its existence, are also driving far too close to the vehicle in front.

    It's a proven phenomenon that in extreme cases causes fatal pile-ups. Yet probably not far off 99% of motorists to it. Says a lot doesn't it?

    I go at 50 mph along there when driving to work, so my contribution to the gridlock is double everybody elses lol

    Actually, if the traffic was that bad at the time I commute, I'd be seriously weighing my options up - it must be horrible/they must be mad!

  3. Doesn't look like fun does it, but I suspect your average motorist would think the same thing watching me cycle by in the rain.

  4. I'm sure you're right. Just think of what they are all breathing in though - yuck!