A frequent user of Bolton’s cycle lanes has revealed the dangers of using them and has called for improvements.

Multi-million pounds worth of changes have taken place on town centre roads as part of a £2.15 million scheme improve the experience of cyclists and pedestrians.

It was funded by the Greater Manchester Local Growth Deal and delivered by Bolton Council and Transport for Greater Manchester as part of the Salford Bolton Network Improvement Programme.

Dr Grahame Cooper, who is part of Bolton Active Travel Forum Technical Review Group, has shared his experiences of using the cycle lanes on Manchester Road and he is not impressed.

“The first thing to say is that it’s not completed yet,” he said. “There are supposed to be wand orcas being put in, but I don’t think there’s enough space.”

Wand orcas create a physical divide between traffic and cyclists.

READ MORE: Chorley New Road cyclist death reignites orca wands debate

Dr Cooper says that the recently added cycle lanes are too narrow, and without a barrier between can lead to “scary” situations for cyclists.

He added: “The problem with the lanes being too narrow is that for people who are new to cycling, it won’t encourage them to use them because it’s scary.

READ MORE: Barrier placed in middle of cycle lane

“And for experienced cyclists, and anyone who has done Bikeability cycle training, it goes against what they are taught.”

Bikeability is the Department for Transport’s national award provider for cycle training in England.

“You’re taught to cycle out into the middle of the lane if you’re not being given 1.5m of width,” Dr Cooper says. “You’re meant to cycle in the centre of the road, not in the gutter, and the cycle lanes are basically a painted gutter.

“But if you do that where there’s a cycle lane, drivers become very aggressive, almost as if they want to teach you a lesson.

“They need to be designed in line with the national guidance. There are lessons to be learned.”

The Bolton News: Dr Grahame CooperDr Grahame Cooper (Image: Dr Grahame Cooper)


The Bolton Active Travel Forum reviewed the scheme, but Dr Cooper says the recommendations they made have been ignored.

“Whether they think we’re not worth listening to or not, I don’t know,” he added.

Dr Cooper says that, as an Active Travel Scheme, Manchester Road should not only accommodate cyclists, but pedestrians too, but there are currently no crossings or provisions for people to walk.

READ MORE: Bolton Council named in Active Travel Fund report

He added: “And Manchester Road runs adjacent to St Peter’s Way, which is a dual carriageway 40 and 50 mile an hour truck route.

“Manchester Road should be made access only. It should be a place for people, not just for motor vehicles.”

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “The Active Travel Funded Manchester Road scheme is awaiting completion. There are elements missing such as the Orca Wands which will be installed right at the end of the scheme, after all the road markings and kerbing works have been completed, which will likely be in June.

“As part of the construction and audit process the scheme will be reviewed, and this will be undertaken in due course.

"We are aware of the challenges around delivery of the stretches within the middle of the route, particularly around Asda and Raikes Lane, where more substantial works are required to reconfigure the junctions.

The Bolton News: Cyclops junctionCyclops junction (Image: Bolton Council)

“Once delivered, these interventions will enable the provision of compliant cycling facilities, which are beyond the scope of this current scheme. The measures installed here are interim until these future phases can be delivered.”

The spokesperson added that all upcoming schemes Active Travel Schemes that are being developed "to the current design standards and reviews are carried out on the schemes as part of the approval process to ensure that this is the case".

When the schemes are finished they are then reviewed, at which point the council says "the public are welcome to provide constructive feedback on how it is operating", as with any highway scheme.