Many of Cardiff’s roads and cycle lanes are covered in potholes and dangerously uneven surfaces. How do cyclists and bike businesses feel about this problem and what are the council doing to combat it?
In May this year Virgin Money released a survey which ranked Cardiff in 9th place out of the UK’s best cycle-friendly cities, surprising considering 57 accidents were reported to Cardiff Council last year as a result of uneven or faulty roads and cycle paths in the city.
Of these claims, compensation to the sum of £190 was paid to 12 of the cases, costing Cardiff Council a total of £2,280. These figures seem to have made an impact, because in September this year the council released plans to improve 225 roads in the city, costing a total of £11 million and taking roughly six months.
“This year the council released plans to improve 225 roads in the city”
The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time for Cardiff, with more commuters than ever choosing to ride to work these days and with plans on the horizon for car-free suburbs it’s more important than ever to improve Cardiff’s roads and cycle networks. BikeBelles spoke to commuters, cycle bloggers and those who use their bikes for business to find out what they think about the current state of Cardiff’s roads.
Cycle Stuff Blog
Bike blogger Simon Nurse commutes six miles to work every day sometimes along the Taff Trail and sometimes through the city. The 42-year-old head of operations for Capital Group and writer of Cycle Stuff blog says that although some of Cardiff’s cycle paths are fantastic, there is a lot of room for improvement with others, “I think drastic improvements could be made city wide, few things are more infuriating than a cycle lane that comes to an abrupt end, jockeys with position for parking, or is simply in the wrong place.” When discussing with Simon the amount of accidents the council had recorded due to bad road conditions he was equally unsurprised.
Big Blue Bike Courier Service
Uneven road surfaces are obviously problematic for anyone who rides their bike in Cardiff but what about if your bike is also your business? Ben Allen is the Managing Director of Big Blue Bike which started in 2010 as an environmentally-friendly bike courier service.
“Business wise it means we can’t go fast”
Ben travels all over the city delivering goods for various companies but says that the roads in Roath and Cathays can prove a challenge for his adapted cycle, “Whitchurch road is basically one long pothole, it makes me question why the whole road wasn’t repaved rather than just one side. Business wise it means we can’t go as fast, sometimes we have to go different routes to avoid specific roads, especially when carrying heavy loads.”
One Mile Bakery
Harry Grey delivers for The One Mile Bakery, a micro bakery and delivery service which relies on pedal-power to get their bread, preserves and soups delivered. Harry says that his route around Pontcanna, Canton and Llandaff is not always smooth, “Negotiating Cathedral Road is always a tricky one, the road on either side is like two long tramlines of potholes which definitely make cycling harder. It’s clear that efforts have been made to accommodate cyclists within the city but unfortunately some aspects seem compromised or half-hearted. The biggest thing that stops people from cycling is fear, with better and safer cycling on the roads more people will ride, hopefully leading to a greener, quieter and healthier city.”
Cardiff’s cycle networks
- The Taff Trail which runs 89km from Cardiff to Brecon
- The Rhymney Trail which provides 3.5km of route
- The Ely Trail which will link St Fagans to the International Sports Village
Cardiff Council started their Road Resurfacing Program in October this year and currently have a list on their website with details of the current roads being worked on which is certainly encouraging for cyclists in the city. They handily provide an on-line form or suggest uploading to fix my street in order to report problem spots.