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Bedford Turbogate

20 Feb 2014
by mjray
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So the Clapham Road / Union Road roundabout is planned to become a turbo roundabout.  Chris Peck of CTC has put up a blog post about this at and there is a note from the scheme designer at (from March 2013)

Only CTC members are allowed to comment on Chris Peck's blog, so I'll just note here that I'm horrified that wasting cycle safety money building bad designs was considered preferable to rolling the fund over to a new round or handing it back, despite this supposedly being a time of austerity.

The note from the scheme designer makes clear that bikes came a poor third place.  I don't really buy much of his bid: the background PDF linked by Chris Peck seems a bit misleading.  Some examples:

  1. it calls that roundabout "the highest concentration of cyclist accidents [2004-2010]" but the independent makes it look like the area of the river crossing by the college has a higher cyclist-only concentration 2005-2012, as does Midland Road, which is the street between station and town centre, which is more what I'd expect from my memory of Bedford (I used to ride mostly around nearby MK and travel to/through Bedford occasionally)... and page 6 shows that cyclists were a minority of injuries;
  2. there's some impressive hand-waving on page 3 to arrive at a 70% casualty reduction for the turbo roundabout, after it's been chosen.  That becomes 75% for serious casualties on page 6. Will they ever be asked to prove they achieve that?
  3. Page 4 claims a corner of 10-15 metres radius will result in a vehicle speed of 15mph and I can't see where this number comes from. Manual for Streets page 66 claims a 7 metre radius corner allows turns of 20-30mph - will a looser radius really result in lower speeds?

I could continue, but I'm surprised it didn't fail hard.  I can only dream nightmares of what the less-desirable proposals were.


Thu 20 Feb 2014, 14:28

Oh and about the idea that it was better to rank enough to use all the budget, even if they were substandard: I feel it would have been better to reopen bids or give the money back than waste taxes during a time of austerity.

Thu 20 Feb 2014, 14:29

D'oh. I'd already said that, but had moved it earlier in the text.

Thu 20 Feb 2014, 15:51