Reply from Luton Borough Council re Busway

P1150433Some readers might know I had written to Luton Borough Council asking about future developments of the Busway cycle path.  After a little delay I am pleased to get a response, which appears helpful.

I had asked about the surface and whether there were any plans to improve it.  It should, however, be noted that it has improved and become smoother through natural usage.  I also asked about the barriers as they seem too narrow.  Finally I asked about signposts to connect the Busway cycle track with NCN 6 which goes from the edge of Luton to Harpenden.

Here’s the response:

“In relation to the shared use path next to the busway, we are aware that
the compaction of the surface is of differing levels of quality. We are
looking into a number of issues that have been highlighted by the first
inspection of the route. The issue of the barriers is a tricky one
particularly as they were installed at the request of the Police in
particular to prevent motorcycles accessing the track next to the
busway. We are looking at alternative systems but we must find the right
balance between access for cyclists etc and prevention of unauthorised

In relation to your question about signage between the end of the
busway, I wasn’t sure if you are referring to the end of the Guideway at
New Bedford Road (NBR) or at the end of the bus only road at Kimpton
Road. If you are referring to NBR then there is no signage between there
and NCN 6. The official route for NCN6 is down Manchester Street,
through the pedestrianised area of George Street and then continuing
down Park Street. If however you are referring to Kimpton Road, Sustrans
are looking at an appropriate signage to NCN 6 in this area.

I trust that this answers your query but please do not hesitate to
contact us”.

I think that’s a helpful reply on the whole.  Nevertheless the barriers still remain and are a nuisance for many cyclists.  It seems it is a case of solving a problem before it starts, or anticipating the worst in people.  This might sound a bit idealistic but I think that’s a shame i.e. assuming people will abuse it.  However Luton Borough Council are correct in recognising the right balance has to be struck and it would be odd if they didn’t take on board what their Police colleagues advise.

It’s good to know that Sustrans are looking to complete signage to connect it to a nearby cycle track.

Although we live in a society where we expect everything to be delivered instantly, reality isn’t always like that and we learn to be patient instead.  Some things take a while before they’re completely finished.

So there you are.  A step in the right direction.  Are you okay with this?  Are you still angry?  Please leave comments etc below.


10th December 2013: Luton Borough Council have pointed out that there always has been a problem with motorcyclists accessing Blows Downs, hence taking an “aggressive” stance with Busway barriers.


Luton & Dunstable Busway, September 2013.

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5 Responses to Reply from Luton Borough Council re Busway

  1. Stephen Lawrence says:

    Here in CAmbridge we haven’t had any problems with motorbikes. (We have regular problems with cars and heavier vehicles driving on the busway, though.) I think LBC and Luton Police should contact their Cambs colleagues. From our experience, there isn’t a problem. But IMO, kids trailer-bikes, tandems, bike trailers, cargo bikes, tricycles, etc ALL need easy access to the cycleway.

    • doug says:

      That’s a good point Stephen – nobody has mentioned these other types of bicycles. Cycle paths are arguably much better for some of the examples you give.
      Interesting also that you say there’s been no problems with motorbikes in Cambridge – backs up my argument of solving a problem before it has emerged.
      As for cars etc on the Busway, I know it’s a serious safety subject really, but there is a comical side to it as well! Lately there have apparently been quite a few reports of this happening – not sure why – some are suggesting Satnavs – I’m not sure myself.

  2. MJ Ray says:

    Aren’t any motorbikes going to go through that wide gap (for buses?) instead? They can hop small kerbs, especially the scrambler bikes preferred by scallies.

    Those barriers aren’t about stopping motorbikes: they’re about making it hard to use cargo bikes and preserving car supremacy. We have them in King’s Lynn and the amount of crash damage on them is a scandal.

  3. David says:


    My conclusion of the above is ;

    Surface ;

    No change anytime soon then – I have ridden the length of the bus-way once, then spent some time extracting pieces of stone out of my tyres (Schwalbe Marathon)
    Much prefer NCN 6 – far better surface, faster route because no barriers etc, etc

    Barriers ;

    Perhaps if Sustrans as well as the Police had been consulted, the outcome would be far better ?

    Why were no barriers deemed necessary from Luton Hoo to Harpenden ??

  4. TwoWheels says:

    Sorry I don’t have much experience of cycling along there. It is really interesting seeing the views of other cyclists and I wish you all well in improving your situation.

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