Oatlands Drive (One inch from death)

The following information about Oatlands Drive is historical. In April 2014 something was finally done. The cross-hatching in the centre of the road has been removed making room for proper cycle lanes. Everybody is now happy with this road.

We don't like the cycle facilities provided along Oatlands Drive, and neither do motorists.

The marked cycle lanes are at maximum 1m wide and in places as narrow as 63cm. The Department of Tranport guidelines recommend an absolute minimum width of 1.2m.

As if the width of the cycle lanes was not enough, the chicanes encourage the traffic to swerve into the cycle lane.

A bicycle's handlebars are typically 60cm wide, which means that cyclists using Oatlands Drive are often just one inch (3cm) from death.

Here's a short video showing how some cars are unable to keep to their bit of the road.

And here's some photos of what we have to contend with:

The bollards on the chicanes are hit very regularly by motorists. So frequently that the council was forced to replace the original fixed bollards with ones that flexed when hit. Even so, these show evidence of multiple impacts. If cars can hit these bollards then they can just as easily hit cyclists.

The chicanes prevent the street cleaning services from properly cleaning the gutters along these sections. They fill up with debris, cans, bottles and other litter which can be a hazard or obstacle to cyclists. In the Autumn these sections behind the bollards fill up with leaves which can be slippery and obscure bottles and things that cyclists need to avoid.

The green cycle lane paint is worn away and has not been replaced despite frequent requests. The extent of the wear indicates how much motorists impinge on the cycle lane.

There's a short and very well written paper here which describes why narrow cycle lanes can be more dangerous than no cycle lane at all. http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/report/cycle-lanes.pdf Applying this to Oatlands Drive explains why it feels so terrifying to cycle along this road.


There have been three significant cycle related accidents along Oatlands Drive in the last three years for which we have any information (2005, 2006, 2007). They were at the junctions of:

  • Tower Grove
  • The Mount
  • Beverley Close

It would be useful to have more information about the circumstances of these accidents.