The A5038 cycle lane starts out in Kirkdale near the junction with Hawthorne Road and takes the intrepid cyclist on a wonderful two mile trip into the centre of town. Mostly it is just magic paint, but fortunately the cars tend to keep out of it as the road is pretty wide, not is there much parking on it, largely because there is no reason anyone would ever want to stop.
There's even a feature I thought was rather nice, at one point the cycle lane mounts the pavement to by pass a roundabout and afterwards drops back on to the road, at which point we get this little bit of kerbing so the cyclist doesn't need to negotiate with traffic, however my joy at seeing this may say more about my low expectations than anything else.
As we get closer to town things get a little worse, if anyone from DOFAS Office Furniture of Vauxhall Road, L3 6DL is googling themselves, MOVE YOUR EFFING VANS *shakes fist*, it was parked there on the day I went past and apparently on the day the Google van went past. The solid white line indicates a lane reserved solely for the use of cyclists, not the parking of company or customer vehicles. This is particularly buggersome because immediately after this are traffic lights at the junction with Leeds St, the cars were queuing back past the shop and there was not enough space between illegally parked cars and stationary cars to get past and reach the ASZ.
As we move into town things get better, the junction with Tithebarn St is about as good as it gets when it comes to magic paint and ASZs, even allowing you to go straight on against the flow of traffic down a one way street, the most direct route into town.
A nice solid well painted lane down Hatton Garden and we now see the reason for it, it runs right past the door to Merseytravel's Head Office, lucky them, however I can't see any reason they couldn't have segregated the lane properly. Though all is not what it seems, there is a good reason I call this the Hatton Garden suicide lane, terribly witty, I know, read on...
At the bottom of the one way street is a dual carriage way, leading off the dual carriageway and on to Hatton Garden is a fairly large radius turn that can be taken at 40mph no problem. Immediately before this the cycle lane simply ends. It spits you out into oncoming traffic with a 30-50mph speed differential. Usually when I see a 'Cycle Lane Ends' or 'Cyclists Dismount' sign I think to myself "why on earth have they put that there?"
This one really means it though, try and cycle out of the end of this lane and you're going to get squished, the only thing for it is to dismount, cross the road, cross Tithebarn St and then continue. Such a shame, you've followed the lane for 4km and then 200 metres before you reach the centre of town it tries to screw you.