Duffield Road cycle lane and school parking

Parked cars obstructing the cycle lane

Last Update: February 2024

Anyone attempting to use the on road cycle lane northbound on Duffield Road outside St. Benedict’s school in Darley Abbey will struggle to do so during the afternoon as numerous cars park up (on the double yellow lines!) and wait (sometimes for over 30 minutes) to collect and drive home their children.

The effect of this is that the cycle lane is unusable for good parts of the afternoon (particularly those times when schoolchildren with bikes may want to use it).

The Derby Cycling Group has been in long term discussions with Derby City Council (since 2017) on trying to get enforcement of the yellow line markings but, so far, without success.

The legal position is that people can drop off / pick up on double yellow lines. Other regions across the country have defined “drop off / pick up” as a stop of less than 2 minutes and where there is actually some dropping off or picking up activity actually in progress. Outside St Benedict’s the parking starts about 30 minutes before school closing time with drivers sat in their cars reading papers or their phones (probably an offence), often with the engine running. Kate Ball has investigated guidelines and how other Councils deal with this issue and has summarised the situation in a document here.

Tony Mott, a local resident, raised the problems in the Derby Telegraph earlier in 2022 – nothing significant happened to resolve the issues.

The Derby Telegraph have reported (Feb 2024) on 2 further people complaining about the problems – the Council have commented that “enforcement is difficult”.

The local Derby City Councillors (Councillors Repton, Martin and Swan) have tried to address this problem over the years but, so far, without success. I understand parents are allowed to use the school grounds to pick up their children but not until 10 minutes after school finishes.

In early 2022, the Council proposed some improvements (mainly segregating the cycle lane from the motor traffic) to the existing on road cycle lane on Duffield Road but – unbelievably! – not for the area outside St Benedict’s as the parents currently flouting the yellow lines would not be able to continue to park in the cycle lane if it was segregated. See here for some discussion of these plans.

Derby Cycling Group continues to press the Council for some action to ensure that the cycle lane is usable at school closing time. We have also fed back on the proposed cycle lane “improvement” plans and look forward to updated, more sensible, plans that do not pander to the existing car driving parents who are flouting the yellow line rules.

In September 2022, Tony Mott asked a “Question from the Public” at the full Derby City Council meeting:

Please could the council give me an update on the issue of car parking in the cycle lane on Duffield Road outside of St. Benedict’s school? I have raised this issue previously and still see no improvement. I’m concerned about the safety of pupils who wish to walk and cycle to school and to regular cyclists using the route as intended. This issue was first raised with the council, via email, in 2017.

and received an answer from Councillor Pearce (the Cabinet Member for Streetpride, Leisure and Public Spaces) which didn’t really address the issues raised.

Councillor Pearce was challenged on his answer and he agreed to explore the situation with the relevant Council officers who have now reported back to him.

The legal situation with regards to the “setting down / picking up” exemption to no parking regulations is complicated with the definition of “setting down / picking up” being a grey area and including the situation of parking, walking into school to meet the pupil at the school door, possibly speaking with a teacher, and walking back to the car.

However, what is clear is that “parking well before school closure (30 minutes plus for Duffield Road) and then waiting in the car for the school pupil to walk out of school and get into the parked car” is not allowed.

The Council Parking Services Team have a lot of calls on their time but Councillor Pearce says that they have been asked to monitor the Duffield Road situation and do what they can to improve the situation.

Parking for 30 minutes+ is, to a reasonable person, long term parking and not setting down / picking up.

Furthermore, the “planned active travel improvements for Duffield Road” are taking a long time to come to fruition and, certainly in the first version, omitted any improvements outside the school so as to not inconvenience the people who currently park on the double yellow lines.

We’ll continue to ask the questions and explore other approaches to achieving (after over 5 years of waiting!) some solution. Hopefully, the promised Parking Services Team activities may greatly improve things.

Notts+Derby buses sometimes decide to park in the bus lane while waiting for the time when they are due at the school. Complaining to the bus company has resulted in promises of the drivers being “re-educated” and apologies. If you see buses continuing to flaunt the no parking then please let Stuart Frost at Notts+Derby know together with reg numbers or similar so he can identify the driver who needs speaking with.

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