Speed cushions

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
JohnW
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Speed cushions

Postby JohnW » 8 Dec 2011, 10:21pm

I am the RtR rep for CTC in Calderdale.

For months, if not years, I have been responding to the Council's enquiries (seeking comments on their proposals) expressing the view that, whilst traffic calming measures are understood as necessary - although inconvenient - the speed cushions are downright dangerous to cyclists and introduce a dangerous - even life threatening - feature that didn't previously exist.

When they don't ignore me, they argue - even one of the so called cycling officers has argued, saying that they're perfectly safe "given the type of bike". He hasn't answered my written and e-mailed enquiries about what he means by that.

Today I've received another enquiry, showing a new, extensive area of 20mph restriction. This of course is good, for us, for pedestrians, horse riders and humans in general.

Accepting that drivers behave badly in this area, traffic calming features are being proposed. These include calming tables, which whilst a nuisance are understandable and we can live with them, but they also include a plethora of speed cushions, and associated build-outs.

I am going to respond in stronger terms than I normally feel comfortable with, and copy to the highways/road safety committee. Yes, to the politicians!

If anyone has comments, anecdotes or better still examples of accidents to cyclists resulting from these cushions in your area, would you mind posting them on here please? - so that I have the opportunity to copy them (anonimously) if I think it will help my case.

I have to have my response ready by next Friday (16th December).

Thank you.

thirdcrank
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Dec 2011, 11:11pm

I used to reply to traffci calming stuff with pretty much the same formula every time. I can't remember the exact wording now but I used to say something on these lines (with appropriate extra comments to suit the specific scheme) with a few paragraph numbers from Cycle-friendly infrastructure.

It must be remembered that in spite of its name, traffic calming can annoy drivers, which just serves to increase the danger to cyclists. While cyclists, as vulnerable road users, generally support measures to reduce inappropriate traffic speeds, it is not always appreciated that vertical deviations can have a disproportionate effect on the safety and comfort of cyclists: eg rumble strips and the like, intended merely to attract the attention of a driver can cause severe vibrations in a pedal cycle so it is important that the recommendations about leaving a clear section of carriageway for cyclists should be rigorously followed. Horizontal deviations, road narrowings etc., can put cyclists in direct competition with impatient drivers for the limited road space.


I cannot claim that it did any good. Other cyclists can sometimes be the biggest problem. I was waxing lyrical about speed cushions at a consultation meeting and one of the usual suspects chimed in to say that a good bike handler could cope with humps without problems. I've no doubt a cyclo-cross rider could cross a ploughed field, but that's not the point I was trying to make.

alicej
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby alicej » 8 Dec 2011, 11:35pm

Are you doing this alone? One response from someone they've heard from a lot before is not nearly so effective as a bombardment of emails, letters and calls from loads of random cyclists.

If you haven't already, I'd recommend writing something very short and simple to explain what's happening, then writing a sample email of objection to make it easy for people to copy, then post a link to it on Twitter and Facebook, email it to all your friends and put flyers in local bike shops.

People won't respond if they don't agree with you, but loads of people won't even know about it unless you get it out there, and if you then make it easy for them to do so then many will show support for your view where it counts - by emailing the decision makers personally. Who may then realise that this is a more widely held set of concerns than they thought, which they need to take seriously.

I live in Leeds and you're welcome to quote me as saying that I've been on cycling holidays and day trips in Calderdale a few times, but will be likely to choose somewhere else if I begin to have unpleasant experiences of difficult road layouts when cycling there. The difficulty of the route is something I take into account every time I go to a football match there because of the need to arrive before 3pm kick off, and I will stop going to some matches altogether if I find that it's been made unreasonably difficult or unpleasant to get there by bike.

Ugly
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby Ugly » 10 Dec 2011, 10:17pm

what is the problem, they are to slow traffic. Never had a problem riding over them myself, ok some are a bit too agressive so you slow down a bit.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby [XAP]Bob » 10 Dec 2011, 10:24pm

Ugly wrote:what is the problem, they are to slow traffic. Never had a problem riding over them myself, ok some are a bit too agressive so you slow down a bit.

They are more than annoying on three wheels. I've had them flip my trailer before. Fortunately it was empty (of kids) at the time ..
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Gearoidmuar
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby Gearoidmuar » 11 Dec 2011, 7:08am

An interesting finding.

They found experimentally that if they removed all lines, warning, speed bumps etc. in villages, driver slowed down and drove more carefully. They used their brains instead of of "speed restrictions"

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gentlegreen
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby gentlegreen » 11 Dec 2011, 10:20am

I am faced with one every evening. It's on the Old Filton Road near Bristol, and I hope I don't end up having to report myself as a casualty of it.

The road was briefly closed to rush hour traffic, but South Gloucestershire re-opened it to traffic and installed a whole lot of dodgy infrastructure. Paint mostly.

Image

I have no plans to start crawling along in the "cycle lane" that's obscured by a high hedge, or to slow down and go over it - though every now and again a cager forces me to by putting its kerbside wheels in the cycle lane.
It was at its most hazardous when it was first installed and there was a warning sign for the speeding motorists on the left that remained there for months. It takes a bit of practice to get around it in the dark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REvr0AFwjDc

A recent near-miss in spite of my best efforts. (CONTAINS SWEARING) :-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrLGWY4ht20

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Si
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby Si » 11 Dec 2011, 11:14am

Riding a 'bent or a tandem with no suspension, these things can be a real pain in the bum (literally). Not so much their existence but their design. there are some by me that have nice smooth ramps on them- they still slow down motor vehicles, but I don't have to go all the way down to walking pace to get over them without aggro. Yet there are others that have just been plonked in place that even at below walking pace (and far below the speed that you can take them in a car) they are still a pain - all because they have sharp ramps. In fact we event have one that can be a pain on a 700c tourer such is the sharpness of the edge.

DavidT
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby DavidT » 11 Dec 2011, 11:28am

Gearoidmuar wrote:An interesting finding.

They found experimentally that if they removed all lines, warning, speed bumps etc. in villages, driver slowed down and drove more carefully. They used their brains instead of of "speed restrictions"



I'd believe the main reason for that change (in behaviour) was not so much people "using their brains", but being shocked and nervous at the disappearance of the signage etc and being unsure what to do? Therefore being very cautious? Perhaps also being part of a known experiment may have come into their conduct for some. (Is it still called the Hawthorne Effect?) I'm not sure sure how long the trial has lasted, but I'd be interested to know if users were still "using their brains" satisfactorily, 18 months on?

Don't get me wrong though. I'm in favour of education and enforcement rather than road furniture!

porky
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby porky » 13 Dec 2011, 12:19pm

All of the roads around my home were "traffic calmed" a couple of years ago. I do with those who plan these things would come and see how drivers actually use the new infrastructure.

The main measure used was build-outs and pinch-points. The intention, clearly, was that traffic forced to the wrong side of the road would slow down. The reality is that many drivers simply drive at undiminished speed, but now on the wrong side of the road. The pinch points are frequently scenes of near-misses, either through ignorance or intimidation. This is a particular problem for a cyclist as many motorists will never, ever give way to a cyclist even when the law requires it.

The roads were calmer before the traffic calming measures. All they have acheived is to make the road more dangerous.
My car does 40 miles on a gallon of petrol, my bike will do that on a mug of tea and a slice of cake.

pwward
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby pwward » 13 Dec 2011, 2:02pm

This might be helpful to you. It's only recently published. P25 is particularly relevant, discussing both road narrowings and speed cushions and tables.



http://www.trl.co.uk/online_store/repor ... safety.htm

De Sisti
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby De Sisti » 13 Dec 2011, 5:17pm

gentlegreen wrote:I am faced with one every evening. It's on the Old Filton Road near Bristol, and I hope I don't end up having to report myself as a casualty of it.

The road was briefly closed to rush hour traffic, but South Gloucestershire re-opened it to traffic and installed a whole lot of dodgy infrastructure. Paint mostly.

Image

I have no plans to start crawling along in the "cycle lane" that's obscured by a high hedge, or to slow down and go over it - though every now and again a cager forces me to by putting its kerbside wheels in the cycle lane.
It was at its most hazardous when it was first installed and there was a warning sign for the speeding motorists on the left that remained there for months. It takes a bit of practice to get around it in the dark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REvr0AFwjDc

A recent near-miss in spite of my best efforts. (CONTAINS SWEARING) :-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrLGWY4ht20


Image

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gentlegreen
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby gentlegreen » 13 Dec 2011, 6:47pm

But that isn't how I need to approach it for my own safety. It was a doddle before they put that thing there.
Blocking half the "cycle lane" that I don't want to use at that point. It's an added hazard even for the inexperienced cyclist foolish enough to use the cycle lane.

Image

JohnW
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby JohnW » 13 Dec 2011, 7:40pm

Thank you everyone for your responses to date. Keep them coming, if you don't mind.

Gentlegreen's example shows a fairly typical example of the sheer stupidity of highways engineers and planners, and road safety officers. That masterpiece could only have been conceived by a half-wit. I'm sorry to say this, Di Sisti, but the photo you worked from gave only part of the picture, and that is about the same as the highway engineers and planners work from - but I have to say that, in addition, they are totally ignorant of cycling issues and cyclist's problems. Gentlegreen's further photos gave a fuller picture - and as experienced cyclists, we know that the gutter between the side-ramp and the edge of the road can become full of leaves and leaf-mould, snow, ice, broken WKD(etc) bottles and other detritus.

And - it's a CYCLE LANE for heaven's sake. These highways people are, in my experience and opinion, in aspects of their work that relate to cycling and cyclists, utterly incompetent.

pwward - thanks for the link - it will cost money to download, so I'll consult our section treasurer.

PW
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Re: Speed cushions

Postby PW » 14 Dec 2011, 10:19am

Speed cushions/tables I can live with, at a pinch. The one which REALLY gets my goat is the "Pedestrian Refuge Island". Those things are potentially lethal if you don't block any attempt to overtake, and we all know the occasional idiot will try to knock you out of the way or start a fight 'cos you haven't paid enough tax to slow his journey time by 3 seconds. :evil: My old works commute was like a series of sprint intervals along Old Whittington High Street, with a series of climbs at either end. Gave up in the finish and used the canal instead for the sake of an extra 10 minutes.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!