Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 11759
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby mjr » 16 Jan 2019, 9:28am

Wanlock Dod wrote:
mjr wrote:... - not huge, but enough for motorists to notice IMO...

That's the great thing about signage, it does nothing to address the reasons that put ordinary people off cycling, they know where they need to go because they drive there every day. It does, however, signal very clearly to motorists that something has been provided for cyclists and probably at vast expense.

It does do something to address some of the reasons, as not knowing where routes go often comes up as a reason they're put off.

Also, a non trivial number of people try cycling their commute and dislike it and then it turns out they've just tried riding the same way they'd drive, ignoring the more direct cycle routes.

Signs aren't enough alone but they're an essential part of any cycling route network.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 3387
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby pjclinch » 16 Jan 2019, 11:29am

mjr wrote:
Signs aren't enough alone but they're an essential part of any cycling route network.


This is a good point, but when you expand it to a general point that any single thing isn't enough alone it becomes a crucial one.

A good cycling environment requires a whole load of different facets, but there's a tendency to pick one and shoot it down alone (segregated paths is a favourite for this, they haven't solved everything in Stevenage so they're "obviously" useless and have no place anywhere) and by knocking down all the components individually you then "prove" there's no point trying to do

The other thing that's routinely ignored is context, so that something doesn't work in rural bits of Grampian isn't the same as it won't work in suburban London (and vice versa). The favourite for this is that the UK as a whole has more hills than NL, so obviously it's impossible for normal people to ride bikes anywhere in the UK.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 11759
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby mjr » 16 Jan 2019, 11:46am

pjclinch wrote:
mjr wrote:
Signs aren't enough alone but they're an essential part of any cycling route network.


This is a good point, but when you expand it to a general point that any single thing isn't enough alone it becomes a crucial one.

A good cycling environment requires a whole load of different facets, but there's a tendency to pick one and shoot it down alone (segregated paths is a favourite for this, they haven't solved everything in Stevenage so they're "obviously" useless and have no place anywhere) and by knocking down all the components individually you then "prove" there's no point trying to do

As I posted a couple of pages ago, the conclusion should be "We can tackle any of these. They'd all help". The first step is to ask, like pwa has done, why people aren't using a route. However, while his conclusion seemed to be that Sarn residents are lazy, mine is that I don't see why people in that area would know that there's a cycleway to Bridgend and how long it takes, plus that it's also more challenging to use than it ought to be.

pjclinch wrote:The other thing that's routinely ignored is context, so that something doesn't work in rural bits of Grampian isn't the same as it won't work in suburban London (and vice versa). The favourite for this is that the UK as a whole has more hills than NL, so obviously it's impossible for normal people to ride bikes anywhere in the UK..

If anything, I see an overuse of context, claiming that there's something so special about (for example) Little Snoring which means that good London Cycle Design Standards principles like junction visibility, perpendicular crossings and turning radiuses aren't needed for cycleways there, plus that it's somehow OK for the cycleway from the nearest town to dump you onto a busy A road with a mile to go.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

User avatar
Wanlock Dod
Posts: 328
Joined: 28 Sep 2016, 5:48pm

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby Wanlock Dod » 16 Jan 2019, 12:42pm

mjr wrote:..., ignoring the more direct cycle routes...

Whilst I'm quite familiar with the concept from excursions in The Netherlands this is something that I have yet to encounter in Little Britain. In my experience if the signposted cycle route is only 5 km longer with a couple of climbs then it's probably as good as you will get. The easiest and most direct route must always be reserved for motorised users.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 11759
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby mjr » 16 Jan 2019, 1:32pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:
mjr wrote:..., ignoring the more direct cycle routes...

Whilst I'm quite familiar with the concept from excursions in The Netherlands this is something that I have yet to encounter in Little Britain. In my experience if the signposted cycle route is only 5 km longer with a couple of climbs then it's probably as good as you will get. The easiest and most direct route must always be reserved for motorised users.

It's quite common around here, but I think it's more due to geography than intentional planning: King's Lynn is divided up by rivers and railways and I reckon there are 16 good crossings for motorists, but another 13 good crossings only for active travel. As a result, we get things like travelling between the neighbouring Fairstead residential estate and Hardwick Industrial Estate is 4.8km by car (used to be 5.8km until they built a new access road off the bypass) and 1.7km by cycle: the ones onto the Hardwick tend to be the most dramatic because the railways divide it from all residential areas.

Even for journeys where the routes are more similar, like my village to the town centre (across one railway and one river), it's 6.66km by car and 6.58km by cycle. I think it's only the villages of South Wootton and North Wootton north of the A1078 where the suggested cycle routes to the town centre are longer by 200m and that's mainly because the cycleway alongside the 1970s A1078 northern bypass is incomplete at the town end (when the neighbouring factory was converted to a retail park in the 2000s, no legal link was made to the cycle route on the eastern side), so route planners send cyclists on an L through North Lynn and North End to avoid that gap.

I suspect many towns are either the same or could be made so pretty easily, if we were serious about promoting cycling. Looking at my former home near Weston-super-Mare, which is pretty car-centric, routes are within about 100m either way (it's rare that a cycleway like Madam Lane is any use), but there's more use of cycle lanes than the cycleways used in Lynn.

But looking at the Sarn-Bridgend route mentioned earlier, it's currently about 500m further by bike, which seems mostly due to following the S in the river. Is it currently so much easier to be worth an extra couple of minutes pedalling? I'm unsure.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

pwa
Posts: 8781
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby pwa » 16 Jan 2019, 4:52pm

mjr wrote:
pwa wrote:Streetview doesn't take you onto the lengthy shared use traffic free bits which are attractive and wide.

Acknowledged, but there's nothing on http://www.cyclestreets.net/photomap/ yet and https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2711411 shows a substandard-width boardwalk, which is also not a good smooth cycling surface.

pwa wrote:The Bridgend side is a bit patched together, as you say, but the "industrial estate" is basically one quiet road with a string of businesses on it, none generating much traffic. Nine times out of ten you would cycle down that without meeting a moving car. It is quieter than the alternatives.

Industrial estates are still not as nice as residential areas to cycle through, plus it screams "HGV" to most people, festooned with anti-cycling driver-excusing signs. When Google's car drove through, it was a narrowed to a single car-door-chicken alley where you'd be facing off against any moving car you did meet.

pwa wrote:And though the blue signs are too small (as usual) you would get to know the route after one use.

But why would any non-cyclist ever think of trying one use? Edit: Wanlock Dod made the "self-advertising cycle routes" point more eloquently while I had this draft saved over dinner.

pwa wrote:The push button crossing of the dual carriageway at the Sarn end works very quickly if nobody else has just used it before you. After crossing that (heading away from Bridgend) the route doesn't go up the hill under the rail bridge. Instead it turns left down a lane that is now a dead end for motor traffic. So that is quiet too.

It's quiet because almost no-one lives down there. The route doing that way looks like a detour, doing two sides of a square to get to most places in Sarn, so that the local council can avoid the work of a road diet on Sarn Hill. So if you want to go up Sarn Hill, you're emerging dodgily at the corner of a T-junction, and coming the other way means you have to turn across traffic leaving the dual carriageway. Personally, I'd stay on road through the traffic lights and filter off left at the southern crossing, but that's not a move many do - they're more likely to try waiting for the pushbutton lights a few times and then decide they got through the junction more easily in a car and go back to doing that.

There seem to be no signs to Bridgend at the Sarn end, not at Sarn Hill, not at Lower Llansantffraid and not at Heol Cwrdy. How would people in Sarn guess this is a way to cycle to Bridgend?

This is something I've seen Cornwall get right recently. Here's the route to Falmouth signposted at Devoran - not huge, but enough for motorists to notice IMO. In Norfolk, they've been getting a bit silly lately...

pwa wrote:The main point is, it looks safe and it is safe. But not busy with people popping to Tesco. The flaws in the route don't explain that.

It doesn't look safe. It looks like an obstacle course to me. It looks like more of the worst parts of my local cycleways with fewer of the good bits. Plus I don't see how people are going to guess it's there.

pwa wrote:Just for your interest, the bridge was put in at enormous expense as an alternative to taking the route down Quarella Road, which feels a bit narrow and sometimes busy. There was a lot of agonising over that choice. That bridge didn't come cheap. But locals on the Wildmill estate beside the bridge wanted a bridge there and were delighted when the got it, so I think it was a good call.

I think there are things that could be done but I'll take your word on Quarella Road. Even so, I think the route should have been taken up alongside the dual carriageway where there's plenty of room, it would be more visible and less at risk of turning traffic, instead of through the industrial estate.

Glad to give you something to chew on :D

Decking boards, at least 1.6m of usable surface, not counting the bit beneath the edging, if I remember correctly. Not ideal but not enough to deter use. I had nothing to do with the construction but later went in to rip those boards up and replace them with nicer ones with a grippy top surface. It looked pretty even and user friendly by the time we had finished. The substructure is recycled plastic to avoid rotting timber and the screws etc are stainless, so it should be low maintenance.

The bit you call an "industrial estate" is just a few businesses on a street and is normally very quiet. You could ride up and down it several times and not meet a moving motor vehicle. It does look messy but when you are there it doesn't feel unsafe.

The route beyond the crossing actually makes sense. Sarn Hill is the only steep hill in the area so avoiding that is a good idea, even if it adds a little extra distance. And if you are going to some parts of Sarn or to the neighbouring Aberkenfig the route avoiding Sarn Hill is the best. That route would also have been chosen in consultation with locals, with a map on a wall and the locals drawing on it their desire lines.

You have a point about lack of signs to Bridgend, though I wonder if locals really don't know where the track goes. I bet most do. Dog walkers certainly know it's there, as , unfortunately, do illegal motorcyclists. Less of them than there used to be though.

User avatar
Wanlock Dod
Posts: 328
Joined: 28 Sep 2016, 5:48pm

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby Wanlock Dod » 16 Jan 2019, 7:42pm

It's refreshing to hear that there are shortcuts for cyclists in some areas. I thought I'd just have a quick play with the Strava routing tool to look at a few different local routes, like a round trip from Kirkmuirhill to Larkhall and back. The most direct route for cyclists is along the B7078, but being the old A74 it was designed for high speeds and can make for very unpleasant cycling. The round trip on that route is 20.4 km with 8.6 m of climbing per km. The preferred route via Netherburn, as identified from the Strava heatmap and determined in practice to be vastly preferable to the B7078, is 24.6 km @ 9.2 m/km, so not that much more work for a much less stressful ride. The NCN74 route is 26.3 km @ 16.5 m/km, I'm no hardman and I don't mind admitting that I've never even tried.

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 3387
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby pjclinch » 17 Jan 2019, 8:02am

NCN77 from St Madoes to Perth takes some beating for comedic detours (much longer, big hill with a section at 20%). I take it because if I'm going that way I'm on a tour, but if I wanted to commute it... The A90 there is practically motorway (in fact it changes seamlessly in to motorway at the Friarton Bridge with the only changes being the signs turn blue)

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 16154
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby Vorpal » 17 Jan 2019, 10:12am

Wanlock Dod wrote:It's refreshing to hear that there are shortcuts for cyclists in some areas. I thought I'd just have a quick play with the Strava routing tool to look at a few different local routes, like a round trip from Kirkmuirhill to Larkhall and back. The most direct route for cyclists is along the B7078, but being the old A74 it was designed for high speeds and can make for very unpleasant cycling. The round trip on that route is 20.4 km with 8.6 m of climbing per km. The preferred route via Netherburn, as identified from the Strava heatmap and determined in practice to be vastly preferable to the B7078, is 24.6 km @ 9.2 m/km, so not that much more work for a much less stressful ride. The NCN74 route is 26.3 km @ 16.5 m/km, I'm no hardman and I don't mind admitting that I've never even tried.

Short cuts for cyclists in Essex are few & far between. And for the most part, they are happy chance, rather than planning. One of my favourites is a road that goes to Broomfield, north of Chelmsford. It's closed to motor traffic because the bridge at the mill is very old, and motor traffic was causing too much deterioration of the structure.

https://www.google.no/maps/place/Chelms ... d0.4685497

Many of the others are as mjr described. Foot or farm bridges over rivers and canals. Most of them require dismounting and walking, though. Even some of those on NCN routes.

Some are ones the cyclists have established, but are not official, or officially recognised routes.

One such is to cross the Essex Regiment Way, to get to the road linked above. I learned form a fellow cyclist to use the road for the industrial estate (looks like a quarry or something on the map) on the other side, then dismount and walk on the footpath (10 feet?) to the road, and cross to Back Lane, then remount. I added that to Open Street Maps some years ago because it was a handy shortcut.

Another I've mentioned on here a few times before, to get from the A120 west of the A12 (Long Green) to Marks Tay, most cyclists go on the pavement, then use Station Road and the footbridge over the A12. Essex CC won't mark it as a cyle route (even with dismount signs for the footbridge) solely on the basis that the footbridge is not suitable for cycling. You can guess what they said when asked to put in a cycle / pedestrian bridge.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 11759
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby mjr » 17 Jan 2019, 12:13pm

Vorpal wrote:Even some of those on NCN routes.

Some are ones the cyclists have established, but are not official, or officially recognised routes.

It's a shame that there's no cyclist-run national organisation that wants to develop a network of good transport routes, isn't it? For now, it seems like we're left plotting on tools like cycle.travel and trying to simplify the routes to make them easier to navigate, like snapping them to appropriate sections of NCN and National Byway (which are at least mostly signposted) and old by-roads when we can figure them out and they haven't been cut by quasimotorways (because that can be 5-10 miles where you don't have to worry about spotting turnings).
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

MikeF
Posts: 3634
Joined: 11 Nov 2012, 9:24am
Location: On the borders of the four South East Counties

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby MikeF » 18 Jan 2019, 7:52pm

pwa wrote:Cardiff city centre is mostly pedestrianised. Streets closed to traffic (other than emergency vehicles) and numerous arcades and malls. It is such an attractive place to walk round that people drive there especially for the pleasure of having a walk around the shops.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4792589 ... 6?hl=en-GB
No shortage of money for that then! :wink: At least there were some cycles, but just how much better it could have been made for cycling without extra costs.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

thirdcrank
Posts: 27837
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Trucks Do Not Have Cyclist-Obscuring Blind Spots

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Jan 2019, 5:10pm

Going off at a tangent to the Ocado stuff, IMO this report goes to the heart of what's involved here.

Lying lorry driver jailed for killing two people in M3 crash

(The defendant) initially told police (that the deceased driver) had "whipped in and all I could do was slam my brakes on".
In fact, motorway cameras showed he had been travelling behind the Audi in the same lane for more than a minute before the crash.

and
Judge Susan Evans QC said the reason for (the defendant's) lack of attention may never be known.
She said: "You did not in fact brake until two or three seconds after the collision."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-h ... e-46923040

So near to being survivor's justice and so it is sometimes when cyclists are killed.