Not convinced on cycle lanes

CJV
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Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby CJV » 5 Nov 2009, 10:43pm

Cycle lanes - there's a place for them, of course, helping kids on their way to school and so on. The trouble is, they are all a bit improvised and ad hoc in this country. Contraflows, sharing pavement with pedestrians... ambiguous rights of way at junctions...
I recently got moved to a different office across town and further away from home. The commute is the same but I just carry on another 20 minutes. The original route is through city centre traffic, the additional bit relies quite heavily on cycle lanes and I feel far more vulnerable in this part because of the lack of clarity on rights of way at junctions and whether I'm cycling on a pavement or going legally between cycle paths. It's a mess, frankly, and I have more close shaves and get hooted and shouted at far more when using the cycle path part of my journey to work.

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richardyorkshire
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby richardyorkshire » 5 Nov 2009, 11:43pm

I think that cycle lanes are mainly aimed at non-cyclists, rather than cyclists.

They are built to entice non-cyclists into cycling. Many people say they don't cycle because they think it's dangerous. So the Council will build cycle lanes separating the cyclist from the traffic in an attempt to alleviate the non-cyclist's fear of cycling.

So someone starts cycling and starts out using cycle lanes. They soon find that cycle lanes are a hindrance. You have to go quite slow, you have difficulty navigating junctions, staying in the narrow lane puts you too close to the kerb, and you've still got to cycle on the road anyway between the bits of cycle lane. In those bits where you cycle on the road, you discover that you can go faster and that it is easier to navigate the traffic and the junctions. You gradually build up confidence in cycling in traffic and soon stop using cycle lanes altogether and stick to the road. Then you start to wonder why the Council wastes money on the daft cycle lanes - because you've forgotten how you felt about cycling before you started.
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NUKe
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby NUKe » 6 Nov 2009, 12:35am

Richard
motorist round here seem to disagree with you. As one told me earlier this week you should be in cycle lane when i
I pointed out his neighbors were parked too close hos response was that I didn't pay road tax or insurance and I should be in the cycle lane. There was an expletive ever other word.
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anothereye
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby anothereye » 6 Nov 2009, 7:58am

I've been taking pictures of bad ones, eg:
Image Attachments
1.jpg

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anothereye
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby anothereye » 6 Nov 2009, 8:13am

Here I would take the primary position before passing the traffic island:
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2a.jpg

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Swizz69
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Swizz69 » 6 Nov 2009, 8:57am

At a council cycle forum meeting recently I heard a gent from the traffic department admit that cycle lanes had been used as traffic calming measures. It probably won't be in the minutes though :shock:

My personal take on the majority of cycle lanes is that they are designed to take the cyclist out of the traffic flow. Cycle lanes often end at a awkward section of road for example with a central reservation for right-turning traffic - the cycle lane ends with lines across, meaning that the cyclist has to stop if necessary to give way to anything approaching from behind - whereas if the cycle lane wasn't there, a following motorist would be obliged to approach with care & possibly wait until they had both passed the junction before overtaking the cyclist.

They are often cited as being wanted by potential new riders, but if thats true, they are being mis-sold to some tune :?

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MLJ
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby MLJ » 6 Nov 2009, 9:17am

When the cycle lane on a busy radial route into town is only 75 cm wide, it is very dangerous to use! (Bilton Road into Rugby). Motorists drive close to the solid white line, and I tend to ride outside it for safety.

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby niggle » 6 Nov 2009, 10:47am

anothereye wrote:I've been taking pictures of bad ones, eg:

This type of lane next to parked cars is asking to have someone go out one night and paint UNSAFE repeatedly along it.

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby niggle » 6 Nov 2009, 10:53am

anothereye wrote:Here I would take the primary position before passing the traffic island:

The traffic island seems extra wide, which in itself is a good thing as it is an improvement for the safety of wheel chair users and children in pushchairs etc., but a shame this has to be at the expense of cyclists: I suppose the pavement is not wide enough to have the kerb set back any further as well, but if it was then a mandatory cycle lane could be used just past the island.

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby FatBat » 6 Nov 2009, 3:01pm

Swizz69 wrote:They are often cited as being wanted by potential new riders, but if thats true, they are being mis-sold to some tune :?

If that is the case, they clearly don't work, as we've had about 20 years of enthusiastic cycle-lane paintingm during which time the use of cycles has declined. When my council states that they are installing cycle-lanes to encourage cycling, I ask them if they have any evidence that could support this idea. They usually go quiet at this point.

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anothereye
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby anothereye » 6 Nov 2009, 3:43pm

niggle wrote:The traffic island seems extra wide, which in itself is a good thing as it is an improvement for the safety of wheel chair users and children in pushchairs etc., but a shame this has to be at the expense of cyclists:
It's not at the expense of cyclists; even a standard traffic island would not give enough space for a car to pass a cyclist safely.
I just looked for the position in google streetview: there was no Island there when the picture was taken. I have no objection to the Island, only the narrow cycle lane, I would prefer none at all as I don't want to ride so near the curb.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie= ... 6,,0,12.91

niggle
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby niggle » 6 Nov 2009, 6:18pm

anothereye wrote:
niggle wrote:The traffic island seems extra wide, which in itself is a good thing as it is an improvement for the safety of wheel chair users and children in pushchairs etc., but a shame this has to be at the expense of cyclists:
It's not at the expense of cyclists; even a standard traffic island would not give enough space for a car to pass a cyclist safely.

Point taken.
anothereye wrote:I just looked for the position in google streetview: there was no Island there when the picture was taken. I have no objection to the Island, only the narrow cycle lane, I would prefer none at all as I don't want to ride so near the curb.

Me too, I would be in primary to go through that pinch point anyway, i.e. a foot or so to the right of the dotted line. Most of the cycle lanes and paths in my area are a positive nuisance or even danger IMO. Unfortunately no Street View available in my area but here is an example in Illogan Highway, near Redruth, Cornwall:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&sourc ... 02411&z=19

Where the cycle lane on the north side of Agar Road crosses the junction with Agar Crescent, the cycle lane suddenly morphs into a slightly raised cycle path with a kerb to the right and also another kerb to the left separating it from the pedestrian footway which is itself raised above the cycle path level. The consequence is that when a car comes to emerge into Agar Road from Agar Crescent it nearly always pulls across the cycle lane to the second dotted line and treats that as the Giveway line, the driver having been fooled by the apparent line of the kerb. The potential for conflict is obvious really and IMO not really much fault on the part of the drivers.

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anothereye
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby anothereye » 6 Nov 2009, 6:39pm

niggle wrote:Where the cycle lane on the north side of Agar Road crosses the junction with Agar Crescent, the cycle lane suddenly morphs into a slightly raised cycle path with a kerb to the right and also another kerb to the left separating it from the pedestrian footway which is itself raised above the cycle path level. The consequence is that when a car comes to emerge into Agar Road from Agar Crescent it nearly always pulls across the cycle lane to the second dotted line and treats that as the Giveway line, the driver having been fooled by the apparent line of the kerb. The potential for conflict is obvious really and IMO not really much fault on the part of the drivers.
Can you post a photo next time your nearby?
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niggle
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby niggle » 6 Nov 2009, 6:55pm

anothereye wrote:Can you post a photo next time your nearby?


I'll try to remember :oops:

drossall
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby drossall » 6 Nov 2009, 9:00pm

CJV wrote:The trouble is, they are all a bit improvised and ad hoc in this country.


Whilst cycle lanes are often done better in other countries, your instincts are spot on and actually the same issues apply in good lanes. Check John Franklin's summary of international research - he's a respected expert and author of the manual on safe cycling.

Essentially, it seems that bike safety problems relate to junctions, and cycle paths don't make any difference at all to the need to cross side turnings and the like. All they do is to put cyclists and motorists "out of sight, out of mind" of each other, with the result that they collide more often. A particular problem is that cycle paths are closer to walls and hedges than the adjacent roads, so using them just makes life more dangerous.