Not convinced on cycle lanes

User avatar
sungod
Posts: 53
Joined: 18 Jul 2009, 9:39pm

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby sungod » 7 Nov 2009, 6:42pm

cycle lanes, the ones near me (london) are nasty dangerous things

the worst in general are the two-way ones with an extra kerb sitting between lane and road, trucks park over them because the road is too narrow, people walk in them, dump litter in them, slow cyclists cause queues, approaching wobbly cyclists cause terror, over time the surface ends up rougher than the road, junctions are lethal, and don't ask me what i think of the drain gratings so wide that my wheel can drop into them!

so i avoid these and stay on the road, much faster, much safer

i'd agree they seem to be designed more as traffic calming measures, or maybe to show the council is doing something fashionable with rate payers' money

i really hate the painted-line type between island and kerb that create a pinch point just before a side road - stick to the lane and risk collision with a driver sticking his car out, stay wide and risk collision/abuse following drivers (i go for the latter)

the only decent cycle lanes i've seen in the uk are the wide unidirectional ones along some major roads, segregated from both pedestrians and traffic, and wide enough to overtake, these make some sense as trucks/coaches passing at 50mph can create nasty side winds, but if the drivers were more understanding/considerate that wouldn't be an issue

but imho all lanes are bad at junctions

save the money on cycle lanes, use it to educate drivers and cyclists about how to coexist safely
Last edited by sungod on 8 Nov 2009, 5:14pm, edited 1 time in total.
life's a sprint

thekelticfringe
Posts: 120
Joined: 31 Oct 2009, 7:32am

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thekelticfringe » 8 Nov 2009, 8:17am

I don't like or use cycle lanes much either. Couple of points:

IMO one big issue is that clycle lanes let drivers think that "Cyclists should be in the cycle lanes", which implies that the cars have the primary right to use the rest of the road. This is a bit like cyclists saying to car drivers that there should be no traffic on an A road because a motorway connects the two destinations (- i.e. clearly nonsense!!)

In reality (maybe not in law) cyclists have an ambiguous status on the road. Have you ever seen a motorist being challenged by the authorities for driving or parking in a cycle lane? I haven't. But only last week I saw a cyclist being stopped by the police for crossing a X road junction at a cyclepath-defined, light controlled crossing point.

What she had done wrong, apparently, was not to wait for the green 'pedestrians may cross' light. It was early in the morning, there was very low volumes of traffic at the time and no other pedestrians (apart from me!). She was told that if she had dismounted and walked across that would have been OK even if the pedestrian light was red, as long as it was safe to do so. In other words, the police were suggesting that bikes are obliged to obey the pedestrian lights, but pedestrians are not!

And the final thing? The police parked their BMW X 5 across the advanced stop box and the cycle lane whilst they spoke to her!
Pedal faster, I hear banjos!

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 10798
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Cunobelin » 8 Nov 2009, 8:54am

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


We have one in Portchester and te "Primary" is ignored. Had a Muppet in a 4x4 last week who overtook at the sqyuueze and had to dive back in at such a steep angle he was in the cycle lane and almost up the kerb before being able to correct.

Followed hm into a recreation centre (nice place - full of kids and parents as witnesses) and asked him why he had to overtake so dangerously.

Informed in somewhat colourful language that it was my fault because cyclists should not be allowed on the roads.

Excellent!

Firstly asked him not to swear in front of children and that from his attitude I now understood it was a deliberate act of dangerous driving.... I would be formally reporting it as a dangerous driving incident

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 10798
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Cunobelin » 8 Nov 2009, 9:01am

MLJ wrote:When the cycle lane on a busy radial route into town is only 75 cm wide


To me that is the problem, if we are going to have cycle lanes that they should meet minimum standards as to width, surfacing, marking etc. They should also be legislated with TROs and enforced with the same penalties as for using bus lanes. These standards already exist - it is simply a case of applying them.

Doesn't meet the minimum standard then it should be removed... or rectified within a short period (weeks).

Geriatrix
Posts: 1855
Joined: 23 Oct 2007, 1:33pm
Location: Caterham

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Geriatrix » 8 Nov 2009, 10:59am

I can't think of any context where a cycle lane has been to my advantage as a cyclist. There are few roads in Britain that are wide enough to accomodate them and on all the roads I use they are routinely ignored by motorists. Their positioning is another issue. The examples published by the Warrington Cycle Campaign capably demonstrate that their only purpose appears to be council tokenism.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman

byegad
Posts: 3232
Joined: 3 Sep 2007, 9:44am

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby byegad » 8 Nov 2009, 12:13pm

I'm convinced that properly done cycle facilities will increase rider safety and cycle use.

Unfortunately in the UK I have yet to see one that is done half way properly. I've just resigned as a Sustrans Ranger and financial supporter due to their upcoming campaign for segregated cycle facilities. This has been done as part of Sustrans' campaigen to increase female riders.

As things stand, if this campaign succeeds, there will be a small increase in female cyclists (A good thing.) and pressure for cyclists to be made to use the new facilities, no matter how badly executed they are!
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

2007 ICE QNT
2008 Hase Kettwiesel AL27
2011 Catrike Trail
1951 engine

thekelticfringe
Posts: 120
Joined: 31 Oct 2009, 7:32am

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thekelticfringe » 8 Nov 2009, 1:21pm

thekelticfringe wrote:This is a bit like cyclists saying to car drivers that there should be no traffic on an A road because a motorway connects the two destinations (- i.e. clearly nonsense!!)
Pedal faster, I hear banjos!

drossall
Posts: 5131
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 10:01pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby drossall » 8 Nov 2009, 3:21pm

byegad wrote:I'm convinced that properly done cycle facilities will increase rider safety and cycle use.


On cycle use, I'd agree, because people perceive them as important. However, on actual safety, the stats from all countries are against you, if you look at the Franklin link on page 1. That's not to say that there is no place for leisure facilities, bypasses for dangerous junctions, and so on. However, the idea that putting cycle lanes/paths alongside all roads would improve safety appears to be wishful thinking.

Lithril
Posts: 74
Joined: 5 Nov 2009, 12:51pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Lithril » 8 Nov 2009, 3:23pm

I usually take the bike on the train to work and then cycle the 12 miles home, quite a nice ride for the first part (country lanes) but after this there are 2 long stretches of road with cycle lanes on the pavements (roads are really quite busy, lots of fast moving traffic and lorries), the thing is because the cycle lanes aren't cleared of leaves and debris they're a lot more dangerous than taking on the traffic, especially in areas where the leaves are deep and you can't see the surface underneath. Are councils obliged to clear cycle paths?

CJV
Posts: 46
Joined: 24 Sep 2008, 11:42am
Location: London

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby CJV » 8 Nov 2009, 6:12pm

byegad wrote: I've just resigned as a Sustrans Ranger and financial supporter due to their upcoming campaign for segregated cycle facilities. This has been done as part of Sustrans' campaigen to increase female riders.

As things stand, if this campaign succeeds, there will be a small increase in female cyclists (A good thing.) and pressure for cyclists to be made to use the new facilities, no matter how badly executed they are!


"Segregated" being the truly terrifying word here. I share the concern aired by someone else here that cycle lanes encourage the idea that cyclists should be separated from the rest of the traffic and could result in rules stating that if there is one available then you shouldn't be on the road. I prefer to cycle around pretending to be a car, in other words behaving as I would in a car which I think entitles me to expect to be treated as any other vehicle with the same rights of way and deserving of the same courtesies. I think RLJers jeapordise this position but that's for another thread/debate. To be forced off the road and compelled to use rubbish and fiddly cycle lanes would make cycling too tedious to bother with and undermine its worth as an efficient and fun way to get to work.

And, while I'm here...

Which genius at Sustrans came up with the idea that segregation would encourage more female riders? If I were a lady cyclist, I might resent the assumptions being made about what's good for me.

tali42
Posts: 88
Joined: 5 Jun 2009, 8:15pm
Location: Coventry

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby tali42 » 9 Nov 2009, 12:05am

While I think the issues around junctions and cycle facilities give reason to be cautious about their use, I see no reason to believe that a well designed facility on a road with high traffic volume would be detrimental to the cause of cycling on that road. I think many would prefer the increased hazard at unsignalled junctions over playing the "I'm a car" game in the main traffic flow.

In the end, the facilities debate is really a secondary issue when compared to the problem of the low priority cycling has in government policy. Just about every issue that seems to arise for cyclists in respect to motor traffic seems to be related to its low status compared to the motor vehicle as a mode of transport.

byegad
Posts: 3232
Joined: 3 Sep 2007, 9:44am

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby byegad » 9 Nov 2009, 8:08am

For me, the main problem is that almost all cycle lanes are badly executed.
A combination of too narrow, poorly surfaced, badly placed in relation to roadside furniture, and ends just at the point where you really need protection such as at pinch points, make them positively dangerous. Add to that the lack of signage and the sometimes baffling circuitous route they take and they are not only dangerous but also confusing to use.

Imagine a Motorway between London and Oxford that heads East for twenty miles before looping North and eventually West, with no destination signs other than the next one along the route it would be years before anyone discovered it went to Oxford and even then no one would use it as it doubled the distance driven!

Now make its use compulsory, because make no mistake once the government has sent that kind of money they'll require its use!

Way too many of our cycle routes are exactly like this and if we keep on building them compulsion will follow.
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

2007 ICE QNT
2008 Hase Kettwiesel AL27
2011 Catrike Trail
1951 engine

User avatar
CJ
Posts: 3120
Joined: 15 Jan 2007, 9:55pm

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby CJ » 9 Nov 2009, 12:30pm

Lithril wrote:I usually take the bike on the train to work and then cycle the 12 miles home, quite a nice ride for the first part (country lanes) but after this there are 2 long stretches of road with cycle lanes on the pavements (roads are really quite busy, lots of fast moving traffic and lorries), the thing is because the cycle lanes aren't cleared of leaves and debris they're a lot more dangerous than taking on the traffic, especially in areas where the leaves are deep and you can't see the surface underneath. Are councils obliged to clear cycle paths?

As it happens I'm just back from cycling in southern Germany: a country with lots of segregated cycling facilities that are (mostly) well-surfaced and always have right of way over side roads - a right that is respected thanks to the severe penalties for driving into a cyclist. And as we rode out of Munich on one of these excellent cyclepaths, what should we meet coming the other way but a cyclepath sweeping machine, hoovering up the fallen leaves!

I have seen similar machines at work in Holland, Denmark and Switzerland. Although I only spend the odd week or two in those countries and do most of my cycling in Britain, I have yet to see any such machine at work over here. I suppose that British cycling "facilities" are in any case so narrow and twisty and frequently obstructed with bollards etc., as to defeat any attempt to operate such a machine. No surprise then, that our paths are also littered with broken glass - that and the fact that we don't require deposits on beer bottles!
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

glueman
Posts: 4354
Joined: 16 Mar 2007, 1:22pm

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby glueman » 9 Nov 2009, 2:09pm

byegad wrote:For me, the main problem is that almost all cycle lanes are badly executed.


Correct. This debate is dominated by sporting or commited utility cyclists, rather than say, a carer trying to herd three youngsters on bikes from A to B. Would you really rather take kids across a busy interchange than via a stop-start cycleway? I wouldn't. Zero tolerance to cycleways would disenfranchise large sections of the community.

User avatar
anothereye
Posts: 750
Joined: 8 Mar 2009, 4:56pm
Location: Haringey, North London

Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby anothereye » 9 Nov 2009, 2:21pm

byegad wrote:Imagine a Motorway between London and Oxford that heads East for twenty miles before looping North and eventually West, with no destination signs other than the next one along the route it would be years before anyone discovered it went to Oxford and even then no one would use it as it doubled the distance driven!
A good analogy except to make another point; you would have to stop and give way at every junction. Perhaps the motorist would rather use the A road: sharing it with other traffic.