Not convinced on cycle lanes

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Si
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Si » 9 Nov 2009, 3:14pm

glueman wrote:
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.


To me, it's not so much that there isn't a place for cycleways - I even use some grotty ones myself - but rather that they are often sold as the ultimate answer.

Like public transport, cycleways should be another part of a real integrated transport solution* - just like much public transport they are currently not so, but, again, like public transport, that doesn't mean that they are a bad idea, just poorly executed.

*available if you want them but not mandatory - be that by law or due to a fear of using the road.


I've been commenting recently on a local scheme. The providers don't seem to know what it is meant to be. IMHO it'd work fine as a leisure route, but they are trying to make out that it is 'all things to all men'. Because of this they are spending on it money that could be used for other things like more cycle parking, better signage, reducing speed limits on popular routes, etc. It also seems to have taken up a good bit of campaigning effort that could have been used elsewhere.

thirdcrank
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Nov 2009, 3:35pm

Si wrote:...I've been commenting recently on a local scheme. The providers don't seem to know what it is meant to be. IMHO it'd work fine as a leisure route, but they are trying to make out that it is 'all things to all men'. ....


In the run up to retiring I applied for a job with Kirklees Council as the manager of their Closed Circuit TV System. This was part of the Highways Department so the head of highways chaired the selection panel. This was 1997 so in the heady days of the Notional Cycling Strategy and they were intrigued by me as a cyclist. Knowing that I intended to commute along the A 62 (which runs past the end of my street and outside their front door) he asked me if I thought the Spen Valley Cycleway would be useful. (This runs along a former railway track from Ravensthorpe to the outskirts of Bradford - at right angles to my route to work.)

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CJ
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby CJ » 9 Nov 2009, 3:42pm

glueman wrote:
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.

It is also dominated by people who've never cycled in Nethgerdentzerland and so have no idea what a properly executed cycling facility looks like. All they know is the British rubbish, which is built by other people who have no idea, on the principle that a starving man will eat dirt.

Stop-start "facilities" are also a nightmare with kids, by the way. Starting and stopping is the trickiest thing to do when you're shepherding a child. Will they brake at the right point, will a foot slip off a pedal when they start. Make it more than one child and you add the risk that one will wobble into another, plus the problem of what to do if one stalls whilst the rest get away! Sometimes it really is safer to remain on the road and keep them rolling around a the roundabout rather than some awful stop-start, zig-zag, slip-road chicken-game of a cycling facility. I know, I've been there, had kids, done that.

What we ALL need, but NEVER get in this bike-forsaken country, is PROPER continuous right-of-way cycling facilities.
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

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anothereye
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby anothereye » 9 Nov 2009, 3:55pm

CJ wrote: ... It is also dominated by people who've never cycled in Nethgerdentzerland and so have no idea what a properly executed cycling facility looks like. All they know is the British rubbish, which is built by other people who have no idea, on the principle that a starving man will eat dirt.
What we ALL need, but NEVER get in this bike-forsaken country, is PROPER continuous right-of-way cycling facilities.

Agreed. I cycled in Paris this summer and felt really safe (except for the buses) and got around fast. Cyclists could use cycle paths and cars give way at side road junctions: a bell is compulsory to warn pedestrians off the cycle paths.
Another difference is that cars turning at cross roads have to give way to pedestrians and cyclists.

I think that 2 things arise from this thread:
1. To put together a vision of how we would like to see an integrated system (if it doesn't already exist) and to campaign for it's implementation.
2. To educate motorists (and cyclists) that we need to share the road: co-operation not war.

Gerry

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Tigerbiten » 9 Nov 2009, 5:35pm

I dont normally use the cycle paths around where as live as non have been designed for non standard bikes.

Being disabled I ride a Trice Q, three wheeled recumbent and pull a large carry freedom trailer with it.
This means that the minimum width I need just to cycle on a path is 1 meter/ 3 feet.
My turning circle is a lot bigger than an upwrong.
I cannot stay seated and reach the buttons of a pelican crossing without my feet and pedals sticking into the traffic.
I dont trust that the off-road track won't narrow down to something I cannot get my trike through. If it does then I need to drop down the curb back onto the road or I need the push the trike backwards to somewhere I can turn it around.
Most on-road cycle tracks are to narrow to get both front wheels in it and not ride in the gutter at the same time.
Ect, etc.

Luck ............ :D

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Mike Sales » 9 Nov 2009, 6:52pm

I'm not convinced by the idea that there can be an ideal and acceptable facility, and its just that ours are so grudgingly implemented that spoils a good idea. Without extensive and expensive flyovers and underpasses the road traffic and the segregated traffic still have to cross each others' path at many junctions. Accidents anyway tend to happen at junctions, when vehicles cross each others path, giving chances for accident. Segregated paths multiply the crossing points, increasing the opportunity for mistakes to happen. Studies generally show that facilities increase cyclist accident rate, not reduce it, even in the Netherlands etc. I have just read above that cycle routes get right of way over there, at least sometimes. In Britain it is almost always the bike traffic which has to give way.
I can't really accept the nursery slope idea of facilities. They are more complex and do not encourage correct road cycling. I remember my astonishment when a series of Mountain Bikers came fast down the path towards me, on their right hand side. I only just got out of the way in time. Perhaps the generally abysmal standards of road cycling we see are caused, at least partly, by the irregular bevaviour learned off the road. Certainly one cannot learn general traffic skills in an environment where there are no cars, lorries etc. Facilities are infantilising. Remember "Cyclists Dismount".
What really bugs me about facilities is that they make things worse for me. They do increase aggression towards road cyclists, and if there is anything in the safety in numbers theory, cannot help road safety. Those of us who eschew the use of facilities get a worse deal. Drivers are more and more expecting cyclists to cede right of way to cars, even when it is the cyclist's. To make things harder for those whom are already cycling is not the obvious way to increase cycling numbers.
Perhaps when motorists learn better manners cycle facilities will not be a worse option, but pending the second coming facilities are being used to get us out of the way, instead of improving the road environment.
When segregation is glossed as "separate but equal" we should hear echoes of old South Africa.
As you might have gathered, I'm convinced on cycle lanes.

Mike Sales

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Cunobelin
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Cunobelin » 9 Nov 2009, 7:55pm

glueman wrote:
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.


I think that there is an issue both ways... the reason many of the utility cyclists condemn cycle paths is in many ways the same way they are dangerous to the kids.

For instance this evening I came along the A27 - there is an excellent facility, wide and with seperated colour coded areas for pedestrians and cyclists.... and with two numpties parked on it, one of them with the passenger and driver leaning on open doors chatting. The response to a request to move was impolite. Now I am happy to se the road. But if you are expecting the kids to be able to ride to school alongthis cysle path and not use the road you are going to be disappointed.

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby reohn2 » 9 Nov 2009, 7:56pm

I only use cycle lanes/paths when it suit my needs not when it suits motor vehicles.I am the traffic and will always be,until I'm given precedence over motor traffic.
Until then I'm equal to and therefore will share the road with motor traffic,no matter what the pea brained element of motor vehicle drivers and road designers(?) think.

Our problem is one of equality as Mike Sales rightly points out.
The powers that be(?) want us out of the way,which wouldn't be so bad if we weren't treated as second class citizens in the process,ill thoughtout cycling facilities with no consultation,that are not maintained will just not do!

I'm a tax payer including VED,in fact twice as much as some, as we (Mrs R2 and myself) own a car each and ride a tandem.We have the right to ride on the road,it is that simple,but even if we didn't own cars it wouldn't exclude us,even if we didn't pay taxes,it wouldn't exclude us.

I am so tired of being treated and looked upon as some kind of second class citizen,we've just this last week end (and I will also stop what I'm doing on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to remember their sacrifice) remembered those that fought and died against evil for me to be free.I will not be bullied off the roads of my country by lunatics whether they drive cars or design(?) cycle facilities.

Rant over.
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby reohn2 » 9 Nov 2009, 8:03pm

Cunobelin wrote:
For instance this evening I came along the A27 - there is an excellent facility, wide and with seperated colour coded areas for pedestrians and cyclists.... and with two numpties parked on it, one of them with the passenger and driver leaning on open doors chatting. The response to a request to move was impolite. Now I am happy to se the road. But if you are expecting the kids to be able to ride to school alongthis cysle path and not use the road you are going to be disappointed.


This a classic example of the lack of respect elements of the community have toward cyclists/cycling,we had a similar situation happen to us yesterday (I won't you with the details) the attitude by some is downright hostile even when thanking them for moving in a friendly manner we were met with abuse.
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thekelticfringe
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thekelticfringe » 9 Nov 2009, 8:44pm

anothereye wrote:I think that 2 things arise from this thread:
1. To put together a vision of how we would like to see an integrated system (if it doesn't already exist) and to campaign for it's implementation.
2. To educate motorists (and cyclists) that we need to share the road: co-operation not war.
Gerry


Anyone got any constructive suggestions for the vision?

My starter for 10 -

1) Try to agree a set of practical quality standards covering things like maintenance, surface, cleaning/gritting and real utility to cyclists (so for example segregation from traffic, adequate width, bike traffic lights at junctions, active enforcement of cycle lanes and publicity/driver education).
2) An audit of existing cycle lanes to see how they measure up
3) Ask CTC to engage with other campaigning/charitable organisations to support

Please improve them!

May not come to anything, but I agree with NotherI's sentiments
Pedal faster, I hear banjos!

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Nov 2009, 9:21pm

thekelticfringe wrote:My starter for 10 -

1) Try to agree a set of practical quality standards covering things like maintenance, surface, cleaning/gritting and real utility to cyclists (so for example segregation from traffic, adequate width, bike traffic lights at junctions, active enforcement of cycle lanes and publicity/driver education).


In the last year of the last tory government, the National Cycling Strategy was launched to promote cycling through various quite simple policies. This simply withered away under the present government.

Meanwhile, just over a decade ago, the CTC, with other organisations including the ministry of transport (under whatever name it was using then) and the Institute of Highways and Transportation produced such a document. It was called Cycle-friendly Infrastructure. This has more recently been expanded and published by the ministry as Local Tansport Note 2/08 http://dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tpm/ltnotes/ltn208.pdf Both have been widely ignored. IMO.

2) An audit of existing cycle lanes to see how they measure up


Subsequently, a scheme was devised called Cycle Audit and Review intending to do just that. A key element was that it would include all road developments. At a very late hour, the big misters who build the roads for motor cars realised this would mean they would have to consider cyclists :shock: Their clamour of protests meant the sceme was restricted to deal with little more than cycle facilities.

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tpm/tal ... tandreview

Imo we are not short of practical ideas. What we need is something more than lip service from government at both central and local levels. (Holding your breath is not recommended.)

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby drossall » 9 Nov 2009, 10:05pm

glueman wrote: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.


I've been trying to think about this one all along. No, I wouldn't take kids over a busy interchange. However, I don't believe the stuff about it just being our poor quality implementations, because the evidence says that cycle facilities are often more dangerous than the adjacent roads, even on the Continent. Therefore we need enough facilities to get people onto bikes, combined with plentiful and well-promoted training to give confidence, but we must avoid at all costs a belief among cyclists or politicians that cycle facilities are needed everywhere and/or are a panacea.

That probably means switching spending from lanes along all roads to bypassing a few key junctions, and so on.

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thekelticfringe » 9 Nov 2009, 10:12pm

@3rdcrank - thanks- interesting read. A lot of common sense in the "cycle-friendly infrastructure" doc
Pedal faster, I hear banjos!

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby reohn2 » 9 Nov 2009, 10:18pm

Nothing can be of any use until motor vehicles are held responsible for any collision involving a vulnerable road user ie Pedestrian,Cyclist,Horserider,Motorcyclist.Until proven otherwise.
Until the bully boy tactics of motor vehicle drivers are taken away from them by such a law we won't stand a chance,as TC put it "holding your breath is not reccomended"
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glueman
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby glueman » 9 Nov 2009, 11:29pm

One would assume that anyone designing a cycleway in the UK would look first at continental best practice, but somehow I doubt it. There can be no other excuse for the stuff British commuters are landed with. However given the alternative of exposing kids and the vulnerable to competitive highway intersections such as A road roundabouts I'd have to opt for the paint and hope path - if it had a roundabout route and the track hadn't given up beforehand because a cycleway too difficult to think about.

Continuity is the key. Most of the time cyclepaths run out because the road narrows or hits a junction. You have to ask if cyclists are thrown to the wolves at the tricky bits, why bother for the straight stuff? Whether those are reason enough to abandon all dedicated facilities and the constituency who get most out of them I doubt. What's needed is some joined up thinking and a bit of serious road re-engineering.