Not convinced on cycle lanes

niggle
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby niggle » 10 Nov 2009, 8:35am

anothereye wrote:Can you post a photo next time your nearby?
Here you go, does not look that bad in the photos.
ImageImage
The surface of the raised lane is quite poor and the bus stop straddles it:
Image

thirdcrank
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Nov 2009, 8:57am

niggle

Although there is no evidence of it in the pic, I'd expect the arrangement where the yellow line is painted next to the raised cycle lane, rather than next to the kerb, to encourage drivers to park two wheels on the footway, two wheels on the cycle path.

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CJ
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby CJ » 10 Nov 2009, 11:20am

Mike Sales wrote: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.

You really need to go cycling in Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland etc. before you can comment on properly implemented facilities. Okay, they don't satisfy a tiny minority of racers, but for everyone else loves them.

As for increased accidents: the evidence is slim and when you break it down the extra accidents are entirely attributable to wrong-way riding. This mainly happens where cyclepaths are provided on only one side of the road: a common feature in some towns notably Helsinki, where cyclists proceding in the opposite directon to the adjacent traffic stream account for 90% of the collisions. Provide facilities on both sides and the problem is mostly solved - although a few riders will still go the wrong way where expedient. Helsinki now realises its mistake and is engaged in the slow and expensive process of realigning its major roads to make room for a one-way path on both sides instead.

The original study that "proved" riders on roadside cyclepaths had more accidents than those on roads is American. Likewise with that study, if you disagregate the data for wrong-way riders (on both!) the paths come out safer than the roads. This fact is ignored by those whose agenda is to prove that paths are bad, even though the same people are quick to point out the identical danger of wrong-way bicycling on the road - which used to be common practice in the USA!

The lesson for riding on paths in all those countries is that drivers will give way to you at side junctions, assuming you come from the same direction as other traffic they're looking out for. When coming the "wrong" way you've got to make eye-contact first. But not every rider realises that - perhaps especially when they're accustomed to other traffic always yielding.

As for creating an environment in which cyclists are underdogs: I agree that does happen in Britain, but that's a totally separate issue, arising from our might-is-right, victim-blaming culture. Go ride in one of those countries and learn how it feels to be a FIRST CLASS citizen, to have drivers yield the right-of-way to YOU, even when you do not have it!
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Mike Sales
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Mike Sales » 10 Nov 2009, 2:30pm

I have indeed never ridden on Dutch or German facilities. I have tried Swedish. I got completely lost because the signing was of British quality.
CJ wrote, "The lesson for riding on paths in all those countries is that drivers will give way to you at side junctions, assuming you come from the same direction as other traffic they're looking out for." When British drvers are as good as that then it will be reasonably easy to build decent facilities, perhaps. But whilst they, and the highwaymen persist in their current attitudes cycle facilities will continue to be a dangerous insult, designed to get us out of the way, with no thought given to cyclists' convenience or safety. I cannot believe that decent facilities can happen until the ideas behind tem

thirdcrank
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Nov 2009, 4:09pm

We can learn a little from the past in the UK. The first cycle paths - ie alongside a main road but separate from it - which I ever saw were on the several dual-carriageway sections of the A 64 between Tadcaster and Malton. That would have been in the summer of 1958 and I don't think they were by any means new, even then. They were continuous and had priority over minor roads at junctions. It was possible to ride on them at "evens" or faster but they were ignored by many cyclists, especially clubs. Over the years their condition deteriorated and they seemed to have been abandoned by the authorities. Road repair materials were dumped on them, lay bys for bus stops were carved out of them, and the "GIVE WAY" markings at junctions were repositioned, ignoring the paths' existence. Then the Highways Agency did something of an upgrade of the road between Taddy and York. The cyclepths were cleaned up a bit, but marked so that cyclists must give way at every private entrance.

By coincidence, I've been to Malton today, and the A 64 between there and York has received less attention. The adjacent cycle paths are simply a neglected mess. I'd not be surprised to be told that they had received no attention since I first rode to the old Malton YHA in 1958.

It's my own feeling that whatever may be possible, it's not likely in the UK. And if the authorities can't make proper provision for pedestrians, they are unlikely to do much for cyclists.

byegad
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby byegad » 10 Nov 2009, 7:01pm

[quote="CJV"
"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.[/quote]

I did point out in my resignation email that segregation was likely to be unpopular with female riders if it took them away from traffic and people. We had a fairly local example of a young lady being dragged from her bike and sexually assaulted not that long ago, she was on a segregated path.
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

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drossall
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby drossall » 10 Nov 2009, 9:25pm

I'm interested in CJ's comments because of his undoubted expertise and because I'd like to see safety measures based in fact rather than assumption. That said, the link that I provided is to a summary by John Franklin, who is also a considerable expert. The research that he cites is not American biased as I see it, nor is it evidently skewed by wrong way riding.

Rather, it's normally explained by pointing out that accidents normally happen at junctions; taking cyclists off the road makes sight lines worse (because they are nearer to hedges and walls, which makes seeing emerging cars harder), and puts drivers and riders "out of sight, out of mind" of each other.

I'm not sure how to reconcile this.

Pete Owens
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Pete Owens » 10 Nov 2009, 10:59pm

CJ wrote:
Mike Sales wrote: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.

You really need to go cycling in Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland etc. before you can comment on properly implemented facilities. Okay, they don't satisfy a tiny minority of racers, but for everyone else loves them.

It is a matter of basic geometry.
At every side road there is conflict (whichever way the priority is arranged).
At least in the UK we are still allowed to use the roads.
As for increased accidents: the evidence is slim and when you break it down the extra accidents are entirely attributable to wrong-way riding.

There is a large body of research pointing to cycle paths being less safe than roads. Are you aware of any evidence to the contrary?
This mainly happens where cyclepaths are provided on only one side of the road: a common feature in some towns notably Helsinki, where cyclists proceding in the opposite directon to the adjacent traffic stream account for 90% of the collisions. Provide facilities on both sides and the problem is mostly solved - although a few riders will still go the wrong way where expedient. Helsinki now realises its mistake and is engaged in the slow and expensive process of realigning its major roads to make room for a one-way path on both sides instead.

Indeed, that will make the junctions 3 times as dangerous as the road rather than 10 times for wrong way riding.
So, it is true, you do solve most of the problem by putting a track on both sides of the road rather than one.
Why not solve the rest of the problem by removing the track altogether.

The original study that "proved" riders on roadside cyclepaths had more accidents than those on roads is American.

I thought the original study was from the UK in the '30s. Subsequent studies from round the world have all found the same.

At that time advocates of cycle paths didn't even pretend they were trying to help cyclists ; merely clear the way for motor vehicles. Fortunately, we were spared compulsion to use the things, unlike cyclists in places with more authoritarian regimes.
Likewise with that study, if you disagregate the data for wrong-way riders (on both!) the paths come out safer than the roads.

Was it this study by any chance?
http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/riskfactors.htm
If so then take a look at appendix A.
This fact is ignored by those whose agenda is to prove that paths are bad, even though the same people are quick to point out the identical danger of wrong-way bicycling on the road - which used to be common practice in the USA!

The lesson for riding on paths in all those countries is that drivers will give way to you at side junctions, assuming you come from the same direction as other traffic they're looking out for.

Assuming they notice you in the first place.

TRL report 462 looked at the relative safety of cycle tracks which maintained priority compared to those where the side road had priority and found no difference between them - though they did observe that cyclists on the road were much less likely to come into conflict with motor vehicles. So while there is no justification for the UK practice of requiring cyclists to give way - there is no gain in terms of safety of changing the priorities. Both arrangements are much less safe than riding on the carriageway.

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orbiter
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby orbiter » 10 Nov 2009, 11:09pm

CJ wrote:You really need to go cycling in Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland etc. before you can comment on properly implemented facilities.

As for increased accidents: the evidence is slim ...............Go ride in one of those countries and learn how it feels to be a FIRST CLASS citizen, to have drivers yield the right-of-way to YOU, even when you do not have it!


YES! Living in Holland that's exactly how it feels (almost all the time). The same when I've toured in Holland or Germany. While junctions are always a potential conflict zone, good design (and law) WORKS. I've never understood quite how the cycleways over here could be more dangerous than the roads, even after reading some of John Franklin's references. Thanks to Chris for clarifying the overquoted mantra that cyclepaths are inherently more dangerous than the road. It's true in the UK but doesn't have to be.

That said, I'll choose the tarmac road rather than a brick-paved cycle path but that's for comfort, not safety. It's not quite perfect!

Lithril
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Lithril » 11 Nov 2009, 7:37am

Is there some conspiracy in this country about putting manhole covers in the middle of cycle lanes? I seem to be spending quite a bit of time on the way to work outside of the cycle lane avoiding slippery surfaces.

AlanD
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby AlanD » 11 Nov 2009, 1:46pm

I recently had an interesting exchange with one of the local ward Councillors. I had decided to complain to my local Council about one of the roads that I travel along on my daily commute; I pointed out how dangerous it was in that the characteristics of it were unforgiving of the stupidity of impatient drivers. The councils response was to send me a copy of a similar e-mail that I had sent them a year previously, and a statement to say that they were doing nothing about it. However, this got CC'ed to the Councillor on whose patch this road was and she agreed that there was merit in some of my points.

Wishing to foster good relations, I thanked said Councillor and she said that this situation was being put on the agenda for the next Parish meeting. Again I thanked her and said that I would like to hear the outcome of this. She comes back and tells me about a proposed Sustrans cycle lane for near my place of work. I reply by pointing out that the subject of cycle lanes is often raised on this forum (link provided) and that it may help her to understand why said cycle lanes are not generally well received by cyclists. I condense some of the reasons down to a single paragraph. Then to answer her comment about the cycle lane she was referring to, I said that I would not be using it, partly because it was going in the wrong direction, but mostly for all the other reasons given. I also pointed out that this had also received some critical comment from other cyclists at work, because it did not solve the problem of navigating a notorious road here that has already claimed one cyclist.

It will be most interesting to see how this one develops. I'll keep you all informed.

Alan

tali42
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby tali42 » 11 Nov 2009, 9:23pm

Pete Owens wrote:Indeed, that will make the junctions 3 times as dangerous as the road rather than 10 times for wrong way riding.
So, it is true, you do solve most of the problem by putting a track on both sides of the road rather than one.
Why not solve the rest of the problem by removing the track altogether.


I think it is interesting to take the 3X risk at junctions figure and put it along side "Safety in Numbers" ratio of 2X cycling leads to a reduction of risk by 1/3. So if a high quality facility (same direction as parellel traffic) is built on a road where there is likely to be a pent up demand for a route perceived as safer, and that facility attracted a 4-5X increase in cycle traffic on a route, then the 3X risk would have been largely cancelled and a more people would be getting around by bicycle.

And there are the non-safety related benefits of taking the cyclist out of the traffic insanity and rewarding them for there better transport choice by giving them a reasonably clear run.

Pete Owens
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Pete Owens » 12 Nov 2009, 12:23am

orbiter wrote:YES! Living in Holland that's exactly how it feels (almost all the time). The same when I've toured in Holland or Germany. While junctions are always a potential conflict zone, good design (and law) WORKS. I've never understood quite how the cycleways over here could be more dangerous than the roads, even after reading some of John Franklin's references. Thanks to Chris for clarifying the overquoted mantra that cyclepaths are inherently more dangerous than the road. It's true in the UK but doesn't have to be.


Much of the evidence that cycle paths are less safe than the roads actually comes from Holland and Germany.

That is why the Berlin police argued that cyclests should be permitted to ride on the carriageway.
That is why Hans Monderman improved safety when he stripped out the cycle lanes in Drachten.

Yes, cycling is much safer in Holland - but that is due to the safety in numbers effect. It would be even safer if cyclists were permitted to use the roads.

Pete Owens
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Pete Owens » 12 Nov 2009, 12:58am

tali42 wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:Indeed, that will make the junctions 3 times as dangerous as the road rather than 10 times for wrong way riding.
So, it is true, you do solve most of the problem by putting a track on both sides of the road rather than one.
Why not solve the rest of the problem by removing the track altogether.


I think it is interesting to take the 3X risk at junctions figure and put it along side "Safety in Numbers" ratio of 2X cycling leads to a reduction of risk by 1/3. So if a high quality facility (same direction as parellel traffic) is built on a road where there is likely to be a pent up demand for a route perceived as safer, and that facility attracted a 4-5X increase in cycle traffic on a route, then the 3X risk would have been largely cancelled and a more people would be getting around by bicycle.

Except that cycle facilities do not generate any extra cycle traffic, but suppress it by reinforcing the perception that cycling is dangerous (in the same way helmet promotion does)

This is why the new town areas of Warrington, built around comprehensive segregated cycle network (almost universally proclaimed as the ideal solution by the non-cycling population) see very much lower cycling levels than the traditional roads of the old town. When Warrington carried out traffic counts on radial routes as part of the first LTP, the route with the lowest modal share of cycling was the one route served by a segregated cycle track at the time.

This is why when John Franklin studied the redway in Milton Keynes, he found lower levels of cycling than other towns in the area.

We see the pattern repeated in other new towns. Runcorn, Skelmersdale, Telford and the like.

When folk claim that cycle paths generate traffic they usually rely on surveys of non-cyclists who claim that they would cycle - if only there was a safe off-road route available. Whenever my work coleages complain about the congestion or the iniquities of petrol taxes, or how unfairly the poor down trodden motorist is treated - I usually ask them why they choose to subject themselves to it rather than ride a bike. Their first response is invariably - "I would cycle if only their was a cycle-path". At this point I will produce a cycle map and show them an almost entirely off-road road - often significantly shorter than their normal route. They then discover that the reason that they don't cycle is something completely different.
And there are the non-safety related benefits of taking the cyclist out of the traffic insanity and rewarding them for there better transport choice by giving them a reasonably clear run.

You can't be serious.

thekelticfringe
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thekelticfringe » 12 Nov 2009, 6:06am

Pete Owens wrote:Yes, cycling is much safer in Holland - but that is due to the safety in numbers effect. It would be even safer if cyclists were permitted to use the roads.


Totally anecdotal, but Central Glasgow has quite a few cyclists (and few dedicated cycle lanes). In general the car drivers are considerate. I do think that the regular presence of appreciable numbers of cyclists helps to sensitise other drivers to their needs.
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