Not convinced on cycle lanes

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anothereye
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby anothereye » 12 Nov 2009, 12:15pm

Yesterday a friend told me that a new motor-way in Australia has parallel cycle paths and good (?) facilities for cyclists at all the junctions. I've googled but cannot find any pictures or references; can anyone help with that?
I do think that this may be a positive example of cycle facilities.
On a less happy note:
Aussie former politician says cyclists should be banned from roads
http://road.cc/content/news/10979-aussi ... nned-roads

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CJ
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby CJ » 12 Nov 2009, 12:27pm

drossall wrote: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.

Several of those reports highlight the additional danger of two-way paths and the wrong way junction encounters they produce. For example: "At junctions cycle tracks 3.4 times more dangerous than using road, but rising to 11.9 riding in 'wrong' direction." Many of the other studies that find cycle paths more dangerous will surely also be based on figures inflated by wrong way riders.

And as for figures such as 3.4 times more dangerous even when going the "right" way: this is merely a collision counting exercise that does not take any account of different levels of injury severity or skill that may be associated with "road warriors", as opposed to "sidepath creepers".

I think it's very likely that the sort of person who prefers to ride on roads is much better at avoiding accidents. Those who are so confident that they'll even ride in 70mph traffic however, seem to really cop it when they do get hit! On the other hand I daresay most of the relatively frequent collisions suffered by those too timid and wobbly to leave the supposed sanctuary of a sidepath result in nothing worse than cuts and bruises.

Unless comparisons of road and sidepath cycling make at least some attempt to control for those two factors, I don't think very much can be concluded from them - apart from the importance of good design and of motivating drivers to give way to cyclists using them.

In Britain we have bad design and un-motivated drivers. So I agree that cycling facilities are usually worse than no facility here. First we need strict liability and strong penalties for drivers who infringe the right-of-way of a vulnerable road user. Then we need enforced continental-style standards for cyclepath construction. But even without those things, you've surely got to admit that many British trunk roads have become such hostile places to ride a bicycle - virtual motorways but without a hard shoulder - that almost any kind of path would be better than nothing alongside those roads at least.

At the other extreme, I agree that cyclepaths or neither use nor ornament where traffic speeds and densities are low, and that it's infitely better to calm traffic than to separate cyclists from it. However the Hans Moderman open-plan strategy also requires that drivers be better motivated than British drivers are, not to bully cyclists and pedestrians out of their way.
Chris Juden
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glueman
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby glueman » 12 Nov 2009, 12:33pm

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.



That's a very simplistic view. If there wasn't an extensive cycle track network in Holland would the bicycle have become a perfectly normal means of transport attracting the widest demographic? No. To build a critical mass of utility cycling needs an engine of change. Telling people they'll be 'better off on the roads' has failed to be that engine in anglo-saxon countries.
What we have in Britain is a tiny number of road commuting cyclists in the schizophrenic position of being certain they're in the safest place (and pyramid selling the idea to anyone who'll listen) while the evidence of their eyes and experience suggests the opposite.

I'm with Orbiter's practical experience over theoretical advantage.
Edit: CJ has nailed the facts to my satisfaction.

tali42
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby tali42 » 12 Nov 2009, 10:10pm

Pete Owens wrote: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)


That's easy to believe looking at facilities in the UK. I think it rings pretty hollow if you stand near a segregated facility in Amsterdam or Copenhagen.

When cyclists in such locales start demanding en masse to be put back into the motor traffic on trunk roads and busy urban streets, I'll take notice and drop my belief in the idea that facilities have a role to play in the encouragement of cycling. (And I'll drop my opposition to helmet promotion when they start wearing helmets en masse too).

Pete Owens wrote: 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.


Yes, I am. When a cyclist in the UK encounters a long queue of traffic, they generally have 3 choices.
1. Wait in the queue.
2. Use the footpath to get to the front.
3. Filter up the inside, middle or outside.

All 3 choices aren't pleasant or easy, or in the case of 2, legal.

Cyclists on a segregated facility don't encounter queues of motor vehicles, they ride past. I loved doing that when I've visited Amsterdam.

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orbiter
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby orbiter » 14 Nov 2009, 10:19pm

Pete Owens wrote:
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.


A statement often rolled out (usually with Denmark added) but as CJ said earlier the evidence is slim and possibly doubtful, unless you can add more.

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.

I don't know about the Berlin police but there are plenty of cycle lanes/paths there. Drachten and the Shared Space concept isn't a sensible example to quote as it is about considerably more than just removing cycle lanes!

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.

Didn't you just contradict yourself there? Numbers certainly seem to affect safety; so does drivers' presumed liability and the general attitude of people who were probably brought up to use a bike. I'm firmly on the side of right to ride on-road but it's a lot pleasanter having a good quality dedicated bikeway alongside a main road between towns instead of having to be concerned about the next elbow-brushing overtake.

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EdinburghFixed
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby EdinburghFixed » 14 Nov 2009, 10:45pm

To me it seems like a moot point to argue over whether segregated paths are safer / more dangerous than riding on the road. The elephant in the room, of course, is that we don't (and will likely never have) adequate segregated 'facilities' in the UK. To provide a network of routes which aren't plagued by problems of width, losing priority all the time at side roads, etc. is simply beyond what we can manage.

The excellence of converted railways certainly proves that segregated facilities can work (seem to encourage lots of riders, wide enough to pass oncoming riders without stress and smooth enough to support extremely high speeds, which combines with never losing priority to make them much faster than the road network).

But this is all meaningless when you consider that we can't even muster the money and political will to open an airport rail-link up here. The idea that we could purchase and engineer similar volumes of land for every "bike road" we'd like to build is laughable. There is a genuine battle to be fought over traffic calming / smart junction design VS "cycle facilities" and that, IMHO, is where we should be campaigning.

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Swizz69
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Swizz69 » 15 Nov 2009, 1:27am

There is a genuine battle to be fought over traffic calming / smart junction design VS "cycle facilities" and that, IMHO, is where we should be campaigning.

Couldn't agree more. Installing special facilities doesn't solve the problem, it attempts to solve the problem and creates a few more. Take the following quote from the thread 'Cycle plan to blame drivers for all crashes'...

Even if we take this beyond the field of insurance, to hold drivers responsible for any harm done by the vehicle they are driving, does not erode the innocent until proven guilty principle. It merely puts the motor car back onto the same footing as any other piece of dangerous machinery being operated in a public open space.

If there is no proof that a particular car did the damage or that Mr X was driving it, then of course Mr X remains innocent. But so long as it's proven that it did and he was, that is proof enough, I reckon, to establish his negligence.

All you've got to do to see the sense in this is to substitute "car" and "road" for "hedge-trimmer" and "footpath"

This idea of adopting a more european stance on who is liable in an 'accident' between a pedestrian/cyclist/motorist in one form or another is one measure which may help solve the problem of the car bullying the bicycle, the L200 bullying the Nissan Micra, and suchlike by assuming that the operator of the larger and more powerful machinery has a greater duty of care towards the lesser party. This is really the case now without a change in legislation, at least in the mind of anyone applying common sense it is anyway, but a large chunk of people don't use common sense when they get behind the wheel. Their personality changes for the worse - whether that be not paying attention, adopting an 'I'm here get out of my way' attitude, or 'bravely' shouting abuse at someone safe in the knowledge that they are cocooned in a steel box.

IMO a change in culture amongst road users would be more useful than any other measure and would benefit a greater number of people.

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby niggle » 15 Nov 2009, 7:53am

Swizz69 wrote:but a large chunk of people don't use common sense when they get behind the wheel. Their personality changes for the worse - whether that be not paying attention, adopting an 'I'm here get out of my way' attitude, or 'bravely' shouting abuse at someone safe in the knowledge that they are cocooned in a steel box.

IMO a change in culture amongst road users would be more useful than any other measure and would benefit a greater number of people.


Brilliant! Umm, how are we going to do that then :?

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EdinburghFixed
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby EdinburghFixed » 15 Nov 2009, 8:05am

Strict liability would be a big step in the right direction. If motorists knew they'd loose their no-claims in a bump, instead of just claiming the cyclist was "too hard to see" (!), would they be as blasé about squeezing past?

Even better, you could implement strict liability at virtually nil cost. As the cost of every road accident saved is massive, this seems like a no-brainer to me (total price to all parties including the state, of a serious injury in 2000 was estimated at £154,110 - a fatality £1,323,880).

Insurmountable though the problem may seem, I still think that it would be more practical to make the roads safe, than create a secondary road network for cyclists.

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby thekelticfringe » 15 Nov 2009, 8:29am

At the risk of being stoned for cross-posting, anyone who wishes to make their suggestions known to the **Scottish** government can start here http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=30621.
Pedal faster, I hear banjos!

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orbiter
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby orbiter » 15 Nov 2009, 10:46am

Pete Owens wrote:That is why the Berlin police argued that cyclists should be permitted to ride on the carriageway.

I just read the preface to that report, which could be a description of current British crap cycle lanes :lol:
"bicyclists had to report that the sidepaths are largely unusable, and that the authorities do nothing to make them so (no removal of parked cars or snow, no adequate safety measures at construction sites etc.), and that the design and location of the sidepaths worsens rather than improves bicycle travel conditions. Red stripes painted on the sidewalks, too little width, poor pavement, impossible twists and turns, very soon made it clear to everyday bicyclists that these were bicyclist-impeding paths, which had the purpose of merely getting bicyclists off the streets."
Germany has moved on with road design since 1987. In another 20 years Britain might catch up :roll:

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Ron » 15 Nov 2009, 1:17pm

Pete Owens wrote: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.


Are you referring to urban motorways in these cities?

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Swizz69
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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Swizz69 » 15 Nov 2009, 3:59pm

niggle wrote:
Swizz69 wrote:but a large chunk of people don't use common sense when they get behind the wheel. Their personality changes for the worse - whether that be not paying attention, adopting an 'I'm here get out of my way' attitude, or 'bravely' shouting abuse at someone safe in the knowledge that they are cocooned in a steel box.

IMO a change in culture amongst road users would be more useful than any other measure and would benefit a greater number of people.


Brilliant! Umm, how are we going to do that then :?

Umm, the suggestion was in the full paragraph :?

Its actually pretty fundamental, even for those in favour of cycle lanes if they want drivers to respect them. However by making the road safer in the first place, the argument for creating many of these facilities is nullified anyway.

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Pete Owens » 16 Nov 2009, 1:40am

orbiter wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:That is why the Berlin police argued that cyclists should be permitted to ride on the carriageway.

I just read the preface to that report, which could be a description of current British crap cycle lanes :lol:

When all the apologists for segregation finally admit that UK cycle facilities are rubbish they resort to making claims that somehow, in some mystical unspecified way that continental facilities are somehow better, it is reasonable to point out that much of the research showing the increased danger that these facilities cause comes from the very countries that these people are praising.
"bicyclists had to report that the sidepaths are largely unusable, and that the authorities do nothing to make them so (no removal of parked cars or snow, no adequate safety measures at construction sites etc.), and that the design and location of the sidepaths worsens rather than improves bicycle travel conditions. Red stripes painted on the sidewalks, too little width, poor pavement, impossible twists and turns, very soon made it clear to everyday bicyclists that these were bicyclist-impeding paths, which had the purpose of merely getting bicyclists off the streets."
Germany has moved on with road design since 1987. In another 20 years Britain might catch up :roll:


There is still no solution to the inherent danger at junctions. Whatever the quality of the bits between junctions, nobody has yet been able to overcome the inevitable conflict at junctions. It is a matter of basic geometry.

Note the 2nd paragraph went on to point out:
"So, only the anticipated safety advantage remained as an argument for the use and the
construction of these sidepaths. But this, too, revealed itself quickly to be an illusion.
Experienced bicyclists who had ridden for years without having a crash became aware
quickly, through the accumulation of crashes on and because of sidepaths, that the
opposite result was being achieved. Pedestrians and motorists who had only started riding
in recent years, or who only occasionally rode bicycles, were not as well able to judge,
because they lacked the experience to make a comparison.

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Re: Not convinced on cycle lanes

Postby Pete Owens » 16 Nov 2009, 2:16am

orbiter wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:
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.


A statement often rolled out (usually with Denmark added) but as CJ said earlier the evidence is slim and possibly doubtful, unless you can add more.


Well only if you call a large body of research pointing to an increased risk of collision at junctions undertakin in many countries - including all those that segregation advocates point to as paragons of good practice as "slim". I would choose "overwhelming" as a more appropriate adjective.

Are you aware of any research into the safety of sidepaths that doesn't show there to be increased danger at junctions?

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.

I don't know about the Berlin police but there are plenty of cycle lanes/paths there. Drachten and the Shared Space concept isn't a sensible example to quote as it is about considerably more than just removing cycle lanes! [/quote]
Indeed, but the concept at the heart of shared space is reducing segregation.
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.

Didn't you just contradict yourself there?
[/quote]

No.

Vulnerable road users are much safer in Holland (pedestrians as well as cyclists) for a whole host of reasons not including cycle paths. (unless you canthink of some way in which cycling on the pavement benefits pedestrians). Cyclists loose some of that benefit because they are forced to ride on the side paths. So while cycling is slighly safer than walking in the UK it is less safe in the NL. Cycling would be safer still if cyclists were permitted to use the roads.

Numbers certainly seem to affect safety; so does drivers' presumed liability and the general attitude of people who were probably brought up to use a bike.

These things all are very powerful influences on safety.
So comparing a country with presumed liability, large cycling numbers, low speed limits, home zones, cities designed to exclude rather than encourage cars to the UK - as an argument for the safety of a measure (road side cycle paths) which are wide spread in both places is absurd.
I'm firmly on the side of right to ride on-road

So I hope you will join me in condemning the dutch for restricting it.