Cycle paths unsafe?

james01
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Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby james01 » 6 Sep 2010, 6:43pm

http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/digest/research.html

Sorry to raise again a topic which has been well-covered on the forum, but I just stumbled on this excellent work which brings together research from around the world on the effectiveness or otherwise of cycle lane provision. The statistics seem to make a compelling case against most forms of segregation, and the conclusions seem close to those which experienced cyclists have known all along. (Obviously references to left turns in most foreign countries are the equivalent of our right turn, i.e. across the traffic).
I've just completed a short semi-urban tour with my traffic-shy wife who insisted on using all marked cycle lanes. Our stress-level rose (and our average speed plummetted) at having to dismount as instructed by the signs and scurry across 2 or 3 lanes of busy dual carraigeway at each roundabout or traffic lights, and at last even she relented and agreed to cycle on-road as part of the traffic. Result? Much safer and quicker. And nobody shouted at us to get back on the path, luckily for them :evil:

snibgo
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby snibgo » 6 Sep 2010, 7:42pm

Segregation, like wearing h*lm*ts, is in great favour by non-cyclists.

In my view, segregation is great for 5-year-olds who are learning to ride. Or older folks in a similar position, I suppose. As you have discovered, on-road is often much safer and quicker.

Cyclecraft (the book, by the author of that web site) is well worth studying.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Cunobelin » 6 Sep 2010, 7:47pm

The DfT has an excelent "Code of conduct for cyclists"

The following key messages are suggested as the basis for a code of conduct notice for cyclists. The code could be posted at points of entry and at intervals along the route. This will be especially useful when the facility is new.

* * If a feature segregating cyclists from pedestrians is present, keep to the cyclist’s side. This will be indicated on blue and white road signs and by cycle logos on the surface.
* * Ride on the left hand side of the area available to you. If you need to overtake another cyclist, give a gentle ring on your bell or say ‘Excuse me’.
* * When coming up behind pedestrians, always pass them at a safe distance, and slowly enough so that you could avoid them if they made a sudden change in direction.
* * Remember that some pedestrians may be hard of hearing or visually impaired and hence might not be aware of you. If in doubt, give a gentle ring on your bell or say ‘Excuse me’.
* * Always respect pedestrians even if they stray onto the cycling side (if there is one); they are entitled to do so. Always thank people who move out of your way.
* * Ride at a sensible speed for the situation and ensure you can stop in time. As a general rule, if you want to cycle quickly, say in excess of 18 mph/30 kph, then you should be riding on the road.
* * Use lights at night.
* * In pedestrianised areas, only ride your cycle if there aren’t too many pedestrians about; otherwise dismount and push it. When visiting shops etc, park your cycle so that people will not trip over it; use formal cycle parking if available.






My emphasis - but I do commute at these speeds and therefore the local cycle paths would be unsuitable (If they weren't blocked by illegally parked cars and maintained in a usable state)

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 6 Sep 2010, 9:12pm

james01 » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:43 pm wrote
I've just completed a short semi-urban tour with my traffic-shy wife who insisted on using all marked cycle lanes


It could be handy to know the location.
-------------------
UK

Rates killed per 100 million km

Urban roads, ‘A‘ roads, Other roads
Car 0.2, 0.1
cyclist 4.7, 0.5
Motorcyclist 8.4, 5.3

Rural roads, ‘A‘ roads, Other roads
Car 0.5, 0.6
cyclist 24, 3.2
Motorcyclist 17, 12

For cyclists and motorcyclists non-A roads are safer per distance traveled. The ratio for rural A roads to other roads for cycling is about 8 to 1. These figures may reflect the rate of being overtaken to some extent.

See Table 26, page 136, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2008
Annual Report, 4 Mb on web.
http://www.dft.gov.uk/adobepdf/162469/2 ... gb2008.pdf
-------------
Each type of road situation may benefit from specific consideration.

The above figures will vary, say for rural A roads and cyclists could benefit in some circumstances and not benefit in others etc. How to have an accurate assessment prior to lives being lost would be a valuable tool and general points may be helpful. Volume of traffic, ave speed, road width, ave passing clearance (test cyclists data - like Dr Ian Walker experiment with helmets), junction speeds, number of junctions per km, type of traffic, vehicle spacing, viewing factors etc. One objective could be to reduce the '24' to below '10' by design implimentation without making cycling unduly less convenient, unduly may need defining, eg no more than a 10% additional travel time as a maximum.

Big T
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Big T » 6 Sep 2010, 10:11pm

I do use cycle paths, but only where they aren't constantly crossing side roads, Even then, they are slower than using the road.

I find using a couple of miles of cycle path on a 6 mile commute can take me an extra 5 minutes compared to riding on the road. Some of this is having to wait for the toucan lights at a major road junction. I can't ride much faster than 12 mph on a cycle path, due to poor surfaces and bad sightlines, whereas I can easily do 15-18mph on the road. The path is more relaxing though, due to reduced conflict with cars.
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hubgearfreak
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby hubgearfreak » 6 Sep 2010, 10:57pm

the title is; Cycle paths unsafe?

we've had discussions before about roads being unsafe ie.
where a car goes straight into a hedge - is it the driver's fault for going too fast, or the road's fault for not being straight? i think we all know the answer.

so how can a cycle path be unsafe?

if you've got 50+mm tyres for the uneven surface
if you've got 1kg tyres for the anti-thorn/glass layer
if you don't have any panniers and/or third wheel to be stopped by the motorbike (& pannier/tricycle/trailer) barriers
if you're happy to tootle along at 10mph because of the sight lines
if you don't go out in the dark for fear of rapists/ muggers
if you're happy to go the scenic route that's double the distance, or indeed goes nowhere
if you stop at every junction (+ possibly driveway), look around (without your walkman obviously :roll: ) to make sure no motors are about

assuming all above, i'd like to put in a vote of confidence for sustrans for producing a very useful facility

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Sep 2010, 11:12pm

A rather incomplete list, if I may say so, which makes no mention of officially erected obstructions such as telegraph poles

Here's one I prepared earlier, so to speak.

Image

Still there, on streetview:-

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&sourc ... 17.42,,0,5

===================================================================
STOP PRESS. My mistake I thought the topic was psychopaths unsafe. :shock:

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby hubgearfreak » 6 Sep 2010, 11:16pm

you're quite right there TC. :D i'm awfully sorry to have ommitted;

if a. your handlebars are narrow enough to use paths down to 10" wide
b. you've got the skills to pass where obstacles make the path 10" wide

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Vorpal » 7 Sep 2010, 8:57am

Not to forget...

if your bike is light enough to be carried up/down the stairs and lifted over obstructions :roll:
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

TheJollyJimLad
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby TheJollyJimLad » 7 Sep 2010, 9:44am

snibgo wrote:Segregation, like wearing h*lm*ts, is in great favour by non-cyclists.

In my view, segregation is great for 5-year-olds who are learning to ride. Or older folks in a similar position, I suppose. As you have discovered, on-road is often much safer and quicker.

Cyclecraft (the book, by the author of that web site) is well worth studying.


Segregation is the only way you are going to get a modal shift from motoring to cycling in this country. You will see what looks like impressive statistics from Transport for London, LCC and CTC until you realise what it all actually equates to. It's still nowhere near the figures for the Netherlands and Denmark.

85,000 people turned up for the London Sky Ride last Sunday. If you provide a traffic free faciltity, they will come.
Alas, this country is incapable of producing traffic free facilities as, if they were properly designed to a Dutch or Danish model, it would mean motorists having to cede a little bit of space and we can't have that, apparently.

We have lost maybe a generation (even two) that have never really experienced the joys of cycling due to the increased perception of danger on the roads and I think that's another unpalatable truth for organisations such as CTC. We can delude ourselves that one day we will reach parity with the motor car whilst continuing to achieve mediocre cycling levels or we start campaigning for decent traffic free paths. We need to Copenhagenize and NOT Sustranise!

We have books and websites (including my wonderful blog :D ) dedicated to highlighting the awful standards of facilties provided in this country and yet noone is brought to account. A decent continental style path network also effectively negates the helmet/high-viz/suit of armour debate as we are removing cyclists from the actual reason that roads are dangerous.

james01
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby james01 » 7 Sep 2010, 10:37am

[quote="TheJollyJimLad] if they were properly designed to a Dutch or Danish model, it would mean motorists having to cede a little bit of space and we can't have that, apparently. ................

. We need to Copenhagenize and NOT Sustranise!

.[/quote]

Agreed. But until peds' & cyclists' needs are prioritised over motor vehicles, or at least given some kind of equal status,this won't happen. So Sustrans continues to try to make the best of an unsatisfactory state of affairs. In defence of cycle tracks, my own kids would have been unable to cycle at all until well into their teens, such are the roads around here.
Me, I'll continue to use proper roads. The main cycle facility which I do appreciate is the painted cycle lane along some modern A roads when I'm doing a long distance and in a hurry - a fast, busy, undulating, curving dual carraigeway without a bike lane is my least favourite road.

snibgo
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby snibgo » 7 Sep 2010, 12:21pm

snibgo wrote:In my view, segregation is great for 5-year-olds who are learning to ride. Or older folks in a similar position, I suppose. As you have discovered, on-road is often much safer and quicker.


I meant, segregation as we currently have it, for example in Cambourne (Cambs), where the shared-use facilities have steel or wood chicanes, randomly stop or start or cross the road, have blind crossings with roads and private driveways, or are simply sand/gravel paths that go nowhere useful. This is a second-class facility to encourage bikes off roads at a high cost in safety or convenience to the cyclists.

I agree that Copenhagen and parts of the Netherlands have first-class segregated facilities. (I haven't experienced them personally, but I'm impressed by what I see on the web.) I'd like to see those facilities here. I'd love to cycle from A to B swiftly, safely and segregated from motor traffic.

Until we Copenhagenize, and I'm not holding my breath, what should a cyclist do? For safety as well as swiftness, the cyclist should avoid using the current segregated facilities of the sort that I experience. Cyclists are safer on the roads.

TheJollyJimLad
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby TheJollyJimLad » 7 Sep 2010, 12:36pm

I think we are all definately agreed.

I commute between Worthing and Brighton by bicycle every day. To use Sustrans NCN2 would be to go around the houses (and a busy port) whilst dismounting and remounting my bike like some form of cycling doe-se-doe. I use the A259 as the sightlines are good for the most part, theres a reasonable amount of road space for everyone.

But that's just it - The road could be redsigned with a segregated cycle path, a pavement, a narrowed main road and even parking and additional planting. Then you would see a genuine rise in cycling levels. At the moment, although there is space to cycle, people aren't going to find mixing it up with HGV's and buses a healthy, fun experience.

With regards dual carriageways, the Highways Agency have made these effectively into 'motorways' which are an incredibly hostile environment for cycling (as the tragic demise of a couple of time triallers recently testifies). We can either try and campaign for our right to be there with a crappy white line at the side and the Russian roulette of slip roads or go for broke with a cycleway runing parallel linking with bridleways etc

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby hubgearfreak » 7 Sep 2010, 2:01pm

thirdcrank wrote:A rather incomplete list, if I may say so


here's another, that i forgot.. :oops:

if your bicycle isn't actually a vehicle. :?

Image

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 7 Sep 2010, 7:27pm

http://cyclinginfo.co.uk/blog/cycling/c ... n-holland/

Cycling Statistics
In the Netherlands 27% of all trips are made by bike, compared to
UK 1.3%
US 0.9%

The average distance cycled per person is
Netherland 2.5 km,
UK 0.2Km,
US 0.1Km

Women’s Share of Cycling
Netherland 55% of all cycle distance travelled by women
UK 29%
US 25%
Australia 21%

Cyclists Injured per 10 million Km
US 35
UK 6
Netherlands 1.4
--------------------------
Most cyclists are locals, eg 12 million ride bikes they say in the UK, CTC members 50k-60k, one in 200. The Netherland provides the most cycle paths from my experience, cycled there and in other places, but their accident rate is much lower. The UK has made a patchy job in general terms of buidling cycling facilities for 20 years. How best to move forward.

Would a British Standards for cycle paths help to obtain a good product fit for use and give sound direction to designers in providing a higher standard. All new cycle paths would have to meet a British Standard. Could this work or have benefits. What if any disadvantages would there be.

Obviously we could go on and on about poor UK designs, there are that many to choose from, but that does not take us very far forwards, it does help to know what to avoid, errors in the past.

Could the CTC, write a draft version of a BS for cycle paths? this may be better than asking others to provide. Mainly 2 types would be used, on road cycle lane and off road cycle path and their entry and exit. A BS would be more precise than optional guidlines used in the past. Junction designs and educating motorists would be more difficult to address.