Cycle paths unsafe?

Pete Owens
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Pete Owens » 26 Oct 2010, 2:59am

Steady rider wrote:Some cycling solutions for the UK could come from;

1)
passing clearance required by law, 1.2m (4 feet) in 30 mph zones or less, 1.8m (6 feet) for 40 mph speed zones or higher.

Keep it simple - make it 1.5m in all circumstances -ie any overtaking driver should be able to avoid a cyclist falling over at the instant before overtaking.
I think the chances of enforcement are minimal in any case.
2)
50 mph national speed limit for roads without centre lines, minor roads, country lanes, (unless signed lower)

With the speed limit review, 50 mph is becoming the norm for many single carriageway A roads.
I would go for 40 on country lanes and 20 as the default in towns (in line with cycle friendly countries).
3)
Standards for cycling facilities (not guidelines) providing a legal basis to provide high quality facilities.

and until such standards exist then we need to be united in our opposition to the implementation of any cycle facilities as they are universally c**p at the moment.
4)
a - traffic speeds higher than 50 mph and busy road, separate cycle paths as a rule, priority over minor side roads, sensor signals for crossing major roads.

The only roads suitable for for this sort of speed or treatment are purpose built highway with very few side roads (at least a mile apart) They are designed to serve long distance journies of the sort that cyclists tend not to make.
b - traffic speed from 30 to 40 mph, either separate cycle path or wide cycle lane 1.8m where frequent junctions occur.

Any form of segregation is bad news with frequent junctions irrespective of speed.
What you need in this situation is wide kerb side lanes (4.5-5m) so that the lane can be shared comfortably.
Cyclists need 2m of road space to make safe progress so any cycle lane thinner than that is reallocating road space from cyclists to motor vehicles.
c - traffic speeds 30mph or below, wide cycle lane 1.8m on busy roads

1.8m is less than the minimum space cyclists need - and you should only consider this form of treatment where there are few conflicting movements no likelyhood of parking or loading. Generally if a road is wide enough to paint cycle lanes in the first place then that means that it will be already be cycle friendly. The problematic road for cyclists are those where there is insufficient width to share. Cycle lanes can be useful when they reallocate one general traffic lane from a dual carriageway.
d - if road is not suitable for above, eg cycle paths or wide cycle lane, reduce speed limit option.=

This is turning the hierarchy of provision on its head.
Reducing traffic speed should be at the top of the list (after traffic reduction) - segregation should be a last resort.
I think a bicycle needs are different to vehicle needs

Bicycles ARE vehicles.
and training does help (provided the trainer really knows what they are doing), same as teaching kids to stand where they can see traffic and traffic can see them when crossing a road.

ie ride on the road where other drivers can see you and expect to see other traffic - rather than on a cycle path where you are sure not to be noticed.
A cyclist trying to make a right hand turn on a busy road, if you behave like a vehicle, look, signal, move etc you could be putting yourself in more danger than using other techniques.

Do you recommend not looking, not signalling and swerving across at the last minute?
Now, I would not hesitate to advise cyclists to use the pavement in order to tackle an intimidating junction as a pedestrian - but if they do they should get off and walk.
just depends on circumstances and the rider to some extent. Part 1 above would be for cyclists, not all vehicles, one example of treating the bicycle as a bicycle, they may have to move out for a pot hole.

The way to avoid this is not to ride too close to the kerb (like other vehicles) - so you have the option of moving left to avoid potholes.
This is difficult and intimidating when cycle lanes are provided forcing you to ride in the gutter.
You also need to avoid other hazards such as the door zone - again cycle lanes make this tricky.
Occasionally cycle routes avoid traffic lights etc, eg river side routes, making them quicker than roads perhaps depending on where you are going.

And this should be the real purpose of facilities - not as an alternative to the road network, but as useful supplement to it - to provide routes that would otherwise be unavailable.

tali42
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby tali42 » 26 Oct 2010, 8:35pm

Pete Owens wrote:Things as such as low speed limits - like you see in Holland, Denmark, Sweden...
Things such as homezones - like you see in Holland...
Things such as shared space - like you see in Holland....
Things such as cycle streets - like you see in Holland...
Things such as strict liability - like you see in Holland....


Pete Owens, do you think it is remotely possible that all these things you list above + high standard segregation have an affect greater than the sum of their parts? Surely the Dutch model is characterised by a few key facts:
* A Dutch cyclist can expect to cycle to almost any reasonable location without being passed by large volumes/speeds of motorised traffic (unlike an English cyclist for whom the options to make a journey under similar conditions are limited). This being achieved with all the measures you list + a lot of high standard segregation.
* A Dutch cyclist can expect to make their journey in greater safety than an English cyclist.
* The Netherlands is still a motorised nation, in which motorists, once they leave the 30km/h zones, can expect to drive at 50km/h+.

Do you really believe that we will have more success advocating blanket 20mph zones across UK cities including urban A roads, like Hilden? Does the presence of segregation on a few main roads in the Hilden area play no role in that city's success?

Pete Owens
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Pete Owens » 28 Oct 2010, 12:38am

tali42 wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:Things as such as low speed limits - like you see in Holland, Denmark, Sweden...
Things such as homezones - like you see in Holland...
Things such as shared space - like you see in Holland....
Things such as cycle streets - like you see in Holland...
Things such as strict liability - like you see in Holland....

Pete Owens, do you think it is remotely possible that all these things you list above + high standard segregation have an affect greater than the sum of their parts?

Things such as those listed above make cycling safer and therefore encourage cycling.
Segregation makes cycling less safe and therefore discourages cycling.
What you see in Holland is the consistent application of all the positive features above is more than sufficient overcome the downside of segregation - but if Dutch cyclists were permitted to ride along their very safe roads they would see even greater benefits.
Surely the Dutch model is characterised by a few key facts:
* A Dutch cyclist can expect to cycle to almost any reasonable location without being passed by large volumes/speeds of motorised traffic (unlike an English cyclist for whom the options to make a journey under similar conditions are limited). This being achieved with all the measures you list + a lot of high standard segregation.

but just like an English cyclist in any of our new towns - where cycling is unpopular.

Designs in the UK actually go further down the path to segregation than in Holland.
Here we even provide segregated paths alongside residential culs-de-sac while the Dutch would design as a home zone - It is the Dutch that pioneered shared space - with concepts that would be difficult to get past a UK safety audit.
* A Dutch cyclist can expect to make their journey in greater safety than an English cyclist.

Exactly - due to the reasons listed above - and emphatically NOT due to segregation which reduces safety.
Dutch cyclists are perfectly happy to ride on their very safe roads with traffic where they are allowed to.
* The Netherlands is still a motorised nation, in which motorists, once they leave the 30km/h zones, can expect to drive at 50km/h+.

But those roads where they would expect to drive at 50km/h would have speed limits of 50mph in the UK.
Do you really believe that we will have more success advocating blanket 20mph zones across UK cities including urban A roads, like Hilden?

Absolutely.
Reducing speed limits is overwhelmingly popular - among the whole population (not just the small minority of cyclists).
Reducing speed limits is affordable - You can apply it to a whole city for less than the typical cost of modifying a single junction.
Reducing speed limits is practical - and starting to happen in Portsmouth, Newcastle, Wirral, some London Boroughs.
The more places that do implement it the easier it will be for local polititians to face down the resistance of the police and highway engineers.
Does the presence of segregation on a few main roads in the Hilden area play no role in that city's success?

No, those segregated paths existed before Hilden embarked on the speed control route. They are pretty typical of what you would see in most UK towns.
Their budget for cycle specific facilities is a small fraction of that of Warrington.

Pete Owens
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Pete Owens » 28 Oct 2010, 12:59am

Richard Mann wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:take a look at
http://www.warringtoncyclecampaign.co.u ... -lanes.pdf
scroll down to figure 3 and give as simple straight answer to the question:
Do you think the cyclist in the photograph preferred Fig 3a or Fig 3b.

And again that is for a 1.5m cycle lane - just think how much worse it would be with even thinner one - it is beyond belief that some cycle campaigners actually campaign in favour of this c**p.


Hi Pete - have you worked out how fast the traffic is going at the two sites on the A49 yet? We could do with a bit more evidence, and a bit less abuse.


Straight answers 0 - Obfuscation 15

This is a study of the effects of cycle lanes on cyclists road space - and if you genuinely have difficulty comprehending the fact that cyclists prefer overtaking trucks to leave more space then there is a clue in the paragraph above. Though your repeated refusal to give a straight answer suggests that you do understand this - despite your continued advocacy of even narrower lanes.

Other studies do show the effect of cycle lanes (as with all lane markings) is to increase motor vehicle speeds - again a feature most cyclists would agree was undesirable.

In short, if you prefer drivers to overtake too close too fast and with less care then cycle lanes are for you.

ericonabike
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby ericonabike » 28 Oct 2010, 11:16am

quote="Pete Owens"]In short, if you prefer drivers to overtake too close too fast and with less care then cycle lanes are for you.[/quote]

Too dogmatic for me I'm afraid. The A47 in Leicestershire, from Leicester to Earl Shilton, varies between having a 1.5m lane marked on it and no lane at all. Speed limits vary from 30 to 60. I regard myself as a hardened cyclist, doing 5,000 miles a year in all conditions. I invariably find myself relaxing involuntarily when I get to the bits with the marked lane. In the same way that a pavement marks out pedestrian space, the lane marks out my space. I have never had a problem with traffic encroaching on it.

The sections without lanes represent a free-for-all. I neve know how much space I'm going to be 'given' by traffic coming up behind me. If nothing is coming the other way, I might get the whole lane. More usually, I get a few feet.

Mrs Ericonabike a recent convert and much less confident, literally breathes a sigh of relief when she is on the cycle lane sections! From both perspectives, we would far rather have the entire length of the A47 that we use marked out with 1.5m cycle lanes.

ozzage
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby ozzage » 28 Oct 2010, 11:23am

Pete Owens wrote:Segregation makes cycling less safe and therefore discourages cycling.


Do you honestly believe that segregation discourages cycling? Honestly? I find that hard to believe.

Safety of cycling is already extremely high. It's the perceived danger which is a major factor stopping people cycling!

ozzage
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby ozzage » 28 Oct 2010, 11:29am

Pete Owens wrote:Things such as those listed above make cycling safer and therefore encourage cycling.
Segregation makes cycling less safe and therefore discourages cycling.
What you see in Holland is the consistent application of all the positive features above is more than sufficient overcome the downside of segregation - but if Dutch cyclists were permitted to ride along their very safe roads they would see even greater benefits.


No it wouldn't, because half of them would stop bloody cycling! You might have a strong opinion on this but you have no idea about human nature. The crux of it all: people don't like cycling with traffic. While you continue to overlook this most basic fact, you'll never understand why the UK has such dismal cycling rates.

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Vorpal » 28 Oct 2010, 12:29pm

I don't, in general, like segregation, but I'm afraid I have to agree with Ozzage that many people do prefer segregation. My brother, who is an experienced cyclist like me, has cycled in more than one country, including touring with me in Denmark and the UK. He lives in the USA and recently moved to a town where few people cycle and drivers don't have as much experience with or consideration for cyclists. He has converted to a cycle path and pavement cyclist :shock:

When I asked him about it, he said, "It's completely different than Madison [Wisconsin]; nobody watches out for you. I had too many near-misses. I know riding on the sidewalk [pavement] is not as safe statistically, but I'd rather be a careful and slow sidewalk cyclist than ride in traffic here."

An effect is that he doesn't cycle nearly as much as he used to. He seldom uses his bike to run errands, and he's much more likely to drive somewhere (state park or river path) to go for a recreational ride. I see other examples of this approach to cycling at the country parks in Essex where people can hire bikes and/or access good traffic-free facilities like the Flitch Way. On weekends with nice weather, the cycle hire places are very busy, and so are the cycle paths. But the majority of users drive there, whether they hire bikes or bring their own.

That doesn't mean that we shouldn't do most or all of the things Pete Owens suggested. And I agree that lower speed limits, etc. will help people feel safer cycling.

And, above all, we don't need more cr@p facilities. Whether we implement design standards (which I think will be difficult), or take a different approach to design, overall, something has to change significantly.

One part of it has got to be training and information to the highways engineers. It is clear in my communications with the good folks at Essex CC that most of them haven't the slightest idea about the needs of cyclists. Can we send them all on Bikeability courses, or something? Make them commute to work on bicycles, using the facilities they design?
Last edited by Vorpal on 28 Oct 2010, 11:15pm, edited 1 time in total.
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George Riches
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby George Riches » 28 Oct 2010, 1:38pm

In the crowded environment of most British towns and cities, I don't see where a network of "segregated" facilities which really are segregated (as opposed to 20 metres of segregation followed by some place where traffic crosses the path) and of a reasonable width could be built.

George Riches
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby George Riches » 28 Oct 2010, 1:45pm

ozzage wrote: you have no idea about human nature. The crux of it all: people don't like cycling with traffic. While you continue to overlook this most basic fact, you'll never understand why the UK has such dismal cycling rates.

Whenever I hear the phrase "human nature" I reach for my ear defenders.
People are not ants, pre-programmed. They have minds and perceptions. Which can be changed.

A lot of the reason for not liking to cycle in traffic is due to the poor behaviour of both cyclists and motorists. Behaviour can change.

Pete Owens
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Pete Owens » 28 Oct 2010, 11:02pm

ozzage wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:Segregation makes cycling less safe and therefore discourages cycling.


Do you honestly believe that segregation discourages cycling? Honestly?

I can think of no other explanation of why levels of cycling are so much lower in places with the greatest numbers of cycle paths.
I find that hard to believe.

Then go and visit Milton Keynes and see how the how one of the most extensive networks of segregated paths has resulted in the most car-dependent city in the UK.
Last edited by Pete Owens on 29 Oct 2010, 12:12am, edited 1 time in total.

snibgo
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby snibgo » 28 Oct 2010, 11:13pm

... And "Milton Keynes has one of the worst congestion and pollution records in England, according to an investigation by The Campaign for Better Transport." http://miltonkeynes.com/study-brands-mi ... luted.html

George Riches
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby George Riches » 28 Oct 2010, 11:38pm

Pete Owens wrote: visit Milton Keynes and see how the how one of the most extensive networks of segregated paths has resulted in the most car-dependent city in the UK.

I don't think the cycle paths are a cause of Milton Keynes being car-dependent, more that Milton Keynes was designed to be car dependent. The pretence that the cycle paths provided for leisure are much of an alternative to car use is just a bit of Greenwash.

Pete Owens
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Pete Owens » 29 Oct 2010, 12:05am

ericonabike wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:In short, if you prefer drivers to overtake too close too fast and with less care then cycle lanes are for you.


Too dogmatic for me I'm afraid. The A47 in Leicestershire, from Leicester to Earl Shilton, varies between having a 1.5m lane marked on it and no lane at all.

I took a cruise down the A47 on google earth and you are not comparing like-with-like.

The cycle lanes are in place wherever the lane width is sufficient for them.
Of course you will feel more comfortable where other vehicles have more space to overtake - you would get more space still if the cycle lane stripe was not marked - just as I found on the A49 and the Leeds researchers found on the A6.

The stretches of road without cycle lanes have nasty cycle-hostile design features that reduce the overall lane width available -
Either the lanes vanish at junctions for nasty deceleration lanes -
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=earl+sh ... 6&t=h&z=20
or there are over-wide edge of carriageway markings resulting in narrow lanes -
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=earl+sh ... 77162&z=14
or there is central hatching bounded by unbroken white lines making it illegal for drivers to overtake safely,
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=earl+sh ... 2,,0,13.71
or there are pinch points created by central islands,
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=earl+sh ... 62.18,,0,5
or the space is reallocated for filter lanes - again resulting in narrow lanes -
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=earl+sh ... 22.63,,0,5
or you are diverted on to a pavement farcility whhich gives way every few cm -
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=earl+sh ... 54324&z=13

Nowhere on the stetches without cycle lanes is there a section which is comparable - ie all markings similar other than the cycle lane and overall lane width available the same.
Speed limits vary from 30 to 60. I regard myself as a hardened cyclist, doing 5,000 miles a year in all conditions. I invariably find myself relaxing involuntarily when I get to the bits with the marked lane. In the same way that a pavement marks out pedestrian space, the lane marks out my space. I have never had a problem with traffic encroaching on it.

But the amount of space you need is 2m - a 1.5m lane reallocates 0.5m of the space you need to motor vehicles.

Here is an example of a lorry not encroaching the cycle lane.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=earl+sh ... .69,,1,7.2
I would not be happy with that little space.
As far as the driver of that truck is concerned then he is in his space and any cyclist in the cycle lane is in their space - just like the truck in my report.
Without a cycle lane they would realise that there was not sufficient space and wait for a gap in oncoming traffic - just like the other truck in my report.
The sections without lanes represent a free-for-all. I neve know how much space I'm going to be 'given' by traffic coming up behind me. If nothing is coming the other way, I might get the whole lane. More usually, I get a few feet.

The sections without cycle lanes are undoubtedly cycle hostile and necessitate adopting the primary position to progress safely.
This is very intimidating on a NSR road and I agree whole heartedly that the stretches that have cycle lanes marked are less bad than those without.
However, the difference is nothing to do with the cycle lane, but the restriction in overall width.
Mrs Ericonabike a recent convert and much less confident, literally breathes a sigh of relief when she is on the cycle lane sections! From both perspectives, we would far rather have the entire length of the A47 that we use marked out with 1.5m cycle lanes.

I suspect that what you actually want is for all the sections to alloocate sufficient lane width to facilitate safe overtaking while riding in secondary position.

tali42
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby tali42 » 29 Oct 2010, 12:16am

Pete Owens wrote:Things such as those listed above make cycling safer and therefore encourage cycling.
Segregation makes cycling less safe and therefore discourages cycling.
What you see in Holland is the consistent application of all the positive features above is more than sufficient overcome the downside of segregation - but if Dutch cyclists were permitted to ride along their very safe roads they would see even greater benefits.


And yet NL is the most successful nation on Earth in promoting cycling (followed by Denmark) while maintaining segregated facilities. If only you could find a nation with remotely comparable cycling rates and a shunning of segregation, but you can't so you have to get all excited over a single city with a 25% mode share in a nation that has a 10% mode share (5x UK), while the best Dutch cities are climbing above 40% mode share.

To claim that NL cycling would be safer and as common or more common if the segregation was removed is an extrordinary claim. You need to forward extrordinary evidence.

But I'm sure I'll be proved wrong when Portishead takes its place alongside Oxford and Cambridge.
Pete Owens wrote: Surely the Dutch model is characterised by a few key facts:
* A Dutch cyclist can expect to cycle to almost any reasonable location without being passed by large volumes/speeds of motorised traffic (unlike an English cyclist for whom the options to make a journey under similar conditions are limited). This being achieved with all the measures you list + a lot of high standard segregation.


but just like an English cyclist in any of our new towns - where cycling is unpopular.


Firstly, we can assume the English segregation is c**p. Second, these new towns were built around the motor car. I won't argue that bending over backwards to accomodate motoring while smacking down mediocre or worse facilities is going to do anything for cycling.

Pete Owens wrote:Here we even provide segregated paths alongside residential culs-de-sac while the Dutch would design as a home zone - It is the Dutch that pioneered shared space - with concepts that would be difficult to get past a UK safety audit.


You keep on saying that! Where? How many UK residential cul-de-sacs have a footpath with a bicycle sign on it? Anyway, nobody is arguing that the UK doesn't suck at segregation.

Pete Owens wrote: * A Dutch cyclist can expect to make their journey in greater safety than an English cyclist.


Exactly - due to the reasons listed above - and emphatically NOT due to segregation which reduces safety.
Dutch cyclists are perfectly happy to ride on their very safe roads with traffic where they are allowed to.


What nation on Earth can we look to where cycling is safer than NL, that has no segregation. The only nation where that is observable is Pete Owens Dreamland.

I'm sure the Dutch cyclists are right now sharpening their pickaxes dreaming of the day when they will cast off the oppressive and dangerous idiology of their rulers and smash the segregated facilities Berlin Wall style.

Frankly, remove the the compulsion to use segregated paths in NL. I'd wager it won't make a difference in safety either way, and usage of all but the worst of them will be little changed.

Pete Owens wrote: Do you really believe that we will have more success advocating blanket 20mph zones across UK cities including urban A roads, like Hilden?

Absolutely.
Reducing speed limits is overwhelmingly popular - among the whole population (not just the small minority of cyclists).
Reducing speed limits is affordable - You can apply it to a whole city for less than the typical cost of modifying a single junction.
Reducing speed limits is practical - and starting to happen in Portsmouth, Newcastle, Wirral, some London Boroughs.
The more places that do implement it the easier it will be for local polititians to face down the resistance of the police and highway engineers.


When we see a major congested 4-lane urban A road transform into a cycling haven through 20mph limits I will take notice. As things stand, the best we can expect is a patchwork of disconnected 20mph zones with the best routes still left at 30mph.