Cycle paths unsafe?

TwoPlusTen
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby TwoPlusTen » 9 Sep 2010, 11:47am

That roundabout in the OP is a ridiculous design for cyclists. I'd even prefer going over J12 of the M4 (Google maps view here: http://maps.google.co.uk/?ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Reading+RG2+6DA,+United+Kingdom&ll=51.439055,-1.065336&spn=0.002561,0.004812&t=h&z=18 than that. (I actually did that on Saturday. Not scary at all).

I showed my wife the way into Reading town centre from where I work, assuming I take the cycle path that runs up the A33. She's scared of riding on the road (and dangerous when she does, I'll have to get her properly trained!) When I pointed out the numerous problems (long diversions, signposts and traffic lights in the way, etc.) she realised my point about cycle paths not always being as good as they're cracked up to be.

George Riches
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby George Riches » 9 Sep 2010, 3:12pm

thirdcrank wrote:If it's a case that excellent design features for cyclists are as abundant as the rubbish we all chunter about, the only problem for somebody editing "brilliant cycle facility of the month" would be selecting the best.

Some people say that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. Many features have both good and bad aspects, no two situations are the same and there are few good designs which can be slavishly copied without encountering problems, so really we should be thinking of developing our ability to assess design options.

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Vorpal » 10 Sep 2010, 8:26am

thirdcrank wrote: IMO An excellent summary, and if you had said some blue signs saying "CYCLISTS DISMOUNT" it would have been 10/10


There aren't actually that many "CYCLIST DISMOUNT" signs around me. The bigger towns in Essex have plenty of them. But near me, there is a higher frequency of the ones that say "END" just above the little bicycle. The unwary cyclist is led by a seemingly decent facility to a junction between two major trunk roads, or a taxi stand where s/he is presented with "END" and no obvious place to continue the journey. The best course is usually to dismount and become a pedestrian (at least until you get to a safe place to join the carriageway), but the signs don't actually say so. :roll:
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anothereye
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby anothereye » 10 Sep 2010, 9:26am

Vorpal wrote:If you really want to see an improvement in infrastructure conditions for cyclists, two things are required: a change in the way improvements are measured, and a change in the design guides used by infrastructure planners and engineers. ...the DfT cycle infrastructure design guide* has a heirarchy of considerations.
http://www.tsoshop.co.uk/bookstore.asp?FO=1159966&Action=Book&ProductID=9780115530241&From=SearchResults
If I remember correctly from a discussion a few months back ('cannot find the thread) the DfT has a guide for road design (can someone please reference?) and then the above mentioned cycle infrastructure design guide. As the 2 publications are separate it is not surprising that consideration for cyclists becomes an afterthought (which may add more expense than if considered from the onset). The solution would be to integrate the 2 publications into one or, at the very least, reference the cycle guide throughout the general one. Perhaps this would be worth campaigning for?

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Vorpal » 10 Sep 2010, 10:10am

anothereye wrote: If I remember correctly from a discussion a few months back ('cannot find the thread) the DfT has a guide for road design (can someone please reference?) and then the above mentioned cycle infrastructure design guide.


http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/dmrb/

Then, you'd also have to incorporate the ones for pedestrians and other stuff. I don't know how many there are. In the days of paper manuals, the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges was already prohibitively large. Now, when everyone accesses stuff electronically, it would probably make sense to add the other guides.

But I think more needs to be done. Currently, safety audits are required, and the engineer doing a safety audit must consider cyclists, but the manner in which s/he does so can vary greatly. I believe that a method needs to be developed that takes a risk-assessment-based approach to design of new facilities. That doesn't mean that cyclists' safety should be the overriding factor in design. Instead, risk must be assessed (and reduced as necessary) for all road users (or path users in the case of shared use facilities). A pre-existing hazard list could give non-cyclist engineers a little more understanding and a starting point for the risk assessment.

It's not perfect, and there are other potential solutions, but this isn't a problem that can be addressed with incremental changes. Shifting to a risk-assessment-based approach may be the solution most palatable to planners and engineers.
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby essexman » 10 Sep 2010, 4:15pm

Its interesting on a local level in Cambridge cars are being moved to make space for bikes. Its a street by street war, but the bike is winning. This is beacuse in Cb nobody drives (not really) and so the "war on motorists" is seen as a farily sensible battle.

In the rest of the Uk the battle is going the other way. Its why i am a clear fan of the london blue paintways. Yes they are shoddy, and second rate, but its opening a front on the space claiming war.

PS Gotta love those Essex END signs!
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby james01 » 11 Sep 2010, 11:31am

essexman wrote: This is beacuse in Cb nobody drives (not really) and so the "war on motorists" is seen as a farily sensible battle.



This is a good point, there are some towns where even the petrolheads have begun to accept that a point is reached where it's just not possible for everyone to squeeze their car into the crowded city centre (eg Oxford, Brighton). Operating a car for short urban trips is recognised as just plain stupid by an increasing number of people. Another incentive not to use the car is the acute shortage of on-street parking - return from a drive and someone's pinched your space.

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Vorpal » 11 Sep 2010, 3:13pm

The shift to alternative modes of transport occurs when & where they are equivalent to or better than driving. That is usually a combination of travel time and cost. When journey times are similar by bike or bus and car and/or car parking is scarce and expensive, more people cycle.

As for the "END" signs, I believe they are the result of a bureaucatic interpretation of, 'Cyclists Dismount signs are to be avoided'. Apparently, they only need to be replaced with "END". Problem solved. :roll:
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 11 Sep 2010, 4:39pm

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.


from page 1,
I was asking about a BS rather than guidelines, that I don't like, because designers can opt in or out and alter, being guidelines. Bit like having train tracks guidlines or aircraft guidelines or petrochemical guildelines, all industries I have had occasion to draw up various bits for. Standards are more precise and considered in more detail and would in practice be safer or changed, if there was a problem.

"guidelines are perceived as non-binding."
Last edited by Steady rider on 11 Sep 2010, 9:28pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 11 Sep 2010, 6:10pm

Copied from pdf on web, page 512, worth a read.
http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/puche ... stible.pdf
Pucher, John and Buehler, Ralph (2008) 'Making Cycling
Irresistible: Lessons from The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany', Transport
Reviews, 28:4, 495 — 528


512 J. Pucher and R. Buehler

Table 1. Key policies and innovative measures used in Dutch, Danish and
German cities to promote safe and convenient cycling
Extensive systems of separate cycling facilities
• Well-maintained, fully integrated paths, lanes and special bicycle streets in cities and surrounding
regions

etc
etc
• Motorists assumed by law to be responsible for almost all crashes with cyclists
• Strict enforcement of cyclist rights by police and courts

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Vorpal » 12 Sep 2010, 10:51pm

Steady rider wrote:I was asking about a BS rather than guidelines, that I don't like, because designers can opt in or out and alter, being guidelines. Bit like having train tracks guidlines or aircraft guidelines or petrochemical guildelines, all industries I have had occasion to draw up various bits for. Standards are more precise and considered in more detail and would in practice be safer or changed, if there was a problem.

"guidelines are perceived as non-binding."


Do you mean are cycle facilities BS? :wink:

How would a BS be enforced? Are facilities certified/audited to a BS? Who is responsible for the structure or organisation that manages the resulting bureaucracy? What's to keep the highwaymen from ignoring it and continuing with the status quo?

Funding and targets for cycle facilities need to be tied to some minimum standards, but the standards need to be developed in such a way that they can be managed under the existing approval processes. The DfT guidelines are decent. Maybe those paying for cycle facilities with public funds (there are lots of potential sources of funding) should be required to submit evidence that they have followed those guidelines.
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Sep 2010, 11:10pm

Steady rider wrote:from page 1,
I was asking about a BS rather than guidelines, that I don't like, because designers can opt in or out and alter, being guidelines.


The history of Cycle Audit and Review is quite instructive here. Anybody with the slightest understanding of something like this knows that provision for cyclists needs to be considered from the outset in any new scheme when it's easier to get things right rather than a bit of hand wringing when it's too late. Cycle Audit and Review was repeatedly referred to in the early days of the Notional Cycling Strategy (ie thoughout the late 1990s.) Eventually, the apparently well-respected in the trade Institute of Highways and Transportation published the guidelines for this under the rather prosaic title Cycle Audit and Review. The big misters who design for motor traffic then belatedly realised that they would have to do something. Not on your nelly. In layman's terms they simply said "We are not having that." Instead of auditing all schemes for the needs of cyclists, they restricted it to cycling schemes, AKA farcilities. In no time at all, everything was much as before.

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 13 Sep 2010, 8:37am

I was considering a Bristish Standard may have been better than a guidelines approach.

The UK guidelines do not work in serious ways, eg 16 inch wide cycle lanes near Selby, eg central refuge at 3m-3.5m lane width on busy main roads.

In Australia, Victoria, Vicroads provides something like what appears suitabe, see

http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Mor ... ndards.htm

The guides and standards come under the road safety acts it appears, giving a legal requirement to standards needed. For designers they can click onto what is required in specific situations. No 12 Design Standards for Bicycle Facilities, mentions road safety in the introduction.

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Vorpal » 13 Sep 2010, 10:30am

In Australia, however, they also have to follow general design standards. Which are risk assessment based. I don't know how cycling facilites in Australia rate, never having cycled there, but I am somewhat familiar with their design standards, and traffic safety management. In all industries with which I am familiar, there is a basic assumption that risk is assessed and managed through a formal risk assessment process. This presentation summarizes the approach for the road network....

http://publications.piarc.org/ressource ... ammack.pdf

edited for typo
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 13 Sep 2010, 11:08am

Useful info on AU and risk. I have cycled in most of their states.

Generally the risk level for cycling Is not high but some main arterial roads pose a higher risk for cyclist. Sydney may pose an added problem for cyclists with agressive drivers.

The AU designs allow for stepless transistion from road to path and for cycling this is safer than the UK practice of small edges or kerbs to mount, cyclists misjudge the risk and fall. see photo No 1, photo from NL not AU
http://www.ctcyorkshirehumber.org.uk/ca ... lities.htm

One point I would change is when cyclists are turning or diverting around bus or other obstructions they should design for about a 30 degree angle, this would allow a steady turn depending on slope, steeper the surface slope, lower the angle of turn should be.