Cycle paths unsafe?

Pete Owens
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Pete Owens » 13 Sep 2010, 9:38pm

thirdcrank wrote:
wildnorthlands wrote:... of course easy to find examples of poor design on the UK NCN, but there is 12,000 miles of it, two-thirds on-road, and there are lots of examples of good design as well.


Perhaps we need something like the Warrington Cycle Campaign website but in reverse which would illustrate these wonders.

Actually there is a page on the Warrington Cycle Campaign website devoted to examples of good practice:
http://www.warringtoncyclecampaign.co.u ... actice.htm

There are a few problems with this.
1. The priority of motor vehicles is so ingrained in UK highway design that good design is incredibly rare. The examples we found are more "heading in the right direction" than beacons of excellence for others to follow. When they published LTN 2/08 it is rather telling that they could not find examples of good design to illustrate it - with many even failing to comply with the very poor UK minimum standards.

2. By following the hierarchy of measures, good design will be unobtrusive, and a photograph will just look like a normal road. Lower traffic speeds and volumes, subtle changes in junction geometry, fewer wider lanes, using a zebra crossing rather than a pinch point, reallocation of road space, not using left hand filter lanes are all examples of good design, but don't make for good photographs.

3. Once you start focussing on the details of facility design you start to loose the bigger picture. I have lost count of the times I have been in lengthy discussions with highway engineers pointing out the numerous faults in proposed designs of segregated facilities - when the real problem is that they have dismissed measures higher up the hierarchy of provision out of hand.

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Sep 2010, 9:50pm

Owens Corner :lol: is that the real name?

In the meantime, how many of those are on the NCN?

Pete Owens
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Pete Owens » 14 Sep 2010, 1:57am

TheJollyJimLad wrote:Segregation is the only way you are going to get a modal shift from motoring to cycling in this country.

That is certainly the mantra of UK highway engineers over the past 30 years - before that they didn't even try to pretend that segregation was for our benefit.
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.

And that is because In the Netherlands and Copenhagen they follow the hierarchy of provision - reducing traffic volumes, reducing speeds, and generally prioritising the needs of vulnerable road users their towns, while here in the UK where the car is king we are segregated out of the way of important traffic - right down to residential culs-de-sac.

You ask any UK local authority what they are doing for cyclists and they will reel off a list of segregated facilities.
Watch Jan Gehl talk about Copenhagen - yes cycle lanes do feature, but they only form a minor part of the overall vision.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rstEWMD89L8
You see cyclists in cycle lanes, on roads, on pedestrian priority roads - an early example of shared space, and lot of reallocation of real-estate from vehicles to people.

This is what the CTC is pressing for - which is why the authorities prefer to talk to the likes of Sustrans who are promoting the "Segregation is the only way" argument.
85,000 people turned up for the London Sky Ride last Sunday. If you provide a traffic free faciltity, they will come.

That is like looking at the London Marathon and arguing that pedestrians would run 20 miles to work if only we provided pavements.
Alas, this country is incapable of producing traffic free facilities

That is the only thing this country is capable of producing.
Haven't you seen the blue signs all over the place?
as, if they were properly designed to a Dutch or Danish model,

The significant difference between those places and here is not the design of facilities but the measures they take to make the street environment inherently attractive for all vulnerable road users. Those places are safe and attractive for pedestrians for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the design of cycle lanes.

Many examples you see of cycle lanes operating in Holland (say round the periphery of a roundabout) can only be remotely safe because the geometry of the roundabout forces the low traffic speeds. Look at any new UK roundabout and you will see cycle paths round the periphery. These are lethal because UK roundabout geometry encourages high speed. Both examples are equally segregated.
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.

I think the fear-mongering of the likes of Sustrans who exagerate danger in order to promote funding for their paths.
Nobody used to think that cycling on the roads was anything unusual - it is only recently with cycle paths becoming ubiquitous that people are becoming afraid of the roads. And the more cycle paths that are built the greater the fear. This is one of the reasons why the places with the most comprehensive networks of segregated cycle paths see the lowest levels of cycling.
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!

In which case we need to unite in campaigning for segregation to be the measure of last resort (as is the case in Holland and Copenhagen) rather than the only measure that they are willing to contemplate (as is the case in the UK).
We have books and websites (including my wonderful blog :D ) dedicated to highlighting the awful standards of facilties provided in this country #

Indeed - but however awful they are they do segregate. Which they claim is the only thing that will get people cycling. They look at facility of the month and don't see the irony. So long as people argue that segregation is the only thing that matters they will continue to be awful.

snibgo
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby snibgo » 14 Sep 2010, 2:45am

Slightly off the current topic: in Cambridge today, I was impressed by the large number of cyclists on the roads, which were busy with start-stop motorists, and the very small number of pavement cyclists.

Contrast this with Cambourne, with little traffic but almost all cyclists use the pavements.

However, Cambridge pedestrians are worse than Cambourne pavement cyclists for giving way to cripples with crutches. The only way to get through safely is to bellow, "COMING THROUGH. EXCUSE ME, COMING THROUGH." And I swing forward with great speed and assertiveness, and the crowd scatter like sheep who suddenly discover a wolf among them.

Sorry. Rant over.

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 14 Sep 2010, 9:12am

Unfortunately there will be cases of people with their attention elsewhere and some people may have hearing problems, so it is better to ride and be able to give way if needed. I was riding towards a group of girls about 30 years ago on a wide path, expecteing they would all be looking forward and see a cyclist coming towards them, not the case in practice.

George Riches
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby George Riches » 14 Sep 2010, 9:35am

Segregation might work in people's dreams, but surveying the practice leads one to appreciate the remark

"Every nightmare starts as a dream"

Nevertheless we do have an uphill struggle trying to convince people that traffic reduction is practical. One idea for city centres is to move car parks so that the only car access is via major roads, so reducing the traffic levels on the minor roads.

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby George Riches » 14 Sep 2010, 9:48am

Nottingham named England's least car-dependent city

[...]Nottingham's investment in 30 miles of cycle tracks
[...]Milton Keynes has 270km of cycling and walking routes [...]The lonely life of a cyclist in Milton Keynes

More

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 14 Sep 2010, 10:07am

Using the Australian format for presenting information, click on links for specific designs aspect, Case Notes No 1-20, and referring to the UK standards for highways could a better system be introduced.

Could the CTC and Sustrans jointly form a working group (via email) to look in detail at each design requirement and have prepared a set of Cycle Notes No 1-20 to reflect UK conditions. Possibly the DfT could provide a risk assessment process and convenient/time assessment as a part of the design, review and implementation process. As each note was prepared it could be posted for consultation before being reviewed and then passed to the DfT for implementation. The designs could then be introduced as a road safety measure to carry responsibility for their standards.

The end results would need to provide good designs and facilities people wanted to use.

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

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

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby George Riches » 14 Sep 2010, 11:03am

Are the UK DoT guidelines much different than the Austrialian? Are the published Sustrans standards much different?

Isn't the real problem that making paths up to standard costs too much? So the proponents of cycle paths are faced with the dilemma; either a path which doesn't meet the standards or no path.

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 14 Sep 2010, 12:22pm

http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/NR/rdonl ... 002168.pdf

mentions
incorporation of these standards will ensure that all bicycle projects comply with the Road Safety Regulations 1999 etc etc

UK, http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tpm/ltnotes/ltn208.pdf

1.3 Underlying principles
1.3.1 Planning and designing highquality
infrastructure involves developing individual site specific
solutions, but there are some common requirements that need to be satisfied.

The Au approach is trying to provide a consistent outcome in general terms, find what works and copy, the Uk approach is site specific solutions. In a few cases this may be good but in general it is better to have similar designs so that people who are not local and encounter a facility understand it immediately.

One is tieing the standards to a road safety regulation meaning they have to be provided to high standard perhaps, the other is guidelines based having a low value perhaps.

Sustrans in practice seem to provide from the good to the bad, but they may get more people on bikes, safety in numbers etc
ps when you do the maths, it is probably more important to get people cycling than the standards of facilities provided, but of course the better the facilities more people cycle.

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby thirdcrank » 14 Sep 2010, 1:29pm

Steady rider wrote:.... Sustrans in practice seem to provide from the good to the bad, ...


Sustrans don't provide road infrastructure - rather they facililitate it. The outcome is never, ever, their fault. :roll:

George Riches
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby George Riches » 14 Sep 2010, 1:40pm

Whatever way the standards are written, it doesn't overcome the problem of the size of the number obtained by dividing the costs of a standards-compliant solution by the number of new cycle journeys it is likely to create.

Australia is not known for its high level of cycle use. It is known for having plenty of space, I expect the costs of providing cycle paths are rather low.

There is no possibility of providing radial cycle paths into the centre of where I live, Coventry, without knocking down houses, taking chunks out of gardens or taking considerable space from motorists. The same goes for most areas built upon prior to the urban sprawl boom of the second half of the 20th century.

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 14 Sep 2010, 3:19pm

That probably why the UK would have to consider its own solutions in some cases.

Just looking on the map at Coventry, years since i been. Basically a bit like York in size and with about 10 roads providing the main access routes plus 3 rail lines, some smaller rivers.

Junction 3 on the M6 is near to one rail line, could a park and ride by rail, about 4 miles into the centre reduce road traffic to Coventry and Nuneaton

Riverside cycle routes, is that an option? just ideas

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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby George Riches » 14 Sep 2010, 6:23pm

Steady rider wrote:Just looking on the map at Coventry,
[...]
Junction 3 on the M6 is near to one rail line, could a park and ride by rail, about 4 miles into the centre reduce road traffic to Coventry and Nuneaton

There's a long-term aim of Warwickshire & Coventry councils to set up a frequent railway service between Nuneaton and Leamington. The package would have to include two new stations (Kenilworth & Ricoh Arena) and an expansion of Coventry station. If that lead to a decrease in motor traffic along some radials, why shouldn't cyclists use them instead of cycle paths?

Talking of cycle paths, there's one along the Coventry canal. North-South. Part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network I believe.
A typical scene:
N 10 cropped.jpg

Well while the width of the path is typical, the pedestrians aren't. Few people use the towpath, for reasons of personal security. Also pedestrians complain of cyclists passing them too fast and too closely. If more cyclists did use it, they'd get in each other's way!
Steady rider wrote:Riverside cycle routes, is that an option? just ideas

There was a proposal for a riverside cycle path. Adequate width would be possible but it would be largely leisure only as the River Sowe meanders all over the place. Coventry Council applied to Cycling England for the money, but rightly or wrongly Cycling England decided that other conubations had better ideas.

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 14 Sep 2010, 8:51pm

Great info George.

Council's may be more interested in park and ride by rail as it could be income producing for them. At the station end could have bike hire, getting people out of cars and onto bikes.

Sometimes the cycle paths add a bit more variety to riding. Most of the time I prefer minor roads but occasionally 20 mins on a cycle track makes a change and they are only optional.
Riding across northern France I did find one canal path quite useful for about half a day.
The Bradford canal section is not too bad to use from what I have seen of it. Its pick and choose what suits at the time. Families with young children cycling and dog walkers I see often on one cycle track, so some care is needed.