Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby Wanlock Dod » 29 Apr 2018, 7:03pm

1. The UK's provision of infrastructure for cycling has been predominantly to improve convenience for motorists, it would appear that a secondary aim is to spend money allocated to cycling (and in so doing tick a box on a form to say that cyclists have been provided for) without actually encouraging anybody to cycle. My general feeling is that parts of cycle networks that are shared with motorised traffic tend to get the bulk of the expenditure to ensure good conditions for motorists, whilst traffic free sections are designed for pedestrian use as somewhere nice away from traffic to walk your dog. Where it is not possible to improve conditions for either motorists or pedestrians infrastructure is composed primarially from paint because it is now reasonably well established that this tends to make conditions worse for cycling by encouraging closer and faster passes. As a last resort suggesting that cyclists should ride on the pavement is sure to earn them grief from motorists and pedestrians alike, and has proved to be an excellent strategy for turning most of society against cyclists. If the purpose of UK cycling infrastructure is to waste public money whilst maintaining a trend of gradually deteriorating conditions for cycling then it is probably adequate for that.
2. Criminalising cycling seems like a logical step, but could be unpopular with the general public when it comes to the elections.
3. Segregated infrastructure has the potential to provide an environment where the rider has better control over the kinds of incidents that might occur. A head on collision with another cyclist is a much higher possibility, but the possibility of it resulting in serious injury is low. Open roads provide the opportunity for cyclists to be mown down by somebody who wasn't looking where they were going and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it, apart from not cycling of course.
4. Filling in potholes is as good as it's going to get, but at least motorists benefit from that.
5. I work from home, but I ride a bike to the shop because I find I can cross the dangerous main road through the middle of the village with less fear than on foot.

atlas_shrugged
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby atlas_shrugged » 29 Apr 2018, 7:05pm

1. What are your thoughts on the UKs provision of cycling infrastructure, is it adequate?
No it is not adequate, it gets 1/10. My experience of Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium is infrastructure is much better.

2. Could more be done, would you like to see the UK cities following in the footsteps of cities like Copenhagen?
Yes more could be done. I would like to see a national Greenway standard. Make it like the Netherlands, I have not tried Copenhagen.

3. Does cycling infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes make you feel safe, or do you prefer the freedom of the open roads?
I do prefer segregated. In Cambridgeshire we have the mis-guided busway and the cycle bit of this IF it was continuous would be as good as found in the Netherlands. Unfortunately they chose to chop it up and make you cross roads and/or switch sides.

4. Would you prefer more green lanes, such as routes following canals - integrated into urban routes to enhance the experience?
Yes I would. It would probably need segregation of the walkers from the cyclists though because of the dog-lead garotters.

5. Do you enjoy your cycle commute, what would make it better?
I find the last bit of my commute unpleasant (it is a fight) as it goes through Cambridge: stop start, 90 deg turns, poor sight lines, appalling station redesign, pot holes, Fen Rd racers and 6 car pile ups. This is in Cambridge which is supposed to be a good cycling city. God help the cyclists in the other UK cities.

brynpoeth
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby brynpoeth » 29 Apr 2018, 7:09pm

'Farcilities' is a word found often on these fora
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

esuhl
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby esuhl » 29 Apr 2018, 7:19pm

flat tyre wrote:Other comment. I believe that money spent on cycling infrastructure is usually wasted and we would be better off not bothering as the result is generally useless. (See other comments above about poor design etc, etc)


Really good point.

Often what's more important is not specific cycle infrastructure, it's just in making roads less dangerous. Things like traffic islands before junctions to prevent last-minute overtakes on the junction itself; road-widening or narrowing to either make space for cyclists or ensure that they remain in the traffic-flow and aren't subject to reckless overtaking, etc.

---

A local town had a complete redesign 10 years ago. The High Street was pedestrianised and cycle routes were (sort-of vaguely) joined up so they all passed through the town centre. Several years later, with no reported incidents between cyclists and pedestrians, disability groups successfully campaigned to ban cycling through the centre during the day.

So... instead of cycling on specially designed cycle and mixed pedestrian/bike routes, cyclists now have to travel on a main road with a pedestrian crossing and other traffic lights, then take the FIVE-LANE dual-carriageway with another two sets of traffic lights, to make it the 250 metres from one side of town to the other. So all that hard work and money has gone to waste.

And now the toucan crossings on all the national cycle routes (bike motorways) are being changed to pedestrian-only crossings. I have a photo of a large blue sign showing that you are on a national cycle route, with signs pointing to two other cycle routes. Right underneath is a "no cycling" sign.

You couldn't make it up.

brynpoeth
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby brynpoeth » 29 Apr 2018, 7:22pm

It is not much better in Germany
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

GeorgeWagstaff
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby GeorgeWagstaff » 5 May 2018, 5:30pm

Thanks for your responses so far. To those saying the questions were closed etc, the questions I included were just to spark some discussion so I could see what kind of response I would receive, I have been impressed with the detail of the responses.

I may create a visual preference survey, which will show pictures of various scenarios such as busy roads, different types of infrastructure which you would then rate out of 10.

I'm struggling slightly on what to focus on with my research, as it is easy to be too broad so I need to narrow my scope - any one have any ideas on what I should look into?

tatanab
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby tatanab » 5 May 2018, 6:33pm

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:I'm struggling slightly on what to focus on with my research, as it is easy to be too broad so I need to narrow my scope - any one have any ideas on what I should look into?
I think you should first decide what the infrastructure is to be used for. Is it for leisure purposes or commuting to work/shops etc? Leisure purposes, like old rail way rotes, or commuting with cycle lanes on the road which go directly to where people want to go, not 3 times round the houses on the way. This is a constant problem that Sustrans has.

thirdcrank
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby thirdcrank » 5 May 2018, 6:38pm

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:... - any one have any ideas on what I should look into?


I suspect it wouldn't fit with the nature of the course you are undertaking but the big question for me is why, with so much knowledge already available and with years of fine words the parsnips remain fat free?

Here's something I prepared earlier.

viewtopic.php?p=37965#p37965

GeorgeWagstaff
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby GeorgeWagstaff » 7 May 2018, 5:36pm

thirdcrank wrote:
GeorgeWagstaff wrote:... - any one have any ideas on what I should look into?


I suspect it wouldn't fit with the nature of the course you are undertaking but the big question for me is why, with so much knowledge already available and with years of fine words the parsnips remain fat free?



Why what?

thirdcrank
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby thirdcrank » 7 May 2018, 6:45pm

Other forum members will know that this is one of my regular hobbyhorses. I'm 73 and over the years I've seen many failed attempts to encourage cycling. IIRC, the first was probably trade-sponsored with the slogan Bike it, you'll like it.

The real missed chance - hence my bitter disappointment - was the National Cycling Strategy (NCS) - launched by Steven Norris at the tail end of the Major government and inherited by New Labour in 1997 when they were full of what were later dismissed as mere 'aspirations' over transport.

All manner of publications appeared including Cycle-friendly Infrastructure and any amount of Traffic Advisory Leaflets and government waste paper about the NCS, providing for cycling etc. One of the key publications was Guidelines for Cycle Audit and Cycle Review (1998) Institution of Highways and Transportation. The people who I've described as the big misters who provide for cars belatedly realised that they risked having to make decent provision for cycling and emasculated it by insisting it should only apply to specific cycle provision, rather than the road network as a whole.

This is all familiar to regular forum users and more detail can be found by searching. There are a few useful search terms:-

Notional Cycling Strategy (self-explanatory)
Farcilities = the typical, lowest common denominator provision for cycling in the UK.
Highwaymen = the big misters who provide for cars.

So, the last thing anybody needs is more guidelines on providing for cycling. There is, however, plenty of scope for an analysis of why these initiatives failed. My two broad areas of explanation would be first, politicians at both the national and local level who are best at naive and often speak with a forked-tongue; then, transportation professionals who understand nothing beyond motor transport. These slot into an administrative structure where the national and local levels of government each blame the other for policy failures and elected politicians and appointed officials each hide behind the other.

Bitter? You bet.

MikeF
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby MikeF » 7 May 2018, 9:20pm

GeorgeWagstaff wrote:Hi,

I study at the University of Manchester, and for my dissertation I am producing a piece of research on public perceptions to cycling infrastructure.
If you were to ask the public at large (apart from a few taxi drivers in London) I think the reply would be "What infrastructure?" Most non or unsure cyclists would say the biggest reason they don't cycle is fear of motor traffic. All children are now taught to fear motor traffic at an early age.
1. What are your thoughts on the UKs provision of cycling infrastructure, is it adequate?

Cycling infrastructure is most needed in urban areas, so that cyclists can travel without their paths being blocked or their being injured by large lumps of metal. Cycling infrastructure is effectively non existent. It should form part of the whole carriageway and junction design.
2. Could more be done, would you like to see the UK cities following in the footsteps of cities like Copenhagen?
I haven't been to Copenhagen, but from what I've read Dutch designs seem to be better.
3. Does cycling infrastructure such as segregated cycle lanes make you feel safe, or do you prefer the freedom of the open roads?
Segregated cycle lanes (not paint jobs) would make people feel safer and would encourage more cycling as has happened in London. In most cases I dislike painted cycle lanes. Alongside busy 50mph+ roads separated well maintained paths would be good.
4. Would you prefer more green lanes, such as routes following canals - integrated into urban routes to enhance the experience?

Only if they were where I wanted to go, more or less direct, not hillier than any other route, not shared and had an acceptable surface for cycling. In other words "yes" if they aided cycling permeability.
5. Do you enjoy your cycle commute, what would make it better?
I don't commute to work, but I commute to the shops. It's faster than walking or by car. I can carry more shopping on a bike, than if I walk. I can park near the door of the shop. It would be better if I didn't have to negotiate lanes of motor traffic on a main road.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

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NUKe
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby NUKe » 7 May 2018, 10:38pm

I do think London is heading in the right direction but is starting from a very bad starting point.
I Would recommend if you want a dissertation to make a difference to focus smaller towns and rural area and what can be done when bikes and cars have no option but to mix. Perhaps do some statistical diagnosis of advisory cycle lanes compared to compulsory. Somebody pointed out the Wigan project. But has any work being done if bad cycle infrastructure causes accidents?

If you are looking for ideas of good practice look at the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

If your looking for radical changes in infrastructure consider shared space, cycle priority roundabout.
NUKe
_____________________________________

drossall
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby drossall » 8 May 2018, 11:40pm

tatanab wrote:I think you should first decide what the infrastructure is to be used for. Is it for leisure purposes or commuting to work/shops etc? Leisure purposes, like old rail way rotes, or commuting with cycle lanes on the road which go directly to where people want to go, not 3 times round the houses on the way. This is a constant problem that Sustrans has.

This is important. Cyclists vary and their needs vary. Even the same cyclist will make different choices at different times or in different places - rather as, when driving, we don't always choose the same route and, if we do, it's not necessarily the same route as our neighbours might take to get to the same place. So:

  • Pavement paths - a good case can be made that these are more dangerous than the road alternatives in many cases, and they are certainly impracticably slow if you're going further than the shops, but they attract nervous cyclists who are unwilling to ride on the road and not aware of the dangers of poor sight lines at junctions and driveways (so people here tend not to like them, but they may encourage others to ride)
  • Off-road paths - can be good, and many of us may use them at times, but a big risk unless you're really familiar with the area, because planners tend to be fixated on getting cyclists between certain points, and if you happen to be going somewhere else you're likely to find that the path suddenly veers off into some shopping area that you've never seen before, leaving you lost in an unfamiliar town
  • On-road facilities - highly variable, can be good, but again can make life more dangerous (if a lane is so narrow as to encourage motorists to pass closer than they would if it were not there, for example), and often stop suddenly before junctions, which is where accidents mainly happen
  • Missing out the difficult bits - for example, there are lots of routes in London, some quite good, but very few safe crossings of the M25, making commuting for people here, who can easily ride from outside that ring into central London, rather tricky - and ditto routes that stop at all the "hard" junctions where the help is really needed
  • Neglecting the obvious - often all that's needed is "Except cycles" where the end of a road has been closed off, so that cyclists can use the cut through to enable use of quiet roads that have no other special facilities for cyclists - one of those can be worth several miles of white paint for a cycle lane
  • Leisure paths including converted railways - can be good for leisure riding, but almost never any use for actually getting somewhere, because they almost certainly go somewhere else (but with significant exceptions that are along major commuting routes)
  • Lack of a transporter beam - until Star Trek becomes real life, cyclists will be unable to appear by magic where a route starts, and disappear where it finishes; since there is no chance whatsoever of cycle facilities being installed along every road in the country (and no-one is really asking for that), conditions on normal roads will remain hugely important, both around town and out in the countryside

drossall
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby drossall » 12 May 2018, 9:03am

The OP may like to take a look at this thread for an example. In brief:
  • A major route towards Manchester became increasingly busy and unpleasant for cycling over the years; at least one person in the thread talks about diverting via (less direct = slower for commuting) minor roads, and no doubt others did the same
  • No cycle route was provided
  • A new dual carriageway was built, bypassing the old and leaving it in place
  • The old road has been downgraded to a B road
  • A cycle path has only now been built alongside the old road; this path has the usual problems of poor sight lines at junctions and driveways, that are likely to make it more dangerous than the old road, quite apart from making cyclists give way repeatedly with little ability to see whether anything is coming until the last moment
  • By contrast, the old road itself is a great cycle route, except that it's cut off at the north end
  • The provision of a cycle path suggests that planners expect cyclists to arrive at the north end, and therefore to need to travel onward somewhere
  • We may well be in a position where cycle money has been spent to solve a non-problem, and now nothing is left to solve the actual difficulty and get cyclists past the motorway junction in a reasonably direct manner
  • Cue the Star Trek transporter beam to allow cyclists to appear magically where the cycle path begins

pwa
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Re: Dissertation: Cycling Infrastructure + Your Input

Postby pwa » 12 May 2018, 9:17am

One observation I can offer is that investment in cycling infrastructure is likely to be most cost effective where there is a large potential user group. So big towns and cities. Those happen also to be the places where the need to reduce exhaust emissions is greatest, so another reason to spend on cycling.