White lines-better without?

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james01
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White lines-better without?

Postby james01 » 3 Apr 2009, 10:55am

A fast local "B" road, notoriously unpleasant to cycle on, has recently been resurfaced. They haven't yet repainted the white lines. I've driven & cycled on it in it's unpainted state, & I'm struck at how carefully people are driving, & how much more pleasant it is to cycle. It seems that state-of-the-art white lining encourages motorists to drive at high speeds on automatic pilot, whereas a totally unmarked road requires concentration and also results in lower speeds.

kwackers
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby kwackers » 3 Apr 2009, 11:17am

james01 wrote:A fast local "B" road, notoriously unpleasant to cycle on, has recently been resurfaced. They haven't yet repainted the white lines. I've driven & cycled on it in it's unpainted state, & I'm struck at how carefully people are driving, & how much more pleasant it is to cycle. It seems that state-of-the-art white lining encourages motorists to drive at high speeds on automatic pilot, whereas a totally unmarked road requires concentration and also results in lower speeds.


White lines imply lane ownership, having none means you can't claim ownership. People therefore assume oncoming traffic may be on their side.

I think it's that simple.

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Wildduck
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby Wildduck » 3 Apr 2009, 11:22am

There was that interesting study a while back where signs, kerbs etc. were removed in a Dutch town. The claimed result was a reduction in traffic speeds. I'm sure somebody will be along shortly with a link to it shortly.... (would look myself but have to get to the post office!)
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EdinburghFixed
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby EdinburghFixed » 3 Apr 2009, 11:33am

Another good illustration of this is segregated / unsegregated cycle paths.

On a truly mixed path cyclists go slower and take more care around pedestrians. On a segregated path, speeds are much higher on the cyclists' side and any wandering pedestrians may be mercilessly 'buzzed' in a way that you wouldn't dream of otherwise.

stewartpratt
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby stewartpratt » 3 Apr 2009, 12:16pm

There's plenty of scientific evidence to back this up, if I'm not mistaken.

And isn't Boris pushing through "naked streets" as a trial in some part of London?

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worthers
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby worthers » 3 Apr 2009, 1:09pm

Wildduck wrote:There was that interesting study a while back where signs, kerbs etc. were removed in a Dutch town. The claimed result was a reduction in traffic speeds. I'm sure somebody will be along shortly with a link to it shortly.... (would look myself but have to get to the post office!)


That study was conducted in Drachten, Netherlands, and was so successful that a number of smaller German towns are trialling it too (notably Bohmte and Fürstenberg an der Havel). I visited Drachten last year (by car) to conduct my own research (my road safety work includes conducting advanced driver training) and noticed a significantly higher level of peripheral awareness and overall concentration amongst road users. I'm all up for having it here in the UK! :D

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Wildduck
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby Wildduck » 3 Apr 2009, 1:21pm

Ditto (now back from the post office...)
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iviehoff
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby iviehoff » 3 Apr 2009, 2:07pm

Whilst there may be a general positive effect, I can think of a couple of local cases (local to my place of work in the West End of London) where the absence of road markings causes problems for cyclists.

Some one-way streets have a T-junction with a 2-way street with no central white line. Drivers turning right out of the one-way street have an occasional tendency to turn onto the wrong side of the road and not be expecting there to be on-coming traffic. They don't seem to realise that one-way traffic ceases at the junction. I am forced to cycle slowly down these (2-way) streets because vehicles pull out side roads without priority much more frequently here than other places. Vehicles following me are impatient at my slow speed in these locations. I once saw the recent aftermath of a head-on collision between cyclist and car at one of these junctions.

A local road has been block-paved (one-way throughout the block-paved section), and kerbs and road markings (mostly) removed, and waiting restrictions tightened. The effect is that many pedestrians now think that they own it, and think that any vehicles/bicycles moving down the road shouldn't be there. They walk down the middle of the road without looking out for cars, etc, and object to being rung at/hooted as request to give way. When going past people not in your way, there is a risk they will step into it without looking. I often have to cycle down it ringing my bell continuously. Cars have to sound their horns frequently. I don't think this is the intended consequence.

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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Apr 2009, 2:35pm

iviehoff

I think you have the key to why this sort of thing does work - at least in towns, and why there may be some limitations in the UK.

The only historic reason why pedestrians have footways is that pre-tarmac, the pavements were the only nice dry bits for pedestrians. More recently, they have evolved into segregated areas to which pedestrians are restricted - often coralled by railings -if they are to be at least fairly safe from traffic. The way unsegregated pedestrians behave would have led to completely different patterns of urban development if footways had never existed. Basically, the traffic would have been segregated and coralled.

I understand that in many parts of Europe there is a hierarchy which requires the drivers of motor vehicles to be extra careful in the presence of vulnerable users. In the UK we would risk casualties unless similar legislation were to be introduced and well-publicised.

I think the other issue is that there are all sorts of safety devices like cats' eyes, street lighting, reflective chevrons and all the rest of it which help drivers see where they are going. Unfortunately, most of the benefits of these things are consumed by drivers going faster rather that more safely. In any event, I think they are here to stay.

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worthers
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby worthers » 3 Apr 2009, 3:32pm

If you're interested in the "naked road" theories and other unusual traffic engineering then you should take a look at the work of Hans Monderman and Ben Hamilton-Baillie.

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meic
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby meic » 3 Apr 2009, 9:30pm

The Pembrokeshire cycling officer is a fan of white line removal at places where he can not have a cycle track at the roadside and cyclists are fed back on to the road for a while.
Yma o Hyd

Pete Owens
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby Pete Owens » 4 Apr 2009, 12:45am

There is a Dutch meta-analysis of various studies looking into lane markings.
http://www.swov.nl/rapport/R-2003-31.pdf

The effect of painting a centre line or edge of carriageway markings is to increase traffic speed by about 10 km/h (6 mph).

It would be worth you contactng your council very soon.
Explain how you find the road so much safer - and point the the research that explains why.
If you are lucky, you might persuade them not to repaint the lines.

glueman
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby glueman » 4 Apr 2009, 12:04pm

I've argued for half my lifetime that paint and signage makes life more dangerous for everyone. The single biggest factor that will see them maintained is heavy road haulage and the associated lobbies; journeys in vehicles far too big for anything but motorways and dual carriageways. They need to know where everyone else is so they can consume other's space as well as their own effectively.
We often get artics taking direct routes over the moors in spite of the warnings. Once on the tops far from being the top predator they flounder about like stranded whales because once the paint runs out so does their confidence. Clear spatial divisions mean they can push timetables and everyone else's safety to the limits.

thirdcrank
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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Apr 2009, 1:25pm

There is an industry association, along the lines of The National Association of Safety Line Painters, Cats' Eye Installers and Reflective Chevron Fitters who usually keep a pretty close watch on the media for any subversive talk like this and quickly come up with a right to reply letter on the undoubted value (in their view) of white lines etc. I'm amazed they've not been on here to put us all right.

http://www.rsma.co.uk/

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Re: White lines-better without?

Postby downfader » 5 Apr 2009, 4:19pm

There was a video on youtube (Kent I think) where they were trialling shared-space roads and it didnt seem to be working. They half-tried it here in southampton by removing all the pedestrian crossings on London road and now pedestrians cant get across and a number have been hit by cars.

I'm not sure it always works. UK drivers can be notoriously picky and selfish. Driver education is the key imo