Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

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mjr
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby mjr » 12 Apr 2019, 9:59am

Lance Dopestrong wrote:I read somewhere - it may have been the CUK chipwrapper, but I don't recall - that the UK casualty rate for cyclists is lower for the road than for cycling infrastructure.

Often claimed, but it involves calculations based on several small (cycling is pretty safe so there are relatively few casualties and many go unreported) and badly-measured (both casualty and usage) numbers, so it's not a reliable conclusion.
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby mjr » 12 Apr 2019, 10:04am

Wanlock Dod wrote:It is the width that is the issue, less than 2 m is indicated as not good, and less than 1.5 m (with a painted line) is advised against. Insufficient width is noted as not being an appropriate reason for marking narrow cycle lanes on a road (i.e. no cycle lane markings would be better).

I'd say removing the centre line and marking wide advisory lanes would be better, Dutch/Flemish bicycle street style.

Yes, the lack of mention of bike lane width is a critical omission which makes such research pretty useless to everyone except vehicularist fanatics.
I suppose there is some scope for different interpretation of the guidelines, but not all that much.

It probably goes a long way towards explaining why infrastructure of this nature doesn’t seem to be especially good at increasing levels of cycling.

What goes a long way is the word "guidelines". They start off weak and then highways departments downgrade them further because they can and cyclists are a soft target. It's an easy choice for them to upset hundreds of cyclists instead of thousands of motorists because they ignore that they're supposed to be increasing cyclists to thousands without getting penalised for it.
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 12 Apr 2019, 10:10am

mjr wrote:Often claimed, but it involves calculations based on several small (cycling is pretty safe so there are relatively few casualties and many go unreported) and badly-measured (both casualty and usage) numbers, so it's not a reliable conclusion.


Can you describe the calculations made and data sources that were used to come to that conclusion?

No, and neither can I. Therefore, any claims about the accuracy or otherwise of the claim is specious at best.
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby mjr » 12 Apr 2019, 10:56am

Lance Dopestrong wrote:
mjr wrote:Often claimed, but it involves calculations based on several small (cycling is pretty safe so there are relatively few casualties and many go unreported) and badly-measured (both casualty and usage) numbers, so it's not a reliable conclusion.


Can you describe the calculations made and data sources that were used to come to that conclusion?

No, and neither can I. Therefore, any claims about the accuracy or otherwise of the claim is specious at best.

Yes, I can describe the data sources available to calculate rates at UK level (primarily RRCGB and HES for casualty numbers, NTS, APS/ALS, Census and DfT Traffic Counts for rider numbers) and none are accurate enough for more than year-to-year comparisons (where the systemic accuracy problems cancel out as long as they're constant because we only care about trend), plus several are far less accurate for cycling-specific infrastructure usage than carriageway usage.

It may be possible to compare in small study areas using planning-application-style transport study methods (periodic cameras and so on) but I believe it's currently impossible at UK level as suggested.
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby Pete Owens » 12 Apr 2019, 11:23am

Lance Dopestrong wrote:I read somewhere - it may have been the CUK chipwrapper, but I don't recall - that the UK casualty rate for cyclists is lower for the road than for cycling infrastructure.


It is most certainly the case that off-carriageway cycle paths parallel to a road vastly increase the risk of collision at junctions compared to riding on the carriageway - by a factor of 3-10 depending on which direction you are riding. This has been known about ever since they first started to be introduced. This was the main reason the highwaymen never managed to persuade parliament to make them compulsory in the 1930s - unlike the rather more authoritarian regimes on the continent at the time. Since then many studies have confirmed this, but unfortunately the danger to cyclists isn't enough to overcome the highwaymen's imperative to get us out of the way of the important people in cars at all costs.

The effect of on-carriageway cycle lanes is much more subtle and has only been studied more recently. Nevertheless, the evidence is conclusive that the effect of the white stripe is closer overtaking - which of course from the highwaymen's perspective is the whole point.

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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby mjr » 12 Apr 2019, 12:01pm

It is most certainly the case that off-carriageway cycle paths parallel to a road vastly increase the risk of collision at junctions compared to riding on the carriageway - by a factor of 3-10 depending on which direction you are riding.

Nice attempt at proof by assertion but the debunking in viewtopic.php?f=6&t=99000&p=931451#p931451 still applies.

This has been known about ever since they first started to be introduced.

As if road design hasn't changed since the 1930s!

This was the main reason the highwaymen never managed to persuade parliament to make them compulsory in the 1930s

Prove it. It looks from https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hans ... ccidents-1 like the main reason was that CTC was opposing them before they were ever built - and the perception in other debates of the time is that it was unpopular because cyclists would be expected to pay a tax towards the upkeep of them.

- unlike the rather more authoritarian regimes on the continent at the time.

And that's basically a Godwin, isn't it? So I'll stop there.
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby axel_knutt » 12 Apr 2019, 12:13pm

Characteristics of the Regular Adult Bicycle User
Kaplan. Federal Highway Administration, US, 1975.
Cycle paths 292 accidents per million cycle miles, against 104 for minor roads and 111 for major roads.

The Risks of Cycling
Pasenen, Helsinki City Planning Department 2001
In Helsinki, using a road-side cycle path is nearly 2.5 times more likely to result in injury than cycling on the carriageway with traffic.

Signalised Intersections Function and Accident Risk for Unprotected Road Users
Linderholm. University of Lund, Sweden, 1984
Cycle tracks are 3.4 times more dangerous than using the road at junctions, rising to 11.9 times when riding against the traffic flow.

Traffic Accidents Involving Cyclists
Berlin Police, Germany, 1987.
Cyclists four times more likely to have accident on roads with cycle paths. Likelihood of serious or fatal injury similarly increased.

Safety of Cycling Children – Effect of the Street Environment
Leden. Technical Research Centre of Finland 1989.
Overall risk of collision is 1.3 crashes/100,000km on a cycle track, but 0.5 crashes/100,000km on the carriageway

Cycle Routes
Harland, Gercans. Transport Research Laboratory, UK, 1993.
No evidence that cycle routes lead to more cycling or improved safety.

Two Decades of the Redway Cycle Paths of Milton Keynes
Franklin. Traffic Engineering & Control, 1999.
Injury accidents on UK's largest purpose-built cycle path network per million km cycled:
Cycle paths 166, local roads 149, main roads 31.


Junctions and Cyclists
Jensen, Andersen, Nielsen. Velo City, Barcelona, 1997.
Cyclists particularly vulnerable at non-signalised junctions where study indicates a nearly fourfold increase in risk. Cycle lanes in Denmark realise accident savings between junctions, but this is more than outweighed by additional accidents at junctions.

Measuring the Safety Effect of Raised Bicycle Crossings
Leden, Gårdner, Pulkkinen. Swedish Transportation Research Board, 1998.
Conventional cycle tracks increase cyclists' risk at junctions.

Toronto Bicycle Commuter Safety Rates
Aultman-Hall, Kaltenecker. Transportation Research Board, 1998.
Injuries 1.8 times more likely on cycle paths than roads and 6 times on footways.

Risk Factors for Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions at Intersections
Wachtel, Lewiston. Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal, USA. September 1994
“Sidewalks or paths adjacent to a roadway are usually not, as non-cyclists expect, safer than the road but much less safe. This conclusion is already well established in existing standards for bikeway design, although in our experience it is not widely known or observed.”
Risk on average 1.8 times greater.

How to Decrease the Number of Bicycle Accidents?
Räsänen, Traffic Safety Committee of Insurance Companies, Finland, 1995.
Study of 234 bicycle crashes in four Finnish cities. 63% of collisions between a cyclist and a motor vehicle took place at cycle track crossings.

Safety Effects of Bicycle Facilities
Wegman, Dijkstra. SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, Netherlands, 1992.
In built-up areas cycle tracks 25% safer than unsegregated road between junctions, but 32% more dangerous at junctions. Cycle lanes 36% more dangerous between junctions, 19% safer at junctions. Seriousness of accidents greater if tracks or lanes present compared with no facilities.

Safety for Cyclists at Urban Road Junctions
Schnull, Alrutz et al. German Federal Highways Institute Report 262, 1993.
Proportion of junction accidents significantly higher with cycle tracks. HGV conflicts more common with segregation. Without signals, cyclists nearly 5 times more at risk on a cycle track; contrasting surfaces only reduces this to 1.5. With signals, cyclists are 1.7 to 2.7 times more at risk on cycle track, 1.3 times on a cycle lane. At roundabouts cycle tracks increase risk by 30%, cycle lanes by 25%.

Bicycle Paths in Cities - The Safety Effect
Bach, Rosbach, Joergensen. Danish Road Directorate, Denmark, 1988
Cyclist casualties increased 48% following introduction of paths. Bicycle traffic volume did not increase during the study period.

Typical Patterns of Accidents Involving Bicycles and Recommendations for the Safe Design of Bicycle Traffic Facilities
Alrutz, HUK-Verband, Köln, Germany, 1980.
A study of 4,000 accidents in Köln 1976 - 1978. Cycle paths as traditionally built do not guarantee a reduction in casualties. The risk cyclists face depends on how often their unimpeded ride is interrupted.

Report on accidents to cyclists
Transport Advisory Council, Ministry of Transport, UK, 1938.
Cycle tracks increase danger at every road junction. Considers cycle tracks provide safety benefit between junctions but provides no evidence.

Cycle safety
Hass-Klau et al. Environmental & Transport Planning, UK/Germany 1991.
Number of motor vehicles and in particular number of cyclists has much stronger influence on safety than cycle facilities. Some main roads with cycle facilities have higher cycle accident rate than without. Visibility and care crucial; cycle facility may contribute to accidents by making cyclist over-confident. Facilities cause many problems; bad cycle facilities are worse than none.
Peterborough: high accident rate in residential areas casts doubt on independent cycle facilities. York and Oxford: high serious accident rates.


Study of Milton Keynes Cycle Accidents, 1980 - 1990
Ketteridge. Milton Keynes Development Corporation, UK, 1991.
Includes one-month hospital survey which showed 14 cycle path accidents against 1 minor road accident and no major road accidents in equivalent area. All 3 serious accidents were cycle path.

National trends in cycling and cycle accidents
Morgan. TRL/Institute of Civil Engineers, UK, 1995.
Only 3% of injury accidents on cycle tracks and off-road are recorded.
Cycle facilities not improving use or safety. What we are doing now is either insufficient or just plainly wrong.


Redways and Leisure Routes
Franklin. Milton Keynes Cycle Users Group, UK, 1998.
Redways nearly 7 times more dangerous per mile cycled. 6 deaths to cyclists off-road in 10 years against just one in comparable area on roads.
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby mjr » 12 Apr 2019, 1:16pm

axel_knutt wrote:Signalised Intersections Function and Accident Risk for Unprotected Road Users
Linderholm. University of Lund, Sweden, 1984
Cycle tracks are 3.4 times more dangerous than using the road at junctions, rising to 11.9 times when riding against the traffic flow.

Yes, that's the abusive summary I mentioned in post I linked previously.

Two Decades of the Redway Cycle Paths of Milton Keynes
Franklin. Traffic Engineering & Control, 1999.
Injury accidents on UK's largest purpose-built cycle path network per million km cycled:
Cycle paths 166, local roads 149, main roads 31.

Most importantly, the low main roads figure there is because cyclists have been "designed out" of most of them and only the really fast, brave and stubborn still use them outside the centres of the pre-MK towns, which is a double-edged sword IMO. That and the earlier Franklin joke of research into MK where I grew up are what initially alerted me to how vehicularists were abusing casualty statistics, almost 12 years ago now: http://mjr.towers.org.uk/blog/2007/redways

Junctions and Cyclists
Jensen, Andersen, Nielsen. Velo City, Barcelona, 1997.
Cyclists particularly vulnerable at non-signalised junctions where study indicates a nearly fourfold increase in risk. Cycle lanes in Denmark realise accident savings between junctions, but this is more than outweighed by additional accidents at junctions.

That's not the citation I'm familiar with, but it sounds like the same Jensen of Trafiktek study that I criticise elsewhere on this forum for condemning cycle lanes merely because they didn't reduce collisions by as much as the author calculated they should have.

Now, Franklin and Jensen are both available online but you don't link them. Why not? I suggest it's because the trite summaries gloss over the gaps in the evidence. If I had time to check the rest of the citations, would they continue the mix of incomplete data, unreproducible analyses and suggestions of future research avenues being given as if conclusions?

Anyway, most of those are irrelevant to cycle lanes and would be better in a previous discussion like viewtopic.php?f=6&t=99000&p=931451#p931451
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby mjr » 12 Apr 2019, 1:23pm

axel_knutt wrote:Safety Effects of Bicycle Facilities
Wegman, Dijkstra. SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, Netherlands, 1992.
In built-up areas cycle tracks 25% safer than unsegregated road between junctions, but 32% more dangerous at junctions. Cycle lanes 36% more dangerous between junctions, 19% safer at junctions. Seriousness of accidents greater if tracks or lanes present compared with no facilities.

Safety for Cyclists at Urban Road Junctions
Schnull, Alrutz et al. German Federal Highways Institute Report 262, 1993.
Proportion of junction accidents significantly higher with cycle tracks. HGV conflicts more common with segregation. Without signals, cyclists nearly 5 times more at risk on a cycle track; contrasting surfaces only reduces this to 1.5. With signals, cyclists are 1.7 to 2.7 times more at risk on cycle track, 1.3 times on a cycle lane. At roundabouts cycle tracks increase risk by 30%, cycle lanes by 25%.


Those are the only ones which might be relevant to cycle lanes. Does anyone have links to copies of them, please?
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby Pete Owens » 12 Apr 2019, 3:07pm

So as usual, when confronted with the large body of academic research that has consistently shown the heightened risk caused by cycle paths at junctions, mjr resorts to his usual superficial hand-waving dismissal of anything that contradicts his personal prejudice for segregation - and this usually consists of irrelevant comments such as it is "old" or ad-hominem attacks on the authors. I see his latest ploy to lend a veneer of "scienceyness" to his postings is to start quoting references claiming such and such was debunked - but these always turn out to be links to his own previous hand-waving.

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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby mjr » 12 Apr 2019, 3:28pm

Pete Owens wrote:So as usual, when confronted with the large body of academic research that has consistently shown the heightened risk caused by cycle paths at junctions, mjr resorts to his usual superficial hand-waving dismissal of anything that contradicts his personal prejudice for segregation - and this usually consists of irrelevant comments such as it is "old" or ad-hominem attacks on the authors. I see his latest ploy to lend a veneer of "scienceyness" to his postings is to start quoting references claiming such and such was debunked - but these always turn out to be links to his own previous hand-waving.

And I see Mr Owens's latest ploy when I question his historical accuracy or the robustness of others' copy-pasted link-free spun summaries of mostly-vanity-published mostly-commercial studies is to launch a personal attack on me! That's much easier than providing links, replying to the past questions or accepting that factual (Franklin) or logical (Jensen) errors were made and more research is needed before their claims can be supported properly, isn't it?

I don't think I've ever attacked an author of those papers personally (ad hominem). I may have written that I think their work on this subject is biased flawed excrement but I haven't commented on the person even when I have met them.

It seems vehicularists hate nothing more than a former vehicular cycling advocate who noticed he was being misled by bad science and bigots, doesn't it?
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby brooksby » 12 Apr 2019, 4:24pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:I'm curious to know if there's any effect on passing distances from those lanes which are so substandard they're actually narrower than a bike's handlebars. I can't think of any examples currently but there were some in Bristol (eg Woodland Road) which were too narrow to get a bike in even with your wheels in the gutter.


Don't forget those 'fun' ones on the approaches to the suspension bridge. I think they go down to about thirty centimetres before they peter out. And that's on a single lane of roadway going each way (so, a normal urban road) with a raised kerb/lane-divider. Worse than useless, IMO.

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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby Bmblbzzz » 12 Apr 2019, 4:37pm

brooksby wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:I'm curious to know if there's any effect on passing distances from those lanes which are so substandard they're actually narrower than a bike's handlebars. I can't think of any examples currently but there were some in Bristol (eg Woodland Road) which were too narrow to get a bike in even with your wheels in the gutter.


Don't forget those 'fun' ones on the approaches to the suspension bridge. I think they go down to about thirty centimetres before they peter out. And that's on a single lane of roadway going each way (so, a normal urban road) with a raised kerb/lane-divider. Worse than useless, IMO.

Yeah, those are still there aren't they. TBH the ones on the Clifton side are irrelevant as traffic is slowed down by the speed humps but on the Ashton Court side it's usually going a bit faster (feeling the pull of the "open" road!) and the road is a bit wider

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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby Wanlock Dod » 13 Apr 2019, 8:11pm

There certainly seems to be the possibility that installing cycle lanes on a road could deter uptake of cycling, thus demonstrating that cycling infrastructure doesn’t work and isn’t cost effective, provided the painted cycle lanes are narrow enough it could be a very effective way of prioritising motorised traffic whilst at the same time also claiming to be promoting cycling.

Whatever the numbers of casualties associated with segregated infrastructure versus no cycle infrastructure the provision of high quality segregated cycle routes facilitates uptake of cycling far more than any other approach, and having more cyclists means a larger number of casualties, but probably also a lower risk. Certainly the level and standard of provision in Little Britain hasn’t resulted in either much uptake of cycling or especially safe cycling conditions.

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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby Cugel » 14 Apr 2019, 9:18am

Pete Owens wrote:So as usual, when confronted with the large body of academic research that has consistently shown the heightened risk caused by cycle paths at junctions, mjr resorts to his usual superficial hand-waving dismissal of anything that contradicts his personal prejudice for segregation - and this usually consists of irrelevant comments such as it is "old" or ad-hominem attacks on the authors. I see his latest ploy to lend a veneer of "scienceyness" to his postings is to start quoting references claiming such and such was debunked - but these always turn out to be links to his own previous hand-waving.


Well, I go by my own and very personal experiences. Despite being a very experienced cyclist well-able to control the bike and anticipate road dangers of every kind, I know that a so-called cycle lane in the gutter of the road is a more dangerous place for me than an open road of similar kind and use.

There are endless dangers introduced by and hence caused by the white-line demarcated cycling "lane". They've been listed a thousand times. The answer ro safer cycling is not so-called cycling infrastructure but the reining-in of all those dangers (including the bad driving habits) of modern motoring. It will require the current law to be vigorously applied and some new controls.

We should begin by adopting the widespread (elsewhere) assumption that any cyclist-with-powered-vehicle "accident" presumes the powered vehicle driver at fault. We should continue with a serious reduction in speeding, close-passing and those other behaviours that are known to exacerbate the bad results of "accidents"; or to cause them.

Cycling infrastructure already exists. It's called "roads" and is a very good cycling facility indeed if the other traffic is prevented from behaving in an irresponsible and dangerous fashion. New so-called cycling infrasturcture is not only more dangerous but incredibly costly. Spend the money on traffic police instead. And on improving the roads, particularly potholes, which are more far dangerous to cyclists than to motorists.

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