Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

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

Postby Bmblbzzz » 16 Apr 2019, 9:46am

Tractors are a bit of an exception, being found almost exclusively on rural lanes rather than major roads or urban congestion. Even in the deep country, I'd say they're a smaller proportion of all motor traffic than the 10mph potterers and strugglers are of cycle traffic.

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

Postby Vorpal » 16 Apr 2019, 11:23am

Cugel wrote:Bikes are just traffic. The answer to danger is to learn cycling competancy and for authorities to control the often outrageously dangerous behaviour of motorists.

The advantage of bicycles is that they aren't just traffic. Cyclists can be traffic, but they can aslo be pedestrians, use bridleways, explore forest or moorland, etc.

There are also some clear benefits in some places to separate infrastructure. And there should be opportunities for young cyclists to commute to and from school and after school activities. It may not be appropriate for them to be 'just traffic'.
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby Cugel » 16 Apr 2019, 2:47pm

Vorpal wrote:
Cugel wrote:Bikes are just traffic. The answer to danger is to learn cycling competancy and for authorities to control the often outrageously dangerous behaviour of motorists.

The advantage of bicycles is that they aren't just traffic. Cyclists can be traffic, but they can aslo be pedestrians, use bridleways, explore forest or moorland, etc.

There are also some clear benefits in some places to separate infrastructure. And there should be opportunities for young cyclists to commute to and from school and after school activities. It may not be appropriate for them to be 'just traffic'.


I understand that modern roads and traffic are, for the many reasons we daily reiterate here, dangerous, especially to the young and/or inexperienced. But I still suggest that dedicated cycling infrastructure to cater to them is highly impractical because highly expensive and without enough social cache to be taken up by those who would finance it.

So, if we still want the young and inexperienced to be able to cycle from the many As to the many Bs in a safe fashion, we should look to the fundamental cause of the danger extant within the current A to B infrastructure of the roads. That danger is motorised traffic which is unsufficiently controlled with respect to the dangers it presents.

There are several other benefits to reducing the danger from road traffic via a more serious effort to cvontrol it.

The danger to other road users, mostly car-to-car dangers, will also be reduced. Same for pedestrians, road workers, horse riders and lollypop ladies. Et al. Are we going to build a separate infrastructure for less experienced motorists; or for those that always drive safely? Hardly.

Other benefits involve a general reduction in the attitudes and associated behaviours of me-my-I, selfish little skinbag; rabid individualista; and other anti-social stuff all too prevalent (and often as toxic as poor driving) in our society.

There are more advantages to controlling dangerous driving that could be listed, from reducing pollutants (from the roaring heavy-foots) to reducing the carnage of hedgehogs.

Not all problems need a new solution. There are many old solutions once used and now forgot that would be just as effective - and easy to implement - and far less costly than a new solution. New solutions also come with 99 unintended consequences. Old solutions usually have such consequences long-revealed and so easier to eliminate.

So how about a 1p on the tax to pay for a large swathe of traffic policemen; a huge increase in speed cameras; a justice system that's swift and responsive...............?

Cugel

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

Postby Vorpal » 16 Apr 2019, 2:50pm

Cugel wrote:So how about a 1p on the tax to pay for a large swathe of traffic policemen; a huge increase in speed cameras; a justice system that's swift and responsive...............?

Cugel

Nah. Blue signs are cheaper. :wink:
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby StephenW » 16 Apr 2019, 2:57pm

Hello Axle Knutt

Why is there no research from the last 20 years in your list? How did you come up with the list? Did you assess the reports and papers for quality? (e.g. peer review, sample size, relevance, methods used etc.).

I think some relevant research may have been done in the last 20 years... here is a quote from a 2017 paper by Schepers et al:

"The overall safety effect of one-way bicycle paths on busy streets is positive. Dutch research indicates the likelihood of BMV crashes at unsignalized intersections is some 45% lower with a bicycle path deflected between 2 and 5 metres away from the intersection area as compared to intersections with bicycle lanes or no facility (Schepers et al., 2013). The risk of BMV crashes is further reduced by physical separation along road sections (Welleman and Dijkstra, 1988, Thomas and DeRobertis, 2013)."

In general, it is not a very good approach to copy and paste little bits from conclusions to support ones argument, without considering the methods used. Claims should be based on the quality of the work that was done, rather than appealing to the authority of the scientist. Clearly this requires more effort from the reader. I'm doing it here to show that the academic literature is by no means unanimous in saying that bicycle infrastructure increases danger at intersections, and to show that some relevant research may have been done since 1999!

Link to 2017 paper by Schepers et al: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2015.06.005

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

Postby Vorpal » 16 Apr 2019, 3:56pm

John Franklin compiled this list some years ago http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/digest/research.html

I suspect that's where Axel Knutt started.

As for
StephenW wrote:Link to 2017 paper by Schepers et al: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2015.06.005


That doesn't say much that can lead one to conlcude that cycle paths are safer than the roads. The paper demonstrates that comprehensive policy in the Netherlands has led to greatly improve safety for cyclists. It also demonstrates that the 'network level separation' is a significant factor in this, but network level separation includes traffic calmed streets, which are an important part of Dutch cycling infrastructure. It does not demonstrate that cycle paths are safer.

I think that you will find that even studies by SWOV show that cyclists have a slightly increased crash rate (i.e. slightly worse statistical safety) for cycle paths versus the road. Crash rate at junctions tends to increase more that the reductions between junctions make up for. However this segregation is considered necessary where motor vehicle speeds and/or densities are high.

There have been a couple of previous discussions of this topic. A few studies have found a slight benefit in terms of statistical safety. Most have found a slight detriment. The ones that have found a significant benefit tend to be flawed.

That said, there are clearly benefits to well-designed segregation in some circumstances.

British cycle paths, being poorly designed and giving way at junctions, make things worse for cyclists, whilst making them seem better.

Some previous discussions...
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41828
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=46081
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=83988
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=102061
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=121106

I'm sure that there are more, if I take the time to look for them :)
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby mjr » 16 Apr 2019, 5:01pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:Tractors are a bit of an exception, being found almost exclusively on rural lanes rather than major roads or urban congestion. Even in the deep country, I'd say they're a smaller proportion of all motor traffic than the 10mph potterers and strugglers are of cycle traffic.

I'm not sure why you think they're "found almost exclusively on rural lanes rather than major roads". They go past my home on the A10 most hours of daylight. For the point I was making, it doesn't matter how small a proportion they are - they're still the slowest motors on the road, travelling at between half and a quarter the speed of some, and drivers have to be ready to encounter them.

Cugel wrote:So, if we still want the young and inexperienced to be able to cycle from the many As to the many Bs in a safe fashion, we should look to the fundamental cause of the danger extant within the current A to B infrastructure of the roads. That danger is motorised traffic which is unsufficiently controlled with respect to the dangers it presents.

OK, great, let's control it with kerbs and posts to keep it off the bits of road reserved for cycling! Or is that not what you meant? :twisted:

There are several other benefits to reducing the danger from road traffic via a more serious effort to cvontrol it.

The danger to other road users, mostly car-to-car dangers, will also be reduced. Same for pedestrians, road workers, horse riders and lollypop ladies. Et al.

Lovely. Motherhood and apple pie. But how to achieve it? What should we do?

Are we going to build a separate infrastructure for less experienced motorists; or for those that always drive safely? Hardly.

OK, great, that's more of what we're not going to do. What should we do?

Other benefits involve a general reduction in the attitudes and associated behaviours of me-my-I, selfish little skinbag; rabid individualista; and other anti-social stuff all too prevalent (and often as toxic as poor driving) in our society.

There are more advantages to controlling dangerous driving that could be listed, from reducing pollutants (from the roaring heavy-foots) to reducing the carnage of hedgehogs.

OK, great, more apple pie. But how to achieve it? What should we do?

Not all problems need a new solution. There are many old solutions once used and now forgot that would be just as effective - and easy to implement - and far less costly than a new solution. New solutions also come with 99 unintended consequences. Old solutions usually have such consequences long-revealed and so easier to eliminate.

OK, great. So what other old solutions besides cycleways would you like to suggest?

So how about a 1p on the tax to pay for a large swathe of traffic policemen; a huge increase in speed cameras; a justice system that's swift and responsive...............?

Well that's finally an idea but I think there's pretty much no chance of the majority of the population agreeing to it, so it's even less likely than future British cycleways being built without boneheaded mistakes in them.

Have you any ideas which might be more feasible?
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Re: Painted cycle lanes may make roads more dangerous for bike riders

Postby StephenW » 16 Apr 2019, 5:18pm

Hello Vorpal

Did you read the whole paper or just the abstract? Are you referring to the 2017 paper by Schepers et al or the 2013 one? The 2017 paper is a general overview of the various factors which contribute to cycling safety in the Netherlands, including cycle paths. I believe the reference to Schepers et al (2013) is actually a typo, it should be Scheppers et al (2011).

In Scheppers et al (2011), they analyse various aspects of unsignalised intersection design and how they affect cycle safety. They find that cycleways are around 45% safer than cycle lanes or no infrastructure (they have combined cycle lanes and no infrastructure into one category because there were too few intersections with no infrastructure to be valid).

In Scheppers et al (2011), they note that:

"We found that priority intersections with one-way cycle paths have the same or even less bicycle crashes than intersections with other or no bicycle facilities, while other researchers concluded that cycle tracks increase the number of cycle crashes at junctions (Elvik and Vaa, 2009). The difference may result from several causes. It is assumed that cycle tracks are less safe than cycle lanes because drivers’ scanning strategies are primarily focused on where motorists are and thus less on physically separated bicycle tracks (Herslund and Jørgensen, 2003). Our study is conducted in the Netherlands, one of the countries with the highest level of cycling where most adults have grown up riding a bicycle. Drivers in countries with high levels of cycling may adapt their scanning routines. This may partly explain the “safety in numbers” effect, i.e. the risk faced by each cyclist declines as the number of cyclists increases (Elvik, 2009). Another explanation is methodological in that we have controlled for the volumes of motorists and cyclists. Most of the studies that Elvik and Vaa (2009) used in their meta-analysis have not controlled for the number of cyclists, i.e. the results refer to changes in the total numbers of crashes after cycle tracks were installed. Like us, Welleman and Dijkstra (1988) did control for the cyclist volumes and found that priority intersections with bicycle paths improved the safety of bicyclists as compared to intersections with bicycle lanes."

My main point is to rebut Axel Knutt's argument that it has been conclusively proven that cycle tracks make junctions more dangerous.

I haven't yet had time to read all the old threads.

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

Postby Bmblbzzz » 16 Apr 2019, 6:02pm

mjr wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:Tractors are a bit of an exception, being found almost exclusively on rural lanes rather than major roads or urban congestion. Even in the deep country, I'd say they're a smaller proportion of all motor traffic than the 10mph potterers and strugglers are of cycle traffic.

I'm not sure why you think they're "found almost exclusively on rural lanes rather than major roads". They go past my home on the A10 most hours of daylight. For the point I was making, it doesn't matter how small a proportion they are - they're still the slowest motors on the road, travelling at between half and a quarter the speed of some, and drivers have to be ready to encounter them.

I'd suggest that makes the A10 an unusual primary route (assuming it is one). There's also a wide variation of speed for agricultural vehicles, from about 10mph up to 40, but most that I see on roads travel faster than I do - I'd say they're doing at least 20mph. Anyway, the speed of tractors is not relevant to the fact that there's a wide variation in speed of cyclists, which I'd conservatively estimate as 10 to 30mph, and there's no preponderance one way or the other. Do we make cycle lanes and paths wide enough for easy and safe overtaking or expect the faster riders to queue up behind the slower? Or something else?

Cugel wrote:So, if we still want the young and inexperienced to be able to cycle from the many As to the many Bs in a safe fashion, we should look to the fundamental cause of the danger extant within the current A to B infrastructure of the roads. That danger is motorised traffic which is unsufficiently controlled with respect to the dangers it presents.

OK, great, let's control it with kerbs and posts to keep it off the bits of road reserved for cycling! Or is that not what you meant? :twisted:
[/quote]
Don't know what Cugel (or you) had in mind but it sounds like a beginning to me.

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

Postby Cugel » 16 Apr 2019, 7:17pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:
mjr wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:Tractors are a bit of an exception, being found almost exclusively on rural lanes rather than major roads or urban congestion. Even in the deep country, I'd say they're a smaller proportion of all motor traffic than the 10mph potterers and strugglers are of cycle traffic.

I'm not sure why you think they're "found almost exclusively on rural lanes rather than major roads". They go past my home on the A10 most hours of daylight. For the point I was making, it doesn't matter how small a proportion they are - they're still the slowest motors on the road, travelling at between half and a quarter the speed of some, and drivers have to be ready to encounter them.

I'd suggest that makes the A10 an unusual primary route (assuming it is one). There's also a wide variation of speed for agricultural vehicles, from about 10mph up to 40, but most that I see on roads travel faster than I do - I'd say they're doing at least 20mph. Anyway, the speed of tractors is not relevant to the fact that there's a wide variation in speed of cyclists, which I'd conservatively estimate as 10 to 30mph, and there's no preponderance one way or the other. Do we make cycle lanes and paths wide enough for easy and safe overtaking or expect the faster riders to queue up behind the slower? Or something else?

Cugel wrote:So, if we still want the young and inexperienced to be able to cycle from the many As to the many Bs in a safe fashion, we should look to the fundamental cause of the danger extant within the current A to B infrastructure of the roads. That danger is motorised traffic which is unsufficiently controlled with respect to the dangers it presents.

OK, great, let's control it with kerbs and posts to keep it off the bits of road reserved for cycling! Or is that not what you meant? :twisted:

Don't know what Cugel (or you) had in mind but it sounds like a beginning to me.[/quote]

If car drivers are careful, considerate and don't break the motoring laws and rules, cycling would become far safer - as would being a pedestrian, a horse rider or even (especially!) a motorist. What would bring this about? More traffic police. More prosecutions with meaningful penalties for transgressions (car confiscation rather than prison, for example). A campaign of nudge and other attempts to change attitudes, as with smoking.

Mjr thinks this impractical. In fact, it's just a matter of politics and eminently possible. Other increases in road safety have been implemented over the decades and road deaths are now less than they were. Only the current Tory austerity and selfish-is-good stuff has begun to increase road havoc once more.

Mjr prefers a separate infrastructure for cycling. This seems to avoid the fundamental issue (dangerous driving) and is likely to be far more expensive than more traffic police and prosecutions etc.. It won't save pedestrians or motorists from the ongoing carnage. In addition, all indications are that when so-called cycling infrastructure is provided, it's unfit for purpose bordering on outright dangerous. There seems little liklihood of that changing if more cycling infrastructure is provided, especially if the budget is tuppence 'appeny, which it would be.

Cugel

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

Postby Bmblbzzz » 16 Apr 2019, 7:24pm

There is no inherent conflict between effective policing and "kerbs and posts". The thing preventing both of them is the same: lack of money (or perceived lack of money) and lack of political will. With that political will, they could and would both be implemented to the benefit of society as a whole.

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

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Apr 2019, 8:06pm

The results of research into the behaviour of road users are sometimes quoted as though they are of universal application, without much consideration of the circumstances in which those results were obtained. The best research of every sort eliminates variables, either by removing them altogether or controlling against their possible effects.

Traffic research includes the completely physical eg the forces generated when a vehicle travelling at a given speed is in a collision, and the much less certain social elements ie human behaviour, which is affected by so many different things.

To put this at its least, in the UK there is very little attempt made in good faith to promote cycling by providing better conditions of any sort. What we generally have is intended to get cyclists out of the road of motor traffic and if it represents any sort of improvement for riders that's more by accident than design. What may work elsewhere with different attitudes isn't necessarily directly applicable here. In particular, we have no system to ensure the active application of any policy such as one to promote cycling. Then, there's little clear division of the lines between the technical and political (in the sense of policy rather than party politics.) It suits elected representatives and appointed officials each to lurk behind the other in continuing to prioritise motor traffic to the detriment of all other modes.

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

Postby StephenW » 16 Apr 2019, 8:13pm

Cugel wrote:Mjr prefers a separate infrastructure for cycling. This seems to avoid the fundamental issue (dangerous driving) and is likely to be far more expensive than more traffic police and prosecutions etc.. It won't save pedestrians or motorists from the ongoing carnage.


In New York they found that when they added cycleways to a street, pedestrian injuries/fatalities were also reduced. This is mentioned in Janette Sidique-Khan's book about her time as traffic commissioner, Steetfight.

Cugel wrote: In addition, all indications are that when so-called cycling infrastructure is provided, it's unfit for purpose bordering on outright dangerous.


In the UK cycle infrastructure is very often very poor. But not always. I occasionally cycle in London, and the newer "Superhighways" are quite good. So it can be done in the UK, if the willpower is there. Do you ever cycle in London?

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

Postby Pete Owens » 17 Apr 2019, 12:06am

StephenW wrote:... here is a quote from a 2017 paper by Schepers et al:

"The overall safety effect of one-way bicycle paths on busy streets is positive. Dutch research indicates the likelihood of BMV crashes at unsignalized intersections is some 45% lower with a bicycle path deflected between 2 and 5 metres away from the intersection area as compared to intersections with bicycle lanes or no facility (Schepers et al., 2013). The risk of BMV crashes is further reduced by physical separation along road sections (Welleman and Dijkstra, 1988, Thomas and DeRobertis, 2013)."

In general, it is not a very good approach to copy and paste little bits from conclusions to support ones argument, without considering the methods used. Claims should be based on the quality of the work that was done, rather than appealing to the authority of the scientist.


Quite...

StephenW wrote: there were too few intersections with no infrastructure to be valid.


So what they are actually comparing is a very specific arrangements of segregation (one-way track bent away from the road) to other segregated layouts then simply assuming unsegregated roads correspond to whichever performs worse.

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

Postby mjr » 17 Apr 2019, 8:45am

Cugel wrote:If car drivers are careful, considerate and don't break the motoring laws and rules, cycling would become far safer - as would being a pedestrian, a horse rider or even (especially!) a motorist.

Yes and if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle, but it's much easier said than done.

Mjr prefers a separate infrastructure for cycling.


I've written on this site before that I see cycleways as one of numerous tools to increase the numbers of voters cycling so we can then have the political power to reclaim more roads democratically.

This seems to avoid the fundamental issue (dangerous driving) and is likely to be far more expensive than more traffic police and prosecutions etc.. It won't save pedestrians or motorists from the ongoing carnage. In addition, all indications are that when so-called cycling infrastructure is provided, it's unfit for purpose bordering on outright dangerous. There seems little liklihood of that changing if more cycling infrastructure is provided, especially if the budget is tuppence 'appeny, which it would be.

Later stuff is generally better and many of the changes only require designers to think and follow the latest design manuals, rather than cost more, but I agree that some of it needs a decent budget. However, I think that could still be less than the cost of the number of extra police required for the improbable enforcement plan once you include all the recruitment, training, insurance and pension costs, and it can be ramped up on a per-area basis, as we've seen with Cycle City Ambition Grants (even if some like Leeds seem to have been blooper-filled) or Manchester's recent step up.
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