So bike lanes don't work, do they?

nigel_s
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So bike lanes don't work, do they?

Postby nigel_s » 13 Dec 2007, 9:10pm

They do in civilised, forward thinking and enlightened parts of Europe:
http://cycleliciousness.blogspot.com/20 ... -hour.html

If only...

tobyj
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Postby tobyj » 13 Dec 2007, 9:57pm

Nice movie.

But this is a very important point, the more people who cycle the safer for all of us. The main reason people don't cycle is that it is perceived as dangerous in traffic (it is not important whether it is in fact dangerous or not, the perception is the thing).

Cycle lanes may - or may not be crap, my feeling is that in the main they are good, but always some crap ones. I am at the moment sitting here in Mainz in Germany (I am vistiing for 3 weeks, normally I live in UK). The cycle lanes here are tending towards crap, but despite this many more people than in a comparative city in the UK cycle - on crap cycle lanes, because they are perceived as safe.

So my point is, love them or loath them, it doesn't matter, if you want more people to cycle, especially in urban area, build more cycle lanes. QED.

Sorry, said it all before, just wanted to get in their before the paranoids do!

Toby

glueman
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Postby glueman » 13 Dec 2007, 10:07pm

There appears to be long standing resistance to bike use on or off road in the UK from the ordinary public. I don't really know why this should be. There's some anglo-saxon bloody mindedness, a lot of status anxiety and a highly politicised road lobby but there's something indefinable too.

We're the nation of toilet paper covers, home from home car interiors and fitted carpets. I think we've just lost the knack of being outside doing active things, getting dirty, working up a sweat. We see it as beneath us. Basically bikes represent the past and we're frightened of it.

drossall
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Postby drossall » 13 Dec 2007, 11:13pm

The film shows cycle commuting working. It is not clear that things would be any worse or better without the lane. It's the overall approach that makes things work in Copenhagen.

Research from many countries is summarised by John Franklin. The position appears to be that:

* cycle facilities can (presumably) make things better in specific instances, but make them worse on average

* novice cyclists, and many others, welcome cycle facilities because they feel safer, although actually they are more risky - so cycle facilities increase participation, which is a good thing and counterbalances the risks (and I choose to use the Stevenage facilities daily)

* in some countries the whole approach of segregating traffic types (and pedestrians) in urban areas is being questioned

* choice is the order of the day - and it would be grossly unreasonable to compel cyclists to use facilities that actually reduce their safety

Toomey

Postby Toomey » 14 Dec 2007, 8:52am

Interesting theory glueman.

Is it true antipathy toward cyclists is a hangover from early socialists and emancipators using bikes?

Or the vocal and powerful motoring lobby?

George Riches
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Postby George Riches » 14 Dec 2007, 9:21am

I think it's a lot to do with the fact that the bulk of the bicycle industry turned to making cars (e.g. Rover). They pushed the idea that a car was a natural upgrade to a bicycle.

Certainly the bicycle friendly countries of Denmark, Netherlands and Switzerland never had much of a car industry.

As for Germany and Japan, both with stronger car industries than the UK (& increasingly the USA) yet both markedly more cycle friendly than the Anglo-American cultures. I suspect that snapshot of the Second World War might provide a clue. Both Germany and Japan were far less motorised than the UK and the USA. Did the generals in both the UK and USA feel they had secure oil supplies and could risk motorisation, while in Japan and Germany the military didn't want to become too dependent on oil and certainly didn't want civilians to have any that got through the blockades?

That's a 1930's explanation. Post war (50's & 60's) both German and Japanese industries were oriented towards reconstruction and export of consumer goods. So their governments less inclined to stoke up domestic car buying?
Last edited by George Riches on 14 Dec 2007, 9:23am, edited 1 time in total.

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gaz
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Postby gaz » 14 Dec 2007, 9:21am

glueman wrote:There appears to be long standing resistance to bike use on or off road in the UK from the ordinary public.


Toomey wrote:Interesting theory glueman.

Is it true antipathy toward cyclists is a hangover from early socialists and emancipators using bikes?


I find glueman's theory interesting too, but isn't he suggesting antipathy towards cycling, not cyclists?

Velo
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Postby Velo » 14 Dec 2007, 10:24am

glueman wrote:There appears to be long standing resistance to bike use on or off road in the UK from the ordinary public. I don't really know why this should be. There's some anglo-saxon bloody mindedness, a lot of status anxiety and a highly politicised road lobby but there's something indefinable too.


The British have not always been resistant to cycling (and I don't think the populace has an ineffable animus to riding a bike either). However, the figures are certainly depressing: in 1950, nearly 15% of all trips in the UK were made using a bicycle - now it's a measly 1.3%.

glueman
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Postby glueman » 14 Dec 2007, 10:36am

Velo wrote:
The British have not always been resistant to cycling (and I don't think the populace has an ineffable animus to riding a bike either).


That's true. Long standing sort of meant from the late fifties (50 years?) when cars began to become affordable. In the UK it's a one way trip of progress and people aren't looking back. I passed an Audi dealer the other day, one of its sporty jobs in the front window had a cycle carrier. You could practically feel staff and punters thinking '40 grand and they stick a push bike on top!'
Perhaps there is a cash rich, designer market for the dreams Audi are pedalling (sic) but in Britain it seemed horribly misplaced.

Geriatrix
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Postby Geriatrix » 14 Dec 2007, 10:45am

search wikipedia for "cycle path debate", it gives a good overview. An interesting point made in the article is the fact that accidents are higher on segregated cycle where they cross intersections. A seperate article"segregated cycle facilities" notes that in Berlin the 10% of segregated cycle facilities produced 75% of cycle facilities. Studies elsewhere in Europe showed that segregated facilities increased cycle accidents 12 fold.

As a cycling commuter my argument is that I should not be required to cycle a longer distance or be obliged to use an inferior road surface to get me to my destination than what is provided for cars. I don't beleve this is an unreasonable request.

james01
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Postby james01 » 14 Dec 2007, 10:54am

I feel that there's an important distinction between marked cycle lanes on highways (as in this footage), and dedicated off-highway cycle tracks.
I feel that the former keeps cycling mainstream, part of the traffic flow. Special cycleways, often tucked away out of sight, can ghetto-ize the cyclist.
Let's keep cycling on the road!

glueman
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Postby glueman » 14 Dec 2007, 10:57am

Geriatrix wrote:As a cycling commuter my argument is that I should not be required to cycle a longer distance or be obliged to use an inferior road surface to get me to my destination than what is provided for cars. I don't beleve this is an unreasonable request.


It isn't, but it may be naive given the last half century of change. Cycle path use in the UK is ocassional or sporadic. At interchanges drivers simply don't expect to see a bike and their gamble would be nearly always correct. The Copenhagen picture shows dedicated routes can work, it isn't an engineering impossibilty, it's a social challenge.

Velo
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Postby Velo » 14 Dec 2007, 11:01am

Geriatrix wrote:As a cycling commuter my argument is that I should not be required to cycle a longer distance or be obliged to use an inferior road surface to get me to my destination than what is provided for cars. I don't beleve this is an unreasonable request.


There is no requirement - so your request is superfluous.

FWIW, I already cycle a longer distance to avoid a dangerous roundabout and to avoid poorly maintained road surfaces.
Last edited by Velo on 14 Dec 2007, 11:28am, edited 1 time in total.

Geriatrix
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Postby Geriatrix » 14 Dec 2007, 11:23am

james01 wrote:Let's keep cycling on the road!

Agreed!, but legislation should provide better protection for cyclist. Cyclists are invisible to motorists because they don't present a physical threat. You can't change this through the laws of physics but you can elevate the cyclists risk profile through the motorists wallet. Laws need to be tightened up and the police need to take action. In France motorists are not allowed to encroach closer than 1.5m from a cyclist. In Germany cyclists can cite drivers for driving too close and the driver can be fined/lose license points. When drivers start paying for their mistakes they start paying attention.

nigel_s
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Postby nigel_s » 14 Dec 2007, 12:14pm

Geriatrix wrote:..."segregated cycle facilities" notes that in Berlin the 10% of segregated cycle facilities produced 75% of cycle facilities(sic)...

Well, if most cyclists are using the facilities then it would, wouldn't it...