Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cycle Lanes: The Good, Bad, and Laughable

Useful Cycle Lanes

Cycle routes have been slowly increasing in number in my local area (South East London) over the last few years. Some being useful - Like:
Toucan crossings on busy A-road roundabouts,
New bus lanes (shared benefit for busses / black cabs / cyclists),
And advanced stop lines at traffic lights.

Dangerous Cycle Lanes

Some traffic engineering ideas can actually in real life use, make situations MORE dangerous for cyclists! For example: road narrowings / pinch points, which coerces cyclists in to a likely rear-end impact from fast-moving traffic. Also inconsistent priorities between cyclists & other vehicles.

A trend I see also is the traffic engineers install cycle lanes on the easy roads where there is not much danger or vehicle dynamics. Yet when that road comes to a difficult static hazard like a multi-lane junction, just when vulnerable cyclists need as much protection from the 2 ton vehicles competing for the same space, so often I see: "END" of cycle lane. Which I interpret as: "pfff, well, erm, basically we ran out of ideas here, and it was a Friday, so... Good luck! (*door slams, sound of hurried footsteps*)"

Stupid Cycle Lanes

And then for a laugh there are the stupid cycle lanes.

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All of 5 meters - fully signed and painted cycle lane, complete with tactile paving. It has everything. Except a purpose!

Laughable examples:

  • Bins designed in the middle of cycle lanes??
  • A slalom course of obstructing lamppost in a cycle lane??
  • Pointless short stretches of painted cycle lanes for just a few meters??

Examples have the hallmark of a complete afterthought. Unrealistic, impractical, will never be used, and would be funnier if it wasn't us who paid for it through our taxes.

More Examples & Links:

Warrington Cycle Campaign - Facility of the month

Weird Cycle

BBC Magazine - In the Gutter - Bicycle Facilities

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