This is what I call a cycle superhighway...

Evening all,

I chanced upon this article today.  Compare if you will the TfL version of a cycle superhighway, i.e. painting a blue stripe in the road, to this one...

 

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/01/160386904/in-bike-friendly-copenhagen-highways-for-cyclists

 

I've seen the LCC Go Dutch campaign but this article really brought it to life for me.

Replies

  • By Jo P at 11:38pm 9 November 2012

It looks great. Just got back from Paris where there are separate bike lanes  on all major routes - cyclists are meaningfully segregated from cars by concrete 'curbs'. The excuse so often given for London is that it's too old, and not designed for extra lanes. Paris proves it can be done.

That's Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen ... anyone know of other major cities that have managed to give cyclists our own lanes throughout the city?

  • By Stily1 at 7:28am 12 November 2012

Not a historian, but wasn't Paris leveled and re-designed from the ground up at one point? London's too stuck in the law of land ownership for that to have ever been done, and the roads *are* in fact based on cart and donkey tracks from thousands of years ago. There in fact is not room to so what has been suggested.

It's all very well until you want to turn (in that photograph) left. Or any number of circumstances.

(Or, in that particular photo, you hit an overhanging section of hedge...)

Is that all you've got, "Stily1" and "N1 Cyclist"? Really? Pathetic. Someone is showing how cycling can look when it's safe and inviting for people of all ages, and you bring out some tired old arguments about space and junctions. 

These questions have been answered again and again, and if you can't be bothered keeping up then don't bother at all.

Let me guess, you're both male and aged 20-45?

Yes, nice and safe in Copenhagan:

:S A conflict that wouldn't arise without segregation.

Interestingly it's normally a tactic of those who are wrong to come out with random ad hominens and statements like "tired old arguments".

Seriously, though. I cycle down a segregated facility every day and it's one of the most dangerous and incovenient sections of my journey (both inherently and as a result of the ammount of marijuana evidently consumed by TfL's engineers). Plenty of conflicts with cars where the traffic doesn't respect the priority (either through malicousness or incompetence (given the gutter on the wrong side of the road is not where they'd naturally expect a cyclist to be)) and cyclists don't look; some of the worst, bumpiest surfaces in London; bollards in the middle; cyclists in the wrong place; cyclists nearly getting hit as they try and merge with the traffic at the start/end of the lane; cycle trailers and rickshaws blocking the hole thing; oncoming cyclists overtaking hideously slow cyclists in stupid places; cyclists ignoring turn restrictions; cyclists ignoring traffic lights; pedestrians jumping out in front of you; umarked section of shared pavement (it at least used to have a cycle lane painted onto it); section on brick paved surface that offers absolutely no grip in damp weather; vans parked in it; vans stopped across it in the process of pulling out of a driveway; bizarre lhs-rhs switch half way down (you can't blame the engineers for this one though; it's about the only way to effectively end the darned path); drivers driving agressivly towards those cyclists that choose not to use it for the above reasons; cyclists merging into the traffic without checking properly and oh f**k, I wanted to turn right but I can't because I'm on the wrong bleeding side of the road (and for car drivers because there's a cycle track in the way and they had to rephase the lights and make it a no right turn junction because bikes would hare through the red lights without checking for turning traffic). Oh and when I'm actually on the road filtering/overtaking space (both for bikes overtaking cars and cars overtaking bikes) vastly reduced because space is taken up for that stupid bike lane. At least make the road one way so that both the cycle lane and the vehicle lane can have a decent amount of space.

Even if they made sense in theory (which they don't, by the way) the daily experience of having to use them is such a nightmare that they can never be recomended.

EDIT: Oh, and cyclists seem to have less respect for zebra crossings in the segregated lane than they do on the roads in general.

This post was edited by N1 Cyclist at 2:02pm 17 December 2012.

This content was deleted by N1 Cyclist at 2:03pm 17 December 2012.

N1 Cyclist,

The cycle track you refer to does indeed have a lot of problems. However, these aren't because its 'dutch style' but because it isn't Dutch style enough. You need to read about the history of that track and why it ended up as it did.

http://www.voleospeed.co.uk/2011/06/understanding-walking-and-cycling-deja.html

There are also rumours that Camden are looking at re-visiting the road in order to finally do it properly. Fingers crossed.

Some of those problems are down to the specifics of the track, but some are inherent (I made clear that both types of problem existed - although I didn't seperate the problems for the most). I will grant you that I can't provide first hand experience of using a particularly well designed track because there aren't any in London. But I still don't think they're nearly as good as using the road properly.

Here are some of the problems I listed above I believe to be inherent to any such facility. Feel free to explain to me how they're not:

  • Plenty of conflicts with cars where the traffic doesn't respect the priority (either through malicousness or incompetence (given the gutter on the wrong side of the road is not where they'd naturally expect a cyclist to be)) and cyclists don't look - Unless you meticulously traffic light or turn restrict every junction and have a crossbow armed red light enforcer stood by the cycle track (or consider those who jump lights collateral damage, but I hardly think that's fair on the drivers who may hit them) there is no escaping this problem.
  • Cyclists nearly getting hit as they try and merge with the traffic at the start/end of the lane - Merging with moving traffic isn't easy at the best of times but every lane must have a start and an end. What other solution is there?
  • Pedestrians jumping out in front of you - you could put up fences I guess... :P
  •  Vans parked in it; vans stopped across it in the process of pulling out of a driveway - Silly me, what was I thinking? Residents don't deserve access to their driveways!
  • bizarre lhs-rhs switch half way down (you can't blame the engineers for this one though; it's about the only way to effectively end the darned path) - This is possibly specific to the junction layout at that particular junction but I can't see how you could have a segregated facility there any other way. (I can't really see how you could solve this problem without "over engineering" - even at other junctions, anyway.)
  • Drivers driving agressivly towards those cyclists that choose not to use it - There are many reasons (often navigational) why you may not to use even a hypothetically perfect segregated facility. But the taxis don't care, cyclists should be in cycle lanes or, if they're not there, the gutter is their philosophy.
  • I wanted to turn right but I can't because I'm on the wrong bleeding side of the road - Proabably my number one issue with these things. Often this renders them next to useless for some journeys. Of course I could just pull across a lane of oncoming cyclists, a raised curb and two lanes of dense moving traffic. Or I could just not use it. It's a problem even when it's not on the "wrong" side of the road because you still have to pull more or less the same maneauver.
  • and for car drivers - They now have to take a long and contorted route. Annoying them. Making them annoyed at cyclists. And causing them to drive more miles thus poluting more and proving more opportunities for them to hit a cyclist. Way to shoot yourself in the foot :s

That's assuming cyclists use the facilities 100% correctly and the facilities don't encourage dangerous cycling (either on the facilities themselves; or by people attempting to replicate moves allowed by the facilities in locations where there are no facilities).

Yes, that track could be improved; particularly by widening. And yes, that particular road could easily loose a traffic because it is near and parrallel to the Euston road.  That certainly does not apply to all of Londons roads, though, and it certainly won't eliminate all the issues with it.

That royal collage street cycle path is also horrendous. I mean, seriously, did nobody spot that the bus stops would get in the way? Also lack of obviously marked priorities on the bus stops (iirc, at least - he incorrectly (https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=royal+college+street&hl=en&ll=51.539289,-0.135956&spn=0.01743,0.045447&sll=52.8382,-2.327815&sspn=9.031557,23.269043&hnear=Royal+College+St,+London+NW1+0SG,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=15&layer=c&cbll=51.538879,-0.135895&panoid=skCT70y3LvgtzmldjcLrDw&cbp=12,181.8,,0,20.06) states there are give way lines) leads to a situation where I believe the cycle track technicaly retains priority - but you have to be a maniac fool to actually take that priority because you'd probably end up hitting someone (they should have zebra stripes painted on them, or something, to make clear that cyclists should give way). And, of course, all London's buses only have doors only on the LHS. So this is going to be an issue whenever you build a cycle track down a two way road a bus route follows - or on the LHS of a one way street with buses. I know he says much of the above - but I don't think that would be good nor safe; just less bad and less dangerous than as current.

 

I should add that annecdote isn't evidence - so the fact that some of my annecdote is down to the very poor job done by London's road engineers is neither hear nor there on whether such facilities are good - I provided the annecdote merely as example. Similarly I'm aware that I can't extrapolate from London's cycle paths to all cycle paths. I hope I have tried to explain the theory behind some of the objections, using the Tavistock place path as an example.

This is also why the fact that I've never had the opportunity to use a well designed cycle track doesn't in any way weaken my position since it is not based solely on my experience, but on reasoning and reading some of the academic literature on this too.  So if you want to make me change my mind that's the route you'll have to take ;).

 

(Just preempting a few points people could raise :))

This post was edited by N1 Cyclist at 5:47pm 20 December 2012.

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