The Problem With Cycle Lanes
1st Jul 2007, 15:35:01
Earlier this year, the government proposed a change to the wording of highway code rules 61 and 63. Many people interpreted the new wording to mean that cyclists would be forced to use cycle lanes where provided. There was a massive backlash from cyclists and cycle advocacy groups, so the government were forced into a U-turn on the issue.
Why don't cyclists use the cycle lanes?
1. The quality of the surface is poor.
The majority of lanes are red coloured tarmac laid on top of the pavement. This is lumpy and nasty at best, but degrades quickly and leaves this type of surface:
With tyres at >100PSI, this hurts!:
True, these problems exist on the road too, but they seem more prevalent in cycle lanes.
Pedestrians wander absent-mindedly into the lanes without checking for the presence of cyclists. In this example, there is a pedestrian walking in the cycle lane despite the presence of a wide and physically separated pedestrian walkway.
Shared use facilities are much worse, with only a white line delineating the cycle route. This morning whilst stuck behind a man walking with his young daughter, I overheard the following:
Small girl frantically tugging on daddy's hand: "Daddy! We're in the bike path"
Daddy: "So what?"
3. Unfathomable layouts
What is this mandatory cycle lane in Bailey Street, Stafford for? How do I use it? I'm not just pretending to be confused.
Having dismounted, climbed a kerb and manoevered around the bollards, This shared use facility on Chell Road in Stafford affords the cyclist several metres of safe cycling before returning the unfortunate individual to the carriageway on the brow of an uphill left hand bend. Super.
This shared use pavement on the A518 Beaconside allows the cyclist a generous 300mm in which to ride. Thanks.
The end of a cycle path on the A518. Now what?
After climbing the railings or the undignified shuffle across the grass at least there is a speed camera to record the registration mark of the speeding motorist that will run you over.
4. CYCLISTS DISMOUNT
Somewhere in whitehall, some civil servant has a beautiful dream of cyclists all walking their bikes around nice and safely at 2 MPH. Me and my bike are a lot safer and manoeverable with me in the saddle.
Here, cyclists must dismount to cross a bridge. A dismounted cyclist is twice as wide, so how does this help? The courteous cyclist would simply slow down or stop to allow a pedestrian to pass.
In this section, the cyclist must dismount thrice in a distance of less than 50 metres before eventually rejoining the carriageway. What sane cyclist would use it?
I don't even know what this is. Perhaps it's to prevent the herds of Wilderbeest resident in south Staffordshire from straying onto the roadway.
The cycle lanes in my locality are at best sub-optimal and at worst, dangerous. They are dirty and filled with glass. They lead you down dead-ends or dump you back on to the carriageway in hazardous places.
If you're driving and you meet me cycling on the road, I'm sorry that I held you up, but there's a reason for it. If you want cyclists off the road, then join us in campaigning for better cycle facilities.
1 Archived Comment
31st Aug 2009, 16:09:01 by deepdiver69
I cycle from Basingstoke to Reading on the A33 on a daily basis, there are cycle lanes provided in Reading on the A33 Relief Road, however if one averages 20mph it is cr*p if every 100 yards you have to go through an obstacle course to get through the bollards, further these paths are seldom kept clean or gritted in winter, so I will never use them.