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Cycle Paths - More of a Hiderance than a help

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by doyler78, 29 Jul 2007.

  1. doyler78

    doyler78 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Co Down, Ireland
    There is a section of the road of belfast towards carryduff which has basically got a painted red section right at the kerb which is now designated as cycle path. It can't be more than 1/2 foot wide as it runs right next to the edge of the kerb no one in their right mind would ride it. Even non cyclists have commented on how dangerous it looks.

    Having travelled up and down this road for years as part of my commute I have never, ever had anyone shout at me from passing cars yet in the last few months since this has been made I now get regularly abused because I am not riding on it.

    The thing really got me going was on Friday when I was going home I actually had to contend with one woman on her own in 4x4 leaning across her brute of a machine to yell out the window at me from the passengers side whilst she was still driving at speed. I have never witnessed anything so dangerous in my entire life and just had me wondering exactly what benefits planners thought they would be bringing by introducing these cycle paths. If it was to improve safety well I feel they have only made things worse. I now have drivers distracting themselves because I am on the road rather than the cycle path and thus they can hardly be concentrating on what they should be doing ie driving safely and fully alert.

    No one who cycles on the paths use the cycle lane presumably because they are of the same opinion as myself that it is plain unsafe. This has not provided a satisfactory outcome for anyone ie pedestrians, cyclists or motorists.

    They were rebuilding the whole footpath and road surfacing on this section of the road therefore why they couldn't have built a segregated cyclepath at road level which had a small kerb at either side to seperate it from the road and pedestrians. They were having to put this features in anyway given the rebuilding but there seems to be this notion that cycle paths have to be shared use which rarely are used by regular cyclists and which pedestrians walk over anyway.

    I just don't know what gets into peoples heads when they are spending our money - wastefully in this case.
     
  2. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Location:
    Auld Reekie
    Badly designed cycle lane and segregated cyclepaths actually increase the level of cycle fatalities. The situation has not been helped by the widely publicised proposed change to the HC which would have made it compulsory for cyclist to use them. Most motorist have only read the reports in the paper and not the HC its self.

    What we really need is some way of bringing legal action against Local Authorities who redesign the highway in such away as to make it more dangerous for road users before someone is killed.
     
  3. Cab

    Cab New Member

    Location:
    Cambridge
    And of course cities with loads of bad cycle lanes end up with motorists believing that cyclists should be in the gutter even where there isn't a cycle lane. The more of these there are, the more aggression you get.

    Hairy Jock sums up my views well.
     
  4. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    Yup, many cycle 'facilities' are rubbish, and designed by non-cyclists. I wonder how many road engineers don't drive?

    Here's my video of three daft ones - only one is actually dangerous, but the third one sums up the idea that bikes somehow ought to mix with pedestrians rather than traffic. And as has been said, that idea then leads drivers to think that we shouldn't be on the road...



    Apparently, the city engineers consulted on that last one, which is on a brand spanking new road, and then just ignored everything they had been told..
     
  5. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    there can only be one reason for that second one - they get a certain amount of bonus / grant per mile of cycle lane installed, and either every few yards helps, or they few just a few yards short of a threshold amount.
     
  6. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Staff Member

    on my commute there is one of those half measure lanes with broken white lines. in one place it takes you over the pavement at a ped crossing (not ideal at 20mph+), and in another is strewn with puncture-inducing debris. and cars seem to think there is some magic wall as they will ride closer to you if you are in the lane than they do when you use the road (which i do).

    what a waste of paint.
     
  7. Amanda P

    Amanda P The CycleChat user formerly known as Uncle Phil

    Your video makes the point about these three farcilities very nicely indeed - well done. Let's have more of these videos.

    If a road engineer sees it from a bike's point of view, it just might make a difference...

    It'd be telling, too, to time how long it takes to traverse the James Street junction when you do, and when you don't, use the cycle lanes....
     
  8. Cab

    Cab New Member

    Location:
    Cambridge
    Theres one just like it being constructed on Kings Hedges Road in Cambridge, right outside a new housing development. I just know that I'll ignore it, and I know that I'll have abuse hurled at me for that.
     
  9. johnsienk

    johnsienk New Member

    If you are convinced it's dangerous, you could consider taking the local authorities to court. it will not coast you much if you present the case yourself (well, unless you lose!). You'd have to dig up some quality research and studies that would back you up, you could also get free legal advice from places like the citizens bureau.

    if I ever have an accident due to inappropriately maintained cycle path, I will sue them, no doubt about it.
    Cheers
    John
     
  10. LOGAN 5

    LOGAN 5 New Member

    I cycled on the road because the shared cycle path meanders past bus stops, crossings and at one point switches sides with it's pedestrian part so you can get pedestrians walking right towards you and then you have to swerve into the other side of the path. I got hooted at by a bus who thought I should be on the cycle lane and then when he finally got past he swerved his bus towards me - this has happened more than once. Often get abuse for not using cycle paths. Not to mention how slippery cycle paths are in the wet with their white lines and ridges running in the direction of travel at crossing points - almost lost the front end a few times on these ridges. Agree also that traffic gives less room when there's a cycle lane in the road.
     
  11. des

    des New Member

    Location:
    Edinburgh
    The problem with lanes of the like that 3rd one that Arch outlines in his video is not necessarily that they are dangerous, but that they are downright inconvenient and if you actually adhere to them will add significant time to your journey, even if you are relatively slow (12mph for example). They put you at odds with pedestrians, who in the main are convinced you shouldn't be on the pavement, while making you feel ilegitimate if you ignore them to ride on the road (not that that would stop me). My pet hate of these on pavement cycle facilities are the ones that cross T-junctions before the white line meaning that you have to stop at every road you cross or run the risk of getting sided by a car.

    To go through that classic in York could potentially add 2-3 mins on to a journey if the junction was busy, plus if you stay on the road you can't filter as it seems they've deliberately narrowed the junction. Why didn't they just paint advance stop lines on the road at the junction and make the road slightly wider? After all, it's a road and the highway engineer has already admitted that it's safe for cyclists to be on the road because up until the point where the lane joins the pavement, it was on the road anyway. Does the highway engineer think that cyclists are most at risk when at a junction when traffic has stopped? Aaaaaargh this makes me so mad.
     
  12. TimO

    TimO Veteran

    Location:
    London
    If you haven't already seen it, the Warrington Cycle Campaign has a very good site:

    Facility Of The Month

    Which details some of the worst example (not that it's difficult to find them).

    This is one of the more impressively stupid.

    CycleFacilityNov2004.jpg
     
  13. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    Yeah, I thought of doing a comparison film - using the lane and not using it. Maybe most effective once the junction is in use, when they've built the rest of the retail park and there are a few pedestrians on the traffic island...

    des: Yeah, and a few yards further on, that path dumps you back on the road again, just before a T junction with a more major road.

    I'm lucky in that I rarely use that road - I was tipped off about it by a friend. certainly in future, I'd stick to the road.
     
  14. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK

    "Hello? Council Traffic department? I'd like to report a stupid bike lane..."

    If it wasn't so stupid, it'd be hilarious...
     
  15. Amanda P

    Amanda P The CycleChat user formerly known as Uncle Phil

    Well, there's one not unlike it at the junction of New Lane and Malton Road - the shared-use bike lane takes you through the T-junction via (IIRC) a toucan crossing where you will probably have to wait through a whole cycle of the lights, while if you stay on the road, you usually sail through, as Malton Road has priority.

    The whole Malton Road Bus Corridor scheme, scarcely older than the James Street "improvements" is pretty dubious - but quite heavily used.

    So, if you can manage, it, can you do a "split screen" effect? Using the bike lane on the left, not using on the right?

    Or maybe cut back and forth between them, all thrash metal music and rapid progress, mixing it with the traffic, filtering to the front, trackstanding and haring away on green (you can do trackstands, right?) for the "not using" version, easy listening lift music, helmet camera glancing at watch, tapping fingers, and a leisurely tootling away from the toucan, with the camera bumping up and down the kerbs for the "using" version?

    You can do this Arch - let's see it! (But I want a mention in the credits if you do).