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Help needed - cycle lanes article

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by BentMikey, 27 Nov 2007.

  1. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
  2. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Location:
    Crewe
    On the shared use paths Mikey, it might be worth mentioning that the surfaces are often poor for cycling, even when in good condition - one local to me is incredibly slippy in the wet (to the point that a turn at walking pace can have the back wheel out from under you).

    I'd get rid of the "IMO" too (not a fan of abbreviation in published articles :sad: ).

    In the "On Road Cycle Lanes" part, change the last point to "Encourage close overtaking by motorists".

    I wonder if it's worth mentioning that the law around them is poorly understood and seldom enforced (ever seen anyone pulled for driving/parking in a mandatory lane? Ever known a motorist who knew the difference these and the other type?)
     
  3. Tetedelacourse

    Tetedelacourse New Member

    Location:
    Rosyth
    Good stuff BM. Couple of thoughts:

    1. In the section "Good Points for Cycle Lanes" you have the point about the Cycle Path you use. I know later on you draw a distinction between types of cycle lane, but here it sounds like two different things (i.e. an on-road cycle lane vs an off-road cycle lane). I wouldn't intersperse the two.

    2. In the rest of that section, your points are not really good points about cycle lanes! which leads me to wonder if it's a necessary standalone section at all. I can see that you're trying to be objective and give a balanced view, but I don't know that it serves that purpose anyway. The only thing worth metioning is the family comment but that would just as easily sit in the introduction (scene-setter).

    3. "No, YOU is de cycle lane" was in response to "Use the cycle lane", not to "Get in the cycle lane". Highly unimportant I know:smile: but doesn't make sense the way you wrote it.

    Cheers!
     
  4. Amanda P

    Amanda P The CycleChat user formerly known as Uncle Phil

    "Cycle lanes tend to reduce the perception of danger, whilst actually increasing it" - a bad sentence. It's not clear what your "it" refers to, so you could mean "cycle lanes reduce the perception of danger, while actually increasing the perception of danger". What you actually mean is something like "cycle lanes reduce the perception of danger, while actually increasing the danger itself".

    There are some other examples of slightly sloppy sentence construction. Yes, I know the wrong reading is absurd, but if you have to read a sentence twice to make sure you've understood it, it needs re-writing.

    You consider types of cycle lane towards the end of the article. But near the beginning, you offer criticisms of cycle facilities. Some of these criticisms apply only to some types of facilities. Maybe the article would be more effective if you defined your terms (on-road cycle lane, with and without hard divider, off-road cycle path, shared-use path, etc), and then delivered your criticism of the different types.

    I like the article, but who is it aimed at? Who do you want to read it? You might want to re-cast some sections to suit the "target audience". As cyclists, we know exactly what you're on about; a different audience might struggle in one or two places.

    Glad you got in the link to Warrington's gallery. That's almost an indictment of cycle "facilities" on its own.
     
  5. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    Good stuff, and I think the comments so far are about all I could think of. I'd agree with Uncle Phil that in some parts you may need to explain a bit more for the hard-of-cycling...

    If it's any help, feel free to include a link to my Youtube film of daft cyclelanes in York:



    One little thing: in that illustration you refer to cycle lanes. If they are off the road as illustrated, I'd tend to refer to them as cycle paths - to me, cycle lanes are the green things painted on the road. Also, I don't think I know of many junctions like that with a four way Give way, unless they are traffic light controlled. In the situation you illustrate, I think it would nearly always be a mini-roundabout? You could illustrate the problem just as well with a main road and two giveway roads...

    Oh, thats two things..:sad:
     
  6. I dont really have too much problem with cycle lanes considering when I first started cycling they didn't exist.If I think they are dangerous I don't tend to use them.Blackfriars bridge at one time was a good example of this.
     
  7. sjb

    sjb New Member

    Location:
    Huddersfield
    Hi Mike

    I think the article is pretty good on the whole, but it is a bit scatter-gun.

    As Uncle Phil says, it would help if you put the bit about the different types of facility at the start. This would make it clearer what types of facility you are referring to in the rest of the article.

    Also, as Arch says, you need to double check terminology through the piece - I was getting confused between cycles paths and lanes at different points in the article.

    From reading it I would say that your main point is that on-road cycle lanes are, at best, unhelpful and often downright dangerous. I agree with you there (after 2 years of commuting I've come round to that point of view!) but you also, rightly, seem to say that segrated cycle paths have their place for leisure / family cycling. I also agree strongly with the latter. It might help the article if you structure it along those lines, making it clear that you don't want to discourage people from taking up cycling but that if you want to get anywhere in built up areas, crap designed cycle lanes are not the answer.

    If you want to quote a non-urban example of a crap cycle lane, a semi-rural (very busy) road near me in Huddersfield has a cycle lane on a long sweeping left hand bend. The side of the road is a 10 foot high dry stone wall with a steep wooded bank above. For most of the year the council fail to cut back the brambles that grow down the banking so if you try to stay in the cycle lane you not only get to cycle on half an inch of accumulated gravel, you get swiped in the face by brambles every now and again:sad: Much safer to ride a foot or so out from the white line of the cycle lane which still gives cars room to pass (luckily it's a wide road) but means you can keep control.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Thanks very much guys! I've taken all your points into account and have an updated draft at the same location. Very good points there, I've used nearly all of them and appreciate your help in improving the article.
     
  9. dondare

    dondare Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Have you read this?

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/report/cycle-lanes.pdf

    (excuse me, I haven't bothered to learn how to hyperlink.)

    In my view the very best cycle lanes are worse than none at all. The only good thing that you can say about them is that they might encourage people to cycle on road who wouldn't dare to if there was no lane; but even that is qualified by 1) They increase the risk; 2) They are never door-to-door so people who rely on them tend to use the footpath when the lane gives out.

    The sole purpose of cycle lanes is to make cycling appear safer to those with no cycling experience, in order to encourage cycling and therefore reduce the road budget. Real advantages such as an actual improvement in safety are not part of this.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Yup, thanks. That's linked in the article too.
     
  11. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Location:
    Auld Reekie
    This suggests that the HC previously required cyclists to use cycle lanes and was change due to pressure from the cycle lobby, which is not the case. There was a proposal add such a requirement into the HC before the resent update, but this was changed (as you say) after campaigning by the CTC and other groups. I think a re-wording to make clear that the HC have never had such a requirement would be good.

    A lot of people think they know what is in the HC based on things they have read in the press, maybe you could suggest that all road user should read it occasional just you remind them self of what it really says and what their rights and responsibility's really are.
     
  12. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Location:
    Auld Reekie
    Interestingly the early cycle paths were constructed in towns in the middle of the street to help cyclists avoid the discomfort of cycling over a cobbled surface.
     
  13. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    Bentmikey,

    Looking good. Another disadvatage of cycle lanes is that they often encourage you to cycle in the gutter on approach to junctions resulting in the left hook as one of my videos demonstrated


    It's a bit shakey so I'd understand if you didn't want to use it.

    Another point that might be worth making is the psychology of them. By that I mean road users see cyclists in them and think 'they are safe in their little lane so I can ignore them'. I suppose Douglas Adams (RIP) would describe this as an SEP issue (someone else's problem). Cycle lanes encourage drivers to slot cyclists into SEP's.
     
  14. magnatom

    magnatom Guest


    Oh and some cycle paths take you directly into the door zone. There is a classic near me that moves in and out of the road to go around parking bays. When it passes the parking bay it passes well within the door zone. I really need to get some footage of that.....:biggrin:
     
  15. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    That's a perfect description. I'd never quite thought of it in those terms. As always, the great Douglas hit the nail on the head...