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-   -   The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes (http://www.cyclebanter.com/showthread.php?t=57910)

Helen Deborah Vecht May 25th 04 02:23 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
David Arditti typed


My experiences suggest to me that cycling uptake is a tremendously localised
phenomenon (on a scale of 1-2 miles)


Agreed

and depends in a very detailed way on
the quality of the environment (and not much on social factors such as race
or class).


There is *no* culture of Asian women cycling. Indians are the largest
ethnic group and there's quite a high female preponderance hereabouts.
It's difficult to change that culture though th Women's Design Service
is making *tiny* inroads.

--
Helen D. Vecht:
Edgware.

David Martin May 25th 04 02:44 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
On 25/5/04 1:03 pm, in article , "Peter Clinch"
wrote:


Fife's first try at the Tayport - Tay Bridge was pretty hopeless. To
get onto it you had to go up a steep rise surfaced in loose gravel. My
pal thought he'd have a go and /just/ made it on his Brom, I then had a
go on the Streetmachine. Didn't quite get up, so put on the brakes...
and slid backwards anyway before toppling over! I was Not Impressed.
Later on there was rutted mud and grass and then a slalom round some
farm gates. But seeing they'd been working on it I tried it again a
couple of weeks ago, and now it's very good with a good surface the
whole way and easy to get on and off it. Hopefully Guardbridge will see
similar upgeading, though in that case you could achieve everything
required by just taking out any attempt at cycle paths.


I hadn't tried the first version but was on it on Saturday. It is very close
to being a perfect example. Four minor blemishes (worst first):

1. At one point it uses a lay by as part of the route. There is no signing
to indicate that you are about to share the road with cars so this is a
potential conflict point. It also has dropped kerbs that need to be crossed.

2. There is a farm gate access that has a nasty camber change that could
have been worked around a bit better.

3. There are some narrowish gates. I think they are positioned to slow
traffic down at a particularly steep part, but they could be problematic
with the trailer (not tried)

4. At the very end there is a steep climb to join the roads in Tayport.

The track is mostly as wide as a single track road with good, smooth tarmac
all the way. A very pleasant and rapid ride.

Overall score would be a good A. Not quite an A+.

...d


John Hearns May 25th 04 02:45 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
On Tue, 25 May 2004 12:45:52 +0100, David Hansen wrote:


There are similar lanes in Edinburgh and most of them are fairly
well thought out.


Not meaning to have a go, as I'm not familiar with cycling in Edinburgh,
but the closest analogy I can come up with is this.
Imagine cycling up the North Bridge from Princes Street in heavy traffic,
with all the buses. Imagine that you have to cycle in the middle of
the carriageway.

Purely from memory, I'd say that Blackfriars Bridge is wider than
the North Bridge.

Just zis Guy, you know? May 25th 04 02:54 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
David Arditti wrote:

The major deterrent to more cycling is laziness. Bulding new roads
spreads out the congestion; building cycle paths does not amke people
less lazy.


So the British just happen to be the laziest nation in Europe, hence
low cycling levels? I doubt it.


How else would you explain people who live less than 15 minutes' ride from
an office but choose to spend 25 minutes driving it instead?

I would have thought it was pretty
generally accepted that the reason more people do not cycle is the
environment.


That's one of the excuses. Remove that and it becomes the hills. Or the
weather. Or the lack of changing facilities at the office. Or they ran
outta gas. Had a flat tyre. Didn't have enough money for cab fare. Their tux
didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from outta town.
Someone stole their bike. There was an earthquake, a terrible flood,
locusts. It isn't their fault, they swear to God!

Virtually every household has a bike but few people
cycle regularly. Many British people on holiday cycle in continental
cities when they would not dream of cycling at home. If we created
the right environment in British cities we would get high levels of
cycling.


It's conceivable but not terribly likely; I have lived in places which are
quite bike-friendly and people still drive.

A part of that is to create the motor traffic-free cycle
routes that most people who don't currently cycle say are what it
would take to get them cycling.


But you can't have a traffic free route door to door. All you do by trying
is put off the inevitable: at some point cyclists have to take to the roads.
So my view of good cycle provision is roads which don't leave you feeling
squeezed out and marginalised, so that you can just ride from A to B and not
plan your journey around somebody else's vision of which way you would like
to go (which is generally around the houses in the little bits of land left
over after the cars have had first, second and third choice).

You might say they are lying - that
they are just lazy, and wouldn't cycle anyway. But evidence of the
few places in the UK where it has been well-done suggests to me this
is wrong.


Cycling levels in these places still doesn't get anywhere close to bike
ownership levels.

I don't think we'll be winning until riding half a mile to the shops becomes
the norm instead of a Big Deal, showing your fgreen credentials so you can
brag to your mates when you drive to the pub later in your 4x4.

Effective networks of cycle tracks encourage a much larger section
of the population to cycle than we generally see on two wheels in
the UK.


They certainly encourage leisure cycling. But I am not convinced that leads
to utility cycling in any great numbers.

becomes obvious studying this that the only way we can substantially
increase cycling in the UK is to increase the uptake in the
under-represented groups: women, children and older people


I have no problem with that aspiration.

therefore we have to address their concerns about the safety and
pleasantness of the cycling environment, rather than make policy for
the group who already cycle here (the young men between ages 20 and
30).


A good start would be to ban BeHIT's strident propaganda telling everyone
how dangerous cycling is in order to persuade them to wear a plastic hat, of
course. I think there is a significant mismatch between the perception and
the reality where cyclist safety is concerned, and addressing this is
probably cheaper and more expedient than building large-scale segregated
cycle provision.

What I am advocating primarily are urban on-road but segregated cycle
tracks on the Dutch pattern. There are none of these in Edinburgh
(so far as I am aware) and few in the UK, so discussions of UK cities
(including Stevenage & Milton Keynes) are of limited relevance to my
argument.


Where will you put them? Hooke wanted to widen and straighten London's
streets back in 1667 but was prevented by vested interests. What has
changed in the last few centuries to make it practical to start laying down
substantial networks of additional tarmac?

My friend Arnold is Dutch and rides 15 miles per day in the
UK; his view is that the cycle paths here are a disaster because we
lack the Dutch laws of presumed fault, and we lack Dutch levels of
cycling so the drivers for the most part aren't properly aware of
cyclists, and we lack Dutch planners who know how to deal with
junctions fractionally better than we do, and we lack the Dutch
commitment to putting bikes first.


He is right that there are various elements to it. There are
attitudinal changes needed that take a long time. But it is possible
to get the details of the engineering right with the right expertise
and sufficient money immediately. The knowledge exists, and we should
be using it.


I don't discount the possibility, but I can't help feeling that the same
result could be achieved a lot cheaper by simply refining key parts of the
existing road network to be less hostile to cyclists. For example,
replacing key roundabouts with light-controlled junctions.

John Hearns wrote:
Speed limits don't apply to bicycles

Well perhaps they should, but actually, I don't think speed as such
is a big issue.


It is to me, in as much as I don't want to reduce my speed by 1/3 to fit in
with the cycle provision. Which is why I don't use the psychlepaths on the
way to work.

I don't advocate preventing cyclists from using any route they want
(and in Holland they are allowed to use all roads other than those of
motorway standard, just like here, and they do). But also, I don't
accept the equation between cycle tracks or paths and "leisure use",
or indeed "beginning commuters". If they are well enough done they
are "universal use", for leisure and commuting, and suitable for all
cyclists of almost all levels of experience and fitness.


The problem is that they rarely go direct, and rarely permit of cycling at
reasonable speeds. They tend to be narrow enough that one old boy on a
3-speed Raleigh can bring the entire route down to walking pace. I haveno
problem with the old boy on the Raleigh getting about - good luck to him -
but I would rather take a more direct, less puncture-prone route where I can
pass slower traffic.

I regularly cycle a journey of about 13 miles, Edgware to the City. I
need to do it quite quickly. The quickest way in the middle section
is to use the largely segregated Somers Town cycle route in Camden. I
also use some sections of segregated track in Islington. These are
actually beneficial to the faster cyclist since they allow one to
avoid the congestion and larger number of controlled junctions on the
main roads, as well as being obviously more pleasant to use for
beginners.


Sure. There is very limited capacity to add such provision where I live and
work. Better to make the roads less hostile.

In the outer-London parts of my journey, where there are
no cycle facilities at all, I see few other cyclists, and they are
all fast.


Obviously. Otherwise they would be on the train, else it would take them
all day to get into the City.

In south Camden, where cycle facilities are present, the
jump in cycling levels is very striking, and also the sudden spread
of types of cyclist, fast, slow, young and old, male and female.


But is South Camden a destination in itself? The closer you get to
destinations (i.e. concentrations of offices / retail) the greater the
numbers of cyclists, in my experience.

My experiences suggest to me that cycling uptake is a tremendously
localised phenomenon (on a scale of 1-2 miles) and depends in a very
detailed way on the quality of the environment (and not much on
social factors such as race or class).


Quite possibly.

Most people only want to cycle a couple of miles.


And all in different directions. How many do you need to share a route
before segregated provision becomes viable?

--
Guy
===
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

Victory is ours! Down with Eric the Half A Brain!



Peter Clinch May 25th 04 03:22 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

How else would you explain people who live less than 15 minutes' ride from
an office but choose to spend 25 minutes driving it instead?


That's one of the excuses. Remove that and it becomes the hills. Or the
weather. Or the lack of changing facilities at the office. Or they ran
outta gas. Had a flat tyre. Didn't have enough money for cab fare. Their tux
didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from outta town.
Someone stole their bike. There was an earthquake, a terrible flood,
locusts. It isn't their fault, they swear to God!


As I see it the basic problem isn't laziness (after all, these same
people will drive to the gym to do bloody hard work at great expense),
but more cultural. Someone in the UK wants to get somewhere the default
option tends to be "I will drive". Only if there are insurmountable
problems with the default option do alternatives get looked at in many
cases.

I don't think we'll be winning until riding half a mile to the shops becomes
the norm instead of a Big Deal, showing your fgreen credentials so you can
brag to your mates when you drive to the pub later in your 4x4.


They certainly encourage leisure cycling. But I am not convinced that leads
to utility cycling in any great numbers.


I'd agree with this. A pal of mine is a roadie, but I've only ever seen
him cycle a Serious Sports Bike dressed to the hilt in all the lycra
going out for a ride rather than to do a utility chore. He'll drive for
social calls about 1 km away. Same pattern for his girlfriend, who
seems to do most of her cycling on a turbo trainer. The concept of
going somewhere by bike because it's easy just doesn't seem to enter
their heads, though both would list "cycling" as hobbies.

Sure. There is very limited capacity to add such provision where I live and
work. Better to make the roads less hostile.


This is also my feeling. The creation of a major, well engineered
network of segregated cycle-lanes across the UK just isn't going to
happen any time before there's skiing in hell and the pigs are grazing
on clouds, so I think it's better to work with what we /do/ have. And,
imperfect as that is, the figures still demonstrate it's not actually
hideously dangerous to cycle there.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch University of Dundee
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/


Helen Deborah Vecht May 25th 04 05:01 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
"Just zis Guy, you know?" typed


David Arditti wrote:


The major deterrent to more cycling is laziness. Bulding new roads
spreads out the congestion; building cycle paths does not amke people
less lazy.


So the British just happen to be the laziest nation in Europe, hence
low cycling levels? I doubt it.


How else would you explain people who live less than 15 minutes' ride from
an office but choose to spend 25 minutes driving it instead?


They truly don't see alternatives and feel they *have* to drive. *I*
think it's a cultural thing.

I would have thought it was pretty
generally accepted that the reason more people do not cycle is the
environment.


That's one of the excuses.


The local traffic is so hostile, it's almost a valid excuse.

Remove that and it becomes the hills. Or the
weather. Or the lack of changing facilities at the office. Or they ran
outta gas. Had a flat tyre. Didn't have enough money for cab fare. Their tux
didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from outta town.


I really don't think they *consider* cycling round here.

Virtually every household has a bike but few people
cycle regularly. Many British people on holiday cycle in continental
cities when they would not dream of cycling at home. If we created
the right environment in British cities we would get high levels of
cycling.


It's conceivable but not terribly likely; I have lived in places which are
quite bike-friendly and people still drive.


I think the comfort/laziness factors figure highly...

A part of that is to create the motor traffic-free cycle
routes that most people who don't currently cycle say are what it
would take to get them cycling.


But you can't have a traffic free route door to door. All you do by trying
is put off the inevitable: at some point cyclists have to take to the roads.
So my view of good cycle provision is roads which don't leave you feeling
squeezed out and marginalised, so that you can just ride from A to B and not
plan your journey around somebody else's vision of which way you would like
to go (which is generally around the houses in the little bits of land left
over after the cars have had first, second and third choice).


These are features of some poor cycling facilities, granted.
Decent cycling corridors along some desire lines might help.
Respect for cyclists is still a major issue though.

You might say they are lying - that
they are just lazy, and wouldn't cycle anyway. But evidence of the
few places in the UK where it has been well-done suggests to me this
is wrong.


Cycling levels in these places still doesn't get anywhere close to bike
ownership levels.


I suspect it might in Hull.

I don't think we'll be winning until riding half a mile to the shops becomes
the norm instead of a Big Deal, showing your fgreen credentials so you can
brag to your mates when you drive to the pub later in your 4x4.


Too true.

Effective networks of cycle tracks encourage a much larger section
of the population to cycle than we generally see on two wheels in
the UK.


They certainly encourage leisure cycling. But I am not convinced that leads
to utility cycling in any great numbers.


I think that depends where you place your routes.

becomes obvious studying this that the only way we can substantially
increase cycling in the UK is to increase the uptake in the
under-represented groups: women, children and older people


I have no problem with that aspiration.


therefore we have to address their concerns about the safety and
pleasantness of the cycling environment, rather than make policy for
the group who already cycle here (the young men between ages 20 and
30).


What I am advocating primarily are urban on-road but segregated cycle
tracks on the Dutch pattern. There are none of these in Edinburgh
(so far as I am aware) and few in the UK, so discussions of UK cities
(including Stevenage & Milton Keynes) are of limited relevance to my
argument.


Where will you put them? Hooke wanted to widen and straighten London's
streets back in 1667 but was prevented by vested interests. What has
changed in the last few centuries to make it practical to start laying down
substantial networks of additional tarmac?


Good point!


He is right that there are various elements to it. There are
attitudinal changes needed that take a long time. But it is possible
to get the details of the engineering right with the right expertise
and sufficient money immediately. The knowledge exists, and we should
be using it.


I don't discount the possibility, but I can't help feeling that the same
result could be achieved a lot cheaper by simply refining key parts of the
existing road network to be less hostile to cyclists. For example,
replacing key roundabouts with light-controlled junctions.


I think we need both, plus driver & cyclist education and law enforcement.

John Hearns wrote:
Speed limits don't apply to bicycles

Well perhaps they should, but actually, I don't think speed as such
is a big issue.


It is to me, in as much as I don't want to reduce my speed by 1/3 to fit in
with the cycle provision. Which is why I don't use the psychlepaths on the
way to work.


Many reduce cyclists' speed by even more, making them so unpopular they
are not used. Poor design should not be used as an exuse to reject
segregated cycling facilities completely but to reject farcilities.

The problem is that they rarely go direct, and rarely permit of cycling at
reasonable speeds. They tend to be narrow enough that one old boy on a
3-speed Raleigh can bring the entire route down to walking pace. I haveno
problem with the old boy on the Raleigh getting about - good luck to him -
but I would rather take a more direct, less puncture-prone route where I can
pass slower traffic.


My memories of Dutch cycle tracks are more favorable.

I regularly cycle a journey of about 13 miles, Edgware to the City. I
need to do it quite quickly. The quickest way in the middle section
is to use the largely segregated Somers Town cycle route in Camden. I
also use some sections of segregated track in Islington. These are
actually beneficial to the faster cyclist since they allow one to
avoid the congestion and larger number of controlled junctions on the
main roads, as well as being obviously more pleasant to use for
beginners.


Sure. There is very limited capacity to add such provision where I live and
work. Better to make the roads less hostile.


In the outer-London parts of my journey, where there are
no cycle facilities at all, I see few other cyclists, and they are
all fast.


Funny. I see quite a few wobbly pavement cyclists. On the main roads,
they do appear to be fast, vehicular cyclists. I suspect it's the only
way to cope. (DA and I start from the same address...)

Obviously. Otherwise they would be on the train, else it would take them
all day to get into the City.


Only if they're commuting into town. The utility cyclist is very rare here.

In south Camden, where cycle facilities are present, the
jump in cycling levels is very striking, and also the sudden spread
of types of cyclist, fast, slow, young and old, male and female.


But is South Camden a destination in itself? The closer you get to
destinations (i.e. concentrations of offices / retail) the greater the
numbers of cyclists, in my experience.


South Camden is not (mostly) a destination but it is close to the
congestion charge zone and has few parking places.

Congestion deters driving but I think friend cycling facilities help here.

Most people only want to cycle a couple of miles.


Says who? Many urban journeys are less than 3 miles but many cyclists
and drivers are willing to go a lot further.

--
Helen D. Vecht:
Edgware.

David Hansen May 25th 04 05:09 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
On Tue, 25 May 2004 14:45:56 +0100 someone who may be John Hearns
wrote this:-

There are similar lanes in Edinburgh and most of them are fairly
well thought out.


Not meaning to have a go, as I'm not familiar with cycling in Edinburgh,
but the closest analogy I can come up with is this.
Imagine cycling up the North Bridge from Princes Street in heavy traffic,
with all the buses. Imagine that you have to cycle in the middle of
the carriageway.


If there was such a lane on North Bridge then it would not be in the
right place, not the least because of the gradient.


--
David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E
I will always explain revoked keys, unless the UK government
prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.

Helen Deborah Vecht May 25th 04 05:29 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
David Hansen typed


On Tue, 25 May 2004 14:45:56 +0100 someone who may be John Hearns
wrote this:-


There are similar lanes in Edinburgh and most of them are fairly
well thought out.


Not meaning to have a go, as I'm not familiar with cycling in Edinburgh,
but the closest analogy I can come up with is this.
Imagine cycling up the North Bridge from Princes Street in heavy traffic,
with all the buses. Imagine that you have to cycle in the middle of
the carriageway.


If there was such a lane on North Bridge then it would not be in the
right place, not the least because of the gradient.



Precisely. AIUI (I've not been to Blackfriars) it's like putting a cycle
lane between the left turning Princes Street traffic and the straight
ahead Leith Street traffic.

--
Helen D. Vecht:
Edgware.

Simon Brooke May 25th 04 05:35 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
in message , David Hansen
') wrote:

On Mon, 24 May 2004 21:36:58 +0100 someone who may be "Just zis Guy,
you know?" wrote this:-

Evidence? Edinburgh spent large sums and the number of utility
cyclists apparently dropped.


I find this difficult to believe, but am amenable to convincing. The
North Edinburgh path network, for all its faults, seems to have
encouraged a fair number of people to try cycling.


I wonder. Thirty years ago (when cycling in the meadows was VERBOTEN)
there was an almost continuous stream of cycling traffic on Middle
Meadow Walk morning and evening, and bikes were generally common
throughout the city.

I think the base level of utility cycling in Edinburgh was probably
quite high anyway, so if it's still quite high that isn't any proof
it's improved.

I'm not convinced that the red paint in other parts of the city has
been that effective.


I'm not in Edinburgh very much any more, but what I've seen of the bike
lanes along Corstorphine Road and Queensferry Road seem a total farce -
they seem to be just used as carparks.

--
(Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

[ This mind intentionally left blank ]


David Hansen May 25th 04 06:10 PM

The _Observer_ on "deadly" bike lanes
 
On Tue, 25 May 2004 16:35:04 GMT someone who may be Simon Brooke
wrote this:-

I find this difficult to believe, but am amenable to convincing. The
North Edinburgh path network, for all its faults, seems to have
encouraged a fair number of people to try cycling.


I wonder. Thirty years ago (when cycling in the meadows was VERBOTEN)
there was an almost continuous stream of cycling traffic on Middle
Meadow Walk morning and evening, and bikes were generally common
throughout the city.


Not part of the North Edinburgh network.



--
David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E
I will always explain revoked keys, unless the UK government
prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.


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