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Are cycle lanes dangerous? Item coming up now o. BBC Radio 4

philip99aphilip99a Posts: 2,272
edited September 2009 in Commuting chat
4.30pm Thurs 10th Sept. There's just been a trail on BBC Radio 4 saying there will be an item on this evening's 5pm-6pm R4 news prog on "are cycle lanes dangerous to their users?" or some such. Apparently new research shows cycle lanes can be more dangerous to cyclists than no cycle lanes.

Hmmm have always suspected same especially when the cycle lane is full of broken glass and only marginally wider than yr handlebars!
Cycling - the most fun you can have sitting down.

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  • philip99a wrote:
    Hmmm have always suspected same especially when the cycle lane is full of broken glass and only marginally wider than yr handlebars!

    Or when it keeps making you cross side roads, when if you'd been on the main road you'd not have to keep dodging traffic.

    Or chucks you out onto the main road, just at a pinchpoint on a road populated by HGV's, so it's impossible to get onto the road without causing an obstruction. (A403, St Andrews Rd...I stick to the road now on that one!)
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  • philip99aphilip99a Posts: 2,272
    Radio 4 programme is of course called PM.

    Maybe they are picking up on this recent Bristol story:

    http://jonesthenews.wordpress.com/2009/ ... accidents/

    Hope I'm not repeating something already discussed elsewhere. Anyway let's see what the item says. At least they're covering bike stories now, which I reckon is itself a great improvement!
    Cycling - the most fun you can have sitting down.
  • Good to see coverage on this.

    Sadly, for non-cyclists, the one thing they state that acts as a barrier to them cycling is a lack of cycle lanes. Councils seize on this and produce half hearted shared use faclities which are basically footpaths with a sign on them, or paint a bit of green on the road and push you into the door zone.

    Once people have been cycling for a while, they then realise that actually, being in the flow of the traffic is much safer. There are exceptions, but there was a very sad fatality on the A4 in London last year where an experienced cyclist was killed while using a cycle lane which illustrates the risk:
    http://www.bikeradar.com/commuting/foru ... t=12605016

    The CTC have produced an excellent document outling the issues with cycle lane facilities called ""Pavement cycleways - why not to use them". Its worth a look and worth pushing in the direction of your council if they are pushing these facilities. I can't find it on the web to give a link to, but they do have this outling latest research on cycle lanes, worth a read:
    http://tinyurl.com/mhhz94
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    I find it bizarre that on the one hand you can't cycle on footpaths without it being an offence, yet add a little bule sign showing thats its shared use and apparently its designed for cycling (pedestrians, driveways crossings and road junctions notwithstanding).

    Beats me why they bother its such a cynical exercise, but I guess it gets them a tick in the box marked "facility provided".
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • Once people have been cycling for a while, they then realise that actually, being in the flow of the traffic is much safer. There are exceptions, but there was a very sad fatality on the A4 in London last year where an experienced cyclist was killed while using a cycle lane which illustrates the risk:
    http://www.bikeradar.com/commuting/foru ... t=12605016

    This is the A4 cyclepath in Brentford: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=brentford&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=23.720701,67.543945&ie=UTF8&ll=51.489734,-0.310069&spn=0,359.991755&z=18&layer=c&cbll=51.489668,-0.310229&panoid=lbSzl0yYNVsPG6NvLihb9Q&cbp=12,31.36,,0,20.99 which I pass on my commute.

    Note how the cyclepath continually merges with bus-stops. I'll stick to the road I think...
  • If it's the same article on 5-live yesterday then it's based on research that drivers pass closer to cyclists in a cycle lane than they do when no cycle lane is provided. A particular problem when the lane in question is very narrow.
  • Big bridge in cambridge, used to be two car lanes is now one car lane and one large cycle path. Huge improvement, as loads of cyclists use the bridge. I'm quite taken aback at the foresight of the council to make this provision, people can cycle in the lane and be six feet away from the cars. works for everybody.
  • Have a look at my local cycle lane:

    http://www.andypreece.co.uk/cycling/fac_milngavie.php

    Not the best really.... Still, on the plus side, at least the council are trying.....
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • squiredsquired Posts: 1,153
    Cycle lanes can be good and bad at the same time. There is one I ride along on my way home from work. Without it cars, which are often either not moving or going extremely slowly, would be zig-zagged across the single lane and the ride would be constantly interrupted. The big problem is that cars reach the entrance to their drive and turn either without indicating, or as they make the turn. I'd actually say it is the most dangerous section of my ride home. They never seem to check their mirrors first to make sure no-one is coming along in the cycle lane.
  • PorgyPorgy Posts: 4,525
    edited September 2009
    I can't think of many useful cycle lanes on my commute. Most of the ones in Tooley street are a car door's width from parked cars - so to cycle safely you can't use them.

    they tend to be blocked by taxis and vans anyway - and seem to be a popular footpath in rush hour.

    The only other cycle lanes on my commute worth mentioning are between woolwich - and charlton - they have a continuous line marking them, quite wide, and keep going across the roundabouts (OK for going straight on).

    Trouble is they are so faded in parts you can hardly see them and for the past 6 months have almost constantly been blocked by roadworks.
  • I have come to the opinion that all cycle lanes are a waste of money and frequently dangerous. Cyclists should get out there in traffic and assert their right to be there. If there's no tarffic, there is no need for a cycle lane.
  • PorgyPorgy Posts: 4,525
    edited September 2009
    choirboy wrote:
    I have come to the opinion that all cycle lanes are a waste of money and frequently dangerous. Cyclists should get out there in traffic and assert their right to be there. If there's no tarffic, there is no need for a cycle lane.

    The mere existence of cycle lanes can undermine us there though. Some motorists can behave like right [email protected] if they think that cyclists should be using the cycle lane.
  • choirboychoirboy Posts: 132
    edited September 2009
    Porgy wrote:
    choirboy wrote:
    I have come to the opinion that all cycle lanes are a waste of money and frequently dangerous. Cyclists should get out there in traffic and assert their right to be there. If there's no tarffic, there is no need for a cycle lane.

    The mere existence of cycle lanes can undermine us there though. Some motorists can behave like right [email protected] of they think that cyclists should be using the cycle lane.

    +1 to that.

    The amount of abuse I get onthe A4 through Hounslow! I choose to ride on the nice flat, glass free road rather than the glass-strewn, bumpy cycle-lane that has a drive or bus-stop crossing it every 10 yards and I get honked or shouted at every time.
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Great line in The Times editorial yesterday to the effect of: Cycling isn't dangerous. Cars are dangerous.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • philip99aphilip99a Posts: 2,272
    The item on PM was very rushed (at around 5.56pm on a programme that ends at 6pm!) and not great journalism. The spokesman from the CTC tried to be clear and reasonable, with much the same CTC views as are reported below.

    This is a report on the research that the PM item was based on, from the Universities of Leeds and Bolton (University of Bolton?? there'll be a University of Worcester next. Oh.... there is :? )

    http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?met ... l&id=81935

    Interesting that this version is on the Local Government website. Maybe someone is listening. Maybe.

    Here's what the Times said (lots of comments esp on the 1st article, the 2nd article is the one that contains the excellent line mentioned in the post above "Cycling is not dangerous. Cars are dangerous".):

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 828100.ece

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 828120.ece

    So Wallace1492, I hear what you say "... Still, on the plus side, at least the council are trying..... " , but this research warns against your view. Tinpot cycle lanes or even all on-road cycle lanes in fact make things worse.

    As do many of the folk posting in this thread, I habitually avoid the things if I can.
    Cycling - the most fun you can have sitting down.
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    More people walking on footpaths are killed and injured by cars, than are killed by cyclists riding on footpaths. Guess which attracts angry letters to the editor though. Of course more cyclists and pedestrians are killed by motorists than are murdered every year, which is quite frightening really.

    But ever wonder about the whole "I can speed safely" argument used by some as the back up argument to "speed camereas are only for raising revenue"? And yet a common line in the reporting of fatal accidents is "the driver lost control".

    Funny how control can be lost so easily when driving sober and within the speed limit...
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Guy in a G-Whizz decided to drive down the cycle lane into the ASL on NKR this morning, presumably in order to undertake the car in front of him. His window was open, so I took the opportunity to pull alongside and enlighten him; the ensuing conversation went thus:

    Me: Excuse me, you're not supposed to drive in the bicycle lane
    G-Whizz man: I don't know whether you've noticed, but the traffic in London's quite busy today
    [He was right, it was pretty busy, not helped by a set of temporary traffic lights which seemed to be stuck on red in both directions]
    Me: You're right, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to drive in the bicycle lane

    At this point the lights went green, so I rode off (staying in the outside lane for the right turn into Cheyne Walk 200 yards later). G-Whizz man made a couple of half-hearted attempts to run me off the road before finally undertaking me, slowing slightly, and shouting 'ignorant t*sser' with enough force to shake the windows on the surrounding buildings.

    Managed to resist the temptation to follow him and enquire on the exact nature of my ignorance, but really.........

    I am, of course, gutted that I failed to make any comments about coal-powered cars, but that's probably for the best :-)
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • If it's any consolation having just looked up what a g-whizz is, i can assure you you will look cooler on your Brompton.
    Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.
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