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Cycle lanes are pointless

robert88robert88 Posts: 2,696
edited October 2019 in Campaign
Painted bike lanes are waste of money, say cycling commissioners

.. How true!

Especially when painted with shiny, slippery-when-wet green paint, also when directing cyclists to it use the outer edge of roundabouts. Unless they really are out to kill us..

Not sure Chris Grayling is likely to do much about it unfortunately.


  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    I've been saying that for years ...

    Around us - cycle lanes are painted on the road where the road is plenty wide enough to cater for 2 lanes of traffic PLUS 2 cycle lanes (often quite narrow) - the cycle lanes are littered with manhole covers and quite often have a terrible surface ... but the worst bit - they disappear when the road gets narrow - and the motorist has priority.

    There are a couple of offroad cycle routes - like really off road - not just adjacent to the road - which are good - but there's not enough of these and they don't go to all parts of town where you may want to travel too.
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 757
    Given Chris Grayling's record, it's probably best he doesn't get involved in cycling infrastructure - it'd end up costing millions and would spontaneously combust when used.
  • joe_totale-2joe_totale-2 Posts: 1,292
    There's a reason that painted on, non segregated cycle lanes are called Murderstrips in Belgium.
    I find that pedestrians just treat them as an extension of the pavement and happily walk into them without bothering to look.
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 4,066
    It’s not just cycle lanes that have censored surfaces or poorly thought out signage which shouldn’t discount them as viable propositions for cycle usage. One of the reasons I gave up motorcycles was the censored surfaces which are patched and then repatched until a horrible mosaic of different surfaces and levels.

    We lack a joined up strategy which incorporates an exclusive space for cyclists on the road whilst upskilling all road users. Even then upskilling isn’t the silver bullet as many users have the intelligence to recognise vulnerable road users but actively disregard this aspect due to wanting to be somewhere without the slightest delay. That’s the real issue
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    I dont feel they are completely pointless fwiw, if the alternative is no painted cycle lanes and just censored shared paths that are even more nonsensical in how they are setup, Id still rather have cycle lanes, whilst accepting they are the very lowest level of cycling infra councils should be aiming for and only when the council cant do any better.

    but having no agreed national standard for them is part of the problem, and breaking the planners mode that they are just pavements for cyclists and cyclists are just people who walk with bikes, which is what gives you all those stop start, turn off here use this crossing to get here, get back on type network we end up with
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    I read about projects to improve cycling and walking 'infrastructure' .
    A word , I detest as it has become a modern day cliche.
    You only have to use a mapping app and overlay 'cycling routes' to see how disjointed and unconnected such things are in reality - quite like a human brain with undeveloped neuron pathways.
    My town is a mess and is dangerous and I never recommend cycling to work to anyone who asks.
    I only do it because I am cursed with a bad temper and overbearing righteousness and effin great d lock with inbuilt pepper spray.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    I do cycle to work (sometimes these days - time pressure) - I have a good cycle path (entirely off road) available for about a 1/5th of the way - I don't use it.
    1) It has a flight of steps at one end, so I'd have to get off and walk
    2) The surface isn't tarmac for most of it - it's the hard pack surface that kicks up dirt, it also gets quite muddy in places where the farmer drives his tractor down it.
    3) The end with the steps joins into a dip in the road I'd have to join - so I'd be going snails pace instead of 30+mph

    In short - it's too slow for my use most of the time - especially for that 2 mile section which is fast to cycle on the road (and I'm time pressured).

    They are planning on continuing the path pretty much all the way - although it'll have dog legs, bits on the road and more steps to overcome - assuming I'm still here I may use it from time to time - when the weather/conditions are bad enough that I don't want to be on the road....
  • MoonbikerMoonbiker Posts: 1,706
    Many local ones are like this kind of thing so totaly idiotic:

    a428.png ... il2018.htm

    I never use them.
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    Moonbiker wrote:
    Many local ones are like this kind of thing so totaly idiotic:

    a428.png ... il2018.htm

    I never use them.

    but thats a classic example, to the point it must be near enough a standard design method solution of where the planners have gone cyclists might want to turn right here but rather than provide a cycling solution, they instead treat you as pedestrians but with a bike.

    as Im assuming the opposite side road with a fence is another shared path that heads off somewhere completely different. But the road is perceived to be too dangerous traffic volume or speed etc, to allow cyclists to sit in the middle of the road, or hold people up (shock horror) whilst waiting to turn there.

    so they put in the loop like that, as if you were to use it, it turns you around to be 90 degrees to the road you wanted to turn/cross at, and then your expected to behave like a pedestrian and cross the road before carrying on as a cyclist.

    thats the failure of alot of these pointless cycle lanes, they are designed by people who dont ride bicycles, and assume youll behave as a pedestrian when their methods of madness demand it.

    theres a similar mess of shared paths and crossings on my commute, I complained to the council that turning right into this staggered crossroads was proving to be increasingly dangerous as youd often get left hooked as you started to turn right by impatient so and so's turning left completely around you as their left turn was just slightly further along, rather than simply wait for you to complete your move and get out of their way.

    And the advice I got back ,was well use the shared paths & dropped kerbs weve provided, how so I queried, well you use the shared path on the left hand side of the road (which in itself crosses anumber of side roads that you have to stop and cross like a pedestrian to get across), just before the staggered crossroads theres a dropped kerb, cross the road to the right hand side shared path that then takes you 45 degrees around the corner of the crossroads spur and then another dropped kerb, where you now cross another road, again onto another shared path opposite you that then immediately ends again and pushes you into a cycle lane back on the road you wanted to be on...I stick to the road its just easier
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 6,459
    A lot are utterly pointless, yes. The painted ones are generally more dangerous than nothing. The 'shared use paths' are of some use for children and slow/nervous cyclists, but worse than useless if you want to keep moving at a decent pace. And 'shared use paths' are awful when below standard, alongside a normal road, as a significant proportion of motorists think cyclists are under either a legal or moral obligation to use such paths. And a proportion of those think that the best way to get their point across is by close passing you.

    And when major cycling commute routes, along the suggested 'shared use paths' and side roads involve as many crossings of other roads and property entrances as my daily route does, it's no wonder people ignore said paths. (The circled crosses are the signal-controlled or take-you-life-in-your-hands crossing of the busy main road.)

  • Shared paths are the absolute bottom of the Cycling Provision Suitability Tree (LTN 02/08).

    Cycle lanes on the road should be AT LEAST 1.5m wide, targeted at 2m wide ( plus, according to IAN 195/16 a 20cm buffer if against a kerb).
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • My I add a link to a study by Pete Owens from 2005, a while ago now but nevertheless still relevant,-44,625 hosted by The Warrington Cycle Campaign called The Effect of Cycle Lanes on Cyclists’ Road Space.

    I found it both surprising and enlightening. Have a read.
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 3,012
    My I add a link to a study by Pete Owens from 2005, a while ago now but nevertheless still relevant,-44,625 hosted by The Warrington Cycle Campaign called The Effect of Cycle Lanes on Cyclists’ Road Space.

    I found it both surprising and enlightening. Have a read.

    Heh, pointed out in 2005 and still no change...

    The DFT's own guidance on installing cycle lanes ( LTN 02/08) , in section 7.4.3, issued in October 2008 states,

    "narrow cycle lane may therefore give motorists (misplaced) confidence to provide less clearance while overtaking than they would in the absence of a cycle lane"

    The Revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states, in Para. 110: Applications for development should:
    a) give priority first to pedestrian and cycle movements, and second so far as possible – to facilitating access to high quality public transport,
    c) create places that are safe, secure and attractive – which minimise the scope for conflicts between pedestrians cyclists and vehicles,

    Therefore anything which proposes substandard cycle lanes is going against national planning policy and should be stopped as such.

    While we still await LN 01/19 to replace LTN 02/08 and LTN 01-12 with baited breath....
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • The only conclusion I can come to is that in most cases Cycle lanes are just a "tick box" exercise carried out by councils to fulfil central government targets.
  • Moonbiker said:

    Many local ones are like this kind of thing so totaly idiotic:

    a428.png ... il2018.htm

    I never use them.

    I took that photo. It's a few miles from Cambridge, near the junction of the A428 and the A1198. Across the road, which is the single carriageway stretch of the A428, is a short length of cycle path, leading to the A1107, which once you cross it, leads on to about half a mile of segregated cycle path, separated from the duelled part of the A428 by hedges. That leads onto a quiet (ish) unclassified road which runs parallel with the A428, which exists because it was the main road before that section was duelled, for about 5 miles to the outskirts of Cambridge.

    So far, not too bad. But say you've found the route and are heading out of Cambridge on the quiet (ish) unclassified route, then onto the short segregated cycle path, until you come to the crossing point of the A1107… which is just yards from a hellishly busy fast roundabout. You manage to get across the A1107 onto the cycle path on the other side, which again leads you to a crossing, this time of the A428, just yards from the hellishly busy fast roundabout. You (eventually) manage to get across that too, where you find yourself on the weird little loop in the photo, which as you can see, immediately spits you out into the traffic (no ongoing cycle lane) just yards from the hellishly busy fast roundabout. In the interests of research I did the above journey after spotting the loop from a bus, and I can tell you it was nerve wracking on a sunny Sunday afternoon in April. Imagine doing it on a weekday evening in December…

    Sorry if that description is difficult to visualise. Have a look on Streetview and Google Maps (the Google Earth picture was taken some years ago when the new duelled section of the A428 was under construction and so doesn't show the current situation) and you'll see why I took the trouble to take the picture and send it to Warrington Cycle Campaign's splendidly sarcastic Cycle Facility of the Month page.
  • Your right oblongomaculatus, I not knowing the area in question, find the description baffling. But I do get the gist of what you are saying. I am aware of what this structure (lane) is supposed to do, in this case removing cyclists from waiting in the road by the centre line for a gap in oncoming traffic.
    Just as a side note. They have had this sort of structure in Spain for many years, not specifically for cycles, but for motor vehicles wishing to turn left across the path of oncoming traffic, it started on dual carriageways but progressed to single carriageway roads. It may stop some rear-end collisions but it only really works on less busy roads. However as soon as there’s a constant flow of traffic along the road it stops working, making the job of crossing (all of) the road from a ‘lay-by junction’ (as I call them) all the more difficult. In more recent times they (the Spanish) seem to have changed to a left turn lane in the centre of the road with another lane to the right for straight on. Perhaps ‘our’ attempts at lay-by junctions are also doomed? I for one do hope so

    lay-by junction
  • It sounds more complicated than it is. The key (bad) points are that you have to cross two invariably busy roads very close to a roundabout, where visibility is poor even in daylight, and that once you leave the little loop in the picture you're on a busy fast single carriageway without even a hard shoulder. At 6pm on a weekday it's always nose to tail traffic. There are plans to duel that last few miles to St. Neots, which I've seen, and they seem to include a segregated cycleway, so if that happens, I presume they'll sort out that crossing in the process. It's probably at least 10 years away, though.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    edited January 2020
    It seems a little known (or spotted) change in legislation has further devalued cycle lanes
    Basically under the 2002 legislation (Traffic Signs and Regulation Guidance Directive 2002 - TSRGD for short) it was an offence to park in a cycle lane delineated by a solid white line (not a dashed one), the 2016 Directive (TSRGD 2016) changed this to 'driven, or ridden' making potentially it legal to park in them (as long as parking itself isn't restricted).

    Old legislation in the interpretation
    (i)if it may not be used by vehicles other than pedal cycles, by the marking shown in diagram 104

    New legislation in the Regulations
    (2) Subject to sub-paragraphs (3) to (5), the marking conveys the requirement that a vehicle, other than a pedal cycle, must not be driven, or ridden, in the cycle lane during the cycle lane’s hours of operation (which may be all the time)

    To show how messed it up, the 'Interpretation' of a Mandatory Cycle Lane in the new legislation still says 'use' even though the actual legislation now contradicts it and the Highway Code still says it's illegal although it isn't. So not sure if it was a deliberate change or a mistake in drafting.

  • I was taught that you should never cross a white line that runs along (not across) the carriageway. You may cross where the line is broken (intermittent) only. The only exception being when the solid white line runs down the centre of the road (two white lines side-by-side) and there is a broken white line nearer to you.

    In this image below you may only enter the lane shown on the right, when approaching from the opposite direction from which the picture was taken. Firstly because of the double white lines running down the centre of the carriageway and secondly because you must not cross the white line running down the side of the road.

    I hope the way I’ve worded it makes sense
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