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Using cycle lanes

I was thinking on my commute:

- Do you feel you should use poorly designed cycle provisions in order to encourage the idea that cycling provisions get used which might encourage further funding?

or

- Do you avoid using poorly build facilities as it's our right as cyclists to use the roads and it might encourage proper facilities being provided in the future?
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Posts

  • Depends but on the whole I avoid the bad cycling provision.
    The trouble is that by not using it, it gives drivers another reason to moan at me and others. If only they knew how irrational some of these cycling provisions are!
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    I tend to avoid it as usually bad design means it's dangerous.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    There's a couple of choices for me - at the work end, the cycle route adds 1 1/2 miles to the journey - it's a nicer route for sure, but it's no more than a quiet country lane. These days, time pressured, I tend to take the main road.
    The other choice is at the home end - there's an off road cycle route - I don't tend to take it because a) I have to go up steps to get on it, b) it's slower, c) being an offroad one, I get dirtier.
    Neither option is visible to the normal driver - so it's not much issue on road user response - in terms of encouraging more funding - there's nobody to see me using it - so how do they know if I do or don't?
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,414
    I use 1 bit of cycle lane on way home as it's about a mile long and going uphill and separate to the carriageway. Going into work I just use the main carriageway opposite as faster and safer plus I'm not facing oncoming traffic being blinded or blinding them.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • I think each ‘facility’ or cycle lane has its own positive and negative points, as does using the road. So they cannot be all lumped together by one simple answer. It is not compulsory to use cycle lanes or other facilities, the choice is yours. So choose, but don’t feel you have to stick to that choice. Change your mind if you want to, I do from time-to-time.
    A poor facility will be rewarded by little use, likewise a good facility will find heavy use. Just be clear to other road/cycle-path users what you are/intend doing
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    I was trying to think if there were any cycle lanes I positively use, in the sense that I actively seek shelter in them, rather than just its some paint on the road and I happen to be cycling near it, and the only ones I can think are of bus lanes, and probably only because there arent that many buses that use those.

    so dont fell obliged to use cycle lanes if you feel its more unsafe to do so, though you will find some drivers try to bully you because of it, but thats their problem not yours
  • As others depends on the bike lane/path there are some I ignore as no use to man or beast others that are very useful even if flawed, I commute past Heathrow, and along the Parkway awful road but it has many miles of segregated if mostly narrow bike path, it is shared but for all it’s faults it’s far nicer than the road! Which is a urban dual carriageway and has some interesting driving at best!
  • Problem is some cyclists don't even want to use the good ones.

    There is a nice segregated lane on the pavement at the side of the A429 north of Warwick. The road itself is quite dangerous when the traffic is intense, which is almost always. Nonetheless, you see plenty of clubs using the main road on a Sunday lunch time, disrupting car traffic and causing havoc, all because they don't want their average speed to drop a couple of decimals by using the lane, or they can't live without their chaingang for a couple of miles... it's just pathetic and unfortunately it doesn't help people accept that we need more segregated cycle lanes
  • Problem is some cyclists don't even want to use the good ones.

    ...and unfortunately it doesn't help people accept that we need more segregated cycle lanes

    This is sort of why I asked the question. There are some new cycles lanes on my commute which I don't use as they are slower or more inconvenient for me. So am I doing make drives feel less accepting of spending money on cycle lanes? Have I got unobtainably high standards for what a cycle lane 'should' be? How much slower/inconvenient does the bike path have to be for me (or you) to not use it?
  • There is only one segregated cycle lane on my commute, I think it's supposed to be finished now after about a year (i have no idea how it was stretched out for so long).
    In the 500m or so that it goes along my route it gives way to 2 side roads, passes through a bus stop, has a 8 inch deep puddle across it and then disappears behind a pedestrian crossing. I don't think i'll be using it much.

    The only other one that I think I ever encounter on my recreational rides is along the A24 near Dorking, it tends to be a bit full of twigs and general detritus but I still use it as it avoids the dual carriageway road and I'd rather dodge twigs than cars on that stretch.
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 3,014

    Problem is some cyclists don't even want to use the good ones.

    ...and unfortunately it doesn't help people accept that we need more segregated cycle lanes

    This is sort of why I asked the question. There are some new cycles lanes on my commute which I don't use as they are slower or more inconvenient for me. So am I doing make drives feel less accepting of spending money on cycle lanes? Have I got unobtainably high standards for what a cycle lane 'should' be? How much slower/inconvenient does the bike path have to be for me (or you) to not use it?
    The Government's advice in the Revised National Planning Policy Framework makes it clear that those on Foot and Bike should be prioritised over vehicles. This is backed up by many DFT guidelines that have existed for many years, and are normally transposed into local transport plans and cycle strategys. This means that cycle lanes/tracks etc should never be slower than using the road.

    A 1 way cycle lane should generally be 2 meters wide (Yep, that's the official statement), have priority over side roads, (ie have the same priority as traffic in the all vehicle lane) and have useable entry and exit points.(ie not 90 degree turns into them). In addition to this, they should have a buffer zone between the edge of the lane and traffic if separated, which if the general traffic lane is over 40mph, should be 1.5m wide.

    On road cycle lanes may be 1.5m wide in short sections, or 1.2m wide if they are designed specifically to enable cyclists to filter on the inside past stationary traffic to get into an ASL.

    Of course, councils never follow their plans/rules/guidelines etc, so we never get this, and cycle tracks/lanes are completed piecemeal, typically "just to get slow cyclists out of the way of the all important motor vehicle", without actually considering how cyclists are actually going to use this stuff, or at all, and are regularly just a "box ticking exercise", designed by an officer who's never ridden a bike.

    So - Er, Some are good. Most are Poor, Some are down right dangerous. Experience will teach you what's safe and what's not to use.

    The only bit of "cycle" infrastructure I use on my route is the bus lane - all other cycle infrastructure on my route are painted cycle lanes that are between 60cm and 80 cm wide, directly in the gutter, sometimes passing parked cars while doing so, and riding in them can entice drivers to pass closer than they would if there wasn't a painted cycle lane there. There's a reason that the National Cycle Standard advises riding at circa 1m from the kerb, and not less than 50cm...

    Of course, not using it also means I regularly get shouted at to "use the cycle lane" ....

    There are routes locally that have very poor quality infrastructure (1.3m wide for a very heavily used 2 way Eastern Road route into Portsmouth, for example) next to a typically 50mph road - i'll use it during the rush hour if heading for the occasional meeting in the city, but in the middle of the day, or late at night i'll ride central of the lane beside it, as it's actually safer to do so.
    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* ...

  • A 1 way cycle lane should generally be 2 meters wide (Yep, that's the official statement), have priority over side roads, (ie have the same priority as traffic in the all vehicle lane) and have useable entry and exit points.(ie not 90 degree turns into them). In addition to this, they should have a buffer zone between the edge of the lane and traffic if separated, which if the general traffic lane is over 40mph, should be 1.5m wide.

    On road cycle lanes may be 1.5m wide in short sections, or 1.2m wide if they are designed specifically to enable cyclists to filter on the inside past stationary traffic to get into an ASL.

    While reading this I was thinking "Yeah, and be coated in gold with a constant tailwind"...if only this was enforced.

  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368


    The Government's advice in the Revised National Planning Policy Framework makes it clear that those on Foot and Bike should be prioritised over vehicles. This is backed up by many DFT guidelines that have existed for many years, and are normally transposed into local transport plans and cycle strategys. This means that cycle lanes/tracks etc should never be slower than using the road.

    measured how though ? by average speed, max speed, the perceived speed that all cyclists travel no faster than a quick pedestrian ?

    it has to be a pretty fancy cycle lane that I choose to use against keeping on the road,unless I feel the road is a death trap waiting to happen.
  • I use whatever is safer. If the alternatives are a poorly designed muddy thorn strewn indirect cycle path or a narrow bendy road that yummy mummy tanks and vans drive at over 60MPH when 40MPH is more reasonable...I'm going to take the cycle path or try to find a third option even if it is a bit longer.
    Where I live I am quite fortunate. The combination of car driver and road planning idiocy means I inadvertently have a decent stretch of road all to myself to avoid the worse of the rubbish cycle path, albeit with an extra half a mile on the journey. Took a fair amount of time on Google Maps to find though!
  • Problem is some cyclists don't even want to use the good ones.

    ...and unfortunately it doesn't help people accept that we need more segregated cycle lanes

    This is sort of why I asked the question. There are some new cycles lanes on my commute which I don't use as they are slower or more inconvenient for me. So am I doing make drives feel less accepting of spending money on cycle lanes? Have I got unobtainably high standards for what a cycle lane 'should' be? How much slower/inconvenient does the bike path have to be for me (or you) to not use it?
    It's up to you to assess what is safer and more convenient to use.

    My rant is against those club riders who deliberately use the A road to go faster than they would be able to on the shared segregated lane.
    If the desire to go faster becomes an inconvenience to other road users, then I would argue is not much different from other forms of public road abuse, like speeding, hogging lanes, parking on pavements etc.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,300 Lives Here
    monkimark said:

    There is only one segregated cycle lane on my commute, I think it's supposed to be finished now after about a year (i have no idea how it was stretched out for so long).
    In the 500m or so that it goes along my route it gives way to 2 side roads, passes through a bus stop, has a 8 inch deep puddle across it and then disappears behind a pedestrian crossing. I don't think i'll be using it much.

    If this is the one I'm thinking of I tried to use it a couple of weeks ago after going to the post office on the wife's shopping bike. I joined the nice wide segregated path, rejoined the road rather than give way to cars waiting at a side road, back onto the path after the turn, on to the road again to avoid the flooded bit (segregated kerb keeping the water on a path with no provision for drainage), went to rejoin the path but waited because a couple of people at the bus stop were stood so as to be as obstructive as possible (not sure if it was deliberate or thoughtless) then back on the path as I was turning left where it disappears by the crossing.
    It could so easily be brilliant, but by a couple of errors they've managed to make it a complete shambles. Maybe that's why it hasn't been finished. They need to sort the drainage, move the give way line for side roads to behind the cycle path and route the path behind bus stops. Then it would be much more useable.

  • RedClipRedClip Posts: 109
    The main purpose of a cycle lane is to save the local council money.
    They don't tarmac the road to the pavement edges, they don't clear any debris or fix any pot holes within the lanes.
  • After thinking about this discussion thread some more I've attempted to turn some of my hot air and feet stomping into positive action by contacting my local cycling pressure group to volunteer in some.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391
    edited February 2020
    Ugo makes a good point. Near my home in Shropshire is a two-mile shared cycle and pedestrian way between the villages of Pontesbury and Minsterley. It was created a few years ago by Shropshire Council after pleas from local people for a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists, including kids going to and from secondary school in Pontesbury. Before that, the only way was along the narrow, undulating A488 with double white lines down the middle and no pavements. That two-mile stretch was impossible for walkers, unpleasant for cyclists and a pain for cars, buses and milk tankers stuck behind them.

    The new traffic-free segregated route running alongside this busy road is better surfaced than the potholed A488 and pleasant to ride along, although there are a couple of annoying give way markings on it where farm access roads go onto the A488. Water run-off from the fields can make it tricky in frosty weather but it’s nevertheless a huge improvement from what was before and I use it regularly for running and cycling.

    I find it really annoying to see cyclists still using the main road. It’s always club groups or solo riders in all the gear. Is it ignorance or selfishness? As ugo says, it’s public road abuse and simply encourages cycle haters. I can understand riders shunning poor cycle paths but this is a good one.





  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674

    Is it ignorance or selfishness?

    ... or maybe it's the government advice that says that cyclists going over about 30kmh should use the roads.
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 3,014


    A 1 way cycle lane should generally be 2 meters wide (Yep, that's the official statement), have priority over side roads, (ie have the same priority as traffic in the all vehicle lane) and have useable entry and exit points.(ie not 90 degree turns into them). In addition to this, they should have a buffer zone between the edge of the lane and traffic if separated, which if the general traffic lane is over 40mph, should be 1.5m wide.

    On road cycle lanes may be 1.5m wide in short sections, or 1.2m wide if they are designed specifically to enable cyclists to filter on the inside past stationary traffic to get into an ASL.

    While reading this I was thinking "Yeah, and be coated in gold with a constant tailwind"...if only this was enforced.

    New cycling infrastructure guidance, apparently with "Teeth" to make them more like a standard, due out in "a few weeks time" - LTN 01/20
    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* ...
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 3,014


    I find it really annoying to see cyclists still using the main road. It’s always club groups or solo riders in all the gear. Is it ignorance or selfishness? As ugo says, it’s public road abuse and simply encourages cycle haters. I can understand riders shunning poor cycle paths but this is a good one.

    I find with single riders, it's typically because they don't know the area, and they therefore don't know what the quality of the infrastructure is ahead of them, and based on past experience of shoddy cycle lanes/shared paths, they decide not to.

    Or they just miss the start of it, and they have the option of stopping in the middle of a live lane and hop the kerb, or just keep riding.
    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* ...
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391
    edited February 2020


    I find it really annoying to see cyclists still using the main road. It’s always club groups or solo riders in all the gear. Is it ignorance or selfishness? As ugo says, it’s public road abuse and simply encourages cycle haters. I can understand riders shunning poor cycle paths but this is a good one.

    I find with single riders, it's typically because they don't know the area, and they therefore don't know what the quality of the infrastructure is ahead of them, and based on past experience of shoddy cycle lanes/shared paths, they decide not to.

    Or they just miss the start of it, and they have the option of stopping in the middle of a live lane and hop the kerb, or just keep riding.
    That’s exactly the point my wife just made to me. There’s no signs to tell you it’s a cycle path. If you are from away - and we get loads of end-to-end riders on this route - you don’t realise it’s there until it’s too late and you are committed to the main road.

    EDIT: I have to admit I was wrong. Just checked Google Earth and there are the standard blue and white cycle route signs.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391

    Is it ignorance or selfishness?

    ... or maybe it's the government advice that says that cyclists going over about 30kmh should use the roads.
    A valid point for some routes but not this one. It has stiffish climbs in both directions. This was the one stretch of road my wife and I both disliked intensely when we were cycle commuting. You had vehicles sat intimidatingly on your back wheel as you struggled uphill, or they crossed the double white lines in the face of oncoming traffic and close-passed you. It was a relief when the new cycle/pedestrian way opened.
  • Let's face it, most people are not from away... cycling is either commuting or recreational... the number of tourers by bicycle is insignificant
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 5,257

    Is it ignorance or selfishness?

    ... or maybe it's the government advice that says that cyclists going over about 30kmh should use the roads.
    A valid point for some routes but not this one. It has stiffish climbs in both directions. This was the one stretch of road my wife and I both disliked intensely when we were cycle commuting. You had vehicles sat intimidatingly on your back wheel as you struggled uphill, or they crossed the double white lines in the face of oncoming traffic and close-passed you. It was a relief when the new cycle/pedestrian way opened.
    Is that part of the problem though? A cycle crawler lane sounds useful (as long as it's wide, well surfaced etc.) but if you're coming down at 30 mph+ is it better to be on the road?


  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Ugo - why don't you contact the CC that abuse the main road - and suggest they use the cycle path.
    Not all cycle clubs are run by the most knowledgeable or best intentioned riders - perhaps they just hadn't considered it.

    I have been on a DC on a club run once - it was a bit of a magical mystery tour - we only went on the DC because it was a quiet time of day and wasn't far down to the climb we wanted to go up. Certainly can't say I enjoyed being on the DC - but it did mean that we had to stay very disciplined in a tight group - which is always good to practice.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391

    Is it ignorance or selfishness?

    ... or maybe it's the government advice that says that cyclists going over about 30kmh should use the roads.
    A valid point for some routes but not this one. It has stiffish climbs in both directions. This was the one stretch of road my wife and I both disliked intensely when we were cycle commuting. You had vehicles sat intimidatingly on your back wheel as you struggled uphill, or they crossed the double white lines in the face of oncoming traffic and close-passed you. It was a relief when the new cycle/pedestrian way opened.
    Is that part of the problem though? A cycle crawler lane sounds useful (as long as it's wide, well surfaced etc.) but if you're coming down at 30 mph+ is it better to be on the road?


    This section of main road is narrow, potholed and bendy with double centre white lines for the whole stretch. The hills in both directions are ramped in steps. When I used to cycle it, I reckon I was going at 10-12 mph for most of it, speeding up to maybe 20-25 for the downhill bits. The new cycle/pedestrian way is separated from the main road by a grassy bank and is smoothly surfaced with plenty of room for cyclists to pass each other. As a retired journalist, I used to write regular stories about stupid cycle lanes and virtually impassable chicane barriers on cycle routes, but this is a good one. The local MP has even invited the Transport Minister to ride it with him to demonstrate good practice in cycle route design.

    Obviously, people from away might not spot it in time but most of the riders who ignore it are locals - serious riders in all the gear. As ugo says, they are no doubt chasing extra seconds and can’t be bothered to use this facility, even though staying on the road is more risky and annoys car, bus and lorry drivers.
  • parmosparmos Posts: 86
    most of the cycle paths were i live are littered with glass or stones that have bounced off the road they;re in worse state than the roads they need to be constantly cleaned to use them.
  • Charlie_CrokerCharlie_Croker Posts: 1,290
    parmos said:

    most of the cycle paths were i live are littered with glass or stones that have bounced off the road they;re in worse state than the roads they need to be constantly cleaned to use them.

    I think that’s a pretty universal situation nationwide. I can’t see it improving anytime soon with the country’s finances being in a bit of a pickle. Only if we value bottles (and other glass) and make them returnable for a fee, like they used to be, will this change.
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