An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

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An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby RonK » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:47 pm

Lobby for bike lanes and you're lobbying to be marginalised and pushed off the road, writes Gordon Kanki Knight.

Kettle is on...popcorn in the microwave.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby Aushiker » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:40 pm

As an relatively experienced cyclist I can relate to Gordon's views and I note that Gordon does describe himself as a "dedicated commuter cyclist" however not every cyclist is a dedicated commuter cyclist and may not be as comfortable or assertive on the road as Gordon appears to be. If one takes a read of the Women and Cycling Survey 2013 this very theme does come through.

So for me I can understand where Gordon is coming from, but I don't think it is as black and white as he is suggesting and rather we need a level of maturity to be shown on the roads and quality effective education programs.

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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby biker jk » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:48 pm

The usual dumb motorists in the comments section who think that registration fees pay for the roads. I did laugh at the comment that bikes travel at 30kmh and cars at 60kmh. Sydney peak hour on main arterial roads sees cars averaging around 20kmh.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby Aushiker » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:52 pm

biker jk wrote:The usual dumb motorists in the comments section who think that registration fees pay for the roads. I did laugh at the comment that bikes travel at 30kmh and cars at 60kmh. Sydney peak hour on main arterial roads sees cars averaging around 20kmh.


My commute to work is 42 km. If I drive it, it takes approximately one hour .... i.e., 42 km/h.

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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby RonK » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:01 pm

Aushiker wrote:
biker jk wrote:The usual dumb motorists in the comments section who think that registration fees pay for the roads. I did laugh at the comment that bikes travel at 30kmh and cars at 60kmh. Sydney peak hour on main arterial roads sees cars averaging around 20kmh.


My commute to work is 42 km. If I drive it, it takes approximately one hour .... i.e., 42 km/h.

Andrew

Many Perth routes are much slower, according to the RAC. Much the same in all the cities.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby find_bruce » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:34 pm

I do understand where he is coming from & I certainly agree with his dismissive approach to car door lanes. Other aspects however reflect his perception rather than reality. Eg
Kanki Knight wrote:And bike lanes get messy. Road sweepers can't access separated bike lanes and councils are often slow to react to reports of broken glass or obstructions.

Wrong - street sweepers can & do fit & council laziness is no excuse
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biker jk wrote:The usual dumb motorists in the comments section who think that registration fees pay for the roads. I did laugh at the comment that bikes travel at 30kmh and cars at 60kmh. Sydney peak hour on main arterial roads sees cars averaging around 20kmh.

Why in the name of lob would you read the comments section ? Also you overstated the speed on some of Sydney's arterial roads
  • Old South Head Road 15 km/h
  • Pacific Highway (Roseville to Lane Cove) 17 km/h
  • Military Rd - Spit Rd - Manly Rd 18 km/h
  • Victoria Rd (Rozelle to Hunters Hill) 18 km/h
  • M2 (Northmead to Carlingford) 25 km/g
Even the m4 motorway heading west (Clyde to Eastern Creek) is only 36 km/h. If you factor in the time to get onto the arterial roads, average speed is even lower
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby jules21 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:15 pm

i've come to hold the same view as Gordon - bike lanes are our enemy.

the most common justification for bike lanes is "but research shows they work!" think about it though, they work in the same way as amputating your arm cures arthritis in your hand. there's a better way. the answer is: improving motorists' behaviour in how they interact with cyclists. unfortunately, bike lanes are just reinforcing the message that cars and bikes don't mix, and making this harder.

i think we need to go back to square 1 and think about it from scratch all over again.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby g-boaf » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:45 pm

If they lobby for this, I'll lobby politicians to ban bikes from the road - just to return the favour. :|

This whole thing needs a less divisive approach - and for the veteran road cyclists to understand that not everyone else wants to wear the riding with traffic as the badge of honour. I ride on the road sometimes, but I'd prefer to avoid it if I can.

Council in my area is fast to respond to broken glass and get out with the sweeper immediately.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby jules21 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:51 pm

g-boaf wrote:This whole thing needs a less divisive approach - and for the veteran road cyclists to understand that not everyone else wants to wear the riding with traffic as the badge of honour. I ride on the road sometimes, but I'd prefer to avoid it if I can.

the only real solution is to make riding in traffic safer. bike lanes are the bitumenous equivalent of wearing a helmet.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:30 pm

The death of widespread car ownership/usage is inevitable, but in the mean time
jules21 wrote: bike lanes are just reinforcing the message that cars and bikes don't mix

is absolutely correct, the majority of drivers are stuck with this mindset/culture that bikes don't belong on the road, and having these little strips of green paint covered in glass and gravel right on the edge of the road just reinforces that. It will take a long time to educate the populace into understanding that bikes are the CORRECT form of transport for the roads, but that is what needs to be done.


A comment on the website for the book 'Roads were not meant for cars' sums it up beautifully "cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians have an absolute right to be on the road, whereas a motorist can only drive 'under licence', which can be taken away if they fall foul of the law."
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby citywomble » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:15 pm

Time to reflect that apartheid has never worked for the minority that are told 'this is for you'. As long as cyclists are relegated to their special places then apartheid will be at work and justify some motorists perceptions.

The only real benefit of bike lanes is that they 'appear' safer and hence attractive to cyclists (particularly those less experienced). In reality there is substantive evidence that they enable motorists to feel comfortable passing closer and faster - because the cyclist is not in the motorists lane and is, therefore, not taken into account.

Bike lanes are also in the drainage, rubbish, debris and (sometimes) door zones.

Where there is no bike lane a cyclist has choice - primary, controlling the lane, or secondary, conceding the lane.

A bike lane provides a false primary and removes choice. Allowed to ride in primary, in your own lane, whereas in reality being Relegated to riding in the secondary position (with all the inherent problems) and actually prohibited from riding in the proper primary position in the road - unless the bike lane is unsuitable for use in which case why have it in the first place!
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby DavidS » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:32 pm

Most bike lanes are less than helpful, they are harmful. The only bike lanes which are safe have a buffer from any parked cars and from the traffic. Otherwise they are just a way for bikes to be marginalised. What really pisses me off is the bike lanes which are just a line a couple of feet away from the parked cars. Because the bike lane is in the door zone I tend to ride in the multi-user lane and not in the bike lane. Unfortunately this confuses the hell out of car drivers as they don't understand why I don't ride in what they see as a perfectly fine bike lane. Those bike lanes which are just an extension of on street parking should be banned, maybe we need to start graffitiing them - bike lanes and on street parking do not mix and plenty of councils need to get this message.

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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby high_tea » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:46 pm

citywomble wrote:Time to reflect that apartheid has never worked for the minority that are told 'this is for you'. As long as cyclists are relegated to their special places then apartheid will be at work and justify some motorists perceptions.

The only real benefit of bike lanes is that they 'appear' safer and hence attractive to cyclists (particularly those less experienced). In reality there is substantive evidence that they enable motorists to feel comfortable passing closer and faster - because the cyclist is not in the motorists lane and is, therefore, not taken into account.

Bike lanes are also in the drainage, rubbish, debris and (sometimes) door zones.

Where there is no bike lane a cyclist has choice - primary, controlling the lane, or secondary, conceding the lane.

A bike lane provides a false primary and removes choice. Allowed to ride in primary, in your own lane, whereas in reality being Relegated to riding in the secondary position (with all the inherent problems) and actually prohibited from riding in the proper primary position in the road - unless the bike lane is unsuitable for use in which case why have it in the first place!


I seem to have my rose-coloured glasses on tonight, because what I conclude from on-road bike lanes is that road designers are thinking about cyclists. They could often do a lot better, no doubt about it. But it's a step in the right direction. Because I've experienced roads that take no account of cyclists. I don't know how long it takes to ride across a highway exit, uphill, on a loaded touring bike. It seemed like an awfully long time, and I seemed to spend a fair bit of however long it took thinking morbid thoughts about inattentive motorists. There are plenty of other examples. Pick-a-plank bridges, that's another gem.

Anyway, I just want to make the point that the answer to bike lanes being done badly (and I can accept that they often are) is to do better. They're not always the right answer, but they're not always the wrong answer either.

PS Pandering to motorists' sense of entitlement is most certainly the wrong answer. Insofar as a particular bike lane does that, it's a bad thing. That's a criticism of the particular implementation, though, not the general idea.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:08 am

It hasn't worked that way so far in the Netherlands :0
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:12 am

find_bruce wrote:I do understand where he is coming from & I certainly agree with his dismissive approach to car door lanes. Other aspects however reflect his perception rather than reality. Eg
Kanki Knight wrote:And bike lanes get messy. Road sweepers can't access separated bike lanes and councils are often slow to react to reports of broken glass or obstructions.

Wrong - street sweepers can & do fit & council laziness is no excuse
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City of Melbourne has some of these small street sweepers, operating on contract to clean their seperated lanes.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:26 am

Touring on the roads of Italy - no-one gives too much of a toss about the technicalities of the road rules...... but everyoe respects the place of other people as human beings deserving of respect, everyone is firstly cautious of their circumstances, even in the traffic madness that is 4.30pm Gragnana. My dear beloved in the lime-green.

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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:33 am

ldrcycles wrote:A comment on the website for the book 'Roads were not meant for cars' sums it up beautifully "cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians have an absolute right to be on the road, whereas a motorist can only drive 'under licence', which can be taken away if they fall foul of the law."

Love it!!!

+1000
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby Marx » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:36 am

I don't think my digi cam has enough memory to show everyone here the various examples across the greater metro area of Melbourne of bike lanes as either token gestures which cannot be used, or bike lanes which are drawn across existing car parking (which means bikes can't use them while a car is left idle there by it's owner).
New people to commuting on the roads will have to acclimatise to their precarious position on the roads as they derrière has to acclimatise to the new home of a bike saddle.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby mikesbytes » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:00 am

Well planned, designed, constructed bike lanes in Sydney have seen a big increase in bicycle commuting in Sydney, even where they don't link up exposing new cyclists to less favorable riding conditions.

The historical approach was;
1. painted lines along the sides of car doors is simply plain dangerous and didn't encourage people to take up cycling
2. bike symbols painted on roads. Don't know
3. paths put in there they can be. This is usually shared paths thru parks and don't go anywhere useful from a transportation purpose. Great for recreational riding, not perfect for pedestrian's

The historical background behind this is in part a lack of understanding of the needs of cyclist but more so to do with budgeting, most of which comes from cash poor local councils who need to focus on the needs within their boundaries.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby AndyTheMan » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:16 pm

I have two comments here.

FIRST, the video by Chris Boardman in the UK (which was posted a few days before he gave evidence at the UK cycling inquiry) is really interesting. Basically, he asks "who are cycling lanes for?" It appears that they are more for the benefit of motorists than cyclists. He notes that on straight/wide sections of road cycle lanes are provided essentially to keep cyclists out of the way of cars, but when there are pionch points, roundabouts, or narrow sections (where cyclists NEED them more) the cycle lanes disappear .....

http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/campaigning/article/cam20130212-Chris-Boardman-asks--Who-are-cycle-lanes-for---0


[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/59477119[/vimeo]



SECOND, I did some work in Europe once with a traffic engineer who was convinced that safer cities could be created by REMOVING line markings. He said that over the last few decades we have been obsessed with dividing up our streets into sections for particular users - the cars have the middle bit, cyclists get the narrow lane, pedestrians get the footpath.

He commented that this has grown to be out of control, we now have fences to divide pedestrians from the road, lines to indicate exactly where to stop, coloured bits for buses, concrete islands to separate traffic lanes, markings and lines everywhere etc.

This, he explains, creates a situation where everyone thinks they are entitled to their own space.... cars can speed through intersections safe in the fact that other users are not allowed on 'their' bit of road. No need to even consider if there is another user at the intersection/side of the road because thats YOUR bit of road! If a pedestrian or cyclists accidentally veers into a vehicle lane, then its not the cars at fault (how many times have we heard "cyclists should only ride in cycle lanes"?). Likewise, cyclists don't like to share cycle lanes with pedestrians and vice-versa. Everyone is fiercely protective of their own space, and demand barriers, lines, lights, bollards, fences, barriers to keep everyone separate....

He showed me photos of some city centre areas where he had basically solved problems at some intersections by completely removed all signage, road markings and footpaths.... he said naturally all the cars had to slow down (cause they didn't have a bit that they 'owned' anymore...pedestrians and other cars could come out of nowhere so they need to be more carefril ...likewise for cyclists.

He said these areas naturally become more pedestraian and cycle friendly, had much slower traffic flowing through them and were a lot nicer to spend time in!.

Some images I stole from google to give an idea of hte sorts of places he was talking about....(note sure where they are)


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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby jules21 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:18 pm

excellent points Andy. I suspect it's more a question of will than agreement on the theory.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby AndyTheMan » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:01 pm

jules21 wrote:excellent points Andy. I suspect it's more a question of will than agreement on the theory.



Recently I have started to think its a bit of an 'evolutionary' thing with cities as well...

I think cities get to a certain size and to a place in their evolution/development where cars are just not going to cut it for transport....

Cars are easy for many smaller regional towns/cities....as cities get larger and larger (more and more people) the usefulness and convenience of cars as transport diminishes....

For many large cities like London and Paris, they got to a point a few decades ago where driving was basically pointless...

Sydney is getting to that stage now where alternative transport options will become necessary.

I think your point on having the WILL to enact change is a valid one - some cities see the inevitable, and make changes to allow for better public transport, walking, cycling etc....

Some places have done this very early and are now reaping the benefits.....
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:06 pm

Marx wrote:I don't think my digi cam has enough memory to show everyone here the various examples across the greater metro area of Melbourne of bike lanes as either token gestures which cannot be used, or bike lanes which are drawn across existing car parking (which means bikes can't use them while a car is left idle there by it's owner).
New people to commuting on the roads will have to acclimatise to their precarious position on the roads as they derrière has to acclimatise to the new home of a bike saddle.

Equally, from recent constructions, there are quite a few examples of excellent quality Melbourne seperated lanes (and painted lanes) that do not hve these problems. Mainly what remains with these is driver training, awareness and enforcement of responsibility to ensure drivers acknowledge the presence of the lanes, in particular when crossing or turning through them.
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby RonK » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:31 pm

il padrone wrote:Touring on the roads of Italy - no-one gives too much of a toss about the technicalities of the road rules...... but everyoe respects the place of other people as human beings deserving of respect, everyone is firstly cautious of their circumstances, even in the traffic madness that is 4.30pm Gragnana. My dear beloved in the lime-green.

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Interesting - it seems a sizeable town, but I can't see any traffic lights or roads markings
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Re: An alternative view about cycling infrastructure...

Postby BastardSheep » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:57 pm

That's a very good point that had not yet occurred to me, that most cycle lanes are for cars, to get us off their*1 roads.

I can see the point of the writer of the original adelaidenow article, but I'd have to say they are most definitely wrong. Controlling the lane is all fine and dandy when you've got good bike control and speed in your legs, but when you're only an occasional cyclist like myself without much speed in ones legs then cycle lanes are a godsend.

There's dozens of locations along all the routes I frequent where the footpath is (besides being illegal) too slow for the speed I want to go, but the road is too fast/aggressive. I for one don't want to be trying to claim a lane when a hill slows me down below 20kph (thinking especially of certain hills on roads I take at 10kph or less) on a busy road that is signposted 60kph, with lanes that are too thin for me to comfortably move to the side of the road. In these cases I usually (illegally) jump on the footpath but would prefer a lane. There's other locations on 50kph and 60kph roads where I'll happily claim the lane, though.

You've all heard the saying "horses for courses" surely? The mix of bike lane types is "courses for horses". The main change I'd like to see (secondary only to complete instant eradication of all door-zone "lanes"*2) is a relaxing of the rules about where cyclists should be. I believe (possibly mistakenly) that the rules in this country currently only say a cyclist SHOULD be in the cycle lane unless there's a perceived upcoming risk and it's safer on the road. Many use this to say "at the speeds I want to go all the driveways/side streets make the entire lane unsafe, so I'll stick on the road". I'd prefer the cycle lanes to just be an option, one weaker cyclists like myself will happily take while stronger cyclists like all those arguing against lanes are in no way forced into.

One thing I have noticed over the last 15 years of on again off again casual cycling is that the more cyclists there are on the road, the more cyclist aware your average driver is becoming. I feel MUCH more confident on the roads now than I did 15 years ago, and the vast majority of drivers are much more courteous and aware of what they should do when they come across a cyclist on the road. Something as simple as an increase in numbers does work, it IS working. Combine this with continued education campaigns and we're on the right path imho. There will always be your occasional troll/bogan/ignoramus/compensating-a-lacking-elsewhere who wants to run you off the road and scream at you, but they will get (and already are getting) marginalized as cycling becomes more of a norm. They may seem louder but remember, they always get the loudest in their death-throws. When backed into a losing corner it becomes instinctual, it's a fight-or-flight thing.

Removing the lanes entirely though as some are arguing will just discourage a take-up of cycling. Us weaker cyclists will hate it.

___
*1: Not actually theirs. Actually all of ours.
*2: The roads I ride that have door-zone "lanes", is it me or were the roads safer and less stressful to ride BEFORE the "lane" was painted on said roads? Before the "lane" got painted you could ride further from parked cars with much more comfort and confidence, but since these "lanes" got painted passing cars tend to give less room and the once safe/comfortable roads become ones I prefer to avoid if I can. I won't mention specific roads because this is the case for _EVERY_ single road I've ridden in North Sydney/Chatswood/Lane Cove/Macquarie Park areas that has had these door-zone "lanes" painted in to them in the last 15 years.
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