Sunday, 30 March 2003

Sheila Mann writes: There is a good example of one of your weird tracks in Trumpington Road in Cambridge.There the cycles lanes run OUTSIDE the areas for carparking so when drivers open their offside doors, they wipe out passing cyclists! Also on the same stretch of road is a very short length of cycle lane (probably not a record shortest but vey close) just after a bus lane. Most people avoid these tracks by riding on the pavement which they can do, legally, here because the cycle lanes are duplicated by a pavement cyclists/pedestrian one.
Frederick Owen writes: a good example of cycle lane madness is evident on Hough Green, Chester. When installed 2-3 years ago, it was painted by someone with a massive hangover/the usual intelligence of council employees.! The lane meanders around several lamp posts and must make using it a novel experience.It has to be added that it is a rare occurrence to see any cyclist using it !!!
Adrian Greenwood writes:

A silly cycle lane.

Location - A258 out of Dover rising past Dover Castle. Rises from sea-level to 100 m in about a mile. Appearance - expensive green chip carpet with usual white overlay markings.

Silly because very few Dover residents could cycle up this without risk of hospitalisation � although I accept some visting masochists could.

Silly because road width near the castle is insufficient to cater for both the cycle lane and the traffic lane � so cycle lane continually encroached upon and being worn away (will they repaint it I wonder). Don't worry about the cyclists � I am still waiting to see one mounted at this stage � so to speak...

Silly because 6 feet from the road there is a little used path. And No � cyclists would not put the odd pedestrian on this path at risk � the gradient is such that, aside from Kings of the Mountain types � few cyclist could proceed faster than walking pace.

We have above-inflation Council Tax hikes here � there has to be a joke here somewhere...
John Pitcock, a founder member of Birmingham's cycling campaign group "PushBikes" writes:

Cycle lanes:
A local scheme which comes into much ridicule is Bristol Road, Edgbaston.
It's a shared footpath parallel to the road with a white line up the middle.
The cyclist's half is obstructed by many trees, lamp posts, bus stops, phone
boxes, permanent advertising etc. Pedestrians ignore the markings.

When you come to side roads and large entrances etc there is a give-way
marking so you have to look over your shoulder for, and give way to,
overtaking traffic turning left; to the right for approaching traffic
turning right; and to the left for traffic in the side road (which block you
as they wait to get onto the main road). It's better to ride in the road but you get abuse for being


Advanced stop lines:

I see from the TSRGD Department for Transport | Proposed Revision of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) 1994 - Consultation Paper para 18 that
it is illegal for a cyclist to pass the first stop line when the lights are
on red. This makes most A.S.L's useless unless there's a filter lane � many
in Birmingham don't.

I find these advance stop lines, problematic when in conjunction with a left
hand cycle filter lane:
If I am going in any direction other than left I am frightened to go up the
inside if there is a possibility of the light changing to green before I
reach the front. This is because I would be stranded in the wrong lane. I'd
rather have more space between the lines of waiting vehicles so I can filter
towards the front in a more appropriate lane.
Angela of King's Lynn Bike User's Group & W Norfolk section CTC writes: We are very behind in darkest West Norfolk! The first 'on road' cycling facility in King's Lynn was a shovel of tarmac to make a dropped curb on NCR1. We have 2 very short cycle lanes and 1 advanced stop line.
Jill Holden writes: Perhaps not the shortest but certainly the most senseless cycle lane. On the left-hand side of the A49 going North (ref. SO504504) - on the hill - on the bend . Starts , continues for about l5 or 20 metres and then stops where the track has to end because of the steep bank going up into Queenswood Country Park. I have not measured it because I am Walker, not cyclist and Ramblers are advised not to walk on the A49 at this point since it is a most dangerous piece of road. Best wishes for your safety
Roy Spilsbury Hon Sec CTC Cymru writes: CTC Cymru Your article in the Daily Telegraph Motoring section last Saturday was a real pip.

We share living by the seaside, and the issue of cycle access to promenades is a constant theme in letters to the local papers. We have some access and some prohibition. In the former we have varied infrastructure varying from innocuous to darned right dangerous. I would like to do a study on the subject but allocating the time (and energy) when I am already involved in so much other cycle campaigning is problematic.

We recently set up a CTC Cymru North Wales website which you might like to have a peep at if you have a minute or two to spare. We aim to keep the site bang up to date and to reflect all aspects of cycling. Simplicity of design, and rapidity of downloading, we believe to be of the essence.
Dave Pratt writes: Following your article in the motoring section of last Saturdays Telegraph (22/3/03). I thought I must tell you about Salisbury and perhaps arrange a visit to the most ludicrous traffic management system encompassing bus, cycle and pedestrian lanes I have ever come across.
A few examples of the local planners' incompetence.

1. They build a park and ride approx. 1 mile from our historic city centre and install a bike rack � who in the hell is going to take a bus do their weekly shop, return and cycle home.
2. Lanes to nowhere, from the park and ride which is situated on the northern edge of the city cycle on the track toward the city on the left hand side of the carriageway, reach the crest of the hill, cross the main A345 and cycle down the hill after 1/2 mile repeat the process and cross to the left again, now you are sharing the cycle lane with busses. Tour busses, Wilts and Dorset regular services and the park and ride. After crossing through you own designated traffic light with a little green bike on it, carry on a further 150 metres and turn left into Victoria Road where the council have thoughtfully painted the cycle lane green onto the pavement. Bear left and 3 metres later it stops with the word END.
Alan, this is not the worst example, the Southampton Road at the other side of the city has its very own chicane made from steel bollards which the emergency services have to negotiate in the event of a problem and involves using the cycle lane.

Pete Owens writes: I thought you might like this example of weirdness from Warrington for your guest pages.

Friday, 28 March 2003

Brighton's West Pier burns down after a mysterious black speedboat was seen in the area... Not really cycle lane related, but on my way down to watch it, I came across a new bike lane on East Street that takes you from the road and onto the pavement, out of the way of impatient cars,,, and on the way home, I took a snap of yet another skip on the new Church Road contra-flow. Had loads of emails lately -- I'll try to answer them soon.

Sunday, 23 March 2003

Blimey! a feature appeared in yesterday's Daily Telegraph, complete with photo, on the penultimate page of the Motoring supplement!

Thursday, 13 March 2003

How wide should a cycle lane be?
Richard Carter sent an e-mail to the DoT website asking about standards for cycle lanes, not expecting to get a lot back, but actually received a really helpful reply from them.

He writes: What they did was send me a copy of their cycling bibliography, saying that 'one of the publications [in it] is 'Cycle-friendly infrastructure - Guidlines for planning and design,' which costs �15. That might have been the end of it, he could simply have said bugger off and buy the thing. But he went on to say this:

'Very briefly, the guidance stipulates a cycle lane width of 2m wherever possible with a recommended minimum width of 1.5m. Unfortunately, in most circumstances, 2m is difficult to achieve and 1.5m seems to have become the norm in practice. Smaller widths than 1.5m are often encountered on the network. If a lane has to be provided less than 1.5m wide, it is best limited to short stretches, such as where there is a lead-in to an advanced stop line reservoir at traffic lights."

Now, reality is rather different, of course, but I thought this was really good as a standard, even if the miserable buggers who are actually supposed to implement the guidance take no damn notice of it at all.

Saturday, 8 March 2003

Added guest photos from Graham Brodie and Paul Rea.

Gerry Leach writes: Here in Leicester we have a contraflow cycle lane which passes a taxi office, so that it is normally blocked by parked minicabs. A cyclist went to the police station to complain that he had to move out of the lane to pass the cabs, and the desk sergeant said "So you've come to confess to riding the wrong way along a one-way street? You're only legal if you stay in the cycle lane!"

Met the author of the Big Issue article on me website in the Cowley Club last night -- he admitted pinching it from the Argus!

Thursday, 6 March 2003

Tim replies to Ivo!
Interesting. I presume the contributor is an Audax cyclist. Because of the
speeds of cycle racing on roads I have always seen them using the road
rather a cyclepath provided in NL, B or F. For ordinary commuting cyclists
and children I think it is a different matter. I submitted the photos to
Wierdcyclelanes (we all have to agree that some of them are beyond belief)
to show what can be done. I or indeed other contributors can't advise, only
say what we like or don't like. If there is a better (to encourage more
cycling) and safer way than my photos show, then please advise my County
Council, as what they have suggested so far will only serve to force cars
into cyclists at pinch points making it even more dangerous than it already

I can only speak from experience and that of my wife and son. None of us
feel safe on a road with a white line that vehicles enroach without a second
thought and have indeed cycled in the town that I took the photos in. I
would be happy for him to cycle to school using what is in the photos. I
will not allow him to use the zero infrastructure that we have in Worcs, it
isn't nice when an idiot turns out of a side road and stops blocking the
road infront of you and crushing you and your child into the kerb (I
hammered with my fist on that tw?ts door). A separate cycle path would keep
those idiots off him.

The comments re an inexperienced driver hitting a kerb, whether that be for
a bike path or a pedestrian path, are understood, but that is a risk we take
when walking, and so it is the same when cycling. I still feel more at ease
being separated by a kerb than a white line. The inexperienced would mow me
down with or without a kerb.

Islands I find are a deathtrap for cyclists in the UK, and pinched islands
just force cars to push into cyclists. It seems to me that the more distance
you can put between cyclist and car on an island the better, with a kerb as
per the picture, seems as good as you can get. Bear in mind that these are
urban areas with speed limits of 50km or less. I cannot understand how a
young cyclist could feel safer on a British roundabout, because I don't, and
I'm a big bloke who can give drivers a "come any closer if you dare" evil

For faster roads, there is normally some meters separating the cyclepath and
the road, the path is often protected by barriers, lines of trees or Trevi
kerbing (which vehicles cannot climb).

Generally because the cyclepath has right of way across any turning off a
main road (it is the same case here but but local authorities sign against
the cyclist and pedestrian incorrectly) then bikes continue at the same
speed in NL, B and elsewhere. In terms of evading a pedestrian stepping onto
a cyclepath, er what happens if the pedestrian steps into the road? A
cyclepath is just that, a cyclepath and one doesn't walk on one. We can cope
quite well with keeping off them when walking in other countries. My 9 year
old ambled onto one in a daydream, although he knew he should watch out. He
won't do it again, the moped gave him a fright! Even I can stop in a couple
of metres on my ordinary dutch bike, so not really an issue I have found.

We have to ask ourselves why we have 3% cycle to work and school in the UK,
15% in York, they are doing great things, yet in most countries from Denmark
to Switzerland, Belgium to Germany they have much greaters numbers? Could it
be something to do with infrastructure? IE We don't have it or when we do it
is difficult to use, with notable exceptions of a few areas in the UK
(please let me have examples of good and safe infrastructure in the UK and I
can show them to Highways on the next Safe Routes To School meeting).

It would make sense that 40% of Belgian cycle accidents happen on cycle
paths, because most of the time most of the cycles are on it. Also to bear
in mind these are commuters, they do not hang about. They are constant
speed cycling and can be a bit mad max at times. Also bear in mind that the
figures will include those coming out of nightclubs at 5am or later, with
their mate or "pull" sat on the rack, probably tanked up or on wacky-baccy,
or both. I would prefer them to have their accident on a cycle rather than
causing death by reckless driving.

I also drive a lot in other countries, a million miles in various 4 wheeled
vehicles, including 100 000 motorcycle miles, and as a driver I can also see
the benefits not only in encouraging cycling and providing a safer
environment, and rather than the UK situation that the cyclists are stuck in
the traffic too, but when you can see numerous cyclists making much faster
progress in urban traffic on their dedicated routes you wish you could be
with them rather than stuck in stationary traffic (which was the case with
me). Isn't this the problem that we are trying to address in the UK? And as
part of that is Safe Routes to School, the greater the separation between
young cyclists and motor traffic the greater success we'll have in turning
around the 97% being driven by car to school. Without that separation and
infrastructure, a point being missed by many UK highways depts, it won't

Whilst I am sure the Netherlands, Belgium and the many, many other countries
that provide infrastructure for everyday and inexperienced cyclists isn't
perfect, and could still be better, personally given the choice for my son,
myself and my wife's choice is, that we don't like to cycle in the UK, and we
do enjoy cycling in those other countries, this will be the same situation
for the 57% that would cycle (to school) given good infrastructure.

Tot ziens,


Wednesday, 5 March 2003

A toothless cog -- a letter about cycles on trains from Becky of Bricycles

Tuesday, 4 March 2003

Blimey -- a bit of controversy!! Ivo Miesen writes from NL:
I checked the site only today, and especially paid attention to the pictures
of the Dutch situation. I was quite shocked when I discovered that they were
advising Dutch bikepaths which I regard as downright unsafe. There are safe
bikepaths overhere, but not the ones pictured by them. Concrete slabs
seperating the road from the bikepath earn their respect. I feel dangerous
when I ride on such a path. Any inexperienced cardriver hitting the slab
will lose control, and I as a cyclist don't have the choice to take evasive
action if a pedestrian steps onto the bikepath. The typical Dutch roundabout
design for cyclists has a high casualty figure, especially if the bikepath
is so clearly separated. I didn't check it close enough, but I wouldn't be
surprised if that particular one is even against current regulations. I feel
definitely safer on a British roundabout.
From a statistic point of view, when I was in the Eurostar travelling
towards Rocco's brevet, I read in a Belgian newspaper that 40% of all
accidents with cyclists occur while the cyclist is either on the bikepath,
or just entering/leaving it.

Sunday, 2 March 2003

Apparently, there's also a mention in A to B magazine.
Yesterday (Saturday) managed to cycle along with some war protestors on the seafront until the heavy rain forced me to shelter-- they were outnumbered about 3 to 1 by police -- plus about 12 vans and assorted vehicles holding up the traffic. Went for a pasty on Duke Street and then on to my favourite cafe, the Offbeat in Sydney Street, for a 90p cappuccino.
Glass!! the bane of my life -- had another puncture on Thursday -- brown and green glass from bottles, presumably thrown and smashed casually by lager-drinking yobbos! It's particularly bad on the cycle lane opposite the King and Queen pub on the Old Steine... Eating and drinking in the street -- soooo common!
Guardian Unlimited | Online | Web watch -- a mention of this site in the Grauniad, no less!! Looks like I've had about 4000 hits in the past fortnight!