Wednesday, 11 November 2009

What separation of cycle routes really means


Explanatory captions on this video are only visible when it is viewed on a computer and not on a mobile device.

This video shows a location very near our home. Cyclists completely separated from motor traffic. It's not an aberration, but something quite common. It is possible to cycle here and barely see cars. Cars are mostly elsewhere.

The cycle routes you see in this video have few cars for several reasons. Some are cycle paths along which cars are not allowed. Others are roads open to all, but along which there is no destination for drivers, so they are not at all useful as a through road by car. No road sign will tell a driver that these small roads are route. They are directed onto the main road that you also see in the video. What's more, rat-running doesn't work here. Those roads which have been prioritised for cyclists really don't make a useful alternative for drivers.

This location looked quite different three years ago. The motivation for this transformation was to make sure that there was a direct and easy route to the city centre from a new housing estate on the western side of the city. The blue bridge carrying the cars over the cycle path was built to give cyclists a direct route without any stops and with maximum social safety.

This change was amongst those which helped the city to raise its cycling rate from around 37% to the new figure of 41% of all journeys by bike.

If you imagine going under the blue bridge in this video, you can get all the way into the city centre on the bicycle road, and the last bit looks like this

The video was shot from an artificial hill which stands where the red spot is in this photo:
The photo is from Microsoft Bing Maps birds eye view. I would have embedded it if I could work out how (it's much easier with Google Maps...).

A video view of the entire bicycle road route between the city centre and the new housing development is in another blog post. There is also another view from this hill.

5 comments:

Ryan said...

That is what I would LOVE to see in cities across Canada. Some cities (Montréal mainly) has started to create separate bicycle lanes in the downtown.

Most cities answer to a bike lane is a bucket of paint. Which although is nice, does not increase the safety of cyclists.

I have noticed that some cyclists here are dead against separate cycle lanes for whatever reason.

Paul Simms said...

Just seen you on ITV in the UK.

Thanks for getting 'THE' message across to millions.

Time will tell though?

Mark said...

Hm, yes, I saw you too David (whilst eating my dinner, ha!) You were the sole voice of reason in what was otherwise unfortunately a rather ill-informed show. But well done for getting a very clear message across about how there will never be a true velorution without safe cycling infrastucture

Steve B said...

I like it! Where do the pedestrians fit in?

David Hembrow said...

Steve: Good question. I didn't point it out. Where many pedestrians are expected there are always separate pedestrian paths. Where pedestrians will be rare, they will walk on the cycle path. "Shared use" paths where a lot of pedestrians are expected to share with cyclists are not built because they lead to conflict.

As I recall, you don't see any pedestrians in this video. I think this goes a long way to show that missing out the pedestrian path was a reasonable thing to do in this location. A very small number of pedestrians on a cycle path doesn't cause a problem.

There is still a pedestrian path alongside the bicycle road, and it runs the entire distance from the other side of the blue bridge to the city centre.