Friday, 25 February 2011

How wide is your cyclepath ?

When I say that cycle paths here are quite often 4 m wide, I'm quite sure that a lot of people don't believe me.

An amusing way of demonstrating this occurred to me on Saturday. I put my bike sideways on a cycle path which is being resurfaced (so officially out of use, not that this stops many people) in a position where it wouldn't get in the way due to the pile of tiles for resurfacing the pedestrian path, but would demonstrate the width.

As you'll see, if it were possible to ride your bike sideways along here, it would still also be possible for someone to ride in the same manner in the opposite direction without any danger of crashing...

There was a little confusion, so I've added another photo, showing the same spot from the opposite direction. Here you can more clearly see the pedestrian path alongside the cycle path. It's been dug up in the first photo. Also you can see how a temporary dropped kerb was made to allow easy cycle access to the recommended detour route.

And why this cycle path ? It's nothing special as such, but it's part of the most direct route for us to the city centre so I come along here often. I took photos when I saw it was being improved.

12 comments:

The Woollen Typist said...

It would be nice to have cycle paths like yours here (London).
Unfortunately we have no thing and probably never will. :(

OldGreyBeard said...

How you torture us!

Excellent blog. Keep up the good work.

Ryan said...

Is that strictly a cycle path or can pedestrians use it as well?

The closest thing we have in my city is a multi-use pathway which is slightly smaller than that.

David Hembrow said...

Ryan: It's a cycle path. The pile of tiles which my bike is next to is for resurfacing the pedestrian path which is dug up at the side.

The black surface is the first layer of asphalt. This will soon have a second layer of red asphalt on top. Underneath, there's about 20-30 cm of foundation.

John in NH said...

For those that really want to see different widths, a quick journey in Google Earth is quite wonderful. One can measure bi-directional, single directional, shared roads, on road bike lanes, dimensions and all sorts of stuff!

The best we get over here are wide multi-use paths/trails that only marginally go where you want them, and a rarely if ever faster. Plus you have to deal with the jogger on their headphones that could make a sudden turn and run into you...

Designers never have issues making a huge highway for anticipated use, but the moment you suggest a large bikeway for anticipated use all hell breaks out...

Rob said...

Goodness. I do believe there are alleys in Chicago that aren't that wide, and require someone to back up to pass.

In any event, to answer the question, 2.5m (10 feet) seems to be the standard around here, occasionally narrowing to 2.2m (8 feet). Comfortably wide enough to provide for the volumes of foot/bike traffic we see in the western suburbs.

Incidentally, on my drive to work today (owing to yet more snow last night that looks icy to ride on), I noticed that today marked the beginning of cross-country running for the local high school.

I don't think any width of sidepath would be enough to accommodate the 'preferences' of where and how 16-year-old track runners choose to run. :-) Time to break out the air horn...

Micheal Blue said...

The main east-west multiple-use path (it's not just for bikers) in Toronto along the shore of Lake Ontario is about that wide, too. I'm very fortunate to live close to it and take it to work. Unfortunately this wide path is an exception, rather than the rule.
It needs resurfacing now, too. It's full of cracks and potholes.

hercule said...

Wide enough for my Kettwiesel trike then - there's a bridge on a local cycle path which only just fits my Kett's width without clipping the kerbs at the side. I have to ride slowly enough so that I don't drift a couple of centimetres out of line. Not good if I meet someone going the other way! And the Kett is only about 80cm wide...

christhebull said...

Ah, but our British cycle paths are designed to make the rider feel familiar with an off road environment by incorporating elements of road riding. Hence, the chicanes and bollards are intended to replicate the delicate manoeuvring required to filter between lanes of stationary traffic, and the ridiculous slaloms from pavement to road and vice versa are intended to legitimise what BMX riders do anyway. Or something. Who am I kidding? ;p

Cottenham Cyclist said...

David, I hope you don't mind, I've used the first photo in my blog to compare against my local cyclepath (near Cambridge). I have linked to here so people know where it came from. Let me know if its a problem or if you would like something changed.

See here: Cottenham to Histon cyclepath

David Hembrow said...

Hi Cottenham Cyclist, I don't mind at all if people use my photos if they also give credit and a link, as you did.

I used the Cottenham to Histon cyclepath myself when I lived in Cambridge. It's really awful. I also used to quite regularly ride on the road instead to avoid the terrible cycle path. If you can draw attention to the problem and get something done about it, that would be a very good thing.

Darren Alff said...

Wow! Those are some wide bike paths. They look more like streets with giant people on them than they do the bike paths I am used to seeing.