Friday 23 October 2009

No room for cycle paths

These three photos come from a city in Canada. The same one I featured previously. They show a new cycle facility to create a link for cyclists.

Cyclists have been squashed between the existing sidewalk and a fence. Things such as seats at a bus stop are right on the "cycle path".

At this point the unfortunate cyclist is put into just about the worst possible point at the entrance to a property.

Unfortunately there was "no room" for a wide cycle path alongside this four lane road.

Of course, if you were to measure the width of the road you would soon come to the conclusion that there was plenty of room if it was possible to re-allocate just some of the space given over to motorised traffic.

The junction here is at the end of this cycle path. After bunny jumping the seat, cyclists are left to work out what to do next.

It is unfortunately extremely common for many countries to produce infrastructure like this.

It doesn't work to increase cycling levels by a significant extent because it's very obviously second rate.

Cyclists need directness, safety and to have a pleasant journey. They don't need an obstacle course.

Stop making excuses !

I previously covered this "too narrow" claim with an example in Cambridge.


Andy in Germany said...

I'm coming to the reluctant conclusion that this is more than an out of date car-centric ideology, but a deliberate policy to keep cycling down, because if you encourage cycling than you have more cyclists getting 'In the way' and a more vocal lobby.
In the face of this politicians make increasingly ridiculous statements and excuses for not improving infrastructure, in the hope that most people haven't checked their facts.
Locally it's becoming more clear: Bikes everywhere in nearby towns which do have good infrastructure and very few in our town where there isn'. The politicians are beginning to lok isolated by facts.

Bob said...

This kind of thing makes me just want spit! Honestly! I love Canada, look forward to going back there some day, but now that I've had a taste of the Dutch biking infrastructure, I just cringe at the thought of trying to use our bikes when the time comes for us to go home again.
Apparently one needn't be the brightest bulb in the pack to be a city planner there either.

MiddleAgeCyclist said...

As a regular cycle commuter in the UK I find cycle lanes a nuisance rather than a help and tend to stick to the roads where i can then ride defensively. Rather that than have to obstacle jump, pedestrian dodge and find myself being spat out into the road at junctions and blind spots.

As I follow your blog the more I envy the Dutch infrastructure and support for less cars and more bicycles!

spiderleggreen said...

I wish I could be shocked by those photos, but that's kind of what you expect. Here, bike trails and paths often begin and end in the oddest places. On one block they have one look and on the next it's different, if it's even there.

As for all the junk in biker's and pedestrian's way, Wes Kirkman made a comment in the How We Drive blog on jaywalking that points this out:
Traffic rules were made for cars…pedestrians don’t need traffic rules…do we need right-of-way laws in public plazas? No. Those moving at the speeds of humans can safely navigate around things. Traffic engineers obviously realize this; that’s why they put all that crap in the sidewalk (street signs, construction signs, parking meters, business A-frames, you name it).

2nd class citizens is what I see.

Robt said...

WOW! We should be so lucky in the US. Our bike lanes, when we can get them, often exist in that space between the traffic and the curb - often referred to as the gutter.

Oldboy in Brussels said...

I think, from my experience gather in transport consultancy, the main problem in the UK comes from the obsession of congestion and the overvalue given to car driver's value of time. DfT (and TfL)'s economic assessment need to be reviewed to start reallocating road space to cyclists and, at last, deliver modal shift!
Usualy schemes providing proper infrastructure proposed by transport planners are systematicly rejected as soon as some car space is removed and delays are created for the car traffic. I imagine in the DfT/TfL's mind "drivers are busy people that have something else to do that cycle or be stuck in a traffic jam".

Unknown said...

By Canadian standards, that isn't a half bad bike path.
Sad but true.

With the exception of Montréal which has "European-style" bike lanes on some of the downtown streets, and to a lesser extent Ottawa and Victoria, BC, Canadian cities are pitiful for bicycle infrastructure.

ibikelondon said...

Excellent observations as always, David - and rubbish cycle lane provision which is all too common I'm afraid.

But what is the best way to tackle this? Who should we be talking too? How do we ensure that planners get things right in the first place? I'm increasingly concerned that the new cycle 'super' highways planned for London will be just as bad...

David, I've added a link to your site from my Blogroll as you always bang the nail on the head,

i b i k e l o n d o n

Multiparty Democracy Today said...

Anyone who says that their streets are too narrow for bicycle infrastructure must because of the fact that bicycles are smaller, much smaller, than cars are, must also declare that a street is too narrow for cars too. If at first you can't put a cycle path in, you can put in traffic calming, both speed and volume, provide great alternate routes for cars, like motorway bypasses around cities than through them, add a 30 km/h speed limit and make access roads, or you can go behind door number two and ban cars, enforce this somehow, a sign plus a narrow entrance, only something like 4 metres wide, maybe a camera or well designed bollard and have fun and safe shopping streets.