Saturday, 23 August 2008

Feeder road: what does this bike lane do

Looking at this view of a cyclist going along a bike lane in Feeder road, you'd think that the car was deliberately about to run over this bike

But they aren't -they are just driving along stuck behind a bike. Why go along halfway in the bike lane?

Well, lorries like this may have something to do with it.

The only safe place for a car is half in the bike lane. So of course they do it. They'd do it even if it had stricter markings than the dotted hint of a bike lane here.

It's not exactly clear what this bike lane does. It does hint to cars that they should expect bikes, but since motor traffic was moving up and down here fast, it's not clear that its a safe place to ride. What it does do is discourage bikes from pulling out just enough to completely block cars from behind getting past, and stop bikes from getting lined up to do a right turn into the (signed) route under the Saint Philip's causeway. So maybe it's there to keep bikes under control while adding to the quota of bike lanes in the city. A double benefit then, for Bristol.

5 comments:

Noel said...

There is actually plenty of room there for traffic in both directions to flow and still have bike lanes(maybe even the lorries if it wasnt for all the parked cars). But the car drivers will give more room for the cars coming the other way and the parked cars than they will the cyclists. It is clear from your pictures that the red car could easily have fit into their own lane, but chose not to.

Personally I'd ban parking on the side of the Feeder road, add a bike lane on the opposite side, paint them both red and cut the traffic speed limit to 20mph.

I hope the new "cycle city" money doesnt go on more badly designed, virtually useless lanes such as this. The Feeder road is a prime example of how not to do it.

Chris Hutt said...

Despite what most cyclists think, some motorists are anxious not to overtake cyclists too close and would like to give them plenty of room, but if they did that it would slow down the traffic, which would obviously be a bad thing.

To stop traffic being slowed by motorists waiting until it's safe to overtake, the bike lane markings are arranged to encourage motorists to overtake too close and too fast by giving the impression of a safe overtaking zone.

Andy in Germany said...

@Noel: Unfortunately you're proven right in our village where drivers will go up the pavement to save those vital seconds waiting for oncoming traffic. I've watched a car drive along a pavement towards a mum and child, honking the horn for them to get out of the way.

SteveL said...

Both the red car and some others I saw (no pics) did wait for bikes -which is good, as if they'd squeezed or sprinted fast it could have been scary for the rider. It's one of those roads where its just a bit too wide to full control the cars. As Noel says, you could remove the parking and provide good bike lanes, but without speed rules it would be worse than it is today -a fast connector road with lots of traffic.

InsanityIdeas said...

As SteveL said, the problem with feeder road is that its the "wrong" width, it either needs to be narrower or wider. And thanks to Brunel and his cronies its also pretty straight, which never helps car drivers keep to 30.

Most of the bad cycle lanes (thinking Gloucester Rd here) are bad because they are run down roads that are the wrong width. Maybe some of the cycling city money should be spent on removing cycle lanes to make things safer for cyclists (by encouraging them to join the flow of traffic rather than hug the parked cars)?