Friday, 22 August 2008

Saint Philips: not bike lanes- segregation

Here are a couple of snips from the St Philips Causeway area. This is very car friendly. It has dual carriageways with 50 mph limits, a bridge that bans pedestrians (who still walk along it) and the junctions are all roundabouts. Best of all, for a car, all the bikes are pushed out the way.

Here's one example, a bike junction that encourages bikes to turn off the approach lanes and go under an Heavy Goods Vehicle instead.

When the lorry clears, you can see that the 'approved' way to cross the road consists of trying to cross -with no right of way- the vehicles entering and exiting the roundabout. The best bit, a little green sign that says "cyclists please give way to pedestrians"

If you actually follow this signage, you switch from being a road vehicle with rights of way into not just a second class citizen -a pedestrian- but a third class one. Everybody cuts you up. Nice.

Furthermore, having explored all these back lanes, it slow and not that safe to zig-zag round behind the KFC drive-in restaurant, through the back of the showcase parking area and then up through Barton Hill. For an efficient commute, and indeed a good walk, the Saint Philips Causeway is more direct and faster. Possibly safer too, were it not for a 50mph speed limit, which creates two expectations from cars: (1) there are no bikes and (2) they can go at 50mph.

Perhaps dropping the speed to 40mph and making one lane each way walking/cycling would be a bike city improvement we could aspire to. Then again, probably not. With all the car showrooms round there, its our own little bit of Bristol - Car City.


Noel said...

That top pic, I go through that way very often. There is zero visibilty to the right when crossing the road there. I'm certain I'm going to get hit one of these days, you have to rely on your ears to let you know if anything is coming before you cross.

SteveL said...

The area sucks for cycling. Maybe cutting the vegetation back would help.

SteveL said...

I should add that on the way back that evening, coming through the Showcase, I went out on the roundabout and used a lane rather than waste time on the bike lanes that abandon you at every junction. I felt it was safer.

Chris Hutt said...

Just one correction. The expectation arising from a 50 mph speed limit is that you can do 55 mph, at least. Speed limits are never enforced, only some arbitrary higher limit (roughly 10 - 15% higher I think, although there may be a more complex formula). No wonder we're all confused about the law.

SteveL said...

@chris, the causeway flyover does have speed cameras in both directions. It is a dual carriageway in a city, so nominally urban-dual-carriageway rules shoudl apply (40mph), but it retains the 50mph limit that runs all the way down from the M32. Which raises a related question: why does that road have a 50 mph limit all the way down?

Chris Hutt said...

But the speed cameras will not operate to catch someone doing 52 mph, will they. It would be interesting to know what speed limits they actually enforce. Do you think a FoI request for that info might work?

If the legal speed limits were enforced that would result in a substantial drop in actual speeds, since to stay well below say 30 mph you would in practice drive at around 25 mph (I know, I do it.) instead of around 30 mph. That's a big difference.

SteveL said...

You could ask to get the # of vehicles and what their recorded speeds were. Mysociety have a web site for this; it may be the police are the authority to hit: