Wednesday 2 September 2009

Shaldon Road Advanced Suicide Lane

This is Shaldon Road. Behind the camera is a path leading to the Farm Pub Path -Shaldon Road is the main route from that path to Lockleaze and hence UWE. As and when the "new" North Fringe route gets rolled out there will be one less steep, but it will still suffer from the problem of getting over Muller Road, of which this is one of the junctions.

What is that bus in? That's right, an Advanced Stop Lane.

Now, some people, and Crap Cycling & Walking in Waltham Forest spring to mind, would fault this bus for endangering cyclists. We do not. Not just because we view cyclists as tax-dodging troublemakers, but we don't think bicycles should be using this ASL on safety grounds. Remember, the primary route on this road for a bike is straight on, towards Ashley Down, Horfield, St Andrews and St Werburghs. No cyclist planning of surviving their commute back from UWE should use the bike stop lane. They should hang back.

Here is a video showing why, taken from the other direction.

Note how buses turning left swing round to completely scrape clear the ASL of bicycles? And while someone could try sticking to the far right of it, vehicles turning from Muller Road into Shaldon Road will get them there.

Once upon a time, this ASL was actually wider, yet its right hand side was removed to eliminate the illusion that this was a safe place to loiter. It would seem to us that painting out the rest of the ASL would benefit everyone.


Adam said...

If you wait in the middle of the ASL (as I would normally do, positioned over the cranks of the white line bike) how does this affect left turning traffic before the lights go green for straight on?

SteveL said...

If you are going straight on, you need to hang back, behind the ASL, to stay safe. If you are turning left, you can either run the lights or stay in the centre of the left lane,

Adam said...

So if you wait in the box to go straight on then left turning traffic has to wait behind you? I'm imagining the left turn goes green before the straight on?

From Google maps it looks like the right lane is for right turns so to keep straight on you should stay in the left lane?

Sorry never used this junction. Just trying to imagine how I'd react if I came across it or similar.

SteveL said...

If you wanted to go straight on, the place you'd wait in the ASL is about where the bike wheel painted on the ground is -midway between the left turn lane and the oncoming traffic. Cars turning left would go to your left. But as buses swing out to take the turn, that is not a place you would want to stand.

Adam said...

I think I'd sit in the middle of the left lane. Likely to annoy a few people but preferable to death or injury.

Defensive positioning

Adam said...

...unless there is no straight on oprion the other side of the junction?

Adam said...

oprion = "option"

SteveL said...

You go straight on to get into the farm pub path. Most traffic heading down the hill is turning left, they would get very unhappy if you blocked the left lane. There is a turn right filter lane, just stay in there and don't go forward to the ASL.

Adam said...

So there's a straight on option but no lane for straight on? Where do cars going straight on wait? Or is it only a case of only bikes straight on so no need to cater for cyclists?

How would I know to hang back from the ASL unless I'd read this?