Thursday, 26 November 2009

What is the bicycle speed for College Road?

After Dru Marland got penalised for cycling too fast, we sent one of our unwitting cyclists down College Road to see what speed cyclists should do down it.

Notice how, although the bicycle was going at the same speed as the car in front, it was still holding up a Volvo XC90, school-run, presumably. This car was forced to overtake the bicycle, which, with the oncoming traffic and narrow gap in front was not an easy move, especially in such a large car.

This is a busy road with a school, Clifton High, just passed on the right, with the parental parking/dropoff zones on either side of the road. Forcing cars to overtake aggressively right in front of a school is a dangerous action and it is selfish for the bicycle to do just that. To make matters worse, the bicycle then immediately swings past the Volvo only to come to a complete halt in front of them. This is a selfish operation that will slow down the important driver whose time is, according to DoT equations, worth more than pedestrians or cyclists.

Clearly then: a bicycle travelling at the same speed as motor traffic speed is going too slow and holding up important people. But going down this road at above traffic speed, as Dru showed, is too too fast. The obvious solution is to ban bicycles from such important roads, namely any road near a school. It is for the safety of them and pedestrians, you understand. Think of the schoolkids!


Bristol Guy said...

So, if the person on a bicycle was a car or a motorcycle and somebody was in a rush and over took other cars going at the same speed in and around a school area, that would be ok then? Or should we just ban cars except for parents from being around schools during pick ups?

SteveL said...

We like your thinking there. Ban all cars other than parents doing dropoffs -from Bristol's streets.

It makes sense, because you can see on a weekend how little traffic there is, and you can see that even on school holidays there is less but not that much less road traffic. So if you say the only people allowed to drive round in the morning are parents on the school run, then they can run really late and still get to school on time.

It even makes economic sense: parent+ 2 kids on the bus is expensive, but commuter on bus is affordable, and slightly more competitive with driving.

Dru Marland said...

I think it's worth pointing out that the qulaity of 'fastness' is subject to relativity. Thus, to the impartial observer driving a car behind a bicycle, that bicycle will always be too slow. And to that same impartial observer, either in the car that pulls out on a bicycle or nearby and sympathetic to that driver, then it will be evident that the bicycle was too fast. Even when its actual speed over the ground is only just in double figures...