Saturday 27 December 2008

self-degrading bike lanes

When the car lanes are too narrow -as here, on Whiteladies Road, where two southbound lanes try and squeeze alongside the bike lane, the bike lane suffers.

It was too narrow a lane anyway, you shouldn't really use as it is too dangerous. Locals know that; it's documented on Bristol Streets. But what about visitors -how will they know it's dangerous?

That's where the self-degrading paint comes into its own. If you paint a bike lane in a paint that is strong enough to withstand bike use, the lane stays red -bike lane. But where cars, buses and here, ambulances, go down the lane, their accelerating and braking tyres scrape off the red, leaving black underneath.

This provides a valuable cue to visitors that this is not really a bike lane, and should be avoided unless they are tired of life.


Chris Hutt said...

But surely cycle lanes of that sort have little value anyway, except to allow cyclists to pass on the inside when traffic is queuing.

In free moving traffic cycle lanes tend to make conditions worse for cyclists by encouraging / requiring motorists to take a position further out into the road than is necessary which in turn restricts the manoeuvring room for oncoming traffic, including motor vehicles overtaking cyclists.

Few traffic lanes are wide enough to persuade motorists to give a cyclist more room when overtaking than they would anyway, so what is the point of them, other than to give the impression that the council are 'doing something'?

WestfieldWanderer said... what is the point of them, other than to give the impression that the council are 'doing something'...

You've got it right there, Chris. That is the sole purpose of alleged 'bike lanes' in Bike Phobic Britain. Does absolutely nothing at all to encourage more people to try using a bike for a few of their local journeys.

There's nothing like doing a job properly.

And the lane in the picture is nothing like doing the job properly.

This is doing the job properly.

If you can't do something properly, then don't do it at all.

Chris Hutt said...

I made a typo in my previous comment - 'traffic lanes' should have been 'cycle lanes', but I think WW realised that.

In Bristol we questioned the point of cycle lanes (other than contra-flow ones) as soon as the council's so-called Cycling Project Team starting 'installing' them back in the late 1980s. They had no answer but went on with them anyway, despite our continuing concerns, because they didn't have the wit or courage to do anything else. That remains the case to this day.