Tuesday, 23 June 2009

New thoughts on cycle lanes

Following some (car) road trips outside of town this year (to cycle events of course :)). I find myself of the growing opinion that we need slow vehicle (or vulnerable vehicle lanes), not cycle lanes.

We're all special, but that is because we are people. Not because we are cyclists.

As a motorist myself, I do not understand why so many motorists will stop for a dog, or a sheep but if its a human they think "mow 'em down".

This seems to apply equally campervans, mopeds and farm tractors etc as much as cyclists.

It seems that the more cycle lanes there are, the more it seems to support the incorrect motorist notion that cyclists do belong on the road (ever) - even where no such facilities exist. No amount of Cycle Lane infrastructure will fix the underlying of problem of the inequality and disrespect of being treated as 2nd class, facing daily assassination attempts and underlying attitudes of motorists that cyclists do not belong there.

Not to forget that existing cycle lanes have a nasty, and dangerous habit of ending when you need them. The most dangerous part is at the intersections, or narrow corners where the cycle lanes typically abruptly terminate (e.g. the Petone round-about in Wellington).

A better example in Wellington is the ~1m gap behind the new traffic island from Evans Bay Parade, turning left into Cobham drive. Its not even a cycle-lane on either side but it nicely gets you through the intersection, away from traffic and into the shoulder of the busy road. Brilliant. Thankyou WCC :).

Instead of long cycle ways, fix the really dangerous part - intersections by adding enhanced features at intersections for vulnerable road-users (like cyclists).

How about replacing passing lanes with slow vehicle lanes?

Motorists need to know that cyclists and other slow or vulnerable vehicles do not like having faster moving vehicles behind them, as much as motorists may not like having cyclists or slower vehicles in front of them. How about, some reverse psychology so that motorists have a higher assurance that a slow vehicle will let them past as soon as the opportunity presents itself, rather than the existing motorist assumption of birthright to pass slow moving vehicles regardless of dangers presented by on-coming traffic, blind corners, crests of hills etc.

Anyway, that is my rant for the evening. Any thoughts?