October 21, 2005

Delineation

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/estates/ct/programme/oa/transport/cycling/

There are now bicycle survey comments and suggestions on the web at link

You can use this blog to comment & debate the proposals. Email me if you want to start an entry and haven't yet got author access.

I'll kick things off by creating an entry about delineation. I'm rather skeptical about using white lines to mark off areas reserved for cycling from those reserved for walking.

Won't some pedestrians wander over to the cyclists' side, causing cyclists to get annoyed and possibly "buzz" them in retaliation? To avoid a pedestrian, a cyclist might have to cross into the pedestrian area, causing other pedestrians to feel aggrieved about cyclists encroaching on their territory. Except where the delineation is rather strong and the distance rather long, I rather think the best solution is for cyclists to moderate their speed according to the conditions. We can always ring our bells or call out "excuse me" or an ironic "Good Morning" whenever a gaggle of pedestrians is managing to block the whole path. It's only 250 metres between University and University House. Is it really much of a sacrifice to keep one's speed down at busy times?

As I regard attempts to build comprehensive traffic-free networks for cyclists as hopeless impractical in existing built up areas, I'm a strong believer in motorist/cyclist shared use. Motorists must moderate their speed, so that people aren't intimidated from cycling on the carriageway. In the few cases where cyclist/pedestrian shared use is a better idea than motorist/cyclist shared use, is too much to ask those using the faster means of transport to moderate their speed?

Also I don't see those interested in aesthetics letting someone paint white lines all over the place!


- 13 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Steve Rumsby

    I have had occasional difficulty negotiating that small stretch between the ring road and University House, due to pedestrians walking six abreast, but on the whole I agree that delineating it probably doesn't make sense. However I would suggest improving the signage so that it is more clearly marked as a shared use facility. I've had the odd pedestrian look at me in surprise that I was cycling there at all…

    21 Oct 2005, 13:18

  2. Steve Rumsby

    I've also given some thought to the idea of delineation in general, and when it might be justifed and when it doesn't make sense. In the process of thinking about some of the more extreme examples this question suddenly popped into my head – why do we have white lines down the middle of our roads or divide individual carriageways into multiple lanes?

    21 Oct 2005, 13:22

  3. Chris May

    Yay! My grumble about Westwood has been noted :-)

    I share your skepticism about delineation; it's almost never a good thing IMO. Clear indication that this is a shared path (and an indication to both pedestrians and cyclists that they should have consideration for other users ) is a much better tactic, I think.

    re. Steve's last observation: Is there a difference between lanes of the same kind of traffic and lanes of different sorts of traffic, which you should include in your considerations?

    21 Oct 2005, 13:44

  4. Chris May

    I note that the page linked to says (of the path to uni house)

    No delineated cycle path – leads to ‘dodging pedestrians’ – recipe for disaster

    I wonder whether there has actually been a disaster (or even a bit of a mishap!) on this path (and if so, whether there or more, or less, disasters than on the delineated path round the corner). I'd be surprised if so – after all it's 20 feet wide and a straight as an arrow, so there's plenty of opportunity to avoid each other.

    Sounds a bit like the opinion of someone with a white-paint surplus to dispose of ;-)

    21 Oct 2005, 13:47

  5. I've had the odd pedestrian look at me in surprise that I was cycling there at all

    Perhaps small reminder signs that the path to University House from the ring road is actually a shared cycle/pedestrain path might be a good idea?

    21 Oct 2005, 14:23

  6. Steve Rumsby

    Is there a difference between lanes of the same kind of traffic and lanes of different sorts of traffic, which you should include in your considerations?

    So creating separate lanes of motor traffic, whether in the same or different directions, makes sense because there's lots of the same sort of thing? Whereas separating bikes and pedestrians doesn't make sense because they are different sorts of things? What does that mean for bikes and motor vehicles?

    I don't have an agenda here, or even an answer. I just don't know what I think about delineation of bikes and pedestrians, so I'm trying to construct some rules from situations I do have an opinion about, and see where I end up!

    21 Oct 2005, 16:02

  7. Clues about delineation: Speed and direction.
    Traffic (cycles, pedestrians, cars) going in the same direction can safely mix even if they are at quite different speeds. Traffic crossing causes problems – that's why separate tracks for cyclists alongside car roads are unnecessary if the motors are not going very fast (30/40 m.p.h.?) and don't need to cross into another lane to overtake. Separate tracks are downright dangerous if there is a lot of crossing traffic (say pedestrians coming out of houses, cars coming in or out of driveways or side roads ….). But where there's a long stretch without a junction and the motors are travelling fast (e.g. a rural trunk road or motorway) a good separation between the motors and the cycles is best.
    Also pedestrians don't have much lane discipline and I'm no enthusiast for cycle lanes if they must cross the mouths of side roads. I'm more favourable where they allow cyclists to by-pass queuing cars or where the road bends to the left.

    21 Oct 2005, 16:34

  8. I think there's even a problem relating to where these delineations are already in place. I cite the "Claycroft Entrance" as an example of where this has been implemented, but is thoroughly ignored by all and sundry.

    No pedestrians use the route through Claycroft, only a handful of cyclists use the cycle lane, which is barely wide enough for passing, and the odd Estates vehicle that passes along the road has to dodge (at well more the the prescribed 10mph) pedestrians and cyclists alike.

    Further, in the BUG discussion, the state of the cyclepath/road itself is not mentioned with two "raised" junctions between parts of the path (by the barrier itself and at by the end of Claycroft).

    Nor is there mention of the paths in, around and too/from Lakeside and Heronbank. The path by the MBA centre is too narrow for cyclists and pedestrians.

    And finally, why is it just University House that has the luxury of shower facilities, and even then gets an upgrade of those facilities?

    21 Oct 2005, 16:49

  9. Clues about delineation: Speed and direction.
    Traffic (cycles, pedestrians, cars) going in the same direction can safely mix even if they are at quite different speeds. Traffic crossing causes problems – that's why separate tracks for cyclists alongside car roads are unnecessary if the motors are not going very fast (30/40 m.p.h.?) and don't need to cross into another lane to overtake. Separate tracks are downright dangerous if there is a lot of crossing traffic (say pedestria

    21 Oct 2005, 18:35

  10. Steve Rumsby

    Also pedestrians don't have much lane discipline

    Which sort of argues for delineation where cyclists and pedestrians meet, doesn't it? While I can see the arguement that making both share the same space encourages each to be more considerate to the other, I have a couple of concerns about the principle:

    1. It only works if all the users are familiar with it. If the same schemes exist everywhere, then (almost) everybody will be. But if not, then people (both cyclists and pededtrians) will simply not be aware of the expected behaviour and will get it wrong.
    2. Pedestrians are much more manoueverable than cyclists. They can (and do) stop and change direction quickly. That's a recipe for a disaster in a non-delineated space, isn't? The only way a cyclist can guarantee to not hit a pedestrian who does something unexpected is to keep well clear (possible only when there's little traffic) or get off and walk.

    Maybe I just need to see some of these spaces in action?

    24 Oct 2005, 09:45

  11. Steve Rumsby

    And finally, why is it just University House that has the luxury of shower facilities, and even then gets an upgrade of those facilities?

    The showers were in the building when the University bought it. If they weren't, I'm sure they wouldn't have been added. They certainly haven't been upgraded (not that I've noticed anyway).

    24 Oct 2005, 09:48

  12. As pedestrians don't have much lane discipline, white lines might delineate in theory but not in practice. Kerbs are more effective (e.g. the Gibbet Hill to main campus link). But there are places where councils believe nothing less than metre high steel fences are needed to keep the pedestrians out of vehicle space.
    I rarely use the University house path, so can't say much about the volume of pedestrian traffic. How often are there so many pedestrians to warrant cyclists traveling at walking pace? When there are so many, would they keep to their side of any white line? Why should cyclists get off and walk anyway? A person takes up less room riding a bicycle, even at 3 m.p.h. than when pushing it.

    I use the Claycroft arrangement (always on the wide path) every time I visit the university. Often I don't need to moderate my speed, occasionally there are enough pedestrians to make me slow down – typically to around 8 m.p.h. (I do have a speedo).

    Here's a sign where you can expect to see a shared space without delineation

    24 Oct 2005, 19:11

  13. Steve Rumsby

    How often are there so many pedestrians to warrant cyclists traveling at walking pace?

    I use the University House path only at the beginning and end of the day. I generally find it a little busier than the Claycroft path at those times, but not hugely so.

    25 Oct 2005, 15:14


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