Friday, 30 April 2010

When a bicycle lane should stop

Like many cities, Adelaide has bicycle lanes. Although I use that term in its broadest possible sense. Bicycle lanes in Adelaide are white lines painted close to the gutter and from time to time will have a bicycle painted in them. I know of only two proper bicycle lanes that deserve the title though. One is on Sturt Street and the other runs alongside part of Frome Road next to the School of Medicine.

What all Adelaide bike lanes have in common is where and how they end. That is, abruptly and the one place where they should not end.

Here is an example. It could be anywhere:

Note how the painted line just finished and bike riders are left to fend for themselves in the intersection. This is of course silly. At intersections is where traffic comes into conflict. It is where there is the most risk. A bike rider or pedestrian potentially comes into conflict with a semi-trailer. Pedestrians at least have separate pathways, although the adequacy of those can be debated. People on bikes are thrown into a sea of fast moving traffic.

Here's another. It's close to the ABC building in Collinswood. This one is good. The lane ends and the bike rider is directed straight into a lump of concrete. Nice work:

It is very different from how it is done in other countries. The video below shows how the Dutch do it. Bike lanes deserve the title. People on bikes are kept separate from traffic travelling at 60km/h or more and at junctions or roundabouts they are kept separate and who has right of way is clear. The lanes only end when you reach a residential area where there are no fast moving through streets and speeds are limited to 30km/h; a speed which has proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury.

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention the lights at that corner at Collinswood are the slowest in the world and seem to have it in for me. I miss them every day by just a bit!