Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Can you guess what it is yet?

Those of us who grew up with Rolf Harris on our televisions painting using a 4 inch wide brush while doing that strange impression of a trumpet that dads do once they reach 50 will remember him saying "can you guess what it is yet" halfway through painting his picture.

For the next couple of weeks you can play "can you guess" on the corner of Pulteney Street and Wakefield Street in the city.

Travelling north (where you'll know there is no bike lane, you come across this:

The word 'green' and the letter 'b' suggest that this is going to be a bike box, or what the Australian Road Rules refer to as a bicycle storage area. The short line leading up to it makes me think that this is all you're gonna get and we won't (at least for a while) see a wide, raised lane leading up to it.

Once you're in the intersection, you see this:

And here's a close-up:

I stand to be corrected but I reckon 'SB' might refer to a bicycle stensil. The arrow is probably self-explanatory. This appears to be a small space dedicated for people conducting a hook-turn on their bicycles. Judging by the size of it, there's only room for about three people to use it at any time. A bit like a revolving door where even two people in the one segment can be awkward.

Judging by similar treatments in other States (and indeed based on what's been happening around Adelaide), I would guess that the bike box and the turny bit will be painted green.

We are told that bike lanes that are the colour of snot reduce collisions by 38%. The figure comes from a Danish study but is otherwise not cited (a bit like the famous 85% figure). If it's correct, then great but alas, it didn't stop this on Rundle Street today:

(The bike box on the corner of Frome Street)

Regardless, it is far from what you see in Groningen but it is something. It is another very small, glacially-paced step towards a healthy cycling culture.


  1. Just as there are many dead ends on the evolutionary Tree of Life, such bike boxes are just one of many dead ends on the development of a proper cycling network.

    If these are what we are going to show the ECF at Velocity 2014 as our "advanced" infrastructure then I will be going into hiding for the duration rather than face the embarrassment as our advocates and politicians extol Adelaide as the cycling capital of Australia while the European visitors smile politely.

    Life is too short to settle for second-rate unsafe crap facilities like bike boxes.

    1. Then you'd be happy to know that when Manfred Neun (ECF) flew through last year they brought him down to the then newly installed box WB south x Pulteney as an example of our leading ways!

      Seriously though, we got VCG because we are a developing cycle city. Since copenhagen 2010 it's been to Vansterdam and this year Vienna. And though it reverts back to the beginning of the alphabet for us the theme of developing cultures remains.

      So it id basic yes but we need basic infrastructure (at least) so people can see why it's basic. To some these bike boxes are radical departures from reality - to me they are another small step towards a better network.

    2. They're not "basic", they're crap and unsafe, just like our "basic" unprotected bike lanes on arterial roads that have been around for about 20 years, and they won't make a bit of difference to Adelaide's cycling mode share, which is practically zero in statistical terms. This shows that your "small step" strategy doesn't and won't work. Either build it properly or not at all.

  2. I find those bicycle storage areas on Rundle St really confusing. According to the ARRs a bicycle storage area has to open out from a bike lane and there are no (legal) bike lanes on Rundle Street between East Tce and Pulteney. Maybe bike lanes are coming or maybe I'm missing the point.

  3. It's weird isn't it? There are a few like that. Another is on Bentham Street. It's just a box at the end of the road - right in a truck's blind spot.