Author Topic: A new approach to road design.  (Read 893 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
A new approach to road design.
« on: July 28, 2020, 11:07:13 am »

In a rare moment of potentially sensible thinking coming from Westminster, it looks like there is an intention to do a consultation on a review of the highway code and the way our roads are designed, with an intent to make it a bit more pro bike.


https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-highway-code-to-improve-road-safety-for-cyclists-pedestrians-and-horse-riders

This looks promising:



Forbes article on the various bits related to it:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2020/07/27/well-build-thousands-of-miles-of-protected-cycleways-pledges-boris-johnson/

So do we think anything will actually come of this? is this really a rare case of genuine competence?

or will it just be forgotten when the newscycle ends...

J



--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2020, 11:16:31 am »
It's fine reviewing the highway code but unless there is some kind of regular compulsary refresher* no one is going to dash out and get themselves a copy.

*AKA war on the motorist
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2020, 11:22:58 am »
Oooo. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I will be poring over that later on.
Rust never sleeps

Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2020, 11:31:36 am »
Blimey. First image of a bike is a recumbent !!!!
Rust never sleeps

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2020, 11:43:30 am »
Don't like the use of 'Must'. Most of the country has no possibility of complying with those 'musts'.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2020, 11:51:40 am »
"Routes should be designed only by those who have experienced the road on a cycle".

Very interesting point. Are they going to fire all the current road design staff, and hire cyclists? If only!

A

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2020, 12:16:04 pm »
"Routes should be designed only by those who have experienced the road on a cycle".

Very interesting point. Are they going to fire all the current road design staff, and hire cyclists? If only!

This is a double edge sword. They could recruit a road designer who rides around on an bakfiets with 2 kids in the front... or they could get some MAMIL who rides a Pinarello and wears a full matching Sky pro kit.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2020, 12:42:59 pm »
Why are design principles for cycle lanes being put in the Highway Code? HC is about using roads (and cycle paths and so on) not building them.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2020, 01:24:19 pm »
"Routes should be designed only by those who have experienced the road on a cycle".

Very interesting point. Are they going to fire all the current road design staff, and hire cyclists? If only!

This is a double edge sword. They could recruit a road designer who rides around on an bakfiets with 2 kids in the front... or they could get some MAMIL who rides a Pinarello and wears a full matching Sky pro kit.

Or worse, an experienced mountain biker.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2020, 01:31:40 pm »
I don't like the "bikes are vehicles" item on that chart. It appeared in the London design standards at the same time as the Embankment and North South superhighways and those are overengineered and still feel intimidating to novice riders, and also encourages the "dump cyclists back into traffic when things get hard" principle. I much prefer the Dutch "bikes are fast pedestrians" principle. There's plenty of good shared ped/bike lanes.

The highway code changes aren't great either once you look at the wording. The proposed new wording of rule 66 is:
Quote
[cyclists’ should] ride in single file when drivers wish to overtake and it is safe to let them do so. When riding in larger groups on narrow lanes, it is sometimes safer to ride two abreast

I expect drivers to memorise the first few words and forget the rest. No definition of what's considered safe (and by who) makes it worse than useless.

And is "narrow lanes" talking about vehicle lanes or country lanes? Two abreast simply doesn't work on narrow country lanes if there are non-negligible numbers of oncoming cars. It works far better on two lane roads.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2020, 01:48:10 pm »
"Bikes are fast pedestrians" leads to 90-degree bends within a 1-metre radius, bollards and step-over barriers, wiggles round trees and lampposts and other shit which is frankly impassable to many cyclists.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2020, 01:50:12 pm »

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/904088/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-1-20.pdf

LTN 1/20, is the new design guides btw, if anyone wanted to read what they are offering.

I don't like the "bikes are vehicles" item on that chart. It appeared in the London design standards at the same time as the Embankment and North South superhighways and those are overengineered and still feel intimidating to novice riders, and also encourages the "dump cyclists back into traffic when things get hard" principle. I much prefer the Dutch "bikes are fast pedestrians" principle. There's plenty of good shared ped/bike lanes.

The highway code changes aren't great either once you look at the wording. The proposed new wording of rule 66 is:
Quote
[cyclists’ should] ride in single file when drivers wish to overtake and it is safe to let them do so. When riding in larger groups on narrow lanes, it is sometimes safer to ride two abreast

I expect drivers to memorise the first few words and forget the rest. No definition of what's considered safe (and by who) makes it worse than useless.

And is "narrow lanes" talking about vehicle lanes or country lanes? Two abreast simply doesn't work on narrow country lanes if there are non-negligible numbers of oncoming cars. It works far better on two lane roads.

How does that factor in with what's on page 76 of LTN1/20 ?

"Bikes are fast pedestrians" leads to 90-degree bends within a 1-metre radius, bollards and step-over barriers, wiggles round trees and lampposts and other shit which is frankly impassable to many cyclists.

Not the way the Dutch interpret it...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2020, 01:58:54 pm »

Reading through that design document is fun...

Page 124... figure 10.41... are they smoking crack?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2020, 02:05:28 pm »
This is a double edge sword. They could recruit a road designer who rides around on an bakfiets with 2 kids in the front... or they could get some MAMIL who rides a Pinarello and wears a full matching Sky pro kit.
There's some sense in that point. What's needed for busy traffic in London (possibly separation) is probably different from what's needed approaching a town from the country (normal use of the country lanes, with a sneaky 10-metre cut-through into a residential area, while cars go around the local megabout). And arguably the variation in needs of cyclists (speeds from 5 to 25mph i.e. five times variation on average roads, and vastly varying preferences for path vs road proper) is much greater than that of drivers (all somewhat constrained to the same speed because it's the only way traffic can work). So a one-size-fits-all approach written for major cities probably won't work across the country. And coronavirus has shown that a big reduction in traffic levels can increase cycling without any road-provision changes.

But nonetheless, it sounds really positive. I'll read up later.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2020, 02:06:20 pm »
The LTN was prepared two years ago. I don't know if its release now is specifically to coincide with HC revisions or just chance.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2020, 02:06:54 pm »
I don't like the "bikes are vehicles" item on that chart. It appeared in the London design standards at the same time as the Embankment and North South superhighways and those are overengineered and still feel intimidating to novice riders, and also encourages the "dump cyclists back into traffic when things get hard" principle. I much prefer the Dutch "bikes are fast pedestrians" principle. There's plenty of good shared ped/bike lanes.

It's a tricky balance.

You have to recognise that bicycles need forward momentum to be stable, that cycles (particularly non-standard ones) have a limited turning circle, that wheeled users want flat, smooth, clean srfaces, and that anything travelling above pedestrian speed requires a decent sight-line for safety around other users.

You have to recognise that most people won't cycle if it involves mixing with any but the tamest of motor traffic.

You have to recognise the legitimate concerns of pedestrians, including those with disabilities that make mixing with cycle traffic scary (acknowledging that much of the BRITISH fear of people using bikes is irrational), those who find kerbs a barrier to access, and those who require kerbs to navigate and would greatly prefer it if everything were controlled by traffic lights.

You have to deal with massive political opposition from rabid taxi drivers, business owners who want somewhere to park their motor vehicle, and Daily Mail types afraid that cycle infra will give their house prices cancer.

And it would be nice if those cyclists who are happy to use the road were able to access the cycle infrastructure without having to dismount to transition between the two.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2020, 02:09:19 pm »
And it would be nice if those cyclists who are happy to use the road were able to access the cycle infrastructure without having to dismount to transition between the two.

That would be nice. I had to get off and walk my bike this morning. In central European Bike capital. They even had 3 goons in hivis to enforce the cyclists dismount to walk across a bridge, and get back on again!

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2020, 02:12:35 pm »
Acknowledging that BRITISH cycle infrastructure is usually a trap, it's annoying when you come off a roundabout on some busy-but-narrow road and see a vaguely decent cycle path alongside, but the only way to access it is to stop (holding up the cars) and shuffle your bike up a kerb.

Yes, there was probably a dropped kerb for pedestrians crossing at the roundabout, but you were in roundabout mode for that and hadn't noticed the cycle path yet...

More generally, since the majority of cyclists are going to be locals familiar with the infra, lack of consideration for people joining and leaving cycle routes is common.  We're not all commuting!
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2020, 02:14:15 pm »
Acknowledging that BRITISH cycle infrastructure is usually a trap, it's annoying when you come off a roundabout on some busy-but-narrow road and see a vaguely decent cycle path alongside, but the only way to access it is to stop (holding up the cars) and shuffle your bike up a kerb.

Yes, there was probably a dropped kerb for pedestrians crossing at the roundabout, but you were in roundabout mode for that and hadn't noticed the cycle path yet...

But you just bunny hop the rear wheel up on your pinarrello and keep going surely?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2020, 02:43:09 pm »
One of the biggest deterrents for me to use cycle paths is that they are usually laid to footpath rather than road standards, which are uncomfortable at more than 10mph, even on my Moultons with suspension.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2020, 02:45:27 pm »
One of the biggest deterrents for me to use cycle paths is that they are usually laid to footpath rather than road standards, which are uncomfortable at more than 10mph, even on my Moultons with suspension.

That's covered in the LTN. Assuming it's actually obeyed...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Socks

  • FFCT rally, France 2012
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2020, 02:47:41 pm »
I hope my pessimism in relation to the knowledge and motivation of my local highways engineers is misplaced.  Based on their current work, I don't think they meet number 20 of the core principles - "All designers of cycle schemes must experience the roads as a cyclist".  Hopefully this will help to change their mindset, the link to funding may provide an incentive even where there is currently very little interest.

Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2020, 03:03:01 pm »
Quite frankly as a road user in both cars and on bicycles it is my experience not many UK road engineers are interested in much more than their own profit margins rather than an adequate standard of highway or cycle way.
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: A new approach to road design.
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2020, 03:03:16 pm »
I hope my pessimism in relation to the knowledge and motivation of my local highways engineers is misplaced.  Based on their current work, I don't think they meet number 20 of the core principles - "All designers of cycle schemes must experience the roads as a cyclist".  Hopefully this will help to change their mindset, the link to funding may provide an incentive even where there is currently very little interest.

With much of modern urban road design, it's debatable whether any of the designers drive either!

I've downloaded the document (all 193 pages) and I'm slowly working my way through it. Much of it is refreshingly decent, at least in intent, and it shows examples of poor infrastructure (ie what not to do) reasonably well. At the moment, my main concern is the way the funding bit is worded, which suggests that the DfT may 'ask' for funding to be returned if local road schemes are not in compliance with the LTN. Unless I haven't got there yet, it doesn't seem to provide much disincentive for non-compliance.