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 Post subject: Dangerous cycle lanes
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 21:32 
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http://www.pda-uk.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8033


The dangerous road layout that has claimed one life in London is now being promoted across the country as a model of good design

Vicki McCreery had predicted the journey home might kill her. Days before she was crushed by a five-ton bus, she had told friends a new cycle lane over Blackfriars bridge in London would claim lives.
As hundreds of people gathered for her funeral in north London yesterday, relatives demanded to know why a lane meant to protect cyclists from other road users had cost the 37-year-old physiotherapist her life.

The lane had been in place barely two weeks before she died almost instantly following a rush-hour collision near the crest of the bridge. Safety campaigners are stunned that permission was granted for a narrow cycle lane sandwiched between two fast-moving carriageways and one of London's busiest bus routes. Worse still, a steady convoy of buses is allowed to veer across the thin path reserved for cyclists.

As McCreery forecast, a fatality was inevitable. Her death has already become emblematic for groups which claim the tragedy exposes the hypocrisy behind government initiatives to raise the number of cyclists. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has promised a 200 per cent increase by 2010, a figure already dismissed as too ambitious. Failure to convert more people to two wheels is blamed largely on the introduction of lanes similar to that on which McCreery died.

Those cyclists courageous enough to use Blackfriars bridge admit to shuddering as they reach its northbound approaches. As McCreery would have done in her final moments, they talk of feeling intensely exposed as dense commuter traffic flashes by on their right while buses undercut them on their left.

'She felt intimidated by the new crossing. She was extremely concerned about her safety, but it was the only route she could cycle home,' said a friend.

Despite the design's obvious risks, it has emerged that the layout at Blackfriars is encouraged by the government - recommended as a best practice design in traffic advisory leaflets distributed to local councils.

Road safety groups claim similar layouts, described as 'death traps' by users, are being rolled out across Britain. Near-identical replicas of the design can be found from Bristol to Brighton. Residents near each site are amazed that tragic accidents have not happened yet.

Their warnings of more deaths may prove fruitless. More than 14 months ago safety campaigners warned Transport for London that changes to the Blackfriars cycle lane could prove dangerous and might not solve the route's inherent danger.

They cited the case of grandfather Kim Thi, who died 15 months ago after being struck by a motorbike at almost the exact point where a bunch of tulips now marks the place where Vicki McCreery died.

Shortly before her death, she had seen a fellow cyclist knocked off her bike by a bus. McCreery, the senior physiotherapist at St Thomas' Hospital, south London, offered to be a witness for the shaken but fortunate fellow cyclist.

In other European countries similar collisions are unlikely. Denmark and Holland are among those offering cyclists segregated tracks. High kerbs and special filter lanes ensure traffic cannot get near them.

Failure to mimic such designs partly explains, say road safety groups, why UK cyclists are 10 times more likely to be killed or injured than those in Denmark. Danish cyclists would find it astonishing that UK law still allows motorists to drive on to many cycle lanes. They too might question the continued practice of squeezing such lanes on to busy roads that can barely accommodate two lines of traffic.

Such practices, maintain experts, help explain the stream of casualties among British cyclists. This month at least seven have been killed after being struck by traffic. Most stood no chance.

The toll is relentless: every two and a half days a cyclist is killed. During the same period 115 are injured. Latest figures reveal that 141 cyclists are killed each year. More than 17,000 are injured.

How many of these accident happen in cycle lanes is unclear: the government does not collate such figures. Nor does it have a central database on cycle lane designs which have been condemned as dangerous.

Roger Geffen, campaigns manager at the national cycling body, the Cyclists' Touring Club, said a cultural shift was needed so that local authorities considered cycle lanes more carefully. They had 'been left to the most junior planning officers, and we need better guidance on dealing with major junctions.'

Tony Russell, who advises councils on safer cycle lanes for the club, said: 'There are situations where designs put the cyclist in a more dangerous position. Most accidents, though, are caused by motorists not being careful.'

McCreery's husband, Sandy, knows all too well the risks posed by errant drivers. He runs Middlesex University's MA course in spatial culture and has studied city centre traffic dangers. In an eerily prescient passage he once wrote: 'Allowing hard, heavy speeding vehicles to come into contact with fleshy mortals is a recipe for disaster.'

This week he will take his wife's ashes to her native Australia. On his return, he plans to visit Blackfriars bridge for the first time since Vicki died. They married just over a year ago and had talked of starting a family.

Meanwhile, experts from Transport for London will go on investigating whether the new layout, initially verified in an independent safety audit, needs updating.

Source The Observer

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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 21:43 
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This must be the new thinking on road safety and cyclists. Design the cycle lanes in such a manner so as to kill all the cyclists or force them to ride on the pavements, ergo, the roads are safe for motorists and motorists only.
What a crazy idea, whoever thought this doozy up should be up for a manslaughter charge, and the council as well.
I know there a a lot of motorists don't get on with cyclists, as there are cyclists that don't get on with motorists, but my felling is that we all have to exist and use the same roads together.
What we All don't need is moronic cycle lanes like this.
Having been a cyclist in the dark and distant past I know how cyclists feel, what I didn't know was about blind spots, and a lot of even sensible cyclists and motorists still don't realise that blind spots exist, or even the extent of them.
I know also, that the cyclists website often referred to on here don't like us motorists, I feel it is something that we should be working on together, to make life easier and safer to both of us.
After all, no cyclist wants to be strawberry jam, and no motorist wants to be held responsible for it, regardless of whose fault it was.
Bridge building time methinks.

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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 09:04 
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Notable that the vehicle causing the death was a *bus*. It's often been noted (by cycling groups) that buses and cyclists are an exceedingly poor mixture on the roads, and asking them to share lanes is a shoddy compromise at best - in fact asking anyone to share a dedicated lane with a bus is a BAD IDEA. (I know this is not what happened here). Buses have a tendency to stop when requested, are too wide to pass comfortably, the driver has a million and one other distractions without having to look for cyclists, and, for gods sake, how about the exhaust fumes!

Time to think again.

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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 10:18 
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I've seen plenty of stupid cycle lanes in my time; the best one being one that goes fully around the outside of a roundabout!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:57 
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Daft cycle lane placement can also increase accidents for motorcyclists. In particular the West Hill A3 road in London was a regularly congested road in which motorcyclists often filtered traffic.

Introducing intermitant cycle lanes on both sides has moved traffic closer together. The sections are not long enough to be of use to cyclists (also how many actually ride on that section of road), so the net result is queing cars closer to the centre narrowing the room for bikes.

It seems cycle lanes are the new replacement for hatchet central areas.

I'm totally against any engineering approach that aims to reduce vehicle speeds by increasing the navigation or hazard complexity. Surely any safety gain by lower speeds is lost by the increase in hazard.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 23:26 
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I'm totally against any engineering approach that aims to reduce vehicle speeds by increasing the navigation or hazard complexity. Surely any safety gain by lower speeds is lost by the increase in hazard.

diy wrote the above, I am in total agreement with him/her.

Why do the road planners (if there are planners) think narrowing roads by widening unused pavements, or by putting barriers in the middle of roads in the form of raised kerbs or by creating cycle lanes along busy main through routes, does anything, other than make negotiating our towns more hazardous.
Why do we allow our through routes to be compromised by "traffic calming" work that has the exact opposite effect on the drivers who ultimately are the controlers of road safety. Who are these faceless people who claim to be more aware of what is safe and what is not for a given stretch of road on a given day under weather conditions that range from, perfect dry safe daylight to ice covered fog bound night.
It is the driver who can decide whether it is safe to drive at 40 mph or 20 mph, there is no absolute safe spead. The idea that putting up 30mph signs is a road safety improvement is a joke. It will have no impact on the people who are pathalogically anti establishment, what it does is persecute the law abiding motorist by making him/her ticket fodder. The idiots that drive without insurance MOT certificates or even a licence don't care what the limits are they are beyond the law and the police know it and don't even bother to pick them up, even though they know who these people are!
We have traffic calming measures one after another, but the real law breakers the people who will be the ones killing other road users due to driving while drunk or drugged and while banned and without legal documentation continue to populate our roads.
All this goes on and we get more paint on the road red patches, red bus lanes, white double lines, so no overtaking chances, yellow boxes and so on, it would be funny if it were not so serious, fiddling and Rome burning comes to mind.
RJ

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 00:27 
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Rod Evans wrote:
I'm totally against any engineering approach that aims to reduce vehicle speeds by increasing the navigation or hazard complexity. Surely any safety gain by lower speeds is lost by the increase in hazard.

Yes, completely agreed. In my view this (along with "speed kills" and cameras) is one of the key reasons why we have lost the trend of fatality reduction.

If excessive speed is only a minor factor in accident causation, then making roads more complex and confusing in an attempt to reduce speed is inevitably going to increase accidents.

See this for one of the worst examples of this mindset (fortunately now removed)

http://speedlimit.dreamwater.org/galler ... stone.html

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 09:09 
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Rod Evans wrote:
I'm totally against any engineering approach that aims to reduce vehicle speeds by increasing the navigation or hazard complexity. Surely any safety gain by lower speeds is lost by the increase in hazard.


Yes, but if the approach is well designed, the increase in hazard is levied against the drivers, whereas the safety gain by lower speeds benefits pedestrians. We have seen in the numbers lower child pedestrian deaths in recent years, which (although far from ideal) is a better trade-off.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 09:19 
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basingwerk wrote:
We have seen in the numbers lower child pedestrian deaths in recent years, which (although far from ideal) is a better trade-off.


How exactly is it a better trade off? How do you dare to judge that a child's life is more valuable than a breadwinner in a car?

Surely the only worthy aim is to reduce overall road death? I applaud targetted narrow objectives to improve the safety of individual groups of road users, but never if that improvement takes place at the expense of another group.

Anyway the recent reduction in child road death seems to be largely because we have scared them off the pavements and into cars.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 09:41 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
basingwerk wrote:
We have seen in the numbers lower child pedestrian deaths in recent years, which (although far from ideal) is a better trade-off.


How exactly is it a better trade off? How do you dare to judge that a child's life is more valuable than a breadwinner in a car?


I dare to judge that it is a better trade-off on several grounds. The most obvious is prospective length of life saved. Ceteris paribus, saving the life of a child of 10 saves approximately 65 years of life, whereas saving a driver saves less. According to you, the only worthy aim is to reduce overall road death, but that does not account for prospective length of life saved. The same argument applies when rationing health service resources. Of course, there are moral arguments here, and some may say that age is irrelevant. But if you take that stance, you have to accept a corresponding reduction in overall life expectancy, which (sort of) undoes your argument!

Other reasons revolve around responsibility e.g. if you drive, you have responsibility, and accountability. If you choose to drive too fast for the conditions, that is your choice, not the child pedestrian’s, so it is right that you should account for your choices in terms of risk to you, not risk to others. This forces drivers to set their speed according to the risk they suffer, rather than allowing drivers to set their speed according to the risk they wish to impose on others. This is an important distinction, and I would suggest that it is effective because it imposes the risk on the responsible person most able and likely to take action to reduce it. As you must know, children are not responsible – that is part of being a child.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 11:05 
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Struggled with my morals here. On one hand, I agree with SafeSpeed in that no road death is really acceptable. But on the other hand, I would rather me be the one to get squished by a motorist than see one of my children get killed! I do agree that placing more hazards in the road is not the answer. To some of the 'boy racers' round where I live and work, these extra hazards are nothing more than a challenge as to who can negotiate them faster, better. Just last night, I was nearly wiped out by one of thse 'boy racers' when he was racing round a traffic island and spun his car, ending up going the wrong way and heading straight for me!
What needs to be changed is drivers attitudes, after all, they are driving a potentially lethal vehicle. On the same grounds, pedestrians and other road users also need to be educated. Not all accidents are driver error!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 11:39 
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basingwerk wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
basingwerk wrote:
We have seen in the numbers lower child pedestrian deaths in recent years, which (although far from ideal) is a better trade-off.


How exactly is it a better trade off? How do you dare to judge that a child's life is more valuable than a breadwinner in a car?


I dare to judge that it is a better trade-off on several grounds. The most obvious is prospective length of life saved. Ceteris paribus, saving the life of a child of 10 saves approximately 65 years of life, whereas saving a driver saves less.


I find this reasoning pretty bizarre for two reasons:

1) Am I to assume that it's 65 times better to run down an OAP with one year of life expectancy compared with a ten year old with 65 years of life expectancy? I just couldn't live with that. Perhaps we should sentence murderers on such a basis?

2) The next argument I suppose is to try and evaluate the value of an individual's life. Is a surgeon more valuable than a cripple? I can't even begin to go there either.

Nope. For me a life is a life.

basingwerk wrote:
Other reasons revolve around responsibility e.g. if you drive, you have responsibility, and accountability. If you choose to drive too fast for the conditions, that is your choice, not the child pedestrian?s, so it is right that you should account for your choices in terms of risk to you, not risk to others. This forces drivers to set their speed according to the risk they suffer, rather than allowing drivers to set their speed according to the risk they wish to impose on others. This is an important distinction, and I would suggest that it is effective because it imposes the risk on the responsible person most able and likely to take action to reduce it. As you must know, children are not responsible ? that is part of being a child.


I don't see this either - for me cars are an environmental hazard to children in the same way that cliffs might be. If parent allows a child to fall off a cliff then it's the parent's fault. If a parent allows a child to run into the path of a motor vehicle then it's the parent's fault.

I accept that there are hazards to life all around me. Poisons. Electricity. Doctors. Bacteria. And so on. Traffic is just another environmental hazard to be managed and avoided.

Of course we can do things to reduce the risks of traffic, and we should. But that mostly hinges around a) improving the safety culture, b) ensuring that road users are behaving responsibly and c) by engineering safety improvements. Anything else is pretty much frippery.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 12:28 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
basingwerk wrote:
I dare to judge that it is a better trade-off on several grounds. The most obvious is prospective length of life saved. Ceteris paribus, saving the life of a child of 10 saves approximately 65 years of life, whereas saving a driver saves less.


I find this reasoning pretty bizarre for two reasons:

1) Am I to assume that it's 65 times better to run down an OAP with one year of life expectancy compared with a ten year old with 65 years of life expectancy?


I don't know about the arithmetic, but if one goal of 'safety' is to maximise the length of people's lives overall, the answer in general must be yes, due to this "prospective length of life saved" term. I'm not making this up - heart transplants would be wasted on an OAP with one year of life expectancy, compared to a child with many more years to go. The same applies with any resource, be it the supply of hearts or the cash needed to make the roads safe. Indeed, who would lavish expensive repairs on an old banger?!?

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2) The next argument I suppose is to try and evaluate the value of an individual's life. Is a surgeon more valuable than a cripple? I can't even begin to go there either


With only this information, if the goal is to maximise the length of people's lives overall, it may be wiser to invest in the surgeon, because he could save other people. We live in a resource constrained world. The discussion about speed is partly related to limited road bandwidth. This is not bizarre, it's the real world of trade-offs.


SafeSpeed wrote:
I don't see this either - for me cars are an environmental hazard to children in the same way that cliffs might be. If parent allows a child to fall off a cliff then it's the parent's fault. If a parent allows a child to run into the path of a motor vehicle then it's the parent's fault.


And for me, reckless drivers are a human hazard to children in the same way that people who push children off cliffs might be. If a parent allows a child to run into the path of a motor vehicle driven by a speeder, parent and driver share the blame, because children cannot be responsible.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 12:29 
IMHO, with these schemes, everyone loses, including the pedestrian. They aren't safer: yes the traffic may be travelling more slowly (although this is rarely the case, in my experience), but the driver's attention is well and truly on negotiating the extra hazards, and opposing cars, instead of on what a pedestrian (child or otherwise) might be doing.


Kaz


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 12:33 
basingwerk wrote:
... Indeed, who would lavish expensive repairs on an old banger?!?

Me! :shock: ...I love my old car :D, and haven't seen anything I'd want to replace it for. :?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 13:41 
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disenchanted wrote:
IMHO, with these schemes, everyone loses, including the pedestrian. They aren't safer: yes the traffic may be travelling more slowly (although this is rarely the case, in my experience), but the driver's attention is well and truly on negotiating the extra hazards, and opposing cars, instead of on what a pedestrian (child or otherwise) might be doing.


I might add that these so-called 'traffic-calming' measures also engender a false sense of security amongst vulnerable road-users, so parents may be more inclined to let their kids do what they like on the streets.
This itself is a recipe for disaster, besides which, how do you make a kid understand that the street outside is 'safe' to play in, but the main through-road at the end of the street isn't?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 16:40 
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Safespeed and Basingwerk.

I really think the pair of your are beginning to lose the plot. Do either of you actually think the decisions to build traffic calming measures ever get down into the weeds to the extent you are both arguing to, old life vs young life. Professional vs whoever?
You are engaged in a points scoring pissing contest which is ultimately meaningless.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 16:46 
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Pete317 wrote:
these so-called 'traffic-calming' measures also engender a false sense of security amongst vulnerable road-users


Can I conclude that, if safety measures make dangerous, dangerous measures make things safer (at least in your in your topsy-turvey land). That would explain your position of speed cameras!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 17:56 
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basingwerk wrote:
Pete317 wrote:
these so-called 'traffic-calming' measures also engender a false sense of security amongst vulnerable road-users


Can I conclude that, if safety measures make dangerous, dangerous measures make things safer (at least in your in your topsy-turvey land). That would explain your position of speed cameras!


Are you debating or just trying to score points? I can call you as many names as you can call me, but that's never going to solve anything.

Cars and children don't mix, just as deep water and children don't mix. No parent in their right mind would allow a young child unattended anywhere a swimming pool - even if the child can swim. Yet, a lot of parents happily allow their toddlers to play on the driveway, believing it's safe. The number of times you read in the paper about people accidentally reversing over their kids bears testimony to that.

If you don't believe that people take more chances and liberties when they believe their surroundings to be safe, then give a reasoned argument in support of your contention. Ad hominem attacks don't count as debate.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 02:49 
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Rigpig wrote:
Safespeed and Basingwerk.

I really think the pair of your are beginning to lose the plot. Do either of you actually think the decisions to build traffic calming measures ever get down into the weeds to the extent you are both arguing to, old life vs young life. Professional vs whoever?
You are engaged in a points scoring pissing contest which is ultimately meaningless.


:)

It's important to me to have a philosophical foundation for my beliefs. I was only too pleased to have the opportunity to discuss those foundations with someone else.

To me a life is a life. Arguments that purport to value one life more highly than another smell to me of prejudice and manipulation, but I'm pretty open to any new way of considering the issues.

This helps me towards a simplified approach towards road safety - I don't have to make the trade offs that Basingwerk advocates. I'll go one small step further and say that feeling able to dismiss these arguments enables me to dismiss some of the emotionally based road safety arguments. That's good. We're making things simpler, but not too simple.

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