Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

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DonDaddyD
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Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby DonDaddyD » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:06 am

Riding my bike to work today I experienced two very close passes, one clearly dangerous and the second born from misjudgement.

The finer details aside I got to thinking, are the roads safer now than they were pre-cycle super highways and the cycle – to – work explosion?

Now I’m sure there is an answer for, this several answers in fact, and someone will kindly post the number of bicycle related collisions recently to that of 7 – 10 years ago. Then someone will point out that there are more cyclists now, variables will be argued and a maths genius will work out the ratio/average year on year bicycle related collisions, accidents and deaths. For the purpose of this, none of that will answer anything. I’m asking for something more first-hand and more qualitative; on your route/s to work have you noticed a difference and have things like awareness, consideration and safety improved over the years?

The why?

A lot of people complain that there isn’t enough being done to improve the road infrastructure to accommodate and improve safety for cyclists. IMO they are right in places, however, there are some roads that are fine as they are. Even then, from my perspective a lot has changed from road layouts, cycle lanes, superhighways and Boris bikes, but most importantly driver awareness.

And to be honest I think that’s why I wasn’t taken out today, both drivers were aware of my position on the road and while both moves they were making were stupid (and one extremely dangerous) weirdly they knew about my existence and were made an effort not to hit me.

Have things improve however? I don’t know. Overall driver awareness of the existence of cyclists has increased, but the roads are more congested and there are more cyclists so perhaps some areas have changed and the challenges are now different.

Discuss.

Tl;dr? Are the roads safer now than they were pre-cycle super highways and the cycle – to – work explosion (say 7 – 10 years ago)?
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rubertoe
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby rubertoe » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:39 am

Having only ridden since 2010, I wouldnt say that my route is any better or worse since then. There are however more bikes on the road and i do belive that awareness has improved.
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby Jonny_Trousers » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:56 am

Yes and no.

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DonDaddyD
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby DonDaddyD » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:57 am

rubertoe wrote:Having only ridden since 2010, I wouldnt say that my route is any better or worse since then. There are however more bikes on the road and i do belive that awareness has improved.

I been riding since 06/07 and before that every Saturday and Sun to my part time job in the early 2000s.

I think that the roads are generally safer now due to increased driver awareness.
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby DonDaddyD » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:03 am

Jonny_Trousers wrote:Yes and no.
Care to elaborate?
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rjsterry
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby rjsterry » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:06 am

There have been a lot of changes, some of which will have made things safer, and others the reverse. What the net change is, I don't know, but this would seem to suggest that things aren't improving for cyclists or pedestrians

http://road.cc/content/news/98296-london-cyclist-deaths-and-injuries-tfl-commissioner-peter-hendy-suggests-flashing
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daviesee
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby daviesee » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:21 am

Much the same in my experience.
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DonDaddyD
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby DonDaddyD » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:31 am

rjsterry wrote:There have been a lot of changes, some of which will have made things safer, and others the reverse. What the net change is, I don't know, but this would seem to suggest that things aren't improving for cyclists or pedestrians

http://road.cc/content/news/98296-london-cyclist-deaths-and-injuries-tfl-commissioner-peter-hendy-suggests-flashing

That's the thing I can't put my finger on it and say overall all the roads I have commuted on since 2006 have become safer. I don't think for example the stretch of road by Streatham Ice Rink is safer because they've moved the bus lane, but certainly Colliers Wood right down Kennington is much safer because there's cycle superhighway branding and it screams "think cyclist".

One place I'm undecided about it Elephant Castle, I liked the double roundabout system.

The increased congestion is probably the single biggest issue.

Admittingly when I started writing the opening post I attacked it with the thought that 'you lot don't know your born' what with the complaing about the need for safer roads. As back in 2007 you either rode at about 17mph or else - and a lot of that is true, and I think a lot has been done to address the issues back then. However, there are new issues emerging like congested roads and the lack of overall skill of some cyclists and I think those now need to be tackled. (and not with segregated roads or enforced 20mph limits)
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby Slowbike » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:42 am

A few decades of riding - most of it is/was for work/school/college.

Back when I was at school & college, lights were rubbish and you didn't worry about them or not being able to see - you just got on and rode (to school/college/wherever) - never really thought about the traffic situation, but being a relatively forthcoming sort of chap I probably always made my presence known on the road. Never really felt unsafe either.
I still don't feel unsafe these days, but lights and being seen have become a greater priority ...

I think things have changed on the roads.

Cars - they're wider and have better acceleration & brakes - drivers often feel they're "nippy" but with the extra width taken they're taking up more space than before - leaving less for other road users.
Drivers - many seem to be stuck in the "you're holding me up" mode (whether you are or not doesn't seem to matter) and they "must over take" - combined with their nippier (but wider) cars they're taking more risks (risk to the rider)
Volume - there are just so many more cars on the roads these days - cars have become another throw away commodity that are easily affordable to practically everyone - more cars on the road = less space for other users. Equally there are a lot more leisure cyclists around these days - where once you'd expect to come across one or perhaps 2 riders in a journey you're now coming across 1 or 2 dozen riders in the same journey - and that has an impact of the flow of the journey for the car driver ..

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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby DonDaddyD » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:45 am

Beutifully summed up IMO
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby ddraver » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:00 pm

I have nt ridden in London in anger for a few years now since moving away (back soon). What i notice on visits is that there are definitely more cyclists than when I left and that there are many more women cyclists. I never got the benefit of the super-highway things so i can't comment.

What i notice in London as opposed to the rest of the country is that there is an awareness of cyclists. Britain has an attitude that each individual believes that he/she is king and that every one else is in their way which regularly makes riding a bike on road unpleasant. (Sorry DDD, but yes that attitude is much less prevelant overseas).

In London it seems hat people may not like cyclists but they have dealt with the reality that they re not going away any time soon and that they need to be given space. How much of that is to do with Infrastructure, education, "celebrity cyclists" (e.g. Boris and Cameron) or something else I don't know...Part of me suspects that the riding cost of travel is actually the main influence
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby DonDaddyD » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:18 pm

ddraver wrote:What i notice in London as opposed to the rest of the country is that there is an awareness of cyclists. Britain has an attitude that each individual believes that he/she is king and that every one else is in their way which regularly makes riding a bike on road unpleasant. (Sorry DDD, but yes that attitude is much less prevelant overseas).


I don't know what you're apologising for. I agree. This is why the most fun I ever had driving around London was in a Ford Transit. You can be an absolute c*nt in them things and you enjoy it because everyone else drives like a c*nt. I've noticed this more so in places like Thornton Heath, Croydon, Camberwell etc - places of lower economic wealth (than say Wimbledon and Dulwich where people give way) and high people density.

In London it seems hat people may not like cyclists but they have dealt with the reality that they re not going away any time soon and that they need to be given space. How much of that is to do with Infrastructure, education, "celebrity cyclists" (e.g. Boris and Cameron) or something else I don't know...Part of me suspects that the riding cost of travel is actually the main influence
Fair point.
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby estampida » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:47 pm

is it really a question about superhighways

or more about drivers going around with their eyes shut?

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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby Greg66 Tri v2.0 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:59 pm

I have mixed feelings about the CSs. First, because I think they they have funnelled a lot of cycle traffic onto them, making the CS routes busier for cyclists than they used to be; and secondly because in addition to the funnelling they have (IMO) attracted new riders, thereby increasing the overall number of cyclists without regard to the range of speeds/ability.

Which is a long winded way of saying that I'm not a big fan of having numpties dumped on my commuting route.

There's also a question in my mind as to whether they really provide more space for cyclists. Pre CS8, between Chelsea Bridge and Millbank you pretty much had a de facto cycle lane in rush hour which was the left hand car lane. Sure, you might have had cars in it, but they were generally constrained to the speed of the bulk of the peloton. Outside of commuting hours, the motor traffic cars would use both lanes. Flexible, win/win.

Now you have the narrower CS lane, which is pretty much never used by car traffic, irrespective of the hours of operation. Kind of lose/lose, in a way.

Safer? Dunno. FWIW, I've always been of the view that no driver* is *trying* to hit a cyclist, no matter how it might seem; perception of danger therefore =/= actual danger.


* apart from one asshole in a Jag coming off VB lights in the pre CS8 days, who took objection to my presence in front of him, and gave my rear wheel a nudge at 40+kmh. But that's largely it for me.
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby rjsterry » Mon Nov 04, 2013 14:42 pm

Greg66 Tri v2.0 wrote:I have mixed feelings about the CSs. First, because I think they they have funnelled a lot of cycle traffic onto them, making the CS routes busier for cyclists than they used to be; and secondly because in addition to the funnelling they have (IMO) attracted new riders, thereby increasing the overall number of cyclists without regard to the range of speeds/ability.

Which is a long winded way of saying that I'm not a big fan of having numpties dumped on my commuting route.

There's also a question in my mind as to whether they really provide more space for cyclists. Pre CS8, between Chelsea Bridge and Millbank you pretty much had a de facto cycle lane in rush hour which was the left hand car lane. Sure, you might have had cars in it, but they were generally constrained to the speed of the bulk of the peloton. Outside of commuting hours, the motor traffic cars would use both lanes. Flexible, win/win.

Now you have the narrower CS lane, which is pretty much never used by car traffic, irrespective of the hours of operation. Kind of lose/lose, in a way.

Safer? Dunno. FWIW, I've always been of the view that no driver* is *trying* to hit a cyclist, no matter how it might seem; perception of danger therefore =/= actual danger.


* apart from one asshole in a Jag coming off VB lights in the pre CS8 days, who took objection to my presence in front of him, and gave my rear wheel a nudge at 40+kmh. But that's largely it for me.


I'd agree that the CSs are a mixed blessing, although you are quite spoilt with CS8. Some of the others are pretty patchy, and downright dangerous in places. The issue of new routes drawing traffic to them is already well documented for motor traffic, so it's no surprise that this applies to cycle infrastructure as well.

I think your last point might be a little rose tinted. Certainly most incidents are not deliberate, but I've experienced a bit more deliberate aggression than you have - maybe that's just down to a longer commute.
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby roger merriman » Mon Nov 04, 2013 15:13 pm

To be honest I don't think the super highways etc have made it safer or worse. Stats are broadly the same I believe inspite of what various bloggers might say.

Other things have changed the volume of cars and their size, and that cycling is the new golf etc.

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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby alan sherman » Mon Nov 04, 2013 15:30 pm

I think I am about as likely to get taken out by a car as I used to be. There is more awareness of cyclists, but also a lot more hatred, and the jams are worse (often caused by cyclists!) leading to frustration and bad decisions.

I think I am more likely to get taken out by a cyclist as there are a lot of muppets. Had one RLJ across in front of me on Friday, idiot did't realise there was a filter lane with a green light (for me).

I agree with the poster who said that they object to a bunch of muppets being dumped on their commute route.

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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby CookeeeMonster » Mon Nov 04, 2013 15:41 pm

alan sherman wrote:, and the jams are worse (often caused by cyclists!)


I gotta be honest I've never really seen this. Yes I've seen cars/vans etc being held up by cyclists in london, it's normally only ever for a few seconds and the net result is the car/van reaching the rest of the vehicular traffic (i.e. a jam) a couple of seconds later - i.e. zero time has been added to their journey.

I'm often held by by cars/vans/motorbikes blocking access but it's just one of those things, most people accept it without complaining (not saying you are)

As to the main issue...I'd say the cycle super highways helped give me confidence when I started cycling last year...I quickly outgrew them ;) but even now, I prefer roads with them than without...but my experience is limited to the CS3 and parts of the CS8, which is far better than many of the other half arsed efforts (CS2 apart from the new bit is beyond awful).

Oh, I've often complained about the CS3 on cable street - it's a victim of its own success. It's too small (narrow) for the amount of people that use it in the summer...but is quite nice at less busy times
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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby thistle (MBNW) » Mon Nov 04, 2013 15:42 pm

rjsterry wrote:There have been a lot of changes, some of which will have made things safer, and others the reverse. What the net change is, I don't know, but this would seem to suggest that things aren't improving for cyclists or pedestrians

http://road.cc/content/news/98296-london-cyclist-deaths-and-injuries-tfl-commissioner-peter-hendy-suggests-flashing


I think things have got worse over the last few years (I'm outside London).

The comment about lights is an interesting one. Daytime lights are now required on new cars, which I feel is making cyclists (and pedestrians and motorcyclists) much harder to see. In particular, many cars are now driving around in the daytime with headlights or foglights on and cars seem to be invlved in a lighting arms race, simliar to the cycling one a couple of years ago when Magicshines etc. came out.

I think CTC or a similar organisation rasied this concern at the time but I'm not sure how seriously it was taken.

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Re: Were the roads safer pre-cycle super highways?

Postby bdave262000 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 16:15 pm

I have been riding on London's roads for over 25 years. I think drivers have become much more cycle aware in the last few years than they were previous to this, whether they are more tollerant or safer is debatable. Some drivers get frustrated / stressed when they see large groups of cyclists. Years ago the I believe most motorists were surprised to see a cyclist on the road in London and would be more wary when passing them in a "whats that loony doing on the road" sort of way.

Although cycling infrastructure has increased, I think it is more dangerous for a cyclist now than it was when I was a nipper. This is probabaly the result of more road users in general and increased traffic.


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