Desire lines (Copenhagen Design 9)

This is the ninth in a series of ten videos from Copenhagenize.com, looking at the most important design elements in Copenhagen’s impressive bicycle culture.

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A roundabout in Amsterdam

A great article from Bicycle Dutch demonstrating how to ‘do’ a busy roundabout. The video says it all, but you can read the rest of the article here.

Breakthrough development in London

Excellent  post on ibikelondon describing what could well be a breakthrough development in cycling infrastructure in London. Let’s hope that our own planners will take note of such developments and look to follow suit here in NE Lincolnshire.

Read the post here: i b i k e l o n d o n.

The 2m wide cucleway still under construction in Stratford, London. Notice the bus stop 'island', taking the cycleway around the back and narrowing to slow cyclists down around pedestrians using the bus stop.

The 2m wide cycleway still under construction in Stratford, London. Notice the bus stop ‘island’, taking the cycleway around the back of the bus stop area and narrowing to slow cyclists down around pedestrians using the bus stop. (Photo courtesy of ibikelondon)

Prioritising cycling: Grimsby town centre (1)

Ellis Way & Eleanor Street

Credit where credit’s due, and the separated cycleway that runs under the train line alongside the Asda store is an example of how things can be done well. The cycleway, although only a short distance, is separated from both the walkway and the road, it’s surfaced with a smooth asphalt which is pleasant to ride on, and overall it works very well. More cycleways like this would be very welcome!

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However, there is just one criticism: the exit at the traffic lights at Asdas. It could be so much better if it brought you out onto the road straight into a cycle lane, like the one on Weelsby Road near the junction with Ladysmith Road. Instead, it’s a blunt give way straight into the path of oncoming traffic.

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The exit from the cycle path at Weelsby Road onto the cycle lane. Notice how it brings you out straight into the lane, and not having to give way to oncoming traffic.

The exit from the cycle path at Weelsby Road onto the cycle lane. Notice how it brings you out straight into the on-road  cycle lane, not having requiring a give way to oncoming traffic.

Coming from the cycleway by Asda’s along Ellis Way, crossing Hainton Square brings you on to Eleanor Street. This is a popular cycling commute route for those coming to/from Cleethorpes/Humberston heading to/from Grimsby town centre and on to the industrial areas further west.

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Eleanor Street is something of a rat-run! It has a cycle lane heading into town running contra to the one-way traffic, separated only by a line of paint. This lane has a rough surface and feels dangerous whenever there is oncoming traffic. In the other direction, there is no cycle lane and the cyclist has to share the road with two lanes of speeding traffic. This is plainly unsafe.

This stretch of road could be hugely improved by making the following changes:

  • Make the right-hand lane exiting Ellis Way onto Hainton Ave a right turn only lane;
  • Make Eleanor Street a single lane for motorised vehicles, heading away from the town centre (one way, as it is now);
  • This would create space for a separated cycleway on both sides of Eleanor Street, similar to the one pictured earlier on Ellis Way.

This would greatly improve the safety of cyclists on this key link road, and greatly enhance the cross-town route. It would also send the message that cycling is being prioritised. The effect on traffic queues would be no greater than those created on Weelsby Road and Hainton Ave (by the changes made on Pasture St and by creating Peakes Parkway).

Bike culture Amsterdam

Another cracking video from Streetfilms. How Amsterdam developed its bike culture, and what it’s like to cycle there. Highly recommended viewing!

Cargo bikes (Copenhagen Design 8)

This is the eighth in a series of ten videos from Copenhagenize.com, looking at the most important design elements in Copenhagen’s impressive bicycle culture.

Episode 08 is here. Ûber intern Ivan Conte and the Copenhagenize Design Co. team explore another integral aspect of Copenhagen’s bicycle-friendliness – the use of cargo bikes.

Lest we forget… the Copenhagenize Design Co. book CARGO BIKE NATION is available for online purchase.

Sixhills Street Superhighway!

Actually, I intensely dislike the term ‘Cycle Superhighway’. It’s so over the top when all you need is to call them is Cycleways (if indeed they’re actually properly designed and separated from traffic, which many so-called Cycle Supehighways are not!)

Sixhills Street is part of the councils so-called Humberston Pedalway, their designated route from Humberston into Grimsby centre for cyclists. Taking this route to cycle into Grimsby town centre, it takes you along Humberston Rd, across Durban Rd and left down Julian St. You have to give way at Weelsby St and Ladysmith Rd, then follow Sixhills St, giving way at Convamore Rd, Heneage Rd and again at Hainton Ave, finally arriving in the town centre via Pasture St rail crossing.

Facing north up Sixhills Street: the junction with Heneage Rd and a traffic-calming bump in the background.

Facing east up Sixhills Street: the junction with Heneage Rd and a traffic-calming bump in the background. (click on picture to enlarge)

At the moment, Sixhills Street is not very cycle friendly. Even though it’s a narrow road it is shared with two-way through traffic and it’s very uncomfortable to ride on due to traffic-calming bumps.

Heading into Grimsby town centre: the junction with Hainton Ave.

Heading into Grimsby town centre: the junction with Hainton Ave.

Continuing into Grimsby town centre along Sixhills Street.

Continuing into Grimsby town centre along Sixhills Street.

However, Sixhills Street presents a perfect opportunity to create something very good. If it’s NE Lincs council’s preferred cycle route into town, then make it something special, something people will want to cycle on. As it is, it’s not a very pleasant experience!

  • Make it closed to vehicular through-traffic, using bollards to allow vehicular access for residents. These would prevent through-traffic for cars and trucks but would allow cyclists a through-route.
  • Make traffic access one way and use the road space freed-up to create a separated two-way cycle lane.
  • These measures would then allow the traffic-calming bumps to be removed, allowing for a smooth, comfortable surface on the cycleway.
  • Put in crossings at Ladysmith Rd and Hainton Ave, and give Sixhills St priority over Weelsby St and Heneage Rd.

These modest measures would allow someone cycling into town on the Humberston Pedalway a degree of continuity, making it feel a bit more like a fully-fledged cycling route, and they would be another step to prioritising cycling.

Lessons from London

There have been a number of high profile deaths of people killed by trucks whilst cycling  in London recently. At the recent inquest into the deaths of Brian Dorling, 55, who died in a collision with a lorry on the notorious Bow roundabout, and French student Philippine De Gerin-Ricard, 20, who was hit from behind by a lorry on CS2 at Aldgate Gyratory, Transport for London were heavily criticised for ignoring multiple warnings.

Philippine De Gerin-Ricard and Brian Dorling, who both died whilst cycling on London's streets. (Photo from iBikeLondon)

Philippine De Gerin-Ricard and Brian Dorling, who both died whilst cycling on London’s streets. (Photo from iBikeLondon)

At the inquest, Transport for London were exposed for having ignored warnings from the Police and various cycling campaigns. Not only that, it was shown they had instructed their own consultants to ignore cyclists at one particular junction, and that they had ignored their consultants report that stated Bow Roundabout was so dangerous that traffic signals and separated cycle lanes should be installed. (Read a full report from iBikeLondon here)

Even yesterday, there was another “accident” in Camden, where a woman was knocked off her bike by a truck. Thankfully she wasn’t killed, but that’s not the point. She could have been. I say “accident” but in reality these aren’t accidents at all. They are the natural consequence of bad design, and as such they are completely predictable.

Locally, last night there was a serious accident at the junction of Peaks Parkway and Hainton Ave at evening rush hour. I don’t have any more details at this point, but on our own roads we have plenty of examples of bad design leading to hazard for people walking or cycling.

The more one looks into this whole subject you begin to realise just how much death, injury and carnage is caused by road accidents in this country, but also that much of it could be avoided by better design.

Some say the problem is cyclists riding dangerously, getting in the way. I’ve no doubt some do. You do see people cycling without lights in the dark. You do see people (usually youths) riding dangerously across roads without any regard for anyone else. I accept that. People should certainly ride safely and appropriately.

But I also see so many more examples of people driving dangerously, of drivers ignoring the safety of people walking or riding bikes by driving far too fast. Only last week, a stupid driver almost hit us by racing around in a residential area.

A typically dangerous situation, familiar to many cyclists. (Photo from London Cyclist, originally BBC)

A typically dangerous situation, familiar to many cyclists. (Photo from London Cyclist, originally BBC)

What can be done to improve matters? There are many things that can be done, some for minimal cost, that will greatly improve matters. These will be looked at in a future post. The question is: do our planners really want to improve things, or are they happy with the status quo? Are they prepared to change things in order to improve things? Will they be like Transport for London, who compromised their designs knowing that would result in death and injury, or will they be like local authorities across the Netherlands, who actively value the quality of life of their residents by prioritising cycling in their planning?

The Rock and The Hard Place

Micro design (Copenhagen Design 7)

This is the seventh in a series of ten videos from Copenhagenize.com, looking at the most important design elements in Copenhagen’s impressive bicycle culture.

The next episode in the series by Copenhagenize Design Co. überintern Ivan Conte is Micro Design, a natural follow-up to the previous episode on Macro Design.

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