Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dangerous cycle lanes report

Road safety and perceived risk of cycle facilities in Copenhagen

is a report that makes unpleasant reading. I'd recommended it but the bottom line is that if you build more cycle lanes along roads then the danger along the road goes down but the danger at junctions goes up. 

"The increase in injuries due to the construction of cycle tracks arises because there are more injuries to pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders at junctions. There has been an increase of 28%, 22% and 37% respectively for these three road user groups." 

With an increase of +1951% in accidents when 'entering and exiting bus passengers' .  I think this means that if you build a cycle lane you get a big increase in cars hitting pedestrians. 

Apparently the problem is that cars turning is the most dangerous place - so introducing a cycle lane pushes cars of the main road meaning more turning and more turning means more accidents. Yuck. 


Naturally we would say that the solution is to separate cyclists from cars at all junctions. This is good for the cyclists - they don't like slowing down for junctions and its good for cars - they don't have to look out for cyclists.  We believe the best  way you could do this is to have a gradient separation that is you need an elevated section at junctions. Having a raised section at each junction is inefficient  ( you keep going up and down ) so the natural conclusion is to have a continuously raised section with down spots away from junctions. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Skyride - another excellent Monorail system.

Why are cycle monorails like buses - because you wait a long time for one and then suddenly two come at once!

Scott Olson ( the guy that invented roller blades ) has put money into a cycle monorail called SkyRide  

They do mention a 'switch' technology ( this helps you over take and run an full network of interconnected tracks and have stations without stopping traffic ).

The GreenProphet article also includes a note being very positive about a this being linked with the new  Masdar City ( low carbon city ) in the UAE. 

I could go on at length about how cool it is  but I'm not . I like this and I wish it all the best.  

more pictures here 

Cycle lane wars but what about the results?

How one New York bike lane could affect the future of cycling worldwide - is an interesting article in the guardian about the cycle lane wars in Manhattan by Matt Seaton.

Causing an incredibly biased article in the New York Times ( apparently). 

The bit that caught my attention was the quote 
"there was no attempt to report the facts – the booming commerce in the newly pedestrianised Times and Herald Squares, the improvements in road safety, particularly pedestrian casualty numbers, from the traffic-calming effect of installing bike lanes, and the increase in cycle use itself." 

I've personally believed that well designed cycle lanes in the right places would lead to a boom in shopping and cafe existence.
 (the relatively ) Low speeds mean you can see information as you go. If you see or smell something you like you can stop easily enough*.  The compact nature of a bike means that you can have very generous parking in front of the smallest shop. Unlike cars you can say hello to an acquaintance as you pass in the street, or if you pass some friends you can pull up quickly enough. 

As scientist and engineer I would like some hard figures to back up these reports. Assuming they were true I think it would be another economic reason to add to the outcomes of a well funded cycle lane scheme ( including overhead lanes naturally ). 

* on elevated systems you would have regular stations so stopping and coming off would be simple enough. 

New Yorkers show why bike lanes should be be elevated

According to Gothamist  54 percent of New Yorkers actually said the bike lane expansion "is a good thing because it's greener and healthier for people to ride their bicycle, while 39 percent said it's "a bad thing because it leaves less room for cars which increases traffic." 

And who can blame them ? Its does sound like a zero sum game fixed amount of road so more bike lanes = less road space and so more congestion.  

What these figures don't say is that it only takes one irate or plain lazy, parked car to block a cycle lane so knocking out of action**. By elevating some cycle lanes* we can break the deadlock. 

Once more people shift positivity to cycling on streets flatter than a dutch pancake then the streets will be come clearer for those who really must drive - everyone wins. 

*  believe me elevating car lanes or worse still burying them, is far more expensive 
** assuming by out of action I mean not cycling segregated from traffic.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Controlling parking does improve city quality of life

Slightly off topic but.. 
A report by the Institute for Transportation and development policy shows that reforms of parking does have an effect on quality of life and urban pollution. 

Perhaps we can follow this is an example from Sweden where parking reduction is combined with cycle lane construction.