I posted this picture yesterday on my 365days of biking Tumblr journal, and on reflection, I’ve decided to share it more widely. I think it’s an important point that deserves a wider audience.
January 31st – Someone asserted yesterday that I should be glad of increased cycling facilities in the UK. I am, and I’m not. Here’s why.
On the Coventry Road, Birmingham, near the St. Andrews ground, there are lights to control a ‘y’ junction. Prior to the junction, there is a green tarmac filter lane leading to an advance stop line (ASL). The idea is that cyclists use the green lane up the inside of the traffic to access the green ASL box to place themselves safely at the head of the queue. This rarely works in practice, and to me, is actively encouraging dangerous cycling behaviour.
If I were to take the lane up the side of the traffic, as the skip lorry is occupying the ASL, I’d likely stop next to him. Right in his blind spot. Cyclists tend to be quicker off the mark at lights than lorries and chances are we’d interact at the pinch point a few yards ahead. If the lorry goes down left fork here (which he did, without indicating the intention), he would not see the cyclist and possibly lead to the cyclist being crushed at the pinch point between the railings and the lorry.
This road position kills the vast majority of adult cyclists mortally injured on the roads in the UK. It’s bloody stupid to get up the inside left of a line of traffic, as drivers don’t expect it and often, physically can’t see you. Between the ‘safety’ railings and the lorry wheels, you’re toast. Or rather, puree.
This cycling ‘facility’ encourages dangerous road positioning, and in my view, makes this junction more dangerous to the inexperienced cyclist.
I’ll celebrate cycling facilities when they’re safe, and designed properly. Not ill-thought out lip service like this.